Monthly Paid Search Advertising Checklist

May 25, 2012By:

Managing a paid search advertising account (also referred to as cost per click or pay per click) is not always an easy job. They can be large, filled with countless keywords, Ad Groups, and Campaigns. Below is a basic monthly paid search advertising checklist any marketer can do to ensure their account runs smoothly long-term.

1. Check the alerts section of your account.

With paid search advertising, there is always something more you can do, or adjust within your account. The alerts section of the account is where you can find advice to improve your campaigns, or new features available in your paid search marketing account. An example you might see is “Missed clicks due to budget (5)”. This means your account has missed out on 5 clicks due to lack of allocated budget.

Paid Search Management Checklist

2. Check the minimum first page bid.

Each keyword in your paid search advertising account has a minimum cost per click (CPC) bid it requires in order to show on the first page of search engine results. Sometimes, due to other competitors bidding on the term, or poor relevancy to your website, your paid search provider (Google, Bing) will require you to increase your minimum first page bid in order for your ad to show.  If you overlook this warning in your paid search marketing account and do not adjust your bid accordingly, you will miss out on clicks, impressions, and potentially – leads or sales.

Sometimes, the minimum first page bid is higher than you would like to pay and you may need to do a bit more analysis to determine why. Reasons the bid could increase may be due to low quality scores, more competition, or simply that further account optimization is required.

3. Check for additional negative keywords.

Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant search queries in search engines results. For example, you likely do not want prospective employees clicking on your paid search ads, so you would add “jobs” or “careers” as negative keywords in your account.

4. Check and add new keyword opportunities.

New keywords should be added to your paid search account as often as possible to ensure your ads receive the most ad impressions possible, and therefore, the most traffic to your website. Please note that you may not always see new keyword suggestions – it simply means your account is up-to-date with a variety of keyword opportunities. Some industries will have more search volume than others but the key takeaway here is that new keywords should be added as often as possible.

5. Pause underperforming AdGroups and/or keywords.

Do you see a keyword that has not received a click in one or two months? Pause it and move on! The great thing about paid search marketing is that it does not cost anything to try as many different keyword variations as necessary in order to get the right combination of keywords that work for your advertising goals. After adding them, let new keywords run for a few months in order to gather enough data to make an educated decision before deciding to pause them.

6. Block irrelevant display network placements.

The display network is where contextual marketing comes into play, allowing your ad to receive impressions on websites that have similar content to the keywords you are bidding on. For example, if I bid on the term “paid search marketing” my ad is going to show on any website in the display network that contains content about “paid search marketing”. Again, using the job example as above in the negative keyword point, if my ad shows on a website listing “paid search marketing jobs” I am likely going to find that having my ad show on this website gives no benefit towards my lead generation efforts. Ultimately I am going to exclude this site from my display network placements.

Watch CBC National Interview 6S did on this topic!

7. Create new ads and pause underperforming ones.

It is a best practice to create multiple versions of ads within a paid search marketing account to test each variation. This is done so you ultimately end up with a combination of ads that result in the highest number of conversions possible. Once you see a variation beginning to convert more than the others, create variations of the converting ad to find other high-converting variations and pause the underperforming ones.

8. Remove high bounce rate keywords.

Bounce rate is not a metric available in a paid search advertising campaign; however, it is located in web analytics software such as Google Analytics. Identifying high bounce rate keywords and removing them from your paid search marketing account is going to further improve the performance of your CPC advertising. In order to track bounce rate, your website must have web analytics software installed on it which a digital marketing agency can help you do.

9. Monitor the daily and monthly budgets.

Quite often if your CPC bid is too high, you will receive a budget alert identifying that your daily budget has been reached and therefore your monthly budget is too low. There are various ways to manage a paid search budget but the easiest way is to ensure the keywords you are bidding on are highly relevant to your website and products or services. This will keep your minimum CPC bid low and stretch your paid search advertising budget further.

10. Check the Quality Score of your keywords.

Quality Score (QS) is a measure of how relevant the keywords you are bidding on are to the content on your website and the person searching with that keyword. QS runs from 1 – 10, with 10 being highly relevant and 1 being extremely irrelevant. If a keyword has a QS of between 1 and 6 this indicates that the search provider (Google, Bing etc) does not find a keyword relevant and you may need to add the keyword to your website or even create a specific landing page for that keyword. Also, ensure the keyword you are bidding on is included in your Ad Copy. Ultimately, if the keyword does not begin to perform or the QS does not increase after optimization techniques, you may have to delete it altogether from your paid search account.

If the QS is between 7 and 10 it generally means that it is seen as a relevant keyword to what your website provides information on. There are a number of factors that go into determining QS but the main metrics are the campaign’s click-through-rate, account history, landing page quality, and keyword relevance.

What tasks do you have on your Monthly Paid Search Advertising Checklist? Share them with us in the comments below!