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How to Shape Up Your Pay Per Click Keyword Strategy in Time for Summer

May 15, 2016 Andy Beohar

pay-per-click-strategySummer is coming.

While you may be wondering how you’re going to fit into those shorts again, it’s also an excellent time to review your pay per click (PPC) keyword marketing strategy, and start shedding the extra weight that is only slowing you down and keeping you from maximizing your advertising ROIs.

Over the past year your PPC account may easily have become bloated; perhaps you’ve been adding new target keywords without removing others, or you’re not tracking performance as vigilantly as you could be. Those coveted top three spots on Google's SERPs typically account for 41% of that page's clicks, so rather than letting the trend continue, get your account into shape now and reap the benefits.

Below, we share a seven-step guide to getting your pay per click keyword strategy in tip-top shape in time for summer.

Get your Pay Per Click Keyword Strategy in Shape for Summer in 7 Steps

Start by making a commitment

People don’t lose excess weight just by thinking about it, and the same goes for your PPC keyword strategy. The onus is on you to commit to a comprehensive audit of your resources and to see it through to completion.

Then perform an overall survey

How do you know when you’re overweight? You look in the mirror or your clothes stop fitting. How do you know if your PPC keyword strategy is overweight? You have to survey your account’s groups to see which keywords are performing and which aren’t. Ideally, you should be monitoring performance regularly and already know your top-performers and the ones that never seemed to take off.

Strengthen your core

If you want to build your body's muscle mass, you have to start with a strong foundation. With your PPC keyword strategy, your account’s keyword groups should be organized so that you are appropriately targeting the right audience with each one.

 

Here’s an example from HubSpot on organizing your PPC keywords. Here’s an example from HubSpot on organizing your PPC keywords.

 

A good tip is to put your top performers into their own group so that you can tailor your ad copy for optimum results. You should also focus on grouping your mobile keywords as part of your foundation. More than half of paid clicks come from users on mobile devices, and you may find that what worked in the past with desktop searches doesn’t translate to a successful mobile strategy.

Starting shedding the extra weight

Building up a strong core foundation in your account will help you navigate your campaigns more easily, but you’ll also have to eliminate the extra fat.

Here’s the deal with your PPC keyword strategy: it works until it doesn’t. If you take a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, not only are you risking your budget, you’re also not taking advantage of opportunities to improve your reach and conversion rate. Get rid of keywords that don’t perform or are no longer relevant—not only are they taking up space, they can also reduce your Quality Score for that campaign. Identify the seasonal or topical keywords you’re targeting that aren't currently relevant and pause them so you can resume using them when it is again appropriate.

Find new muscles to build

Getting your PPC campaigns into shape isn’t just about getting rid of excess fat—it’s also about discovering new opportunities to see results. Research new keywords regularly, either by surveying your competitors’ activity or with a keyword tool, and then start their performance off strong by creating new groups. Another area of focus should be looking for long-tail phrases that apply to your audience’s search activity. About 61% of online users search for a product as the first stage in their buying process, so targeting those terms that they tend to use in this research phase will help you rank higher, driving them to your product.

Don’t get distracted

If you aren’t leveraging the power of negative keywords yet, this is the time to start. Negative keywords help you ensure that your ads are reaching only the most interested—and most likely to purchase—potential customers. Adding them to your campaigns ensures that you don’t pay for the clicks of users searching for products or services your site doesn’t offer, helping you maximize your ROI. When selecting your negative keywords, make sure they align with the keywords you’re targeting but obviously indicate the searcher is looking for something different.

Remember, your work is never done

The key to long-term keyword strategy success is the same as with your health and fitness: you have to maintain it. If you review your pay per click strategy once a year, you’ll spend far more time in one sitting than you would if you spread your account audits throughout the year. Give your PPC campaigns the greatest opportunity for success by keeping your keyword strategy in tip-top shape all year long.

When it seems daunting, take a reminder from Jessica Merrill (@blogging4jobs): “Today, you want to regain the momentum you lost, wind up and take off down the path of prosperity and growth.” (Source: Kissmetrics).

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