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The Importance of Relevance in PPC Management

Apr 20, 2008
In summer of 2005, Google advertisers panicked as Google started implementing a new policy of keyword status. Every keyword in Google's system now has a minimum required bid. It can vary wildly, from two cents up to a dollar or more in some markets.

For those not willing to put up the minimum bid for a specific keyword, Google simply flips your keyword to inactive and your ad won't show up when that term is used in a search. As long as you bid the minimum or more, they will show your ad.

Many watched as their precious five-cent minimum bids got jacked up to ten and twenty cents and more. Some who based their entire selling strategy on this minimum price thought it would kill their business.

Not So. Should Google demand a higher bid and deactivate your terms then you have more than one option: (1) You could give Google the bid they are asking for, or (2) You can play with your ad copy and try to get the Google computers to believe that your ads are relevant and by that means lower the minimum bid required.

If you are thinking of choosing option 1, make sure you really need to and that your budget can support that decision. With the second choice -this is the recommended one-then use this device:

Place the term and put into your ad in the headline.

If doing that messes up your ad and creates havoc for all your other keywords in the ad group, then you can try 'peel and stick' Remove that keyword from your list and create a new ad group for that word alone and write an ad using that keyword in the headline.

In this manner you will be able to induce Google's computers into believing you have relevant ads. You will likely be given lower minimum bid prices also. An added advantage is that you are almost assured a higher CTR.

The reality is that your ads aren't really being judged on true relevance but on perceived relevance. Your great CTR won't get Google to lower your minimum bid price; only the fact that you use your keyword in the headline of your ad will get you a lower minimum bid.

So when all is said and done, the test is not in whether you're actually relevant to consumers; the test is only in what Google's computers think looks relevant.

Whatever the reasoning, by running their system in this manner Google is pushing you to do with your keywords and ad groups just what the more savvy AdWords managers are doing; dividing their keyword lists into small, compact groups.

If you have keywords in your list that don't show up in the ad, Google may well penalize you by putting your keywords into inactive status.
About the Author
Need to optimize or "fix" your Adwords & PPC campaigns? Kirt Christensen manages over $600k in PPC spending & knows what it takes to make your account hum! When it comes to pay per click management/a>, he's the man!
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