Are you using last year’s Google AdWords account?

If you haven’t made significant changes during the past year to the way your Google AdWords account is set up and managed, you’re leaving money on the table.

Google calculates Quality Scores for your ads with the goal of increasing relevance to a searcher’s query, and it is imperative to organize your account to convey the highest relevance possible. Ad groups that a year ago worked well most likely need some overhauling for peak performance. Keywords within an ad group need to be tightly focused around themes, and ad text should contain the primary keywords. A good guideline is to limit your ad groups to 10 -25 keywords and customize ad text for each. Google not only considers the click-through rate of your keywords and ads, but also the presence of the keywords in the ads.

A common AdWords management technique has been to go after thousands of keywords from the long tail of search. Whether these were scraped from search logs, auto-generated, or a simple product list, the goal was to load up as many versions of keywords as possible hoping for lower cost clicks. While targeting specific search phrases is still effective, you must carefully monitor these terms. Quality Scores are not only calculated for one particular keyword, but also for ad groups and for your entire account.

If you have long lists of keywords, periodically review for keywords with more than 50 impressions but no clicks. While each may not look harmful, as part of your account Quality Score, these zero clicked terms may limit the number of times your ads will be served while inflating your cost per click.

AdWords campaigns should never be considered “done.” Regularly revisit your keyword groupings, ad texts, Quality Scores and click through rates to find those small tweaks that lead to incremental improvements. Add new keywords you find in search logs or the Google keyword multiplier, test them in a variety of ways and then go back and remove any that do not perform well. Organizing an AdWords account once and then just focusing on bids and conversions is a sure-fire way to lose the AdWords game.

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