The more I work with our new Keyword Zoom feature the stronger my belief in query mining becomes. I’ve always known keywords were a trick, a distraction, and the wrong way to think about success or failure in PPC. Now that trick has been exposed and specific action can be taken on a keyword-by-keyword basis. Ignoring this opportunity is negligent. Suppose you were buying a basket of fruit from a local marketplace every morning. But all the vendors only sold baskets, you weren’t allowed to sort through and pick those that were ripe, avoid those that were rotten. You bought the basket, and got what you got. Even worse, you had to take them home and eat ’em blindfolded. So everyday that’s what you did. You enjoyed the luscious, winced at the sour, and spit out the rancid as quickly as possible. At the end of the meal sometimes your summary judgement was good and so your returned to that vendor the next day. Other times while there were some high points, there were too many lows and so that vendor was crossed off your list. It never mattered how much excellence there was, it was always the ratio of excellence to junk that rendered the final determination. That’s exactly how you buy and judge keywords today. At least those with broad and phrase match applied. There is a much better way.
Zooming In On Waste
As previously described, Keyword Zoom lets you look inside your keywords to see the search queries that the engine is matching and make immediate changes by adding negatives, creating new related keywords, and modifying the existing keyword options. Unintended and inappropriate search queries matched to your keywords are wasting money every day all across your account. The most obvious place to start when utilizing Keyword Zoom is with those broad match keywords that are getting the highest click volume. They have the most search queries, and in nearly every case there are important improvements to make. But to focus on serious waste, create a filter that finds all broad match keywords, with at least 10 clicks, and a quality score less than 7. This produces a list of keywords that desperately need help – and that are often easy to help in ways where a few minutes of effort can produce a lifetime of improvement.
Broader Than You Wanna Be
Note that bad queries are not causing the quality score problem. Quality score is only calculated when the query is equal to the keyword, so this is not an exercise to improve quality score. But the low quality score indicates that the keyword is getting low CTR even when the query is identical to the keyword, so it’s often even worse for other queries that are being matched to that keyword. A huge percentage of the time your low quality score keywords will be generic terms attempting to cover a category or some other rather non-specific topic. Here are the kinds of keywords we often find with low quality scores in PPC accounts:
- military jackets
- water pipe repair
- best down pillow
- lost car keys
- debt settlement plan
- acne treatment
It’s easy to see why the PPC manager wants to reach these people, but it’s also clear that on broad match the search engine will find hundreds or thousands of queries that ‘match’ that keyword, and many of these will be completely and obviously inappropriate for whatever we’re selling or offering. The engine will happily match ‘duvets’ to ‘pillow’, ‘annuity’ to ‘insurance’, or ‘dog therapy’ to ‘pet treatment’. They’re reasonable semantically, but wasteful financially. It takes pro-active action to avoid paying for these non-convertable queries again and again. In one of these cases, a single negative would have saved $32 or over 6% of the spend in a 30 day period on a single keyword, boosting ROAS on that keyword by over 15%. That’s a single keyword in a single month – but add key negatives to the most clicked keywords in your account and consider the savings over a year and you have an option for very significant account improvement.
On The Positive Side
Finding and adding negatives is a quick win, and there are many of them. But in the process you’ll notice an overwhelmingly larger opportunity to expand keywords, improve match types, create new add groups, and generally improve your targeting, quality score, and revenues. I’ll cover that in more detail in a future post.