Landing Page, Landing Page, Landing Page: I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the content and structure of landing pages. If you want users to convert, you have to make sure they stay on the landing page (this also provides the added benefit of raising your quality score). If your keyword is targeted at customers who are looking to purchase antivirus software, don't distract them with any other information. I have clicked on hundreds of PPC ads (specifically in the software space) where the ad redirects the consumer to the software vendor's home page. A home page certainly has comprehensive information about a business, but it may be overwhelming and frustrating to a consumer who was looking for specific information. Your PPC landing pages need to be focused on converting visitors. Focus the message and don't offer opportunities for wandering.
Quality Score: Quality score is truly the love/hate relationship of paid search. Sometimes I reminisce about the old days, when you could simply outbid competitors to see in what position a PPC ad converted best. Unfortunately, the result of this model was click fraud. So search engines introduced "quality score" to prevent click fraud and make sure their searchers only saw the most relevant ads for their search terms.
Quality score has many determining factors, all of which are weighted differently, but include:
- Length of time the advertising account has been open
- Amount spent on advertising
- Landing page relevance
- PPC bids
- Clickthrough rate (CTR)
These are just a few of the known pieces of how the quality score spider/algorithm evaluates paid search campaigns, but a desire to improve quality score is one reason to invest in a PPC management tool.
PPC Management Tools: There are a variety of PPC management tools available to online vendors: third-party marketing agencies, PPC add-on tools (e.g., Omniture, Atlas One, Kenshoo) and in-house PPC management. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage to using a third-party marketing agency is the agency does most of the work for you. The downside is if a vendor chooses to leave the agency's program, their Google and Microsoft accounts are rarely returned. As a result, the vendor loses all of the keyword history and quality score data associated with the accounts. Ultimately, the vendor may be forced to recreate the ad campaigns without knowing exactly what keywords were used and how the marketing agency's PPC algorithm was applied.