As a PPC consultant, it’s smart to periodically take a look back and see how things have changed.  For the most part, the old PPC best practices *are* still very similar to the current PPC best practices.  But as the platforms like Adwords and Bing/Yahoo! change, the best practices for PPC consulting change as well!

ppc best practices

Below is our Current 2014 PPC Best Practices.  We left a link to our 2009 award-winning best practices below, so that you can giggle at what has changed…

  1. Make Your Keywords Specific – Quality, not quantity of keywords.   I like to focus on some highly targeted general terms to start on broad match.  Over time, you can continue to build out a profitable keyword list through search query reports.  Remember to try different match types.  Each one will have a different success rate!  Read our article on getting the best paid traffic.
  2. Bid On Your Own Name – Bidding on your brand name is excellent for ROI and a branding strategy.  Be sure to put your branded terms in their own campaign.  This will ensure that the unusually high CTR and conversion rates will not throw off the stats for the other ad groups.
  3. Negative Keywords – Once a campaign is up and running, always be sure to continuously check the search query report to add new negative keywords.  Did you know that you can use broad, phrase and exact match for negatives as well?  Figure out your intention for the phrase and add the appropriate negative match type.
  4. Don’t Shoot for #1 – One of THE best ranks in paid search is being #3 (top left side for Google). Manage your bids (manually or through automated rules, we prefer manual bidding) to move up or down based on your average daily position.  2.4 would be your optimal goal for getting the “best bang for your buck.”
  5. Remarketing – Create remarketing lists for your site visitors.  A remarketing campaign can be created on the display network to show to past viewers.  This has proven to be a cheap method to target users who have shown interest in your site and gain those valuable conversions.
  6. Campaign Extensions – Use all relevant extensions to boost your CTR.  Location extensions, call extensions, and sitelinks are among my current favorites.
  7. Display Network – Don’t forget display!  Search network is the place to start, but if you have additional budget, try the display network.  Add display in a separate campaign so you can track the stats separately.
  8. Landing Pages – A proper landing page will have a clear message.  A visitor should instantly know what you do, understand your call-to-action, and then complete that action.  Do not make the user *look* for the your form.  Have it on every page, where possible.
  9. Tracking/Reporting – Track everything.  Define your ultimate goal and implement some type of conversion tracking.  Tracking can be through AdWords or through Google Analytics. Track all clicks, impressions, costs and conversion rates to use for reporting. None of these statistics should be used “stand-alone” to evaluate a campaign.  Use reports to make DATA-Driven decisions. Trim back on budget hog keywords.  Pause keywords that are dragging down your CTR. Use SQRs for keyword and negative keyword discovery.
  10. Treat campaigns as “Living Campaigns” – Optimization is not a one time thing! Use tracking and reporting to drive PPC activities. Work monthly to reduce CPC and improve conversion rates. There is always something to improve and you cannot, ever “set and forget.”

See our old *outdated* best practices from 2009.  Wow has PPC changed.