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How to Optimize Your Paid Search Keyword List in 3 Steps

My Post (56).pngWhile PPC automation is all the rage, one of the best ways to improve account performance is to optimize your keyword lists – manually.

Not in the habit of optimizing? It might sound like a vague buzzword, so let’s get clear on what we mean. My favorite working definition of optimization is:

“Doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.”

While it might be tempting to scale up or down with a script, it’s not the best approach – at least not at first.

Keywords aren’t “profitable” or “unprofitable” by themselves. As we reviewed in the prequel to this article, How to Do PPC Keyword Research in 2019, keywords and search terms are just indicators of audience intent.

Getting clicks on a keyword that didn’t drive conversions doesn’t mean you should ditch the keyword.

It might mean you need to make improvements to your customer experience, like your offer, messaging, landing page, ads or other targeting.

As you go through these steps of optimizing your keyword list, you’ll uncover new areas to fix your account for even better performance.

Getting Started: Do This Before You Optimize

When you optimize smartly, you’re looking at what actually drives results.

Google Ads has hundreds of metric and segmenting combinations, so it’s easy to find highs and lows in the performance of anything you look at.

As you review your account, be sure to optimize for signal (useful information) rather than noise (clutter or irrelevant data).

Audit Your Conversions

Disruptive Advertising reports that only 29% of the Google Ads accounts they review are effectively tracking conversions.

The other 71% of accounts?

They either weren’t using conversion tracking, or had such poor conversion tracking that “they had no idea whether their campaigns were working.”

We can’t “do more of what works” if we don’t know what’s actually working in our campaigns.

Before making changes, review your conversion tracking (here’s how to do that). Check that you’re importing the right goals for your account, that you’re counting conversions consistently, and that your tags are active and recording conversions.

Seriously, do not pass “go” until you do that. Your optimization efforts are worse than useless if you can’t accurately measure the business impact of your changes.

How to Optimize Your Paid Search Keyword List in 3 Steps

To get more precise data for your optimizations, you can create custom columns in the Google Ads interface to review specific conversions. – Read more