Here’s a Saturday night to remember
Sitting on the couch, feet up, MacBook Pro in lap, Angels-Yankees game on, I reconfigured both of my AdWords accounts…..for SIX HOURS! It’s one of those dreaded chores that’s been on my list for like six months now.
After about hour three, the wife walks by and says, “computer-freak-weirdo.” But in my defense, before plopping down, I carved my kids two pumpkins and I probably did something else redeemable that day. Maybe.
I’m sure everyone has heard just about enough from me on AdWords, however during this six hour process, I discovered I’ve learned a heck of a lot in the two years since I initially set up my two accounts. After all, I was a complete newby to AdWords back then. So in case any of you readers are newbies now, here are some basics:
Let’s start out with what I did wrong two years ago
1. I didn’t know anything about AdWords except that it was an auction, so from the get go I tried to dream up unique keywords that might not be bid on heavily. This strategy was good, but just brainstorming for keywords in like 15 minutes is not the correct way.
2. No real keyword research caused me to miss out on many great performing long tail keywords.
3. I didn’t know the difference between campaigns and ad groups, so I ended up with 50 campaigns. Wrong.
4. One AdWords account can only hold 25 campaigns, so my 50 campaigns forced me to spread across two separate Google accounts. What a pain: funding, monitoring and constantly switching back an forth between two accounts.
5. Given that I had two accounts, linking them both to my Google Analytics account would be problematic to impossible. I had no idea.
Basically, I set up my accounts using best guesses and common sense and they have performed so well that I have ignored them for a couple of years. I mean, who is going to complain about a large quantity of $0.18 CTs in my market, or any market?
So what do I know now that I wish I knew then?
1. You must do thorough and expansive keyword research so you don’t miss low competition winners, ones that probably are not obvious to you. It’s a very time consuming process that requires a lot of experience to get right, but it’s very worth it and very revealing.
2. The AdWords Editor has gotten even better and you should definitely be using it.
3. Keeping everything in one account is easy. My 50 campaigns are now 50 ad groups in one campaign called neighborhoods. I’ve since added two more experimental campaigns, since this is so easy and manageable now.
4. Linking one AdWords account to your Google Analytics account is super easy.
5. AdWords (opportunities tab) will generate a huge list of suggested keywords for every one of your ad groups. You should manually go through every one of these keywords and add the ones that are targeted enough. This takes a long time, but doing this I found over 400 good new ones!
6. I’ve stopped my ads from showing in certain geographies. You probably wont believe which ones.
With all my AdWords in one account, it’s much easier to run statistics across the entire 3,000 keywords, spread across three campaigns and 55 ad groups. In just a few clicks, you can rank every keyword by Quality Score, CT, CTR, Impressions, you name it, and make adjustments.
Finally, I had one of those light bulb moments where I realized that in the last two years, all but a few of my clients have been people relocating from out of town. However, 70% or more of my registered leads are local people. So I have turned off my ads in my home state, Georgia!
Who needs these local tire kickers that typically already have Realtors anyway? I always love those folks that use your site and email you questions and already have a Realtor! (Where’s their Realtor’s site? Ok, I digress)
Anyway, my geographic exclusion test is not without risk because as my CTR drops, my Quality Score may come right down with it, and then I’ll be getting no traffic from anywhere. But I’m going to give this a try for a month or so and see what happens. It’s all being tracked in my ONE AdWords account which is also linked to my Google Analytics account.