Cash In Hand: Advanced Paid Search Techniques


As paid search grows to be ever more expensive, employing techniques to wring every drop of ROI from PPC becomes more crucial. Moderated by Richard Zwicky, Founder and CEO of Enquisite, the “Advanced Paid Techniques” session here at SES San Jose examined common landing page mistakes and the benefits of negative keywords to help squeeze more out of media buys.

Christine Churchill, President of KeyRelevance discussed Landing Page Faux Paux’s – 10 Mistakes that can Cost you Sales:

1. Broken Page Elements – are all the page elements working properly i.e. broken forms, database driven elements

2. Customer Contact Loop gets Broken over time. – I.e. VOIP telephone number that stops working. Form submission stops working because something’s been done at the server level that breaks your form.

3. Things that break when you’re not looking – Your Landing Page works on Internet Explorer but not Firefox (most common issue).

4. Broken links on landing pages can lower customer confidence. Ad page existence doesn’t’ get tested thoroughly after minor site changes. Since landing pages are often not a part of the main navigation, they can often get missed when making changes.

5. Site redesign/re-launch doesn’t include the ad pages.

6. Landing page doesn’t contain the keyword that the user used in the query. This decreases the customer confidence. Less keyword resonance.

7. Bad example type “luxury car – ad says sports car seats – and then landing page says something else.

8. The landing page doesn’t reflect the ad message – watch out for inconsistent messaging. The landing page should reflect the benefit. The landing page is not persuasive – ugly boring content.

9. Failure to include conversion tracking code – need to make sure that it’s working properly.

10. Failure to maintain Analytics instrumentation. – Analytics is often missing or poorly implemented on landing pages.

Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster provided insight surrounding the fact that Negative Keywords are the “hidden force”behind PPC campaigns.

Why Use Negative?

  • Because they save you money – gets rid of unproductive clicks.
  • Because it improves the campaign’s performance.
  • Better results when correct ads display improves the user experience

How Do you Use Negatives?

  • Boxing Out – Eliminates Bad costly clicks, reduce ad impressions that hurt your CTR.
  • Boxing In – As you refine your campaign and they become more tightly knit.

For Example:

If someone searches “faux wood ceiling” each of these Keywords would provide a match (assuming that they are all broad match) but you want to make sure that you are paying the least CPC for that phrase.

Wood ceiling -$5.00

Wood ceiling panels – $2.50

Faux wood ceiling panels $.50

3 Negative Match Types

  • Google Broad is not like Positive broad. No close matches, plurals
  • Yahoo calls them excluded words – for advanced match only. Reasonably limited # of excluded keywords (250)
  • MSN is like broad match but you need to add plurals misspellings. 1022 character limitation.

Negative Keyword Discovery

  • You need to determine what is the real volume? Is the keyword work adding? Is the ROI going to be high enough to warrant it?
  • What is the real impact against your keywords? Focus on the high payoff words. Even 100 is a lot to manage.

Thomas Bindl, Founder & CEO, Refined Labs GmbH discusses technical ways to improve your PPC performance.

1) Analyzing Log files is not just for SEO, PPC can get a lot of benefit too as you can get the following info:

  • Keyword searched
  • Rough position they came from
  • Country
  • Language
  • Exact date and time
  • Geolocation.

2) Using Dynamic Parameters

  • {keyword} – which keyword triggered the click
  • {ifcontent:Content} content network
  • {ifsearch:Search} Search (network)
  • {creative} which ad text triggered the click
  • {placement} which website triggterd the click (only for site targeted campaigns)

3) Measuring Broad Match

  • Don’t measure what you wanted, measure what you got.
  • Add {keyword} to every landing page url
  • Compare value of {keyword} and “q”= -Referrer
  • Assign tracking values to {keyword}+”q=”-referrer
  • Example: books -> buy cheap books

4) Going from Broad to Exact

  • Analyze results of bought vs. delivered
  • Positive ROI goes into phrase match
  • Negative ROI goes into negatives keywords
  • Positive ROI goes into exact match
  • Profit margins go up

Whether avoiding common Landing Page Mistakes, Utilizing Keyword Negatives or Utilizing Dynamic Parameters, applying advanced PPC techniques will help you to achieve advanced results. Remember, if you’re doing the same stuff everyone else is, you’re going to get the same results.

Jennifer Osborne is VP Business Development for Search Engine People a Toronto SEO Company

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