PPC Chat Streamcap – Pay Per Click Keywords

Hello PPCChatters!

Now that Matt has successfully hosted 2 great PPCChats with participation and insights from some truly talented pay per click professionals, we thought it might be time see where things are, and what improvements might be made. So this week we thought we’d implement a new recap of the weekly chat that we are calling the “PPCChat Streamcap”. This new format will contain the questions asked, chatters responses and the Clever & Insightful Tip of the Week. Let us know what you think!

Q1: AdWords Modified Broad Match has now been around for 9 months. What trends have you seen and are you happy with the results?

  • Definitely feel more control with it, use it across account but still gets matched to some off terms – Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
  • CTR has definitely improved with the additional control, I generally like to put modifiers on each keyword – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Needed and useful, i still find myself choosing wrong anchor terms, but also test different combos in an adgroup – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Makes it easier to target more qualified searchers. Definitely much higher conversion rate over broad match – Michelle Morgan (@michellem_18)
  • Definitely able to branch out more while not casting as wide a net as regular broad match – Matt Umbro
  • BMM also cuts down on the number of phrase match kws. No need for tons of different permutations of the same words. – Michelle Morgan
  • I’ve noticed it’s great for location based campaigns to grab smaller towns and cities that have low search volumes – Matt Umbro
  • Doesn’t replace the SQ report review but gives us control over google choosing what the terms mean – Chris Kostecki
  • Any type of broad match is always a gamble, but glad Google has given us more control. – Matt Umbro
  • It works well to get some of the long-tail keywords I wouldn’t have though of, but are still relevant. – Michelle Morgan
  • I’m a sucker for phrase match, especially with a clients, but agree, does allow for more streamline builds – Chris Kostecki
  • Modified broad match is useful and effective in moderation. But to cover every possible variation is overkill – Mike Shollenberger (@webjock)
  • Trying to test and measure and adjust every modified broad match variations costs more time than it boosts performance. – Mike Shollenberger

Q2: What trends and results have you seen with session based broad match and is this match type beneficial or just plain costly?

  • Not a fan. takes broad match to an extreme. ends up more costly for me. – Michelle Morgan
  • They are usually the worst performing terms in the SQ report – Chris Kostecki
  • Not a big fan of session based broad match either, though I have seen some conversions – Matt Umbro
  • I wish there were a way to opt out, I’d do that in a heartbeat. – Michelle Morgan
  • Session broad match has lead to some conversions but overall the highest CPA in my accounts. – Justin Freid
  • Perhaps more amazing than what people search for is that Google shows your ads for these searches! I guess not that surprising. – Matt Umbro
    • I get the occasional conversion as well. Altogether, ends up being extremely costly. – Michelle Morgan
  • Session-based BroadMatch tends to pull in kwds that I’m sponsoring in other adgroups. If it were more accurate I would like it. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Has anyone heard of a campaign or read a case study that benefited greatly from session based broad match? – Matt Umbro
  • I think we’re all in agreement that session based broad match is a liability more than a benefit – Matt Umbro
  • Hopefully it develops to be smarter, especially with the rise of interest audience targeting – Chris Kostecki

Q3: What is your strategy for bidding on branded keywords? If you don’t bid on branded keywords, what is the reason(s)?

  • People are searching for you, take up as much real estate on SERPS as possible, definitely bid on branded terms! – Justin Freid
    • Completely Agreed – Michelle Morgan
  • I bid heavily on mine but not on others. If some one searches for them, thats what they want. – Michelle Morgan
  • I always bid on brand. It’s a failsafe to guard against competitor poaching, or at least limit it. “What SEO cannibalization?” – Mike Shollenberger
  • Brand keywords are usually a sure bet, but cant rest on its success, they are not new searches, but respond to user behavior – Chris Kostecki
  • I bid on mine but do not go overboard. Love the traffic, but want people that don’t know my brand. – Matt Umbro
  • Granted a brand search doesn’t always mean people already know your brand (they may have read something about you, etc) – Matt Umbro
  • I like bidding on branded terms to direct searchers to specials and deals. – John W. Ellis (@JohnWEllis)
  • What does everybody do when branded terms are taking away budget from non-branded? – Matt Umbro
    • Usually they pay for themselves and its not an issue – Chris Kostecki
    • You have to bid were the profit is coming from, if their branded terms, they deserve the spend – Justin Freid
    • I make the business case that Brand should have as much budget as it needs, and that my “main” budget is for non-brand – Mike Shollenberger
    • As long as branded kws are converting, i’m fine with leaving my budget there. if not, cut down on broad match bids – Michelle Morgan
    • Agreed, but you might be missing traffic that wouldn’t have found you without PPC – Matt Umbro
  • As with any other keyword set, the best type of branded keywords on which to limit your bidding is broad match. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Brand keywords have the opposite effects of competitor keywords – Chris Kostecki
  • Many reasons to bid on your brand terms, one over-looked reason for brand bidding is the CTR boost to the overall account.. – Jeremy J Brown (@JBGuru)
  • I have seen traffic drop off instead of go to organic listings when the clients pushed back. – Chris Kostecki
    • Fair point, thats why I never delete ๐Ÿ™‚ – Matt Umbro
  • I’m all for spending what is needed on branded terms (and I do). 95% of the time your branded terms are extremely cheap – Matt Umbro
  • Highly important to differentiate branded vs. non branded traffic when reporting to clients – Matt Umbro
  • Going more into ethics here but have seen examples where managers report campaign success based largely on branded traffic – Matt Umbro
  • You have the flexibility of what message you want to put out there for a branded search dependant on business goals – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
  • Definitely acknowledge it – don’t hide it, but can make a case for rolling up the numbers – Chris Kostecki

Q4: Do you bid on competitor branded terms? Why or why not?

  • Competitor terms are valuable because often times the searcher is in your target market. – Jeremy J Brown
  • Depends on the client, but if it is a pretty similar product, Yes I will bid on competitor brands. – Justin Freid
  • No. Awful performance. People who search for my competitors seem to only want them. Not the same for everyone though. – Michelle Morgan
  • Unless competitors are bidding on my branded terms generally not. Competitor keywords sometimes get poor quality scores – Matt Umbro
    • good point, they already want/are interested in your product – Justin Freid
  • Well, I guess that answers that, but they are the worst performing keywords, and usually at the clients instance – Chris Kostecki
    • Isn’t that the truth – Justin Freid
    • Quality Scores are usually lower, but competitor terms can have strong CPA performance if done right – Jeremy J Brown
      • On the flip side, bidding on competitor terms can have a negative impact on overall campaign – Matt Umbro
      • Have seen some success for strong brands going after competitor products more so then competitors directly – Chris Kostecki
      • Usually approach competitor targets w the mindset any sales are otherwise lost, some build lifetime value & accept the loss – Chris Kostecki
  • In the finance industry, loans, debt relief, payday loans, bidding on competitor terms is like gold – Justin Freid
    • Really? I find them to be the opposite – Michelle Morgan
      • Yes, one of my most profitable keywords is a heavily branded company name – Justin Freid
        • That would be wonderful. I’ve tried, just hasn’t paid off. – Michelle Morgan
  • I will bid on competitive terms, but I warn the client that if we open that door, then it could go both ways. – John W. Ellis
    • You bring up a larger point, being honest with the client and explaining implications of actions, a question for future – Matt Umbro
      • True, but often outweighed by additional exposure and conversions. Best to segregate comp terms in own campaign. – Jeremy J Brown
  • I bid on competitors on a case by case basis. I educate my stakeholders on legality, risks and benefits, then let them decide. – Mike Shollenberger
  • In most cases no I don’t, CTR isn’t great which doesn’t help the cause much – Andrew Baker

Q5: Beyond search query reports and analytics, how do you find negative keywords?

  • Google Suggest can be good source for negatives. Recency elements can find before the Search Query report – Jeremy J Brown
  • One of the most innovative ideas I’ve heard was from @KeriMorgret. she said to look on IMDB – Matt Umbro
  • Beyond those two (which provide about 90%) clients are best, also acronyms need to be heavily vetted – Chris Kostecki
  • Wonder Wheel is a great tool as well – Matt Umbro
  • I look at articles on Wikipedia and About .com. I like Soolve.com too – Michelle Morgan
  • some simple kw suggest tools http://snaggest.com/ & http://soovle.com/ – Chris Kostecki
  • Disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. – Keri Morgret (@KeriMorgret)
  • Also good to look at reviews given by past clients. All of these are also good sources of new kws. – Michelle Morgan
  • I find negative keywords via good, old fashioned manual searches and SERP reviews, plus the WordStream free tool. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Acronym databases – Keri Morgret
  • If you keep an open mind, most sources are good for new and negative KWs – Matt Umbro
  • Twitter search can be a source for negative keywords — see what other context they’re used in – Keri Morgret
  • I especially like reading submitted contact us forms, client telling you exactly what he/she is looking for – Matt Umbro

Q6: Especially for campaigns with small budgets, competing with the big guys is tough. How do you stay in the game?

  • Don’t go for obvious terms. Use exact match on long-tail lower volume terms. Big guys bid on phrase match of head. – Jeremy J Brown
  • Use modified broad match, keep mid tier bids for the high volume keywords, and optimize for long tail – Justin Freid
  • Look at query impressions in GWT, see what site is showing for organically that’s off-topic – Keri Morgret
  • Hard to effect bids, budgets have to define scope, i start w brands, then long tail & expand from there w very specific ad copy – Chris Kostecki
  • Regional targeting, competitive bidding, stay in low position, extra long tail. – John W. Ellis
  • Contact others in space with same keywords but diff’t meaning, suggest negatives for THEIR campaign. – Keri Morgret
    • ex: opentracker is gps tracker, also website tracker. I contacted website tracker place, gave them negs related to gps tracker. – Keri Morgret
    • Good idea. Help limit your own campaigns competition – James Svoboda
    • Brilliant! – Mike Shollenberger
  • Tightly themed target ad groups w/ mostly exact & select BMM until I can prove to client the value is there for higher budget. – James Svoboda
    • Exactly. Prove results and then justify the additional spend. – Matt Umbro
  • I would also decrease the number of campaigns in the account so your budget isn’t worn thin for each individual campaign – Matt Umbro
  • Simply outwork them on the fundamentals. Better kwd research (incl neg), ad group hygiene, and ad copy / landing page testing. – Mike Shollenberger

Q7: Do you pause or delete keywords that Google has deemed to have “low search volumes”ย?

  • I don’t do either if they are relevant and targeted to the ad group… check QS. I’ve seen some become unlisted as LSV. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Depends. Not overly aggressive with weeding them out, but it’s a general step once in awhile. – Jeremy J Brown
  • I generally keep them active especially in regional campaigns they can end up converting for me, never delete them – Andrew Baker
    • Yes, regional/local, especially in regional campaigns… never delete them – James Svoboda
  • Not necessarily, may replace with looser matched terms, otherwise I focus on areas that have volume & wait for the search volume – Chris Kostecki
  • More than 1 Google rep has told me “Low Search Volume” keywords have the same effect on a campaign as low QS. – Mike Shollenberger
    • I’ve also heard from reps that you should delete keywords with poor QS instead of pause. Have you heard this? – Matt Umbro
    • What I’ve heard is that they have a slight negative effect if you have lots of them. – Jeremy J Brown
    • Heard the same. Have you heard whether pausing has the same effect as deleting? I can’t get that one answered. – Michelle Morgan
      • also for “extension” kwd themes, be sure to add negative keywords for ED drugs!!! seriously. pharma = neg kwd mining – Mike Shollenberger
  • I usually clean house every 3 months or so. I’ll either delete or change match type to words with 0 impressions. – Michelle Morgan
  • With some of the searches we see in SQ reports it makes sense to keep low search volume keywords in the campaign – Matt Umbro
  • Capitalizing words in LSV keywords often deletes the LSV alert. When that doesn’t work, I pause the keyword & recheck later. – Mike Shollenberger

Clever & Insightful PPC Tip of the Week

This week’s Clever and Insightful tip comes from Keri Morgret (@KeriMorgret) of Strike Models for suggesting to:

“Contact others in space with same keywords but diff’t meaning, suggest negatives for THEIR campaign”

Basically, Keri’s idea is to send negative keyword suggestions to other ppc advertisers that, through loose keyword matching and targeting, are inflating competition for your campaign for search impressions. This leads to increased cost-per-click rates for the same traffic. Reducing SERP competition in the paid listings should lead to fewer competitors over time, lower CPCs, and more clicks for your campaigns.

PPCChat #2 Participants

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Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #ppcchat on Twitter.

About the Author

This is a guest post by James Svoboda, pay per click proponent, managing partner at Portland based WebRanking, Sphinn Editor, SEM content hound, Tweeter @Realicity, and Co-Founder of MnSEM – the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association.

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2 Responses to PPC Chat Streamcap – Pay Per Click Keywords

  1. […] this week, our 7th, with 29 participants. In comparison, we had 10 participants during week 2, and as Andy Groller (@AndyGroller) stated “How’s that for a significant increase in […]

  2. Keri Morgret says:

    I recently wrote an extensive post about negative keyword research on the SEOmoz blog, using some of the tips I shared here, plus many new ones. It’s available at http://www.seomoz.org/blog/negative-keywords-for-positive-roi.

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