If you're new to pay per click (PPC) advertising and paid search, or if you want to get better results from your campaigns, it's important to know what to do and when to do it, from defining your goals to tracking results. To make this process easier, our PPC experts and digital marketing team put together a series of paid search checklists.
PPC Setup Checklist
Define Your Goals
Before you begin your campaign, it's essential to decide what you want to accomplish with the campaign. Do you want to generate more leads, increase your sales, or perhaps drive traffic to your website? It's a good idea to put these goals down in writing, so you can refer to them as the campaign progresses.
Once you have your goals set down, you need to look for keywords that best match the intent of those goals. Ask yourself, "what are users typing into search boxes to find products or services like yours?"
Find Your Target Audience
You also need to know whom you are trying to attract with your PPC campaign. Are they middle-aged women, 20-something male college students, retirees? Where are these people located and what type of content is attractive to them? Sit down with your team and define your target audiences so you know what PPC platform, ads, and content you need to engage and convert them.
Choose PPC Platforms
Considering your keywords and target audience, think about what PPC platform will work best for your campaign. Should you use Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, or another platform?
Create Landing Pages
Simply getting people to click through to your website is not enough. You need them to arrive at a page with vibrant and useful information. You need to have these landing pages in place before you launch your PPC campaign. After all, you don't want to lose a single potential conversion just because you weren't ready for them. Make sure that your landing pages have a clear call to action that meshes with your campaign goals, such as "fill out this form for a free quote" or "download our free ebook" or "RSVP today to our informative event."
Even the best PPC campaign is incomplete if you can't measure its success. Make sure that you set up a tracking system, such as connecting Google Ads or other platforms to Google Analytics.
Create a Negative Keyword List
Have you considered negative keywords? These are words that frequently come up in your search results, but have little or nothing to do with your product or service. This could refer to people looking for jobs in your industry or reselling products like yours. All PPC ad programs allow you to list keywords that you do not want to be included in your PPC campaign.
Now that you have your campaign set up, you need to maintain it with certain actions daily, weekly, and monthly. Below are paid search checklists for each time period to keep you on track.
Daily PPC Checklist
Check your KPIs
That's your key performance indicators. Are your PPC campaigns performing as you had hoped they would? Are you seeing any opportunities that you may not have initially considered? Are some indicators lagging behind where you expected them to be? How are your goals trending?
Add Any Negative Keywords You May Find
If you're seeing your ads getting clicks for keywords that don't apply to your product or service, make sure to add those keywords to your negative keyword list.
Pause Any Underperforming Keywords
You don't have to (and shouldn't) remove underperforming keywords if they are relevant to your product or service. Simply pause them and test them later. You might also want to check Google Trends. These keywords could be affected by seasonality.
Weekly Paid Search Checklist
Review Budget and Bids
Once your PPC campaign is up and running, you'll want to keep an eye on your progress to make sure that you're staying within your budget. You'll also want to make sure that you're using the correct keywords, words, and phrases that will perform well for you. Most campaigns require little adjustments along the way.
Optimize Bids and Opportunities
If you see a keyword or phrase that's performing much better than others, especially if there is user engagement around that keyword, you might want to consider moving some of your budget and bids over to those keywords. Engagement can be anything from users leaving comments or asking questions on your website to making a purchase.
Check Display Placements
Pay a little attention to where your ads are appearing on display networks. Do these sites reflect your audience and where they would likely be browsing? If they don't, then you'll need to change it.
Run a Query Report
See what keywords your users are typing in to arrive at your site. Are you using all of the top results in your PPC campaigns? If not, make sure to add them to your keyword list.
Monthly PPC Checklist
Check PPC Campaign Settings
It's a good idea to check all of your settings at least once a month to make sure everything is working towards your goal. These settings include your keywords, your targeting settings, and your landing pages.
You'll also want to check your site links monthly. You don't want users clicking on a dead link. You'll also want to check site link headlines, descriptions, and destinations and make any necessary changes.
Review Landing Pages and Optimize
Is your landing page still current and fresh? Does it include the messaging you want? Is the call to action current? It's a good idea to have a couple of your good customers look at your landing pages and tell you what they like and don't like.
Conduct Competitor Research
Have you looked at what your competitors are doing? What do their landing sites look like? What are they doing that you can improve on?
Analyze Keyword Trends
Take a look at Google Trends monthly and analyze your opportunities. There could be seasonal keywords or keywords that are related to something in the news.
Check Keyword Lists
Give your keyword lists a once-over monthly. Make sure that your keywords are still working towards your goals. Pause any that aren't working and add any irrelevant keywords to your negative keyword list.
Check Remarketing Campaigns
If you are running remarketing campaigns, check in on them monthly to see if you need fresh copy or design. Also, make sure that you're getting placements on relevant websites and that your ads are reaching the right audience.
Analyze Channel Performance
Are all of your PPC channels doing what they are supposed to do? Are they getting results? It's a good idea to look at other channel opportunities periodically to make sure you aren't missing any good opportunities.
Review Your Quality Scores
Quality score is a Google Analytic that measures the perceived quality and relevance of your ads. Are your scores going up or down? Do you know why they are moving? Analyze your keyword and ad performance and make any necessary changes.
A good paid search marketing campaign is not something that you set up once and forget about. A good campaign requires daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance. However, while these lists may seem long, the activities on each list won't take up a lot of your time and will more than pay for your time with increased conversions and sales.