The keys to success: top tips on selecting a PPC specialist

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

The needs of every business vary greatly when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Collaboration can be a key to success

However, many have found success by working with a pay-per-click (PPC) specialist. If you are considering this option, there are certain areas that need to be addressed before signing a contract.

Assess your needs

The first piece of advice would be that not every SEO agency or PPC specialist offers the same services. Make your selection based on the specific needs of your company.

Your Google Quality Score affects your search engine ranking almost as much as your bid amount. Whenever someone conducts a search on Google, a small auction takes place instantly that calculates which ads are going to appear with their results.

The calculations that go into the auction include your bid amount, what keywords you are using, how well your website is optimized, and how many people are viewing your advertisements when they appear.

If a PPC specialist can’t explain to you exactly how these factors interact to select the top-ranking ads, then they are not qualified to help you with your advertising needs.

Google algorithms control search rankings. The formulas Google uses are constantly changing as they learn more about what kinds of things searchers are looking for.

Every time Google rolls out another update, everyone who works in SEO must reevaluate the practices they are using. It’s a constantly evolving field that requires a lot of continuing education.

Communication is key

One of the most exciting things about SEO is that it’s not a perfect science. There are many different ways to approach optimization.

Depending on how much access you have to your campaign metrics, you will need to receive periodic updates from your chosen agency to know how your ads are faring.

Proper communication is paramount in accomplishing the goals of your business, don’t work with someone who is unable to give you regular updates.

Remember that changes made for SEO take a long time to go into effect. The full effect will not take place until around the ninety-day mark. You should wait until that point to see how your rankings improve over time unless you have seen a severe drop since the change.

One size doesn't fit all

There is no one size fits all strategy for SEO. You should discuss your goals in depth with anyone you are considering having help you with your advertising placements. If they are good at what they do they will be able to break down a clear strategy for you that makes sense.

Before you make any major changes, you should be sure to make a full record of all of your existing content.

If the change don’t have the intended result, then you can put this content back where it was, as needed. Once a change has been made, you will have to decide what parts of the decision are working and what needs to go back. By evaluating your campaigns in this way, you take smaller risks and can still gain a lot from changes.

No matter how badly your efforts failed, you will always have gained insight into what to do differently in the future. Be sure you keep track of what changes you have tried so that you can continue to improve.

Practice makes perfect

Starting an advertising campaign isn’t enough, if you want to be successful you have to monitor it carefully. One important way of doing this is by creating ad test parameters like 1,000 or 2,000 impressions to see what the winners are.

There are many different ways to analyse an ad test but one of the best is by monitoring your impression until conversion rate. This is a blend of your CTR and conversion rate.

The lower the number, the fewer times an ad has to be shown to generate a lead. This method incorporates the quality score as well as cost efficiency when considering the impact of your advertisements.

Typically, a PPC specialist will recommend that you have fewer than twenty keywords in each of your ad groups.

Although preferences vary, your primary concern is to keep your keywords relevant. Note that Google automatically includes common misspellings and variations of your keywords.

You can take advantage of negative keywords if you need additional control. These are words that are included to exclude certain search results.

For example, if you sell sporting equipment, but don’t sell any equipment meant for indoor use, you could use “indoor sporting equipment” as a negative keyword.

Although there are a lot of helpful programs out there, nothing beats the simplicity and accuracy of the Google keyword tool.

Jason Hall, founder, Five Channels

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