PPC Match Type Strategies

Apr. 27

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a deep dive into tactical campaign management strategies. As such, I wanted to focus on some low level tips today that will directly impact your campaigns. Specifically, I’m going to focus on Google AdWords match types and how you can leverage broad, phrase, and exact match to their fullest potential.

Tip 1: Always Start With Exact Match For Added Control

Dart Board

If you watched my recent PPC Ian video about launching new AdWords accounts, you already have a preview of my first tip today. It’s really simple: Always start with exact match, period. Exact match gives you the most control out of all match types. Exact match has the highest revenue per visitor out of all match types. Exact match is straight-forward and simple.

After starting out with exact match, you’ll have a great understanding of which keywords work and which don’t. In the cases where the keywords don’t work, you will have minimized your losses because you started with the most controlled match type. Now, it’s time to expand to phrase and later broad. As an ideal structure, I always like to see the largest number of keywords on exact, fewer on phrase, and even fewer on broad. Also, I’m a huge fan of separating the different match types into separate adgroups. Sure, this creates more adgroups, but you’ll see later that it offers even greater control for a niche strategy leveraging negative words.

While this tip may seem very basic, it’s amazing how rarely it is followed. Time and time again, I have experienced AdWords accounts over-weighted in broad match. Oftentimes, accounts are exclusively focused on broad match with very few exact match keywords. I can’t underscore it enough: The healthiest AdWords accounts are over-weighted on exact match.

Tip 2: Leverage Broad Match For Keyword Generation

I really like tip 2 because it ties into tip 1 very nicely. Once you have established your baseline of exact match keywords, it’s time to start experimenting with phrase and broad. I especially like deploying phrase and broad match variations of my top tier exact match keywords. Not only do they offer great volume expansion opportunities, but they also offer amazing keyword generation opportunities! You heard that right: I leverage phrase and broad match to generate more exact match keywords. The beauty of this tip is it keeps feeding back into tip 1 (over-weighting in exact match). As my phrase and broad match variations start generating some serious traffic, I’ll run a search query report. Those search queries that drove conversions (and are missing from my exact match keyword set) are immediately deployed as brand new exact match keywords. Why deploy them on exact? Simple: Exact match offers the greatest control in terms of traffic quality and also bidding.

Of course, it’s very important to not go overboard here. Search engine accounts need to remain manageable so it’s a judgment call whether to let phrase and broad match take care of a certain query or to deploy the query as a new exact match keyword in your account. If a query has driven a conversion, it’s important to deploy it in my opinion.

Another important point: 20 to 25 percent of Google queries are new. Because of this very fact, it’s important to have good phrase and broad match coverage. Moreover, it’s important to go far enough down the tail on phrase and broad match to help the algorithm match to all of these possible new queries. My point: Remember to keep things balanced and invest time building out phrase and broad match as well so you definitely capture those 20 to 25 percent of new, unique queries.

Tip 3: Leverage Negative Match Types To Improve Bidding Accuracy

I’d like to close out with my most advanced match type strategy. Remember under tip 1 when I said that I like to separate the different match types into different adgroups? That all comes to play with my final strategy of creating added bidding efficiencies with savvy match type execution. It’s really simple: Once I’ve separated the three match types into different adgroups, I like to leverage negative match types so the phrase and broad match versions get none of the exact match traffic and the broad match version gets none of the phrase match traffic.

Let me explain this through an example. Let’s say we deploy three keywords in three separate adgroups: [mortgage], "mortgage", and mortgage. Let’s say we have no negative words. Let’s even say that the exact match version is bid the highest, the phrase match in the middle, and the broad match the lowest. (Side note: This should usually be the strategy.) No matter what, the phrase and broad match variations will always get some amount of exact match traffic. Moreover, the broad version will get some amount of phrase match traffic. If the user types in the exact match [mortgage], it will sometimes get mapped to "mortgage" or mortgage. Why? Google likes to test.

We know that exact match offers the best quality traffic. Pay per click is all about optimization. Now, if some of that really high quality traffic is getting attributed to the other match types, we are probably over-valuing phrase and broad and under-valuing exact. What’s my solution? Easy: I’ll add [mortgage] as a negative keyword to both the phrase and broad adgroups. I’ll add "mortgage" as a negative to the broad adgroup. That way, my traffic is always perfectly segmented by match type and I’ll bid as effectively as possible. Another option: Place your exact, phrase, and broad keywords in separate campaigns. That way, you can also use campaign level negatives if you’re not fond of adgroup level negatives. Personally, I like to place negatives on the campaign level that are just plain bad keywords. I like to place negatives under this strategy on the adgroup level. These are two unique types of negative keyword strategies and it’s easier to keep them straight if I have them stored in different places.

Remember, good data is the foundation of a solid biding strategy. Leverage this structure and match type trick to your advantage and you’ll run circles around the competition!

Image of Dart Board © iStockPhoto – adventtr

Building My Internet Real Estate Empire

Apr. 20

PPC Ian has been very busy over the past few weeks! Not only have I been working harder than ever at my PPC career, but I have also been developing domain names in my spare time. The more domains I develop, the more my Google AdSense, Commission Junction, eBay Partner Network, and Amazon Associates earnings rise. In short, I’m on a roll and have concluded that my 2010 goal of developing six domain names sets the bar way too low! I’m proud to say that I’ve already exceeded my 2010 goal and am therefore raising my goal to 20 sites this year. Longer term, I’m looking to develop 100 sites and then 1,000. Today, I wanted to share my thoughts around domain names and especially the parallels between domains and real estate.

Domain Names Are Virtual Real Estate

Sold Sign

In my opinion, domain names are the virtual parallel to physical real estate, a simple yet extremely revolutionary concept. Just think about it: There are only so many great domain names out there. What’s a great domain name, you ask? Simple! Great domain names are keyword-rich. They are exact matches to highly searched phrases as judged by Google’s Keyword Tool Great domain names are typically on one of the major TLDs such as dot com, dot net, or dot org. Great domain names, like great real estate, get a huge amount of free traffic. Free traffic comes via type-ins or from the natural results on search engines. My personal conclusion: Keyword-rich domain names on the important TLDs are the virtual equivalent of real estate. We all know that wealthy individuals own a lot of real estate. Over the coming decades it’s my hypothesis that the next round of wealthy elite will be virtual real estate investors (and I’m personally investing in this hypothesis).

How do you select the best names? Find high search volume phrases (exact match) via Google’s Keyword Tool, preferably in verticals where the CPCs are competitive. Then, hand register the domains if possible or acquire them on the aftermarket from a site such as Sedo. I actually bought the domain IJL.net from Sedo a few months back. You may wish to check out my post about buying domain names on Sedo.

Domain Names Carry Property Taxes

Another very interesting parallel to real estate: Domain names carry property taxes. With physical real estate, you pay property tax to the county. With domain names, you pay property tax to the registrar (such as GoDaddy or Moniker). A portion of your registrar fee goes to ICANN, the Internet’s governing body. Forget to pay your property tax and you could lose your virtual real estate!

Real Estate Investments Yield Positive Cash Flow

Those of you who have known me for a while know that I’m a huge fan of Robert Kiyosaki. I have read most of his books with my favorite being Retire Young, Retire Rich. Robert Kiyosaki eloquently points out that real estate can either be a liability or an asset depending on cash flow. Basically, real estate that takes money out of your pocket (revenue is less than expenses) is a liability and real estate the puts money in your pocket (revenue is greater than expenses) is an asset. I apply this very concept to domaining. I don’t want to own domain names that are earning less than their registration fees. I only want to own domain names that are assets. My friend Jason from DNPimping.com recently highlighted this very concept in his article about registering too many domain names. The point: Your domain investments should yield positive cash flow.

Why Not Lock Up As Much Real Estate As Possible?

Synthesizing all of this, I have personally concluded that it makes sense to lock up as many domain names as possible. As long as I can develop them (or work with others to outsource the work) and at least break even, it’s worth buying more and more domains. At the end of the day, I want to own an absolute empire of Internet real estate.

So far, I’ve been mainly focused on cash flow from type-ins and SEO. That’s for good reason: I’m all about cash flow as a measurement of investment value. However, we haven’t even talked about equity value and other added benefits. The beauty of all of this: Domain names are an investment vehicle that has proven to also exhibit rapidly increasing equity value. This was never more apparent than seeing domains sell for huge prices at the TRAFFIC conference. Another benefit: I can always build out my domains into full websites, drive pay per click traffic, and make a fortune in the future!

Outsourcing Is Everything

So you may be wondering, how does this corporate PPC guru have time for all of this? That’s an excellent question! I actually don’t. Between excelling in my pay per click career, working out, spending time with my wife, updating PPC Ian, and living life, there’s very little time left. However, that’s why outsourcing exists! Thankfully, I have built some amazing relationships with writers, web developers, and domain development experts. My strategy: I’ll work closely with others to build out my domain names while adding my own finishing touches on top, of course. Here’s to accumulating my Internet real estate empire!

Image of Sold Sign © iStockPhoto – GJS

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