The spring is finally here and my wife and I are doing some spring cleaning around our home. It’s time to streamline our lives and get rid of stuff we don’t need. Similarly, it’s the perfect time to think about spring cleaning in the world of online marketing. Today, I’m excited to highlight a few brief tips around how you can remove clutter and stress from your daily routine. Keep your search engine accounts in perfect order and the simplicity will take your numbers (and sanity) to new heights!
Tip 0: Back Up Your Search Engine Accounts
The following spring cleaning tips will potentially transform your search engine accounts quite a bit. For that reason, please back up your accounts before making any of these changes. It’s important to always have a PPC rollback plan. Mistakes happen. It’s all about how quickly you can recover. Above and beyond having a rollback plan, I’m a huge advocate of regular backups because I worry about the worst case: What if something major happens to your account(s) completely out of your control and you need to reproduce them immediately? Have great backups and you’ll be the hero of your organization! My tips for successfully backing up your search engine accounts:
- Leverage AdWords Editor for Google
- Leverage bulksheets for Yahoo (and remember to include all components)
- Leverage your search engine reps for adCenter (or their editor if you’ve got it)
- Store all of your backups somewhere very secure that’s being backed up routinely by your IT department
Tip 1: Remove 0 Impressions Keywords
About a month ago, I shared a few simple tips to easily grow your PPC campaigns. For those of you that know me, tip number one was no surprise at all: Consistently deploy keywords. Looking back at day one of my online marketing career, I was advised to consistently deploy keywords and that keywords are the primary driver of growth. To this day, the keyword deployment strategy holds very true, especially on Yahoo and Bing. However, here’s the downside with consistent keyword deployment: Your search marketing accounts can get massive, cluttered, and even unmanageable.
I’m going to flip things around for my first PPC spring cleaning tip: Filter through your keywords and delete those keywords which have driven 0 impressions in the last month. If a keyword has driven 0 impressions after a month (and bids are at reasonable levels), it’s ok to remove that keyword permanently from your account. There are very few cases I actually advocate deleting keywords, and this is one of the rare ones. Of course, you’ll want to review any keywords on your list that have high search volume. There will be exceptions and you’ll want to break those out into new adgroups and optimize until they work. However, the vast majority of the keywords caught by this filter will be superb candidates for deletion.
Another important tip: Keep a log file of the deleted keywords so you don’t generate and deploy them again by accident.
Tip 2: Clean Up Old Ad Copy Tests
After campaigns pass through enough hands and survive enough years, the mess of abandoned ad copy tests can be astounding! We all have those adgroups that have five or more ads in them set to rotate evenly, but have one or two ads that are the clear winners in terms of click through rate and conversion rate. Now is the perfect time to go through all of your old adgroups and pause all ads except the best ones. Some things to think about in your ad copy test cleanup:
- It will be a manual task that involves judgment but is well worth the time investment
- After you’re done, shoot to have just one or two ads in each adgroup
- The ads to keep are the ones with both the highest click through rate AND the highest conversion rate
- Once you’re done pausing the loser ads, make sure to turn ad rotation to optimize (unless, of course, you plan on running some new tests right away)
Tip 3: Face Reality on Failed Tests
Many of the campaigns I have launched have turned out to be complete failures. I embrace failure because I know it’s part of my journey towards success. Moreover, failure means I’m getting out there and testing creative PPC ideas. However, I also must admit that I sometimes let a test run a bit too long with the hope that it will build up history and turn around. In your spring cleaning, it’s time to face reality!
Go through your tests as objectively as possible and pause the losers. Each campaign you pause frees up resources to try the next big thing. Even consider pausing entire search engines. We all have certain second tier search engines that work and those that fail. Sometimes we let the failing second tiers run too long because the reps are extremely convincing and we believe it will turn around. In my experience, second tiers that don’t produce quickly are simply not worth your time if you’re managing a multi-million dollar pay per click business. It’s time to face reality and pause the losers. The beauty of it all: Time to start thinking about the next round of ideas to test!
Tip 4: Spend Some Time Organizing Your Desktop
I could go on and on about PPC campaign spring cleaning, but I feel the above tips are the perfect start. Complete these tips across all major search engines and you’re on your way! However, this list just wouldn’t be complete without drawing focus to your computer desktop, your files, and your physical desktop. In the world of corporate PPC, we’re rushing around from one thing to the next. We’re like Wall Street traders, except our market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, I can’t underscore it enough: You need to take time for yourself. One great way to improve your overall leverage, productivity, and sanity is spending a few hours doing the following:
- Clean up your computer desktop
- Clean up your physical desktop
- Clean up your email inbox and file important emails accordingly
- Take time to reflect on your accomplishments and record them in your company’s task manager (this comes in super handy when performance reviews come around)
- Back up all important files and emails on your company’s file system
- Actually take some time to dust and clean around your desk
- Maybe bring in a plant or photo or two for your desk
There you have it: My top spring cleaning tips for online marketing professionals. Now, it’s time for me to start executing upon these initiatives!
Image of Window Cleaning © iStockPhoto – matspersson0