Posted by James Lee on 3rd May 2010

Google Analytics & Your PPC Account Keywords

Google Analytics offers so much data that it can be downright overwhelming. You can get the scoop on what keyword generated what visit, how long each visitor stayed, how many pages he visited, whether he came in by paid or organic search, and even his geographical whereabouts. Whew.

The good news is that the data — if broken down into digestible amounts — is valuable and can really help you improve your PPC management. It’s just a matter of finding a good place to start. We here at ClickSweeper start by looking for specific, keyword-level problems.

How do you identify a problem keyword? In AdWords, we only have clicks and conversions to go by. While this data is useful, it also falls short, especially since there will always be a significant number of keywords in your account — including long tail keywords — that have generated few or no clicks and conversions, yet have a chance of becoming profitable, low-cost keywords in the long run.

That’s where bounce rate and time on site come in. Google Analytics can offer you those statistics on each keyword (both paid and unpaid)  in your account. Just go to traffic, click keywords, and select paid only. A visitor who ‘bounces’ (leaves without clicking on any links or visiting other pages on your site) clearly didn’t find what he was looking for. If a keyword has a high bounce rate, paired with a short time on site (under 30 seconds), that keyword may not be extremely relevant or profitable.

So you’ve identified some problem keywords. Now what? It’s time to do some detecting work. There are several reasons why your keyword could be performing badly. First, start by checking the conversion data on that keyword. If its average cost per conversion for the past few months has been decent, you have the option of disregarding a high bounce rate. But ideally, you’ll still take the following steps on your delinquent keywords:

1) Research your keyword on Google. If the first few results are not what you are advertising for, it may not be a good keyword or may need negatives. (For example, if you run a taxidermy business stuffing turkeys, the keyword ‘turkey stuffing’ will turn up recipes, not taxidermy services.) You can also take advantage of Google’s search suggestions when typing in your query to see what people are actually looking for. You might be surprised how far off your keyword is!

2. Add negatives. If your keyword seems salvageable, you can add the irrelevant searches Google suggested as negatives to weed out bad clicks. The search query tool on AdWords is also useful for coming up with negatives. If you look through the actual queries people typed in before clicking on your ad, you may well find plenty that you never intended to advertise for. Prevent them, and you’ll save yourself the cost of irrelevant clicks and higher bounce rates.

3. Check your landing page. Visitors may be bouncing because your landing page is irrelevant, unattractive, or hard to navigate. Take a few minutes to check your landing page. And remember, you can set specific landing pages for keywords by selecting the keywords tab and clicking ‘edit in spreadsheet.’  There you can directly enter different URLs for keywords in the same adgroup to further target your landing pages. 

Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment with your best tip for using Google Analytics along with PPC management software.

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