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Posted on February 14, 2009

Keyword Bids – Reduce Them!

Keyword Bids – Reduce Them!
Posted on February 14, 2009

Careful, Newly Minted SEM Pros!

The first thing any new aspiring PPC Expert invariably does when assigned to a manage a new PPC account is to increase bids.  It’s the easiest thing to do, but for any mature and well managed PPC account, it is almost without exception the worst solution.  The results can be immediate and painful!

When to Increase & When to Decrease Bids

If a PPC account is Disengaged, then by definition, it has not been properly managed.  The solution is generally to increase bids, and most often at the ad group level.  For all other Economic Modes, the arbitrary increasing of bids will almost always denigrate the economic performance of a pay per click account.   Maximize performance of a PPC account by bidding for high positions for star performers, and minimizing bids for all other keywords.

When in Doubt . . .

It’s easy to say just bid high on star keywords.  However, the reality for any account is that there exist a lot of keywords about which we lack sufficient evidence to justify either promoting or pausing them.  Additionally, since we as a matter of policy continuously improve every PPC account, then many of elements of an account, at any one time, are undergoing improvements, the combined impact of which has not yet been determined.  Such improvements might include the addition of new negative keywords, breaking keywords into multiple ad groups, writing new ads and development of new or revised landing pages.  If we’re going to give the improvements a chance to take effect, then we can’t pause the underperformers in the mean time.  Until we have gathered sufficient statistics to evaluate the impact of such improvements, then a certain element of doubt may exist about the future performance of related keywords or ad groups.  So, in such cases, when in doubt, leave keywords set at their default ad group bids.  Whatever you do, don’t ratchet up ad group level bids, without having a good reason for doing so.

Fix Keyword Losers

If a keyword is highly relevant and has converted, but not efficiently, then fix it.  One fix may be dropping the targeted range and bids for that keyword.  At a lower bid / position, you’ll get fewer clicks, but at a cheaper cost per click.  This may also apply to complete Ad Groups.  If you purposely drop an ad group or keyword bid to achieve a position lower than your previously targeted range, then we would expect that decision to be clearly documented in the change history, as well as the definitions section of the Road Map. Changing the targeted positions is a reportable event.  Accordingly, this sort of decision would be included in a special or monthly report, never simply implemented as part of daily maintenance.  

If you find that the keyword / ad group still doesn’t convert efficiently, even at the lower position, and you’ve taken every other possible step to fix it, then you may finally label it a loser for life in the Road Map, and give up on it (pause it).

PPC Reviewers Beware!

If you’re a PPC Expert assigned as the reviewer / supervisor for a new PPC Analyst, then it’s your responsibility to monitor the average CPC for the account.  Ask the new PPC Analyst to show you average CPC by week for the account, for the past 6 months, and investigate any increase!!  Especially in the current economic environment, a well-managed account should have more of a chance of having a declining CPC, than an increasing CPC.

Review the Road Map for warning signs — look at the change history and ensure that every bid increase is carefully justified and explained.  If you find a lame comment like this in the change history of one of your Road Maps, then beware:

“Momen 15 Feb – Increased 143 keyword bids to achieve targeted positions.”

If you are a new PPC Analyst, ask yourself daily, “Am I increasing more bids than I’m decreasing?”  If the answer is yes, then you please re-read this article!


For Pay per click, when should I increase bids?

For Pay per click, when should I decrease bids?

Which economic condition would generally require one to increase keyword or ad group level bids?

How can a reviewer of a PPC account quickly determine if a New SEM Pro is inflating bids?