What is Involved in PPC Optimization?

Vinny La Barbera
Written by

Vinny La Barbera

Do you have an agency running your pay per click campaigns, but aren’t quite sure that they’re actually doing anything? Are you interested in knowing how to optimize a PPC campaign yourself? Whatever your situation may be, it’s important that you are educated on the topic to prevent wasting your marketing dollars.

In this article we are going to help to educate you on what is actually involved in PPC optimization so that you can make the best business decisions with your marketing budget.

PPC Optimization

What is PPC Optimization?

Assuming that you are already know what PPC (pay per click) is, we are going to stick to defining PPC optimization only.

View our post that answers the question, “What is PPC?“, if you need a better understanding first.

PPC optimization is the practice of…

Managing, testing, refining and ultimately, improving campaigns that exist within a pay per click marketing campaign.

Optimization can, and should, take place in all of the following levels and components of a paid ad campaign:

  • Campaigns
  • Ad Groups
  • Ads
  • Key Phrases
  • Landing Pages

Without ongoing optimization of these components it is very easy to spend, and in many cases waste, a lot of money running pay per click ads. Ad platforms, like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, make it very easy to get a PPC campaign setup and running. However, they also make it very easy to run up your ad spend unless you really know what you’re doing.

The last thing we want to do is scare you away from using paid search advertising as we are huge proponents of it. So, before you activate your own campaigns or pay someone else to, we want to equip you with the essentials of PPC optimization.

Pay Per Click Campaign Optimization

As we’ve stated, we want to encourage you to use, or continue using, PPC as part of your online marketing strategy. Your business and marketing objectives should dictate whether or not pay per click advertising is right for you. That said, we have come across very few businesses that have not benefited from a PPC campaign that was correctly setup and properly managed.

For you to get the most out of your PPC campaigns, we would like to share our list of PPC optimization steps and tips. Try implementing these yourself. Or, if you are working with an agency, then make sure they are doing so for you.

PPC Optimization Process


PPC Optimization Steps and Tips

To simplify the following steps and tips as much as possible we have ordered them by the account structure hierarchy (from least granular to most granular) of Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

Campaigns > Ad Groups > Ads > Key Phrases > Landing Pages

Campaigns are optimized through the settings options made available to advertisers. These options include, but are not limited to:

  • Network selection (search, display, search & display)
  • Device selection (desktops, laptops, mobile devices and tablets)
  • Location targeting (country, city, region, zip code and custom)
  • Bidding selection (focused on clicks or focused on conversions)
  • Budget setting (total per day)
  • Ad rotation selection (evenly over time or as quickly as possible)
  • Ad extension selection (site links and contact info)
 Setup separate campaigns for the search network and the display network instead of using both in one campaign for easier management and tracking.

Ad Groups themselves don’t have many optimization opportunities. However the ones that do exist include, but are not limited to:

  • Group naming
  • Group bid selection (maximum CPC or CPM)
  • Automation rule usage (change max bids, pause ad groups and enable ad groups)
The theme of the key phrases in each ad group should dictate the name of each ad group. Use clear, relevant ad group names for better organization and increased relevancy.

Ads provide both text and image options. Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, text and image ad optimization includes, but is not limited to:

  • Headline selection
  • Description copy
  • Display URL selection
  • Destination URL selection
  • Image type (mobile leaderboard, banner, leaderboard, square, small square, large rectangle, inline rectangle, skyscraper, wide skyscraper)
Construct your text ads and image ads with click through rate in mind by incorporating a strong call to action that is reinforced on your landing page.

Key Phrases make up the most essential pieces of an ad campaign. Again, depending on the type of campaign you’re running, key phrase optimization includes, but is not limited to:

  • Match type (broad, phrase, exact)
  • Maximum CPC (cost per click)
  • Maximum CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
  • Average Position
Use key phrases that will help you achieve your campaign objectives. If your campaign is meant to create conversions, then use more specific, action oriented phrases. If your campaign is meant to create as many brand impressions as possible, then use more general key phrases.

Landing Pages, although not directly part of a PPC campaign, play an integral role in average cost per click and conversion rate. To generate increased relevancy and optimal conversion rates, landing page optimization includes, but is not limited to:

  • Design selection (layout, colors, fonts and certifications or logos)
  • Copy usage (strong headlines, relevant text, helpful lists and trust building testimonials)
  • Usability adjustments (easy to use forms and functionality)
  • Call to action selection (CTA button(s) colors, sizing, text and placement)
For optimal conversion rates, keep your landing pages as simple and as relevant to the key phrases and ads that drove visitors to them in the first place. A clean, simple design with relevant, actionable copy will help to create more leads and sales.

Optimization is a Process, Not a Project

To really maximize your ad spend, and squeeze the best possible results out of it, you need to continuously optimize your campaigns. PPC optimization, as with search engine optimization, is not something you do once and then sit back and wait for results. When done right, the optimization process should look something like this:

Create > Test > Track > Adjust > Repeat

These steps, integrated with the optimization steps outlined above, take a considerable amount of time and effort each month. If you don’t have the time, patience or experience to properly perform these optimization steps, then we highly recommend that you turn to an agency for help.

If you’re already using an agency, then you should now go back to them and ask them how they are continuously optimizing your campaigns according to the steps outlined in this article.

Should you find that you would like to turn management of your campaigns over to an experienced team, then we’re here to help. The same offer stands if you just need someone to advise you on how to what the next best decision is for you and your business.

Are you ready to have a PPC expert setup, manage and/or optimize your campaigns?

Yes, Let’s Talk

Categories: Paid Search Marketing


    November 8, 2012

    Great blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    November 21, 2012

    Thank you

    This article is very informative

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