Category Archives: cost per click

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Is this the ‘right’ move from Google?

The PPC community has been out in full force in recent days after Google stopped serving paid text ads on the right hand side of its results page.

Product listing ads (PLAs) still appear and a fourth ad has been included at the top of the page for premium phrases, pushing the organic rankings further down the page and giving the SEO community plenty to think about in the process.

Why has Google made this change?

The most likely reason Google has made this decision is for economic gains – with CPCs forecasted to rise given that the top positions will become more desirable – and a push to make the desktop and mobile/tablet experience more seamless, which potentially coincides with the other big announcement that accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for HTML is now available.

What does this mean for webmasters and agencies?

The PPC landscape will likely become more competitive with a reduced amount of paid ads now showing in the prime real estate at the top of the page, and campaigns that have relied on the regular and cheaper traffic driven from positions 4-10 may start to see a drop off in click-through-rates, forcing a push into the more expensive premium positions.

For websites that rely more on organic traffic there is the concern that the fourth paid ad position may eat into their share, while only the top three local positions now show by default, down from five previously, which could have an impact on smaller businesses.

What to do

It may take a little time to notice any big changes, but In the short term you’ll need to keep a close eye on Google AdWords and analytics to assess the impacts and adjust bids of your top performing PPC keywords if conversion rates start to drop off. If increasing your bids to maintain the same conversion rate increases your cost-per-sale or cost-per-lead it might be time to weigh up putting more time, effort and money into obtaining a higher organic ranking.


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Google AdWords – money well spent?

The cost of adverting on Google has steadily increased over the past few years. So is it still worthwhile?
The answer all depends on how you set up and manage your campaigns.

An AdWords campaign has to be well organised and regularly maintained to be cost-effective. Your set-up checklist should include:

  • well researched keywords
  • carefully targeted AdGroups
  • keyword focused adverts
  • sensible keyword bids
  • compelling landing pages
  • a realistic budget

Many campaigns make the mistake of casting the net too wide – grabbing every available keyword and bidding for it – thinking that more is better. It’s a shortcut to a poorly focused campaign that uses up budget but delivers few results.

Campaigns need to use each AdGroup to focus on a service, product or group of keywords with compelling adverts designed to produce a high Click Through Rate and a good quality score.

Get this right and your keyword bids need not cost the earth and your budget should be manageable.

Once set up you need to know, ‘Is the campaign working?’ Click Through Rates may be good, keywords regularly in the top three positions and all within budget . . . but this is only part of the story.

To keep a strong campaign working effectively you also need feedback from the website. But I’ll look at this vital element in the next posting.

Also to come . . .
Maitaining your AdWords Campaign
When the target keywords are beyond your budget
Running AdWords on the Display Network


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Managing PPC Keywords

I had an email from a client this week. He was concerned that his Google advertising spend for the first quarter this year had almost halved compared to 2009. Was everything OK?

Yes, everything was OK . . . and still is. The number of clicks from the adverts was about the same as 2009, the Click Through Rate was better and the average Cost Per Click had dropped significantly.

The difference was all to do with ‘honing the keywords’. Making sure that every keyword was working in broad, phrase and exact terms, that negative keywords were kept up to date and bounce rates monitored.

He was no longer paying for irrellevent clicks, overpriced search terms or keywords with high bounce rates.

It’s the sort of work that requires marrying the PPC performance to the Analytics stats and making value judgements. It’s not rocket science but it does take some organisation, wading through hundreds (and hundreds) of keywords and checking performance levels against costs.

If there is an exciting side to Search Engine Marketing this isn’t it.
But get it right and you can cut Cost Per Click by up to 50%. In this case the Google spend for the quater was £1459 against £2684 the previous year. My client saved £1225 in one quarter on one AdWords Campaign, which is good for his business . . . and also good for mine.