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Don’t Let Google Control Where Your Traffic Goes

Marketing, social media, advertising

Andy Black

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Don’t Let Google Control Where Your Traffic Goes

We were running two similar campaigns, one for Cooker Repairs, and one for Oven Repairs.

Each campaign contained two adgroups, and each adgroup had only one keyword, and only one ad.

The only difference between the keywords within a campaign was the match type.

You can imagine it like this:

0yvRPEj.png


The ads were a very good match for the keywords we were bidding on.

Even the domain name was customised to the keyword.

After 200 impressions, we’d had 15 clicks for a CTR of 7.5%.

We were curious to see whether people searched for Cooker Repairs more than Oven Repairs.

And surprised to see that all 200 impressions went to the Cooker Repairs campaign, with none going to the Oven Repairs campaign!

However, when we brought up the Search Term report for the Cooker Repairs campaign, we saw that a lot of the impressions were caused by people searching for “oven repairs dublin”.

This seemed strange since we would have expected this traffic to have gone to the [oven repairs dublin] keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign.

Even though we were bidding in exact match on that search term, the traffic was heading towards a broad match keyword in a different adgroup in the account.

The ad that these searchers were seeing showed a headline of “Dublin Cooker Repairs”, which didn’t get a good CTR because they were looking for oven repairs.


Actions Taken

We added “oven repairs” as a negative keyword into the Cooker Repairs campaign to force the traffic to the right adgroup.

And also added “cooker repairs” as a negative keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign to be consistent.

Our campaign now looked like this:

WJTxkf5.png



The Results

Adding the negative keywords now meant that people looking for “oven repairs dublin” saw an ad for “Dublin Oven Repairs”, rather than “Dublin Cooker Repairs”.

Our CTR almost immediately doubled.

All the searchers that were previously being shown the wrong ad, suddenly got shown the ad that was a perfect match for what they were looking for.

The increased CTR had a knock-on effect of increasing our impression share slightly (meaning our ads showed more often when they were eligible to show), and Google rewarded us with a lower CPC.

It was only when we looked at the actual search terms people were typing in did we see the big difference between what we thought we were doing, and what was actually happening.


Conclusions

You already know this one… be aware that search terms are NOT the same as keywords.

Structure your account accordingly if you want to maximise your CTR and conversion rates.

A more important conclusion might be to not trust the AdWords algorithm to do what you think it will do.

If traffic has the option to go to different keywords within your account, then you are giving Google the option to arbitrarily decide where your traffic can go.

I’ve seen instances where dropping bid prices in an unprofitable adgroup has caused the traffic that was going to that adgroup to “pop” up somewhere else in the account, where there happens to be a broad match keyword that has a higher bid price.

Imagine if we’d paused the Cooker Repairs campaign because it didn’t seem to be running well. And then we suddenly get 200 impressions to the Oven Repairs campaign.

Would we conclude that there was a sudden breakdown of ovens in Dublin that had been uncannily fault free up until then?

What effect does this moving around of traffic in your account do to all your ad and landing page testing?

What if you dropped bids in one corner of your account, and the traffic got picked up by some other corner of your account. It’s like some weird water bed where you push down on bids in one location, for the traffic to pop up somewhere else that you’re not looking at.

Maybe bid adjustments somewhere else in your account cause ads you are optimising to suddenly perform badly, or their landing page to no longer convert as well?

…when in fact all that has happened is that your broad match keywords are suddenly matching a larger set of search terms than previously, and the new search terms they are matching are less relevant?

Unless you start analysing your account at the search term level and see how your traffic is moving between campaigns and adgroups, then you aren’t going to spot how this can affect all the test results and conclusions you have reached to date.

This is particularly insidious in that you don’t even know you’ve built your house on sand, and another reason why you shouldn’t mistake keywords for search terms.

Not if you want to make the most profit you can out of AdWords that is.


----------

Want to keep going down the rabbit hole?

Read the next post.
 
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Last edited by a moderator:

Andy Black

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Andy I've got to say, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the forum. I know myself and many others appreciate you sharing your knowledge of Adwords :)
Thank you Strive, and everyone else liking my help bombs and transferring rep. Much appreciated.

I am on a mission to demystify AdWords. Lots more to come...
 

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Mate, that's some quality insight!

I'm always mega-daunted whenever I open adwords, I've spent (thrown away) a few hundred bucks in recent months with crappy campaigns because I really didnt have much clue what I was doing...

While Facebook ads are working so well for me at the moment it's easy for me to put-off learning adwords properly, but I know I need to diversify how people are coming into my funnel. Your posts have given me faith that I CAN do it!

Cheers
 
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Andy Black

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Your posts have given me faith that I CAN do it!

... you make it seem so easy...

Awesome! That's exactly what I want you to get from this.

It's a crying shame that people are so intimidated by AdWords, and that there are so few decent "insights" out there amongst all the "how-to improve your quality score" noise.

As always, knowing WHAT to do and WHY is waaaay more important than knowing HOW to do anything.

Once you know what to do and why, you're free to come up with your own innovative methods how.

"Mindset > Skillset"

"Teach a man to fish..."



AdWords paid search is really quite simple:

Give people what they want.

You've gone through life knowing how to determine what people want, and how to give it to them. You just need to understand a few things about AdWords to be able to bring your life experience to bear. Most people never do this because they're either too intimidated by the overwhelming AdWords "cockpit", or because they can't visualise why the plane banked hard left when they twisted the dials just so.
 
Last edited:

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So basically what you are saying is to create 1 keyword per ad group - Make sure to its exact keyword every time.... that way you don't have to worry about negative keywords?

Thanks for your shares.
 
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Andy Black

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So basically what you are saying is to create 1 keyword per ad group - Make sure to its exact keyword every time.... that way you don't have to worry about negative keywords?

Thanks for your shares.
That's the ideal. But it doesn't always work like that, and the other match types can buy you more search terms to bid on.
 

Andy Black

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Last edited by a moderator:

MyronGainz

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Would you suggest doing negative keywords at the adgroup level or campaign level? Or does it depend on the nature of the business and what we are marketing?
 
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Andy Black

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Would you suggest doing negative keywords at the adgroup level or campaign level? Or does it depend on the nature of the business and what we are marketing?

I try not to use too many negatives. I'd rather "positively" get the traffic I want by bidding tighter.

I do have standard campaign negatives, especially for local lead gen. So if someone is a "family lawyer in bristol", I'd use campaign negatives of:
  • job
  • jobs
  • course
  • courses
  • certification
  • certifications
  • salary
  • salaries
I don't quite trust Google's negatives, so I put the plurals as well as the singulars in there.

I used to do negatives as phrase match, but I spoke to someone in Google and they said that broad match negatives are more restrictive than broad match positives (e.g. broad match "positive" keyword london matched the following search terms: "british army", "uk sexy girls", "you tube").

I still don't trust Google though, so ideally the campaigns end up getting most of their traffic from exact match keywords.
 

Grinder20

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Don’t Let Google Control Where Your Traffic Goes

We were running two similar campaigns, one for Cooker Repairs, and one for Oven Repairs.

Each campaign contained two adgroups, and each adgroup had only one keyword, and only one ad.

The only difference between the keywords within a campaign was the match type.

You can imagine it like this:

0yvRPEj.png


The ads were a very good match for the keywords we were bidding on.

Even the domain name was customised to the keyword.

After 200 impressions, we’d had 15 clicks for a CTR of 7.5%.

We were curious to see whether people searched for Cooker Repairs more than Oven Repairs.

And surprised to see that all 200 impressions went to the Cooker Repairs campaign, with none going to the Oven Repairs campaign!

However, when we brought up the Search Term report for the Cooker Repairs campaign, we saw that a lot of the impressions were caused by people searching for “oven repairs dublin”.

This seemed strange since we would have expected this traffic to have gone to the [oven repairs dublin] keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign.

Even though we were bidding in exact match on that search term, the traffic was heading towards a broad match keyword in a different adgroup in the account.

The ad that these searchers were seeing showed a headline of “Dublin Cooker Repairs”, which didn’t get a good CTR because they were looking for oven repairs.


Actions Taken

We added “oven repairs” as a negative keyword into the Cooker Repairs campaign to force the traffic to the right adgroup.

And also added “cooker repairs” as a negative keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign to be consistent.

Our campaign now looked like this:

WJTxkf5.png



The Results

Adding the negative keywords now meant that people looking for “oven repairs dublin” saw an ad for “Dublin Oven Repairs”, rather than “Dublin Cooker Repairs”.

Our CTR almost immediately doubled.

All the searchers that were previously being shown the wrong ad, suddenly got shown the ad that was a perfect match for what they were looking for.

The increased CTR had a knock-on effect of increasing our impression share slightly (meaning our ads showed more often when they were eligible to show), and Google rewarded us with a lower CPC.

It was only when we looked at the actual search terms people were typing in did we see the big difference between what we thought we were doing, and what was actually happening.


Conclusions

You already know this one… be aware that search terms are NOT the same as keywords.

Structure your account accordingly if you want to maximise your CTR and conversion rates.

A more important conclusion might be to not trust the AdWords algorithm to do what you think it will do.

If traffic has the option to go to different keywords within your account, then you are giving Google the option to arbitrarily decide where your traffic can go.

I’ve seen instances where dropping bid prices in an unprofitable adgroup has caused the traffic that was going to that adgroup to “pop” up somewhere else in the account, where there happens to be a broad match keyword that has a higher bid price.

Imagine if we’d paused the Cooker Repairs campaign because it didn’t seem to be running well. And then we suddenly get 200 impressions to the Oven Repairs campaign.

Would we conclude that there was a sudden breakdown of ovens in Dublin that had been uncannily fault free up until then?

What effect does this moving around of traffic in your account do to all your ad and landing page testing?

What if you dropped bids in one corner of your account, and the traffic got picked up by some other corner of your account. It’s like some weird water bed where you push down on bids in one location, for the traffic to pop up somewhere else that you’re not looking at.

Maybe bid adjustments somewhere else in your account cause ads you are optimising to suddenly perform badly, or their landing page to no longer convert as well?

…when in fact all that has happened is that your broad match keywords are suddenly matching a larger set of search terms than previously, and the new search terms they are matching are less relevant?

Unless you start analysing your account at the search term level and see how your traffic is moving between campaigns and adgroups, then you aren’t going to spot how this can affect all the test results and conclusions you have reached to date.

This is particularly insidious in that you don’t even know you’ve built your house on sand, and another reason why you shouldn’t mistake keywords for search terms.

Not if you want to make the most profit you can out of AdWords that is.


----------

Want to keep going down the rabbit hole?

Read the next post.
@Andy Black, so solid!!
 
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Andy Black

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sonny_1080

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Don’t Let Google Control Where Your Traffic Goes

We were running two similar campaigns, one for Cooker Repairs, and one for Oven Repairs.

Each campaign contained two adgroups, and each adgroup had only one keyword, and only one ad.

The only difference between the keywords within a campaign was the match type.

You can imagine it like this:

0yvRPEj.png


The ads were a very good match for the keywords we were bidding on.

Even the domain name was customised to the keyword.

After 200 impressions, we’d had 15 clicks for a CTR of 7.5%.

We were curious to see whether people searched for Cooker Repairs more than Oven Repairs.

And surprised to see that all 200 impressions went to the Cooker Repairs campaign, with none going to the Oven Repairs campaign!

However, when we brought up the Search Term report for the Cooker Repairs campaign, we saw that a lot of the impressions were caused by people searching for “oven repairs dublin”.

This seemed strange since we would have expected this traffic to have gone to the [oven repairs dublin] keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign.

Even though we were bidding in exact match on that search term, the traffic was heading towards a broad match keyword in a different adgroup in the account.

The ad that these searchers were seeing showed a headline of “Dublin Cooker Repairs”, which didn’t get a good CTR because they were looking for oven repairs.


Actions Taken

We added “oven repairs” as a negative keyword into the Cooker Repairs campaign to force the traffic to the right adgroup.

And also added “cooker repairs” as a negative keyword in the Oven Repairs campaign to be consistent.

Our campaign now looked like this:

WJTxkf5.png



The Results

Adding the negative keywords now meant that people looking for “oven repairs dublin” saw an ad for “Dublin Oven Repairs”, rather than “Dublin Cooker Repairs”.

Our CTR almost immediately doubled.

All the searchers that were previously being shown the wrong ad, suddenly got shown the ad that was a perfect match for what they were looking for.

The increased CTR had a knock-on effect of increasing our impression share slightly (meaning our ads showed more often when they were eligible to show), and Google rewarded us with a lower CPC.

It was only when we looked at the actual search terms people were typing in did we see the big difference between what we thought we were doing, and what was actually happening.


Conclusions

You already know this one… be aware that search terms are NOT the same as keywords.

Structure your account accordingly if you want to maximise your CTR and conversion rates.

A more important conclusion might be to not trust the AdWords algorithm to do what you think it will do.

If traffic has the option to go to different keywords within your account, then you are giving Google the option to arbitrarily decide where your traffic can go.

I’ve seen instances where dropping bid prices in an unprofitable adgroup has caused the traffic that was going to that adgroup to “pop” up somewhere else in the account, where there happens to be a broad match keyword that has a higher bid price.

Imagine if we’d paused the Cooker Repairs campaign because it didn’t seem to be running well. And then we suddenly get 200 impressions to the Oven Repairs campaign.

Would we conclude that there was a sudden breakdown of ovens in Dublin that had been uncannily fault free up until then?

What effect does this moving around of traffic in your account do to all your ad and landing page testing?

What if you dropped bids in one corner of your account, and the traffic got picked up by some other corner of your account. It’s like some weird water bed where you push down on bids in one location, for the traffic to pop up somewhere else that you’re not looking at.

Maybe bid adjustments somewhere else in your account cause ads you are optimising to suddenly perform badly, or their landing page to no longer convert as well?

…when in fact all that has happened is that your broad match keywords are suddenly matching a larger set of search terms than previously, and the new search terms they are matching are less relevant?

Unless you start analysing your account at the search term level and see how your traffic is moving between campaigns and adgroups, then you aren’t going to spot how this can affect all the test results and conclusions you have reached to date.

This is particularly insidious in that you don’t even know you’ve built your house on sand, and another reason why you shouldn’t mistake keywords for search terms.

Not if you want to make the most profit you can out of AdWords that is.


----------

Want to keep going down the rabbit hole?

Read the next post.
Is this an example of A/B testing?
 

Andy Black

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Is this an example of A/B testing?
No, I wasn't A/B testing in that example. I spotted Google was sometimes showing the wrong ad to the wrong person.

When people searched "cooker repairs dublin" they were sometimes seeing the "Dublin Oven Repairs" ad.

When someone searched "over repairs dublin" they were sometimes seeing the "Dublin Cooker Repairs" ad.

By controlling the traffic better I was able to get the right ad showing in front of each search.

The easiest way to get a good CTR with Google Ads is to be relevant. I spend my time constructing campaigns so that the right ad shows for the right search term. Other people don't control the traffic as well and spend all their time split-testing ad copy. Start by getting the right offer in front of the right people.
 
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No, I wasn't A/B testing in that example. I spotted Google was sometimes showing the wrong ad to the wrong person.

When people searched "cooker repairs dublin" they were sometimes seeing the "Dublin Oven Repairs" ad.

When someone searched "over repairs dublin" they were sometimes seeing the "Dublin Cooker Repairs" ad.

By controlling the traffic better I was able to get the right ad showing in front of each search.

The easiest way to get a good CTR with Google Ads is to be relevant. I spend my time constructing campaigns so that the right ad shows for the right search term. Other people don't control the traffic as well and spend all their time split-testing ad copy. Start by getting the right offer in front of the right people.
Oh I see! Thank you Andy!
 

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So is this against using the Smart Search campaigns?

I'm trying out both at the moment and I'm getting interesting results.

Smart CampaignSearch Campaign
Clicks213150
Impresssions6,1303,540
CPC0.951.75
Cost203263

My smart search has a lower CPC of 0.95 cents per click vs 1.75 per click for my manual search, however this seems very skewed by the fact that google is giving me much cheaper impressions for their smart campaign...

My click through rate is decently higher, about 1% for the manual search campaign.
 

Andy Black

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So is this against using the Smart Search campaigns?

I'm trying out both at the moment and I'm getting interesting results.

Smart CampaignSearch Campaign
Clicks213150
Impresssions6,1303,540
CPC0.951.75
Cost203263

My smart search has a lower CPC of 0.95 cents per click vs 1.75 per click for my manual search, however this seems very skewed by the fact that google is giving me much cheaper impressions for their smart campaign...

My click through rate is decently higher, about 1% for the manual search campaign.
What about sales? That’s the litmus test.
 
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Not if you want to make the most profit you can out of AdWords that is.


----------

Want to keep going down the rabbit hole?
Stop bidding on keywords, and bid on search terms instead.

This means that you bid in exact match (and set the campaign parameter to not allow close variants).

This will keep you out of trouble if you are getting started.

And is the start of optimising if you are already running.

If you can, create a separate ad group for each search term
Had to post this here... not sure why it wasn't working for other thread.

So if I am running ads for my landscaping company,

And I want to target more clients in specific cities,

Would I make an ad campaign for "Waterford landscaper" "Waterford Landscaping"

And then do a separate one for Burlington, Kenosha, Etc.?

In your example of Dublin Plumbing, you didn't have different ways of saying plumbing. Does this make it more specific for the search terms? AKA people who really want the service?
 

Andy Black

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So if I am running ads for my landscaping company,

And I want to target more clients in specific cities,

Would I make an ad campaign for "Waterford landscaper" "Waterford Landscaping"

And then do a separate one for Burlington, Kenosha, Etc.?

In your example of Dublin Plumbing, you didn't have different ways of saying plumbing. Does this make it more specific for the search terms? AKA people who really want the service?

1) Keyword match types are continuously getting fuzzier.

If you bid on "waterford landscaper" in phrase match then you'll likely show for "waterford landscaping" and "waterford landscapers".

Unfortunately you might also show when people search for your competitor brandnames. That's how fuzzy and sneaky Google are getting.

So make sure you keep an eye on your search terms.


2) For local service businesses, here's a lesson from my membership showing how we structure campaigns:

1681129825651.png
 
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1) Keyword match types are continuously getting fuzzier.

If you bid on "waterford landscaper" in phrase match then you'll likely show for "waterford landscaping" and "waterford landscapers".

Unfortunately you might also show when people search for your competitor brandnames. That's how fuzzy and sneaky Google are getting.

So make sure you keep an eye on your search terms.


2) For local service businesses, here's a lesson from my membership showing how we structure campaigns:

View attachment 48255
Interesting. I always thought it was your competitors being sneaky by bidding on your brand name. Sounds like Google is the sneaky one behind it - and happy to let you blame your competitors.
 

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Unfortunately you might also show when people search for your competitor brandnames. That's how fuzzy and sneaky Google are getting.

So make sure you keep an eye on your search terms.
Do I not want to pop-up if they search for someone else?

I appreciate you sharing that graphic with me, really helped me out here.

Also, I used your list combiner for terms and places. Should I put that someplace on my website for keywords?

Thanks again for the help Andy. I'll buy you a brewski next time I'm in the land of saints and scholars.
 

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Do I not want to pop-up if they search for someone else?

I appreciate you sharing that graphic with me, really helped me out here.

Also, I used your list combiner for terms and places. Should I put that someplace on my website for keywords?

Thanks again for the help Andy. I'll buy you a brewski next time I'm in the land of saints and scholars.
You may or may not want to show for competitor brand searches. We default to not doing so and have competitor brand names as negatives for our main campaigns. If we want to show for competitor brand searches then we'd create a specific campaign for them so way we can monitor and manage them separately.

We don't keyword stuff landing pages, but we do insert the location and service into the landing page via URL parameters.
 
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