There are specific actions you must take to maintain a healthy Adwords campaign.
1) Maintain a high CTR on all your ads by continual split testing.
When first starting a campaign, upload 2 to 4 ads into each ad group. If you are targeting the ‘head’ of the search volume that contains a lot of traffic, feel free to add up to 4 ads. If you are targeting the tail (less search volume), then add only 2 ads.
The reason is because you want to ensure you are split testing your ads most efficiently. If there’s not a lot of traffic, then it’s going to take you forever to split test 4 ads with a 95% confidence interval. You can use SplitTester.com to test for statistical validity.
I pay $20 bucks a month to get emailed reports from WinnerAlert.com which notifies me by email each time I have a winning ad. I delete the losing ad and upload another ad to try to beat my control.
A common question is “Should I optimize my ads for the highest click through rate, or the highest conversion rate?”
It depends on your market and overall Adwords strategy, however, I recommend optimizing your ads based on the highest CTR. It’s a trade off, but I found good ads should get the highest CTR AND the highest conversions. Also, you make it up by having a higher Quality Score.
Yes, Google is very smart in getting us to put our business goals aside and give them more money!
2) Delete keywords which have accrued more than 200 impressions and less than 2 clicks/month.
Run a Keyword Report with a Filter “Clicks Is Less Than 2″ AND “Impressions Is Greater Than 200″ AND “Average Position Is Less Than 10″.
Quickly delete all the keywords which do not meet your Cost/Conversion goal using Adwords Editor.
The reason I don’t recommend deleting keywords in position 11+ is because you might want to try bumping up the bid price before deleting them to get them into a position where they have a chance of getting clicked.
From my point of view: A) It’s better to improve your Quality Score by deleting keywords that are racking up impressions without getting clicked. B) Your time is better spent optimizing the 20% of the keywords that bring in 80% of the traffic.
3) Add more targeted keywords to continually expand your campaign (and profits).
This is obvious. Make sure you run the keywords through the Google Traffic Estimator and only add keywords with a Search volume of 1-5 (export the report into Excel and then filter by Search volume).
Although adding “long tail” keywords that get little search traffic is a viable strategy, it is better to wait until your campaign is fully matured before spending too much time on the long tail.
4) Lower the bid price of high cost/conversion keywords (or delete them entirely).