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The Keyword Cleanse

Lately, I’ve been subscribing to a new philosophy: less is more. I’ve gotten rid of excess and focused more on simplifying my life. While I’m sure this methodology has been around for years, it’s a completely new concept to me. For example, if something was on sale, I wouldn’t think twice about buying it, only to have it sit around my apartment or my closet with its tag still attached. Not only is it a waste of money, but it promotes clutter, which is something I absolutely cannot stand. Take it from me, if something has been sitting in your closet for over 6 months without being touched, let it go. (cue Courtney singing “Let It Go”)

It’s crazy how much this way of life applies to pay-per-click. Work with me: you have hundreds, maybe thousands of keywords in your account. How many times have you opened your account and thought to yourself, “Where do I begin?” Your stomach sinks, anxiety rises, and you do everything in your power to avoid the task at hand. The fact is, your account is overwhelming, and it needs a good makeover.

There are three types of money suckers in your account:

  1. Keywords with zero impressions
  2. Keywords with impressions but no clicks
  3. Keywords with clicks but no conversions

I’m not telling you to go into your account and delete every keyword that fits those molds. I am, however, telling you to stop ignoring keywords that have gathered dust and still have their price tags on them.

What you’ll learn when you sift through your long list of keywords is that only 5.9% of keywords generate conversions (statistic from TenScores: This means that 94.1% of the remaining keywords are just sitting there, hanging out, sipping a glass of wine, draining your account. HOW DARE THEY! Before your blood boils, there is an upside. These lingering keywords can lend themselves to great insight. Think of it has a lesson learned – now you know it’s not worth it to bid $20 on broad matched “plumbing”. Say bye-bye to terms that are sucking the life out of your account.

Start slow. When I’m performing a keyword audit, I use historical data from the last six months-one year. This way I have a pretty good idea of the way the keyword performs, and I’ve given it a chance to work for me. If it has impressions but no clicks, I say sayonara. If it has a quality score of 1 or 2, I let it see itself out. If it has 0 clicks and 0 impressions after that long, I pause it to focus on keywords that are more successful. The trickiest decision I have to make is what to do with keywords that have good quality scores, a decent amount of clicks, but have no conversions. There are a couple of options for these keywords: 1) play with different match types, 2) try variations of the keyword, 3) pause them altogether. After all, they might have dazzling click-thru-rates, but what good are those click-thru-rates if they’re not converting into sales? Make your keywords work for you.

Like anything that’s performing well, reward the keywords that are bringing in conversions. Bid more on them or isolate them into their own campaigns for maximum success. Seek out synonyms to harness the sweet spot in your account and watch conversion rates skyrocket. Eliminate fat, tone the muscle. And remember, less is likely more.