Top 3 Ways To Reduce You Pay-Per-Click Costs

Many small businesses here in the Tampa Bay area have ventured into online advertising this year and many more will as part of their 2010 advertising plan. While it is likely a viable option no matter the size of your company, it is critical to consider your budget and how to build the plan.

Here we’ll focus exclusively on pay-per-click costs. You also need to do your due diligence on the other areas of your online marketing plan be it search engine optimization or web analytics. For simplicity, we’ll look into Google AdWords given its dominance in the PPC industry.

Here are three areas to consider when reducing your paid search costs:

  1. Quality Score:
    Your quality score is a number Google applies to each of your bidding keywords that has a direct relationship on your final cost of each click. While there are many factors associated with assigning your Quality Score, one of the most overlooked is the relevance between your ad text and the text of your landing page.

    Say you’re advertising your law firm’s Tampa environmental law services. You may choose to use the word ‘environmental law’ in your text ad, but if you do not have the term on your landing page (the page the user clicks through to) your quality score will likely suffer, driving up you cost-per-click (CPC).

  2. Match type:
    Are you bidding on terms using only “Broad” as the match type? If so you are going to match on the ones you want, but you’ll also match unwanted searches. Adding “Exact” and “Phrase” into the mix on the same terms allows you to dedicate higher bids on those critical terms and lower bids on the broad matches.This reduces your cost AND keeps you higher in position for your critical terms. As a plus, your Quality Score will be rewarded with higher click-through rates.
  3. Poor Performing keywords:
    Do you still have the initial keyword list in your campaign? If so you’re campaign is suffering if some of these terms are poor performers and never get an impression. Clean house every now and then by removing them and adding new ones via Google’s keyword tool.

There is much to optimizing you AdWords campaign than can be even outlined here. If you’d like more insight and suggestions, please feel free to contact our pay-per-click team in Tampa.

Tampa Search Marketing – Insights from the Bay Area

Search popularity is always an interesting topic as people get deeper into their Tampa-unique search marketing initiatives. However peeking into local search popularity is another matter since the volume is never high enough for terms related to Tampa. Nor can we peek at what those within Tampa are searching for. The most popular tools, like WordTracker and Google Keyword Tool, just don’t do that.

But another tool from Google allows to see what the searchers here in Tampa are doing, Google Insights. You can drill down with many different levers in the tool, but the regional filter is worth delving into.

Using the tool’s filter I ran reports looking back over the past thirty days targeting the Tampa Bay area and its search terms on Google. As we might expect many of the popular terms at the national level show up, like ‘Facebook’, ‘YouTube’, ‘news’, etc. But if you drill down into the categories you find some very unique Bay Area terms.

In the Financial category are many searches for Suncoast Federal Credit Union. Notice the absence of some of the other big banks in that list. Hats off to Suncoast.
In the Local category, we see a near breakout search for the recent Ribfest in St. Petersburg.

In the Real Estate category the county property appraiser’s offices (Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota) are quite popular.

In the Society category, it’s the universities that dominate, in particular the University of South Florida and the University of Florida.

So are you are preparing your strategy to aggressively attack the search marketing channel here in Tampa, are you going to this level of detail to not only do the due diligence on your industry’s terms, are you are looking for opportunities to align yourself with popular terms that are local in nature?

If not, Google Insights is a great starting point.

UPDATE 12/8/2009: The St Pete Times has an article this morning on the most Googled terms in Tampa Bay.  Here’s a direct link the raw data. It’s interesting to see Google’s view compared the my take above.