Calling An AdWords Expert….

Filed in PPC Advertising by Matt McGee on June 10, 2007 5 Comments

Here’s the question: Should I let Google AdWords auto-optimize one of the PPC campaigns that I’ve setup for my wife’s real estate web site?

I got an email from AdWords a few weeks back offering to help optimize the “national” campaign (we have one for national traffic and one for local traffic). The email said, in part:

We noticed that at least one of your campaigns has the potential to receive even more targeted traffic, so we’ve looked at your keywords and designed a proposal to bring you an increase in clicks — without an increase in your budget.

Adwords optimizationWhen I logged in to see the changes, they’re recommending a list of what looks like a couple hundred new keywords, 95% set to broad match, that they think should be added to the campaign. (Interestingly, they’re suggesting bidding on the names of a couple other real estate agencies, too.)

Anyone ever get an email like this from AdWords, and are their recommendations generally helpful? My gut instinct is to NOT do this because they’re suggesting keywords like “buy tri-cities homes”, which — when set to broad match — I think would mean her ads might appear in any one of the other 5-6 areas in the country called “tri-cities.” Am I right in that?

Comments (5)

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  1. seowoman says:

    I wouldn’t do it. No way.

    First of all, the idea that you can add hundreds of keywords without increasing your budget is ridiculous. Unless no one clicks on your new keywords, your budget will increase. And if no one clicks on your keywords, what exactly is the point?

    Second, I strongly believe that broad matching is a very bad idea unless you have very deep pockets and a desire to throw money around just for branding. eBay can afford to show their ads for every random phrase under the sun, but I seriously doubt you can.

    Finally, why do you think you got this offer in the first place? It’s not out of the goodness of their big Googley hearts. They want to make more money off your campaigns.

    My advice would be to cull out the keywords you truly think are targeted and scrap the rest. Set the good ones to exact match and watch them like a hawk. Don’t settle for the standard 2% click-through rate. My Google campaigns average 10% right now, and I’m constantly working to improve that.

    p.s. If you’re interested, I did a three-part series of posts on PPC tips for small businesses.

  2. Matt,
    My experience with Google recommendations is that the ideas are better when the come from a live person rather than an automated set of suggestions.

    If you feel your campaign is totally optimized as far as content in ads and on the landing page than you could integrate some of the overall concepts they recommend and see what happens.

    But, as the above commenter suggests, I’d be cautious of adding a bunch of broad matched keywords. For highly searched on words, they’re a money trap.


  3. Richard Ball says:

    I’ve seen these “optimization” proposals numerous times. They have *never* been good. In fact, they’ve always had serious problems. Whenever I see one of these, I cherry pick a couple of phrases for further keyword research but decline their suggestions.

    BTW, you have to be particularly careful with broad matches and national campaigns where you’re really going for a local audience. This is because broad matches are actually expanded broad matches but they sometimes exhibit a “contracted” matching behavior. In these cases, you have to either use exact and phrase matches only, or else use embedded matches (combination of exact/phrase + negative). For example, let’s use your example as a broad match:

    buy tri-cities homes

    If that phrase has a sufficient Quality Score, that keyword could be “contracted” matched to keywords like:

    buy home
    buy homes

    If you have this in a national campaign, the results could be disastrous. I’ve seen this behavior and gotten a refund from Google. Here are your 2 options:

    [buy tri-cities homes]
    “buy tri-cities homes”


    buy tri-cities homes
    -[buy home]
    -[buy homes]


  4. Matt McGee says:

    Great comments, thank you all so much for speaking up. The message is clear that I should ignore the automated suggestions — I do like the idea of pulling out anything I’ve missed and will make sure to review Google’s suggestions for that.

    Thanks again – it’s great to know I have smart readers who can keep me straight on the PPC side of things. 🙂

    seowoman – I like that series you linked to, very good stuff. Thanks!

  5. seowoman says:

    Hey, I’m glad you liked it! Thanks so much for the link. 🙂

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