Keyword Bidding Strategies: When to Raise Your Cost-Per-Click Bids
Keyword selection is one of the most important steps when building an AdWords campaign. Once the best keywords have been selected and the account has been enabled for a bit, Google begins to give feedback on selected keywords.
After you have built up an account history and become a player in your market, your competitors will take notice and bidding wars will begin for mutually selected keywords. This will result in cost-per-clicks rising for more effective keywords as competitors will fight over the finite set of converting keywords.
Google helps educate users in two key ways:
- Under the “Details” tab lies the “Auctions Insights” option. Clicking here will provide a general report on who your biggest competitors are for the mutual keywords selected, as well as what each account’s Impression Shares are, or the percentage of total possible times that accounts’ ads are showing up. Other useful columns are featured, but two that will lead us into our next point are the “Position Above Rate” and “Top of Page Rate”. The former refers to the percentage of auctions a competitor’s ad appears above yours, while the latter refers to the percentage of auctions that you and your competitors show up in one of the top three positions.
- Under the “Keywords” tab, you can modify your reporting columns to include three columns: First Page bid, Top-of-Page bid and First Position bid. Keep in mind that these are all estimates, but they provide useful competitive analysis. Again, explicit information isn’t provided however these two tools combined give you strong insights into which keywords are vital to a campaign and who it is that is driving up keyword prices.
Now, I buried the lead, but this is important because anyone with a PPC account has checked-in and found poor performance. Upon investigation, they find that certain keywords are highlighted with the “Below First Page Bid” warning. Google won’t refuse your money by any means, but this is not a ploy. This means that competitors with higher bids and/or quality scores have pushed you off of the first page of paid listings. The instinctive response is to raise the max CPC bid to the recommended amount. However, after adding the columns listed above, you will quickly realize that this is a base or minimum amount that will only get ads listed on an indeterminate position on the first page. That is where the Top-of-Page bid comes in handy.
This is the “sweet spot” in PPC ad ranks. This means that the ad related to that keyword will show between the ever-important one-to-three positions. These lie above the organic results, as opposed to the four-through-ten positions, which are not as visible and may fall below the fold. These bids, in comparison to the First Page bids, can be a significantly higher amount. They will show a user how near-or-far they are to actually showing up as a top three ad. This also explains why ads aren’t getting impressions, or they are getting impression but aren’t visible or getting clicked on.
The max CPC keyword bids, while raised and above a first-page bid, are still being either outbid on some auctions and falling off the first page (remember, the average ad rank is an aggregate of ad positions), or they are falling below the fold and not immediately visible to users.
The exception to this method involves Branded campaigns. As a counter-measure to Competitor campaigns, Branded campaigns or ad groups utilize the users’ own brand name as keywords. Using branded keywords should typically net very high Quality Scores and relieve the need to raise keyword bids drastically as you will typically win the auction as long as your budget allows it.
These are just some of the advanced pay per click management services and techniques that the PPC managers at 1SEO Digital Agency employ. Our goal is to help you achieve your pay-per-click and business goals utilizing our industry experience.