The Value of Keyword Segmentation & Expansion

A Look into the Overreliance on Broad Match

So you’ve started your Paid Search campaigns, and you are seeing acceptable performance results. You have diligently created your campaigns and ad groups with both general and specific keywords and are driving consumers to targeted pages within your website. What is the next step in improving your campaign?

Broad keyword matching is an effective means of traffic generation, but it is not the most effective at generating qualified traffic at profitable levels. When utilizing broad match you are effectively relinquishing control of your campaign to the search engine, while degrading the overall efficiency of your campaign. First, broad match allows the search engine to both determine what search queries to serve your ads on and what your click cost will be. Second, your keywords quality score is determined by the relevancy of your keyword to the SERPs and the CTR your term is achieving. Third, your bid is determined by the broad match term, which is likely matching to both highly qualified and unqualified keywords. Reliance on broad match allows the unqualified traffic to continue and prevents your ability to bid more aggressively on qualified terms. Wouldn’t you prefer to take that control back from the search engine?

By taking advantage of the wealth of information that your analytics reporting and the search engines offer, you have everything you need to regain control over your account. Both Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcenter offer reports and tools that will assist you in taking back control of your PPC campaigns. Formerly referred to as the “Search Query Report,” this information shows the advertiser the keyword phrases entering in the search engine on which your ads are being served. Recently, this optimization approach was applied to a client’s existing Paid Search account. For our purposes, let’s call them Acme Solutions. Acme had an established account ($500K/yr. spend) which initially existed as roughly 4,000 keywords, with the campaign being primarily reliant on broad match terms for traffic generation. Through extensive keyword expansion (see example below), the results effectively removed the need for use of broad match by incorporating those SERPs as keywords within the account. Although keyword expansion is a never ending process, the account currently stands at 80,000 keywords, and not a single broad match term. The results speak for themselves:

  • Impression Volume: -9%
  • Click Volume: +46%
  • CTR: +61%
  • Avg. CPC: -17%
  • Avg. Position: -12% (3.3 to 2.9)
  • Impression Share: +5%
  • Lost IS (Rank): -18%
  • Lost IS (Budget): -91%
  • Invalid Click Rate: -15%
  • CPT: -25%

These results were achieved based upon one primary premise: Broad match is the enemy. Profitability in Paid Search does not permit laziness, and laziness is exactly what broad match permits. Utilize the tools the engines give you, and take your campaign back from the search engine!  

Example image of how keyword segmentation looks

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