B2B companies are realizing that conventional marketing methods are not as effective or cost-efficient as they once thought. Business directories are overcrowded and not producing the desired outcomes, while social media platforms aren’t delivering the desired results in B2B marketing. The B2B sales process is complicated and prolonged, and buyers in this space respond much differently than those in B2C market. Therefore, it is vital for B2B firms to explore various marketing channels to effectively connect and engage with their target audience at the forefront to drive a profitable marketing machine.
One of the top channels that has proven highly effective in the B2B space is Google Paid Search advertising:
Google Paid Advertising:
Google Ads can be an effective way for B2B companies to appear at the top of search results and reach potential customers looking for solutions in real time. However, B2B PPC campaigns require more in-depth research into the specific phrases and keywords that their target audience & competitors are using for effective and efficient results. Therefore, it’s important to emphasize the significance of keywords– selection, management, and optimization, in B2B PPC campaigns as this is the main driver to the end results in these types of campaigns. The keyword management practices I provide below are the core practices that should be conducted on a regular basis on any account for efficiency and optimal results.
Here are some tips to help you improve the performance of your search keywords:
1. Consistency in Review of the Performance of Keywords:
As an advertiser, it’s important to regularly review the performance of your search keywords and make changes to improve their effectiveness. This is not a ‘one and done’ situation, but an ongoing practice that needs to be a habitual part of growing into a mature account that operates as a successful marketing machine. Conduct regular reviews of your keyword performance and pause any keywords that aren’t performing well. It’s common to find keywords that have been active in your account for a long time but aren’t delivering good results compared to other keywords.
For example, you might have some keywords with high cost-per-acquisition (CPA) that are performing poorly, while other keywords have much lower CPAs. You should also look out for keywords that have spent a lot of money but haven’t generated any conversions.
By pausing underperforming keywords and shifting your budget to better-performing ones, you can optimize your campaigns and get better results overall.
2. Implement a Regular Schedule to Review Keywords:
Set up a regular schedule to review the performance of your keywords, both over short and long periods of time. By doing so, you can identify keywords that are consistently underperforming and adjust your campaigns.
When reviewing your keywords, don’t just compare underperforming keywords to each other. Instead, establish clear performance benchmarks to guide your decision-making.
One approach is to filter for keywords that have a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) that is four times higher than your account goal, even if they are converting. Another approach is to identify non-converting keywords that have spent three times more than your account’s CPA goal.
By applying these filters, you can identify keywords that are struggling to perform and make decisions about whether to pause them or allocate additional resources to optimize their performance.
3. Overbuilding Campaigns:
When conducting keyword research for your campaigns, it’s important to avoid overbuilding by including too many keywords. This can not only spread budget too thin, but the algorithm will not be able to hone in what keywords will deliver the most value in alignment with our set conversion goals. Additionally, search behavior can change over time, which means that keywords that once had strong search volume may become less popular.
Google categorizes keywords that fall below a certain search volume threshold as “Low Search Volume.” When reviewing your keyword status, pay attention to any keywords that have this designation and a “Below First Page Bid” status.
For these keywords, you may want to consider increasing your bids to see if they gain traction over time. However, for other keywords that have no volume after three months, it’s usually best to pause them to clean up your account. These keywords don’t provide any value if they aren’t generating impressions and can bulk up your account unnecessarily.
Here’s what Google says about Low Search Volume terms:
A status that’s given to a keyword with very little to no search history on Google.
Important: The keyword will be inactive until its search traffic increases, when the keyword can start triggering your ads to appear.
- Keywords marked as “Low search volume” are associated with very little search traffic on Google, an indication that they’re not very relevant to most customers’ searches.
- If the number of search queries for these keywords increases even a small amount, they’ll be reactivated and will start triggering your ads to show again. Our system check and updates this status regularly.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your keyword status and adjust as necessary. If you have a keyword that is categorized as “Low Search Volume” and has a “Below First Page Bid” status, consider increasing your bids to see if it gains traction over time.
However, for keywords that have no volume after three months, it’s typically best to pause them to keep your account clean. These keywords don’t add any value if they aren’t generating impressions and can make your account unnecessarily bulky. While there may be hope for these keywords in the future, it’s generally easiest to pause them for the time being.
4. Review the Competitive Landscape:
It’s important to not just monitor keyword pauses, but also to regularly review your campaign’s competitive landscape and how it’s affecting your strategy. For instance, if you’re promoting a product specification app and have determined that a CPA of $75 is profitable, but have noticed your CPA continually increasing over time, there may be areas of inefficiency in your account that need to be addressed. By taking a closer look at ongoing performance trends, you can identify opportunities for optimization and ensure that your campaigns continue to perform well.
5. Regular Keyword Research:
Regularly conducting keyword research is essential for maintaining the effectiveness of your search advertising campaigns. While keyword research is typically done when first building out campaigns, it’s important to recognize that search trends and user behavior constantly evolve over time. Therefore, it’s critical to continuously monitor and analyze your campaigns to identify new opportunities and optimize your targeting strategy. This ongoing research will help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your campaigns are reaching the right audience with the most relevant and effective keywords.
Make it a habit to check your go-to keyword research tools every few months to see if there are any changes to the terms you’re targeting and to explore new opportunities for expansion. You can use your current keyword list as a starting point, use common sense, or wait for your next optimization cycle to gather new ideas. Setting a calendar reminder can help ensure that you don’t forget to conduct this important task.
6. On-Going Search Terms Report Review:
Regularly reviewing your search term reports is important to identify new keywords to add to your campaigns or negative keywords to exclude. This is especially crucial with changes in match types. For successful keywords, add them directly to your existing ad groups or use them as seeds for new keyword research. For underperforming keywords, exclude them using negative keywords or negative keyword lists. It’s important to understand how negative keywords work compared to regular keywords. When starting a new campaign, it’s recommended to review search term reports more frequently.
It’s important to keep track of the performance of your keywords in Google Ads as they can fluctuate due to various factors. Even if a keyword didn’t perform well in the past, it’s worth revisiting it to see if any changes in trends or search behavior have occurred. Therefore, it’s recommended to review all paused keywords in your account every six months or so to assess their potential for reactivation. When reactivating keywords, add a label for easy filtering and monitoring. Although not all keywords will perform well, it’s worth giving some a second chance to see if they can become successful. This practice can help maintain the health of your keyword strategy in Google Ads.
By committing to a consistent schedule of diligent management of your Google Paid Search account and leaning into these best practices, you are going to position your business at the forefront of your customers in real time when they are looking for what you have to offer, while you grow your Google Ads account into a profitable marketing machine.