Turning Your Paid Search Campaigns into a Slam Dunk

As a die-hard Cleveland fan, watching the Miami Heat fall apart is just as fulfilling as watching the Cleveland Cavaliers win.

Watching Boston steal game 5 right out of the hands of Miami’s “Big 3,” I noticed several similarities between sports and paid search.  Both are very competitive, and I think we can take a few tips from the world of sports. Though nerdy SEM sport fanatics are a niche market, I know there are plenty of us out there.

1. You Need Strong Bench Players

In basketball, sometimes your all-stars have bad games, and if the supporting players don’t pick up the slack, pulling off a win is going to be extremely difficult.  Similarly, in paid search, sometimes a core group of keywords needs a little help.

If you are relying on a small group of keywords for the majority of your leads, what happens when these keywords under-perform?  Building or recognizing other sets of contributing keywords is essential to boosting the performance of your accounts.  While these keywords may not be all-stars, the leads they contribute take a lot of pressure off relying too heavily on your top converters.

2. Don’t Forget the Game Plan

The Miami Heat are not falling apart alone; the Celtics are strategically picking them apart piece by piece.  Doc Rivers is the maestro of the Boston Celtics, and with a team of seasoned veterans, there is no need for over-coaching.  Time after time you hear Doc Rivers in the huddle yell “Stick to the game plan,” or scream “Run the plays we practiced!” from the sideline.  The same rules apply when running paid search campaigns.

Hopefully, when you created a new account or took over an existing account, you had a game plan in mind.  Creating and sticking to the plan can be difficult, but you created a strategy for a reason, and if your strategy is solid, it will help you get through the tough times. Sticking to the game plan does not mean shouldn’t make changes and adapt when necessary, but when changes are made to your strategies, make sure everyone on the team is aware so you can all run the same “plays.”


3. Don’t Underestimate the Competition

I believe that one of Miami’s biggest mistakes is underestimating the power and determination of the Boston Celtics.  Boston’s big three (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett) have 44 years of NBA experience at 13, 15 and 16 respectively!  While these three are all considered “old” in NBA standards, they have proven to the Miami Heat they are not finished.

The world of PPC is a constant competition.  Fighting for the top position, fighting to be above the fold, and sometimes fighting just to show up at all.  Even if a keyword has an average position of 1.x there is no promise that it will continue to stay there.  Your competitors will increase bids, improve keyword relevance and do whatever is necessary to steal your potential leads.  Keeping an eye on your competition can be very important to your own performance, and thanks to Auction Insights from Google, that has become a little easier.

While a game of basketball only lasts for 48 minutes, the world of paid search is in never-ending overtime.  Your competition is keeping you on your toes, and there is always pressure to perform at your best.  But remember that this is a team sport, and with the right people, strategy and tools, nothing can stand in your way.

Go Boston!


Photo courtesy of  shankbone via Flickr.


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