4 Tips for Optimizing Your Click-Through Rate

At the end of 2010, I decided I was going to make a big effort to improve the click-through rate (CTR) on the PPC accounts that I manage. My thinking was that this was a key metric that I could have the most control over. CTR has A LOT to do with how Google determines quality score. While they do not tell us the exact quality score formula, many PPC’ers agree that CTR is probably the most important factor. And we all know that high quality scores result in lower cost per clicks, which lead to lower cost per leads which can lead to you swimming in more money than Scrooge McDuck.

When we started focusing on click-through rate, 35% of our campaigns had a CTR above our goal. Now, after months of optimization, 81% of our campaigns are above our CTR goal.

Here are some things we did to optimize for click through rate.

1. Pause keywords with high amounts of impressions and not many clicks or change the match type. Many times we have keywords we think are important to our campaigns, but do not drive much in the way of traffic. If you have keywords that are getting a ton of searches, but are not leading to clicks, you need to make a change. Either the keywords are not as important as we thought or the ads are not resonating with the target audience. Changing the match type will make your keywords more targeted and lower the search volume.

2. Run regular search query reports. This keeps out search queries that could be causing some of your keywords to have a high amount of impressions or unwanted clicks. If you see irrelevant searches queries being trigger, add them as negative keywords to improve CTR.

3. Test out new ad copy. Evaluate your current ad copy and keep the best performing ad. Write a new ad and let it run against the old ad for a week or two. At the end of your time period, keep the winning ad and rotate in another one.

4. Take a look at the Search Partners Network. We noticed in some of our campaigns that Google’s Search Partners network contributed a number of impressions without clicks. In other cases the Search Partner CTR was almost half of what it was on just Google Search. If there are not conversions coming from the Search Partners, then pausing this is a no lose situation. Here is an example: in one campaign, our CTR was 0.88%. But, looking at it further, we noticed that our CTR on Google Search was actually 1.19% and 0% on the Search Partners.  This was dropping our overall campaign CTR under 1%.

What do you do to optimize for click-through rate. These are just some of our ideas. Feel free to share your ideas with us!

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