Cleaning up Low Click Through Rate Keywords

10 Mar, 2009  |  Written by  |  under AdWords

I have a client who manages their own AdWords campaigns, but I check in on them once a month and see if anything is obviously going wrong. This works well, because the client is in control and handles day-to-day changes without me charging them, but they also have a “safety net” in case problems come up.

This morning, I noticed they have a broad match keyword getting LOTS of impressions and NO clicks. This is dragging down their Ad Group’s quality and costing them more on the keywords they are getting clicks on.

So, why might this happen?  There are a few possibilities:

  1. Bad ad text. Maybe the ads in the group just don’t work for this keyword.  In this case, they’re a good match, so I don’t think that’s it.
  2. Strange unrelated topics that happen to match the keyword.  This comes up sometimes when broad match keywords happen to align with a new movie or some other crazy unrelated search term. I don’t see any of that for this one.
  3. Word order issues. I tried searching for the phrase in alternate orders, and don’t see anything crazy coming up there, either, so that’s not it.
  4. Synonyms. I think that’s the issue here. Broad match will automatically identify synonyms for your words and show your ads when words unrelated to yours show up.

One way to check this is with the AdWords External Keyword Tool. I fired it up and entered the funny keyword. The main results were as expected, with around 5,000 monthly searches. But under Additional keywords to consider there were suggested keywords with 60,000 monthly searches. I’m betting the client’s ad is showing up for these phrases, which are completely unrelated to his business.

Here’s the action plan for this keyword:

  1. Switch from broad match to phrase match. Phrase match won’t show the ad for synonyms the way broad match is.
  2. Find the synonyms, and either add negative keywords to eliminate the ones causing problems, or find ways to make those searches valuable.
  3. If this doesn’t work out, eliminate the broad match keyword. Phrase match in this case would catch our target searchers anyhow.

Thankfully, the folks searching on this unrelated keyword weren’t clicking the ad, or this could have been an expensive lesson!

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. blather  |  March 10th, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    OMG! My eyes! It burns us.

    blather - Gravatar
  2. Glenn Crocker  |  March 10th, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    Yeah, yeah. How’s it look now, Mister Meaniepants?

    Glenn Crocker - Gravatar
  3. blather  |  March 16th, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    That’s way better

    blather - Gravatar
  4. Glenn Crocker  |  March 16th, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    We aim to please! 😉

    Glenn Crocker - Gravatar

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