Archive for March, 2008

An Apology for Not Posting in So Long

March 14th, 2008 No comments

I could say I’ve been too busy, or that I’m in that post-conference lull, but really, there’s no good excuse, sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.

Also I know someone looking for an agency that specializes in ideas for social media traffic driving (facebook, myspace, etc) and optimally structuring (for seo) user generated content on sites. They’re looking for a small firm or independent contractor, so if you know of someone let me know.

I am spending my days right now organizing a print media campaign, which I just wish was as easy to track as search!

Categories: Wag of My Finger Tags:

Inheriting Accounts – Cleaning Up Another Person’s Mess (or Yours)

March 3rd, 2008 No comments

In a couple of sessions I attended at SMX West the topic of inheriting accounts came up, and there were lots of practical questions asked by attendees. The most common being some variation on “should I try to fix what’s there or start fresh?” Given that historical consistency in data and quality scores are both really valuable paid search assets, naturally anyone is hesitant to just wipe the slate clean. At the same time, an account with poor structure, or limited ability to scale efficiently isn’t helping you any. What to do?

The first step is to know what you want – if you had a clean slate, how would you set things up? By product brand or type? If your company has multiple web properties, should you have one campaign per website? Brainstorm all the options. It never hurts to run your ideas by another search marketer to see if they’d do the same, and they might raise good issues or questions you hadn’t considered (which, incidentally, can save a more experienced you from cleaning up your own account later!). If the resource that set up the account is available, ask them some questions to get a good understanding of their perspective, or ask your account managers if you have them (you’re probably already doing this as a part of transitioning the account). Also, is the account large or small? A large account might (or might not) have good technical or business reasons for its structure, that, as a new hire, you might not understand, so investigate. Once you’ve decided on the successful long term setup for the account, evaluate the current account again with this structure in mind. Does it make sense at all? Is it remotely salvageable to migrate to your ideal structure?

If the current account is amenable to change, start changing it a bit each day, I would recommend one campaign a day. If your campaigns are just a few ad groups in size, you can bite off more campaigns, but I’d do no more than around 15-20% of an account per day, less if it’s a very large account. Uploading a whole new account, or making too many changes at once, could be detrimental to quality scores, individually, but more importantly the whole account might appear low quality (a factor Google considers – what’s your click-through rate account wide?). Additionally, you’re more prone to make small mistakes in copy or tracking if you’re dealing with a lot of account data at once, and it will be harder to catch those errors, or any account issues, if you’re changing many account elements at the same time. After awhile (especially after 3pm) all the spreadsheet columns can make your eyes glaze over, so pace yourself.

During the cleanup resist the temptation to add much that’s new. Once the current account is redone, start scaling up the new keywords. Again, this just helps to isolate any issues with performance, and will help keep your click-through rate fairly constant, or hopefully improving a bit, during transition. Adding a lot of tail terms at once can lead to a fair number of impressions, potentially without many clicks, which would harm your overall account quality score.

After making changes, check back the next day – how’s the click-through rate? Does tracking all appear to be working? Fix any errors and move on to the next chunk of account. You should take about a week to transition an account that has a decent search volume, or enough impressions that a campaign per day can receive enough click-through data to adjust. Take longer if the impression data is low, or less than a couple hundred impressions per day per keyword.

If you need to scrap everything and start over, I’d recommend a one or two campaign at a time approach, and wait on adding much new until the new account is up and running fully. At this stage, you’re just building a good foundation. For most accounts, the keywords will have enough impressions after a day or so to have readjusted, and you can start scaling from there. The exception to this is if the current accounts are very small, or not a significant business risk. In that case you could consider turning everything off, and starting a whole new account by adding a campaign or two a day.

One caveat to all this, if the account in question is with MSN, go wild and redo the whole thing, MSN won’t penalize for starting over, your account will be rated at the highest quality when it starts, and will be decremented from there.

The more business risk involved with an account, the more sales generated, the more cautious you want to be. Take your time to get account structure right the first time, and you’ll build a great foundation for future success!

Categories: Tip of My Hat Tags: