Practical Ecommerce

Critique Part Two: Pay-Per-Click Advertising

The Problem: A quick glance at Daddies Board Shop’s Google account indicates in-depth keyword research was not performed.

The Fix: It appears that the company chose keywords based on insider business knowledge but hasn’t considered what terms people actually use to search. For example, the account is missing the two-word variant of skateboard (“skate board”) which is used extensively in searches. We would recommend a solid review of keywords to identify overlooked opportunities for quality traffic.

The Problem: There are no “negative keywords” in the campaigns or ad groups. (A negative keyword is a special kind of keyword matching option that allows you to prevent your ad from appearing when the specific terms are a part of the user’s search.)

The Fix: The combination of no negative keywords and broad matches can result in ads showing for non-relevant terms. Worthless impressions with no clicks will kill the click-through rate and adversely affect the Quality Score. That, in turn, can result in higher bid prices and lower ad positioning.

The Problem: There is limited “reach” with the campaign.

The Fix: Currently, there is only one campaign in the account and it is a pure Google search (it doesn’t include Google’s search partners or its content network). After proper keyword research has been conducted and negative keywords implemented, we’d recommend adding Google’s “search partners” (i.e., Ask.com, AOL, Earthlink, etc.) to the campaign to broaden the reach.

The Problem: Measuring is a mess.

The Fix: The Google Conversion Measurement isn’t currently working in the account, so Daddies Board Shop isn’t getting real feedback on performance. I would recommend getting metrics in place to gauge performance down to the ad and keyword level.

The Problem: The tools are tepid.

The Fix: The account is using a third-party bid management tool, but the minimal oversight it provides does not add value. Drop the bid management tool and use the money for an analytics program instead. A quality analytics program can track which keywords and ads let to the most site visitors , the most purchases and so forth.

On the positive side: The account’s overall Google Quality Score is high so the keywords, ads and landing pages are very relevant. Note that this Quality Score, which Google determines based on keywords, ad copy, click-through rate and landing pages, will determine the ranking of Daddies Board Shop’s ads.

The Critique Project

Melanie Loveland and her son Dan built a business together around a mutual passion — snowboarding. What started as a small, brick-and-mortar store in Portland, Ore., has evolved into a full-fledged multichannel merchant. It was a process the owners didn’t foresee when the business started in 1995.

Their business has seen dynamic change in the seven years since it launched a website. Daddies Board Shop now generates 80 percent of its sales through online channels and only 20 percent at the Portland store.

In February, when Practical eCommerce offered a once-in-a-lifetime complimentary website critique to one lucky recipient, Dan (along with many other website owners) petitioned for the critique — and his site was selected.

As part of the critique, five firms took an intensive look at Daddiesboardshop.com to analyze its problems, the opportunities for search engine optimization, its general Internet presence, site search, pay-per-click advertising and customer experience/usability. The firms were:

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Legacy User May 31, 2007 Reply

    Paying for the term "skate board" would be the biggest waste of time and money from my PPC campaign. I target specific terms such as "sector 9 longboard," etc. The term skateboard is so generic, I would blow all my money it two hours on Google or Yahoo.

    — *Dan Loveland*