Practical Ecommerce

PPC Report Card: Learningbreakthrough.com

Learning Breakthrough Program is a specialized exercise routine that improves cognitive functions for those diagnosed with developmental, behavioral and learning disabilities. This exercise program is offered via Learningbreakthrough.com, and staff of LBP (Learning Breakthrough Program) requested a review of its current pay-per-click advertising efforts on Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

PPC report card for Musicforte.com

Account Structure

LBP’s campaigns are logically structured in the accounts. Each campaign has a number of related Ad Groups (thematically close to each other) but I would strongly recommend splitting up Ad Groups into more campaigns.

In fact, it’s always a good idea to split up thematically related Ad Groups and their keywords into separate campaigns. Here’s why:

  • You’ll be more flexible with budget allocation further down the road;
  • You’ll have a much better “bird’s eye” view of your campaigns;
  • Managing landing pages will be much easier;
  • Ad Groups expansion will be more manageable down the road.

For LBP, I would recommend creating a separate campaign for “ADD”, “ADHD”, “DDAT” and “learning difficulties.”

Keyword Choices

Pay-per-click advertising is all about keywords. If you don’t have enough keywords in your account, you’ll never achieve the level of performance you’d want. LBP does not use enough keywords. For example, the Ad Group “dyslexia” has only 3 keywords: dyslexia, dyslexia treatment and dyslexia brain. This is not enough to generate outstanding pay-per-click results. (Don’t get me wrong, LBP will still end up getting some targeted traffic – but why stop half way?) A quick query in WordTracker’s free keyword research tools (Freekeywords.wordtracker.com) turns up many more potential words. These include dyslexia, dyslexia symptoms, dyslexia test, adult dyslexia and so on.

LBP should try all sorts of variations of its target keywords to figure out which ones drive activity and sales to its business.

Relevancy

Relevancy is an extremely important component of pay-per-click efforts. Basically, keywords, ads and landing pages have to be thematically relevant to each other and, ideally, optimized for the same core keyword. LBP did a pretty good job at figuring out the optimal landing pages to landing traffic but overlooked the fact that the core keyword also needs to be repeated in the ad itself and in the meta data on the landing page.

Remember, higher relevancy tends to produce a higher Quality Score (Google’s term) and a higher Quality Index (Yahoo! term) which ultimately leads to lower cost per click, better positioning, and higher overall account performance.

Landing Page

Landing pages are extremely important in all pay-per-click campaigns. Even if you feel that your landing pages are perfect, it’s a good idea to show them to a few co-workers before incorporating into your PPC campaigns. A few important things to be on the look out for when reviewing your own landing pages are:

  • Functionality in different browsers (utilize Browsershots.org);
  • Positioning of calls-to-action (below the fold of the page vs. above the fold of the page);
  • SSL errors.

In LBP’s case, my McAfee Security Center software kept telling me that there is an unauthorized Trojan on LBP’s landing pages. As a consumer, I would be extremely worried about that message. Furthermore, when I accepted the risk to proceed further, I received a warning about a SSL certificate mismatch on the pages throughout the site. This is a big problem. LBP is allowing its landing page errors to ruin users’ experiences and prevent them from potentially completing the sale.

Account Settings

Accounts settings could make or break your pay-per-click performance. Make sure that you understand the functionality of each feature before experimenting with it. LBP does a pretty good job with its account settings. However, many pay-per-click advertisers do not, and below is a quick run down of top five setting problems I find in many pay-per-click accounts:

  • No budget caps;
  • No negative keywords;
  • Geo-graphic settings incorrectly set up;
  • Content network setup in the same campaign with search network;
  • Position preference (in Google only) turned on without a reasonable report traffic analysis.

More information on each specific feature is available in help sections of each search engine.

In summary, Learning Breakthrough’s Relevancy and Account Settings are fairly good, but its Account Structure, Keyword Choices and Landing Pages could use some work.

PPC Report Card
Musicforte.com

Account Structure C
Keyword Choices D
Relevancy B
Landing Pages F
Account Settings B-

OVERALL GPA C-

Want your site graded? Email ppc@practicalecommerce.com.

Greg Laptevsky

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