3 Ways to Use Data to Advance Your Search Performance

March 5, 2019

Search marketers are lucky. Really, we are. We get to work in a medium where we have access to real-time data and can adjust our strategies and execution nearly as quickly.

No matter how much we may gripe about the engines’ “black box” algorithms, we can’t argue with performance and a lot of deep data that we can get our hands on.

For some, that might be a curse. Like a paella-laden Estelle Costanza might say, “what are we supposed to do with all this data?”

Use it. And keep using it. Then find more data, and use that too.

Test, implement, analyze.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

1. Expand Your Keyword Lists

Building out and refining your keyword lists is a good example. Everyone knows the value of the long tail in helping lower CPCs.  And yet we all know the tendency to throw everything in there and come up with a list that’s unwieldy and impossible to manage.

When it comes to finding the right keywords for your account, there are lots of tools available, whether free options from Google, a third-party system, or an agency’s own proprietary tool. But there’s a lot of value in pouring through search query reports to find long tail and negative recommendations.

By matching the query to the credited keyword and then analyzing the return on that query, you can identify where to find lower CPCs or reduce waste by adding negatives for non-converters.

A more refined approach is to leverage the conversion rate, cost and revenue to come up with a projected contribution margin for typed keywords.  Then match those with what’s currently in your account. Missing keywords with high CMs go into your long tail; negative CMs go into your negatives.

For example, if you have a keyword “Acme brown widgets” and find that Google is matching up the query “extra large Acme brown widgets” to it, look at the performance of that keyword for each time it’s matched to that query.  Subtract cost from revenue to find the contribution margin (or divide if you prefer to organize by ROAS) telling you how profitable that query is.

If it’s high, add the longer tail “extra large Acme brown widgets” to your keyword lists and the ensuing lower CPCs will bring even greater margin. If it’s lower, “extra large” may be a good negative keyword for this campaign.

Just be sure to run a similar report after these new keywords have garnered traffic and refine as necessary.

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