Not long ago we promised we’d be back with a follow up on the impact of Google ditching right column ads in search. The results have largely come in as we expected: higher CPCs have been met with the silver lining of higher click-through rates.

So today we want to run through some tips on how to cope with one of the biggest changes to AdWords in years. First we’ll be looking at how to handle those rising CPCs and then we’ll cover some pointers on how to make the most of click-through rates.

 

How to cope with those rising CPCs

Step 1: Raising the necessary bids on your best keywords

We may as well get the painful bit out of the way first. When CPCs rise you need to bid more to stay in the game and it’s time to make the call on which of your best performing keywords you can’t afford to let slip away.

Step 2: Ditch some low-converting keywords

There are some perfectly good reasons to bid on high traffic low-converting keywords: maintaining traffic, visibility or simply introducing new prospects, for example. The trouble is higher CPCs now mean you’ll be paying more for those keywords that don’t bring any return on investment. So rethink your approach with higher CPCs in mind and consider ditching some of those low-converting keywords.

Step 3: Have another look for keyword opportunities

No matter how much keyword research you’ve done in the past, now is the time to have another look for missed opportunities. This could make all the difference if you’re not regularly engaging in fresh keyword research. Be sure to keep an eye out for high-intent long-tail keywords that are likely to convert but low on the CPC front.

Step 4: Focus on relevance

We’ve said this a number of times here at Hot Click, but relevance is incredibly important with everything AdWords. Not only do highly relevant accounts, campaigns, ad groups, ads and landing pages perform better, they can drive down the CPC of your ads. Once again, if you haven’t put too much work into optimising your account for relevance, this will make a sizeable difference.

 

How to take advantage of higher CTRs

Aside from minimising the impact of higher CPCs, the key to AdWords without right column ads is making the most of those higher click-through rates. Ads are receiving more clicks on average now than before the change, which means more opportunities to convert. Maximise those conversions and things start to look much better.

Step 1: Rethink your landing pages

With those extra clicks coming in you want to make sure as many of them as possible are moving beyond your landing pages. That won’t happen unless your landing pages are designed and developed to convince users the next action is worth taking. Check out our post on landing page best practices for ideas on how to create landing pages that turn clicks into paying customers.

Step 2: Get your website in order

If the user experience on your website sucks, then you’re losing potential sales from paid clicks. You don’t want to let that happen. Hopefully, you’re already testing your ads and landing pages for better results, so extend that to your website with A/B testing to improve conversion rates where they matter most.

Step 3: Max your remarketing efforts

No matter how good your remarketing efforts there’s more work you can do to convert previous visitors. Google’s targeting options have improved a lot over the last couple of years, which means remarketing has never been so powerful. And, if your campaigns are now geared towards high-intent searches (Step 3 from earlier) then it shouldn’t take too much remarketing to get those previous clicks converting.

Step 4: Optimise for mobile like never before

The great thing about mobile in a world without right column ads is it never had a right column to begin with. CPCs, CTRs, impressions and everything else are still the same for mobile, which is the perfect motivation to make the most of mobile traffic. Just be sure your website, landing pages and ads are finely optimised for mobile before you start allocating more budget.

Hopefully, by now you’re seeing that Google without right column ads isn’t the PPC apocalypse some people initially feared. It certainly calls for some tightening up here and there, but the points we’ve covered today should get you off to a good start with maintaining performance.