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Pay per click advertising is a necessary evil, even for the most experienced search engine optimization professionals. From geo-targeted to advanced site targeting, paid search campaigns are becoming increasingly important to the success of marketers everywhere. Running a successful campaign is not enough. Running a successful campaign while eliminating useless keywords and pricing issues is more important now than ever.
Proprietary scoring systems like Google's quality score cause headaches for many advertisers. Expressing your concerns with Google (or others) directly is a great way to get some one on one time on how to make the most of your paid search campaigns.
Turn Off Content Matching
If you're on AdWords, be sure that you have opted not to use content matching. It tends to be used primarily for branding, and any clicks you do generate tend to cost a bit while also serving as unproductive traffic.
Use Position Preferences
If you're trying to test out a campaign without breaking the bank, be sure to use the position preferences to your advantage. Find out what it's like to be the fourth advertiser down in your market versus being at the top. You will not only save some money, but you may be able to reflect back on the information and decide which keywords and phrases performed best for you.
Don't Rule Out Secondary Engines
Secondary engines like MIVA and ABCSearch are both great examples of how you can generate cost effective listings (usually $0.05 to $0.10 per click). Use these services to test out larger and more natural search terms that would otherwise break your bank on Google, Yahoo or MSN.
Have Quality Analytics in Place
While this should go without saying – it needs to be said. Quality web analytics, especially those that will interface with systems like Google AdWords, are key. Analytical reports and data will help you to see where people are coming from, what they're interested in, etc. More importantly, if you can begin to identify keywords that aren't producing results – you can remove them in pure confidence.