You stare at your screen and it stares back at you. The numbers are not very good in your AdWords account and you are not exactly sure why that is.

You have heard a lot about the importance of optimizing a PPC campaign, and this word “optimizing” seems to mean a lot of different things to different people. It is a vague and opaque word and one that you find frustrating.

Every blog you read informs you to try different vague ideas to optimize your campaign. How do you “better connect with what your user wants”? You could be stuck forever trying to decipher how to put these ideas into action, and sometimes it feels like you in fact stuck –  forever tweaking your campaign.

You brew another pot of coffee and put in a couple more hours trying out each new idea, and yet.. the numbers remain the same.

This is the frustrating problem of all too many business owners, and yet it is one that can be solved with how you relate to the word “Optimization”…..

Optimization isn’t Really Something You Do

The problem is you are trying to perform the vague task of “optimization”.

Optimization in itself isn’t something you can do as much as it is an idea that there is an optimal state that your account can achieve through a series of tasks. When you perform this series of tasks you move your account towards this optimal state. The word itself is an ides, you need to define it and give it specific meaning.

I find that the way people relate to the word optimizing is similar to how people relate to the word exercising.

Saying that you are just going to “optimize” a campaign is similar to saying you are just going  to start exercising. You may have the best of intentions, but then you head to the gym without a plan. Without a plan to define the term and give it a specific meaning you may walk on the treadmill for a bit, or lift some weights – but without definition and meaning the results are subpar.

Neither exercising nor optimizing produces results, only the steps that make up these activities do.

Create Concrete Steps, Understand Why and Schedule

Since we have gone over that optimization is simply a term, they way for you to improve your account is simply to break down the exact steps, understand why you are doing them and then set a schedule to follow.

As with the exercise example, just saying you plan to exercise is not going to get you too far. But if you have concrete steps such as “I am going to run for 3o minutes per day and I expect to lose 5 pounds in two months” . That is a trackable metric for you to try to achieve. You understand that running burns many calories, so you perform that exercise over walking.  You would then also need to set aside a time in your day to bring this plan to action.

This is similar to how to accomplish the results in your AdWords campaign management.

How to Create Repeatable Concrete Tasks to Follow

A. Map the Purpose of the Task With Goals in Your Account

Don’t just perform the tasks – think about the purpose of the task. This will help you understand which tasks to perform on your account and which you can leave out.

I suggest performing the following tasks weekly:

– Run a search query report and add negative keywords. This  task should increase your click through rate.

– A/B test your ads. This task can either increase your click through rate or your conversion rate. I use the tool AdAlysis.

– Review expensive keywords and see how they perform. This task should lower your cost per acquisition.

– Review the performance of the landing pages. This task should increase your conversion rate

There are certainly many more tasks you could perform, but if you do those four weekly your account should be in pretty good shape.  As you perform the tasks over and over you become more efficient at them. Additionally, your account will become more efficient because you are increasing the click through rate, though A/B testing your ads and removing search queries that you do not want to appear for in the search query report.

B. Decide How Much Time Each Task Will Take To Perform

Once you decide on which tasks to perform weekly, and they are mapped to your goals – decide how much time you will spend on each task. It depends on the size of your account, but I have found that it typically takes me about 45 minutes to perform those 4 tasks listed. Deciding how much time you will spend on your tasks basically makes it concrete, and more importantly prevents you from wasting additional time.

C. Schedule When You Will Perform the Tasks

I use Google Calendar, but I am sure there are many other scheduling options. When the tasks are scheduled in your calendar you have made a commitment to perform these specific tasks.

D. Track the Results

Track the results to see if your tasks are creating the results that you desire. For the tasks that are creating the results, simply continue to perform them. For the tasks that are not delivering the results you want, you can either try a new concrete task or perform that task differently.