I recently came across a keyword report provided by an IYP doing paid-search advertising for a local advertiser. The advertiser is a Heating & Air guy located in Central New Jersey.
I’m not going to say what IYP managed this campaign and because I got this report from a third party I couldn’t tell you whether the business is happy or not with the results. And because I’m looking at this keyword report in a vacuum, my objective in this post is not to judge the campaign. But rather to educate small business owners that are getting into search marketing for the first time as to what questions they should be asking their SEM.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the last 7 days of the report (note: I copied this excerpt from the original format into Google Docs and removed the column containing IP addresses):
- Is the SEM fee-based or are they charging a percentage of spend?
- Are there separate ads set-up for the different keywords? i.e would searchers find one ad, appropriate, for the keyword frigidaire and a different one for refrigeration?
- Do each of the keyword/ad groups go directly to a page on my site that is relevant to the keyword when the ad is clicked?
- Could I see the list of negative keywords for each of the campaigns? (and could you add ‘four seasons’ to it?)
- What is the Click-Thru Rate for each of the ad groups?
Question one has to do with motive. Questions 2 through 4 represent the bare minimum of competence. Question 5 is a measure of quality in how well the SEM executed questions 2-4. If I did not get satisfactory answers to these questions I would abandon the SEM firm… not Search Marketing.
With all that said, you may be wondering why I did not mention conversion. That would certainly be among the first questions I asked when measuring the competence of a SEM. However, I did not mention it before in this article because I think that is the only question local businesses are asking their SEMs. And if they want to get the most out of their search campaigns they are going to have to get beyond that and demand more.
Please let me know your thoughts on this keyword report and/or any additional questions you think local advertisers should ask their SEM in the comments.