All marketers have the same goal for their paid search campaigns: increase conversions while keeping costs down. So when the opposite occurs and a marketer finds him or herself spending more and more money for less-than-quality leads, it's time for a fix. In a recent MarketingProfs article, Apogee Search's William Leake, provided a three-step cure:

Step one: Eliminate irrelevant traffic. You can often reduce irrelevant traffic by 50% or more by 1) identifying and blocking negative keywords, and 2) making match type adjustments. The best way to find negative keywords is to look at a search query report and get rid of anything that doesn't belong. For keyword matching, try starting with just the keywords that have the most spend and those with the most impressions.

Step two: Optimize ad copy. Be sure to create a specific, compelling call to action by preparing the searcher for the end conversion, such as "Buy widgets today and save 20%."

Step three: Improve your landing pages. Have consistency between your ad and the landing page. "This is the simplest fix," says Leake "and yet it is often overlooked." Make your shopping cart easy to use and goals easy to achieve.

The Point: Before you scrap everything and start from scratch, try a little first aid. It will help stop the bleeding and put your program on the mend.

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