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3 Tips for Evaluating Keyword Performance

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Choosing keywords for a pay-per-click campaign can be such a long process that the last thing you want to do afterward is evaluate those keywords again. However, if you want your campaign to remain successful, you need to pay attention to how your keywords are performing. You can evaluate your keywords by looking at the following three metrics.

1. Interactions

When measuring keyword performance, the most important thing to look at is how prospective tenants are interacting with your website. Increasing traffic is important, but reaching prospects and generating leads is your ultimate goal. A high rate of interactions is especially important in the multifamily housing industry, where it's crucial to increase leases in a short period of time.

You can track user actions and measure conversions using Google Analytics tracking, which shows what users did after clicking on your paid ad. For example, a user might fill out a form or schedule a tour—or do nothing.

It's a good idea to look at conversion metrics first before anything else. This way, you aren't led to think a campaign is performing well just because it's earning hundreds of clicks at a low cost. If those users aren’t converting into leads, your keywords are not producing a good return on investment.

2. Traffic

After analyzing your conversion data, take a look at your traffic metrics. This data will give you a more complete story of your campaign's performance. In particular, you’ll want to examine the following data points:

- Click-through rate (CTR)

Does your ad match the keywords and search queries you're targeting? A poor match will lead to a low CTR because your ad won't resonate with users. Alternately, an excellent match should raise your CTR. For instance, if you're targeting the search query “Manhattan studio apartments for rent,” your ad should promote a studio for rent in Manhattan—not a one-bedroom apartment. Get as close to the search query as possible.

- Bounce Rate

Does your landing page answer the questions your prospects are asking? If not, you could end up with a high bounce rate. This means that a high percentage of visitors are leaving your website after viewing only one page, probably because your website isn't meeting their expectations somehow. If your bounce rate is high, adjust your keywords and ads or your website content. Make sure your landing page matches your ad text and keywords, so users get exactly what they're looking for when they click on your ad.

- Geographic Location

Are the keywords you're bidding on relevant to your property's physical location? Avoid reaching out too far; staying local will bring you better leads and more conversions. For example, if you're bidding on the search query “Manhattan studio apartments for rent,” you need to have studios available in Manhattan—not Brooklyn, Queens, or anywhere else.

3. Auctions

Finally, to fully measure the performance of your keywords, you need to evaluate your auction metrics. This data will show you how your keywords and campaigns are performing in the overall search landscape. In other words, how successful is your campaign compared to your competition? If your competition is consistently outranking you in the advertising auctions and earning a higher share of impressions—and therefore more leads—you may want to rethink your strategy. Look specifically at the following data points:

- Quality Score

How well is Google scoring your keywords in light of your landing pages, expected click-through rates, and ad text relevance? Excellent keywords won't guarantee a good ranking if these other factors are poor. Google determines an ad's ranking based on several signals; keywords are just one signal of many.

To increase the effectiveness of your keywords, make sure your landing page provides a positive experience for your visitors, and that your ad text is relevant to the copy on your website. If your ads are touting furnished apartments in Manhattan, be sure that the landing page you are directing users to describes your Manhattan furnished apartments. It may sound obvious but it is often missed by companies who aren’t focused on high quality paid advertising. Matching each group of keywords to the most relevant landing page on your website is key. Otherwise, users may not find what they were looking for in their initial search—and they will immediately leave your website.

- Impression Share

How competitive are your daily budgets for the keywords you're bidding on? If your budget isn't high enough for those keywords, your competitors will outbid and outrank you. Their ads will receive the most attention, leaving you at the bottom. Your budget might last through the morning, but what about the afternoon and evening? If your prospective tenants are searching at all hours of the day, it’s important to show up in the moments that matter most.

Having a low cost per click (CPC) shouldn't be your only concern. Keep in mind your ultimate goal: conversions. You want highly relevant and targeted keywords so your impressions and clicks turn into customers. If you bid on a generic keyword like “Manhattan apartment,” your CPC might be lower compared to “Upper West Side Manhattan studio apartments for rent.” A more targeted keyword will have a higher probability of conversion, making the extra expense worthwhile.

- Auction Insights

How do your campaigns stack up against your biggest competitors? In addition to looking at your usual competitors, check if you have any new competition. A new advertising competitor can drastically change the auction ecosystem, especially if that advertiser is willing to pay a higher amount per click for the same keywords.

Remember that your CPC and CTR aren't permanent. They can change at any time, depending on your competition, market trends, and search behavior. That's one reason why it's important to consistently evaluate your keywords. If you don't have time for it, consider hiring a specialist like G5 to manage your campaign for you. Then, you can be certain that your keywords are performing optimally, giving you a great return on your investment.

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