Overall Graduate and Continuing Education keyword costs are going up, but there are strategies you or your search management partner can use to lower your Cost Per Click.

1. Improve Your Quality Scores

Higher quality scores mean lower Cost Per Click. QS is determined by a mix of ad relevance, expected click through rate and landing page quality. In our experience, the landing page is the most important part. Make sure your landing page has the proper page titles, descriptions and keyword tags to align with your ad groups and ad text. Max Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank, so higher scores do matter.

2. Bid on Specific Keywords

“MBA” or “Online Degree” may be exceedingly expensive keywords, but “MBA in Environmental Policy” and “Online Degree in Organizational Leadership” may not be. More specific keywords lessen competition and lower Cost Per Click.

3. Use Broad Match Modifiers

Broad Match Modifiers are simply broad keywords that require one or more specific keywords to be a part of the user’s query. For instance, if you had “+mba +online” as your keyword (+ indicates a BMM), queries like “accredited online mba” would trigger your listing while “accredited mba” would not. This helps eliminate searches that don’t match your program offering.

4. Monitor Search Term Details

Adwords allows you to see the exact query a user typed into Google that triggered your ad listing. The keyword details report also shows which keyword you bid on that connected you to the user’s query and whether they converted or not. Patterns in user behavior can help you adjust your keyword list to be more specific to those who are most likely to convert. More specific usually means lower Cost Per Click.

5. Adjust Bids for Time of Day, Day of Week and Day of Month

Many advertisers keep static bids across all days, times and dates, but demand doesn’t remain static. Demand fluctuates. So should your bidding strategy.

6. Measure Ad Rank Conversion Rates

Does your listing convert at as high a rate in the 6th position as the 1st? Knowing this will allow you to lower your Cost Per Click bids without sacrificing conversion rate.

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