Yes, Google Search Partners can be worth it, but only if you play it smart.
So what are some advanced strategies you can implement to make sure you’re taking advantage of the search partner network?
For the most part, it is black or white. Either you have Search Partners enabled, or you turn them off.
But there are some things that you can do to get a little more out of the Search Partner traffic. If, for example, you have the Search Partners Feature turned on, and you’re finding that you’re not getting expected results from Search Partner traffic, what can you do? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this blog.
The Truth About Search Partner Ads
Most of the time, in my experience, Search Partner traffic is good. You can simply turn it on and leave it to work its magic. You won’t get a ton of traffic from it compared to Google Search, but I find the traffic you do get is good and likely interested in your offering if you do it strategically.
Sometimes, it does not work out. The cost per conversion may be too high, you’re not getting enough leads, you’re not getting sales from this traffic that you would like to.
Your first option is to simply just turn it off and forget about it.
You could dig in a little deeper.
Read on and find out ways to maximize this strategy.
Check Search Term Report
In your account’s SEARCH TERM REPORT, sometimes you’ll find keywords or phrases that people have “supposedly” typed in to a search box that seems “out of place”. These tend to be longer strings, longer keywords, you would wonder why people would search for those things. They have lots of impressions but very few clicks.
In the Case of Weird Keywords
For example, you might see in your report a search term like: flooring hardwood flooring solid hardwood
(Note: this is an actual search term that I pulled out from a client’s ad campaign) This is not really something that someone would type in a search box, right? While the average clickthrough rate in the account was over 10%, this particular search term had over 2,000 impressions but only 7 clicks! That’s very low clickthrough rate, around .3% only.
So why are we getting so many impressions from this weird keyword (flooring hardwood flooring solid hardwood)?
Actually, this is not a keyword that people are typing in. These are categories within a site.
Imagine someone is navigating through a website with a category like flooring, and within that is the category “hardwood flooring”, and within that is the category “solid hardwood”. Google’s system is recognizing this as a keyword search for the main category, the secondary category, and the sub-category. That’s where all the traffic is coming from.
Now this is going to behave more like display network traffic, so it’s probably not going to convert very well. In these situations, I would add a negative keyword that would block this from showing again. I would just add an exact match negative keyword or phrase match negative keyword (flooring hardwood flooring solid hardwood). That will take care of the problem.
Sometimes, when you come across these types of keywords, they are very long, and the maximum number of words you can have in a negative keyword is 10. What you need to do in that case is just to shorten the keyword down to 10 words, add that as a phrase match negative keyword, and that will take care of the problem.
That’s really the first step. You should be doing this whether the search partner network traffic is working well or not. I’ve never seen good traffic from these kinds of keywords. It’s simply best practice to get rid of keywords that would be messing up your results.
What Else Can You Do?
Rather than just completely turn off search partners, you can segment some traffic out. You can create additional campaigns.
Perhaps you turn off search partners in your main campaign, but you should have other campaigns where search partners are enabled.
Have a separate campaign with SEARCH PARTNERS enabled when you:
- Are bidding on your brand name
- Are retargeting your remarketing list with search traffic
- Have your best well-converting keywords in general
And then in your other campaign where you’re getting most of your traffic, turn your SEARCH PARTNERS off if it isn’t working. I wouldn’t separate campaigns if the SEARCH PARTNER NETWORK traffic is working.
Again, if it’s already working for you, feel free to leave it all in the same campaign.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Opting in to Search Partners is a black and white thing. It’s either you turn it off or turn it on for every campaign. As of now, you have no way of really seeing which search partners your ad shows up on. Google doesn’t provide visibility on this. You can’t exclude specific search partners like you can with display ads. It’s either on or off, at the campaign level.
Have you utilized the Search Term report and made sure no false leads come up with bad keywords, and you’re still feeling unhappy with the results? Try combinations of campaigns where you have Search Partners ON in one campaign and off in another campaign.