As part of our mission to assist other small to mid-sized business owners, here are 10 things you should know before advertising with Google AdWords.
1. With PPC, it’s all about being “relevant”
Relevancy is being pertinent and giving the people what they want. It’s often mentioned in the Google AdWords mission statement. Why? There’s a direct correlation between relevancy and your keyword Quality Score (QS). A higher QS is one of many important goals in AdWords as it can help lower your cost per click, reduce your conversion costs and increase your ROI.
2. Google is Fast (and Ruthless)
Google AdWords can produce results that are immediate and measurable. Unlike SEO – which can take months, you can be on the top of Google within a matter of hours. But watch out as you can quickly lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
3. The #1 ad position on Google isn’t usually the best place to be
This logic may seem counter intuitive to most but the #1 paid position on AdWords typically costs the most amount of money and generates the most clicks. The downside is that many of these clicks are from unqualified traffic that barely read your ad and can cause your ROI to suffer. The #1 position is ideal only if you know the keywords and ads are converting at profitable levels.
4. Advertise on Google’s Display Network at your own risk
The Google AdWords default settings include the Display Network. Most newbies forget opt out of this channel and get plenty of poor quality visitors via this channel if they don’t know what they’re doing. In the hierarchy of testing search engine marketing, Google Search is the purest search results and an absolute “must have”. Use Search Partners if you’re not getting enough traffic. And use the Display Network for branding or low cost impulse product purchases (e.g. weight loss). Advertising on select sites within the Display Network via managed placement ads is a good strategy to test and should be run under a separate campaign.
5. Start your PPC bids high and lower them over time
Manual bidding strategies should be designed to target ad slots #3-6 and higher bids will typically result in better click through rates (CTR). This can improve your quality score and allow you to lower your bids slowly as your campaign matures and optimization techniques enhance your results.
6. Put your PPC keywords in the headline (and body copy whenever possible)
By placing your keywords within the headlines of your pay-per-click ads, your keywords will bold up on the search results page which can improve your CTR. As long as you’re sending traffic to a strong landing page that include the keywords, the ad will also become more relevant which can enhance Quality Scores. This in turn enables you to lower bids and helps further reduce your costs.
7. Keep the keywords in your ad groups limited
When building ad groups, it helps to maintain relevancy within your keywords by grouping them by a single “root keyword”. Expand out the list of longer tailed keywords by keeping the focus on this one keyword. Make sure to test the different match options – phase, exact and +broad +match +modified. Broad match keywords used by inexperienced PPC managers are ripe for Google to take advantage of synonyms which may have little to do with your product or service.
8. Don’t spread your PPC budget out evenly throughout the day. Accelerate it.
AdWords PPC is database marketing and a process of elimination. To quickly find out what works and what doesn’t with your pay-per-click ads, it makes most sense to accelerate your daily ad spend. This allows your ads to show most often so you can fail fast. Also by testing and removing keywords that don’t convert at profitable levels, you can succeed faster and achieve the goal of maximizing your daily budget at the lowest possible CPCs.
9. After 30 clicks, eliminate keywords and ads that don’t work
While 30 is a low sample size, it remains a statistically significant number to evaluate your ad and keyword level performance. While more data is preferred, 30 data points can allow you to make decisions with a 90% confidence level. By quickly finding out what does not work (and what does), you can stop throwing good money after bad and pour more resources to those keywords and ads that yield profitable results.
10. Increase your budget based on Google’s recommendation at your own peril
The ad budget for your business should not an open checkbook. When Google recommends that you increase your ad budget, whose best interest do you thinks it serves. Test lowering your bids to increase clicks or remove unprofitable keywords from the mix. Increasing your budget may make sense if you’re leaving money on the table but recognize that there is a law of diminishing returns with AdWords so finding the optimal ad budget is a process of testing while working to maintain a profitable ROI.
Hopefully, this list is something that you can use to get the most out of your pay-per-click advertising dollar.