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Google Ads: Managing Your Ad Campaigns Like a Pro
We’re willing to bet that even if you haven’t utilized them, you’ve probably heard of Google Ads before, and have definitely been exposed to them in your daily life. While we’d still recommend that you focus on organic methods of marketing, google ads can be an invaluable tool that, if used correctly, can open you up to countless opportunities and customers.
Let’s start by examining what Google Ads are and how they works.
What are Google Ads
Essentially, Google Ads allows you to place paid advertisements for your business, service offerings, videos, content, or products, which will appear in your target’s search results. Whenever you conduct a google search, the first results that google shows you are often these ads.
How Google Ads Works
With Google Ads, you’re able to target users based on their demographics and behaviors, as well as the keywords they’re searching for. For example, you can search for homeowners aged 33-65+ in Dallas, Texas who search for specific keywords like ‘plumber nearby’.
Google then puts you in an auction with other businesses who want to rank for that keyword, and decides who’s ad gets displayed and where it gets displayed on the page like the top, bottom or first or second result at the top of the page.
The price that you’ll pay is based on two things- quality score and competition. Competition is how many people want to rank for that keyword and how much they’re willing to pay. Whereas quality score is based on factors like your ad’s relevance to users’ search query, how many people it expects to click on that ad, and whether the website itself is relevant and high quality.
Keep in mind that Google does this because it doesn’t just want to display results for the company that’s paying the most. Their end goal is to provide users with the best experience possible, and reward the companies who create positive experiences for their users and best answer their questions.
So, it’s possible that you can end up paying less for high quality keywords than competitors willing to spend twice as much, so long as your website is linking to a page optimized around that keyword and you’re running ads that are highly relevant to it.
Google Ad Quality Score
Ad Relevance - 22%
Expected Click Through Rate - 39%
Click through rate, or CTR, is how often Google expects people to click on your ad. The more people click on your ad, the more Google assumes it’s relevant to the user’s search and high quality. And because Google charges for everyone who clicks your ad, the more money Google makes.
So, what CTR should you aim for? In general, you’ll want to aim for the following CTRs:
- 0-4% = bad, but not uncommon if you’re running ads against competitors
- 5%-14% = good, this is an average CTR
- 15%+ = great, this is the number you should aspire to. branded terms, like your business name, often average much higher though (30%+)
Landing Page - 39%
Keep in mind that Google can’t just judge you based on those factors alone. What if someone clicks on your ad and it has nothing to do with what they were searching for? Or, what if the website is low quality and takes forever to load? People would start to trust Google’s ads less and click on them less, which means that they would make less money. So, Google needs one last factor for quality assurance.
If the keyword you’re targeting is ‘hot tub repair’ and your page doesn’t mention ‘hot tub repair’, even once in passing, Google is going to think your page isn’t that relevant to hot tub repair and either won’t display it, or will charge you a lot more because it sees your page as less relevant.
Beyond mentioning the keyword, there are a number of other factors Google takes into account to decide whether your page creates a positive experience for the user and they should favor it.
A few examples of this are how much time users spend on your site, how soon they hit the back button, how easy your page is to read, and whether your website works well on mobile devices. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because Google uses the same factors to decide how to rank organic (non-paid) results.
You can check out our SEO guides to learn more about optimizing your site for Google.
Keyword Research For Google Ads
Next, you’re going to be deciding which searches you want your ads to show up for. You can find our full guide to keyword research here to learn how to get keywords’ volume to see how popular they are. Here, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of keyword research, but still recommend that you take a look at the supporting keyword document before conducting any research on your own.
Picking & Categorizing Keywords
A broad match keyword will show up on any searches that relate to your keyword, even if those searches don’t include the actual keyword. For example, if your keyword is ‘luxury cars’, your ad might pop up when users search for things like ‘luxury apartments’ or ‘fast cars’.
Broad keyword matches aren’t bad – they’re a great way to find keywords. But you’re going to get a lot of unrelated keywords – and those people aren’t going to click through your ad, which makes Google show your ad less.
With exact match keywords, in order for you to be included on the search result, the user will need to be searching with the exact keyword that you entered. In the past, if you were targeting the keyword ‘electrician software’ you wouldn’t show up for ‘software for electrician’, ‘electrician software’, or ‘electrical software’.
However, lately Google has been making changes to it’s keyword algorithm, so you’ll no longer need your user to be searching with an exact match to be shown.
Currently, Google is allowing paraphrasing. This means that your ad may still show up even if the user was using a plural search, typed the keyword in a different order, used a variant/synonym, or used connective words like ‘for’ and ‘in’. On the surface, this seems like an amazing improvement. However, things can get messy real quick when Google thinks that ‘estimator’ and ‘estimate’ are the same thing.
From there, you’ll want to categorize your keywords by which ones are similar and group them by user intent. The most specific you are, the more relevant your ad is to the user’s search – and the cheaper displaying it.
For example, if you have a group of keywords like:
- ac repair
- ac installation
- air conditioner repair
- air conditioner
- ac maintenance
You don’t want to include ac installation, air conditioner, or ac maintenance in that group – instead, you would want to have a group entirely around repairing ac, then link users to a page about ac repair, and create an ad totally focused on air conditioner repair.
For more information on these matches, check out this resource from integress.com.
How To Set Up Search Campaigns
Let’s get started with creating your first search campaign. To create a new campaign, you’re going to want to head over to this link to get started.
You’ll need to make the following selections:
- Select the goal that would make this campaign successful to you: Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance
- Select a campaign type: Search
Then, when you scroll down the page, it will ask you to select the results you want to get out of this campaign. You’ll want to check Website visits and Phone calls, and enter your website URL and phone number when the space appears.
Naming Your Campaign
Budget and Bidding
The first thing you’ll need to decide is how much you’re willing to spend on this search per day, which will depend on both your budget and the area. You can spend as little as $50/month to thousands of dollars.
The average local business usually spends somewhere between $2,500-$7,500 a month. So, say you want to try spending $500 on Google Ads your first month and only want to run one campaign. This means you’d want to spend about $16/day.
Then, under bidding, you’ll want to select ‘conversions’ as your focus.
If you’d like, you can set a target cost per action, or your target “cost per acquisition”. So, let’s say you set yours to $10. This tells Google that ideally, you’d like to pay $5 (or less) for every person who completes a sign-up form on your page. Google will then try to adjust the way it bids to keep your CPA around that amount.
If you click on ad rotation, you can also pick whether you want Google to pick and display your best performing ads the most or, if you’re testing, rotate them evenly.
After you’ve hit ‘next’, you’ll be taken to a page where you select your campaign settings, in other words, where you want your ads to be shown. For this example, we’re only going to create our ads for Google’s search so we’re going to uncheck:
Include Google search partners
Include Google Display Network
You’ll need to pick a start and end time for your ad if you don’t want it to run infinitely. To do this, go to ‘ad schedule’ – so you can pause ads if you don’t want them to display on weekends or other selected times.
Campaign URL – this will link the user to your website, or a page on your website. The more specific the page is to your ad, the better. So if you’re running an ad about air conditioning repair, it would be wise to send them a service page about air conditioning repair.
At the end of the URL, be sure to include a tracking link so you can see the events through analytics. You can learn more about tracking here.
Setting Up Ad Groups
Creating Your Ad
Be sure that you fill in all 15 headlines, they should be roughly 30 characters each.
Your headlines should include:
- Your Business Name
- Your Location
- Any Special Offers or Perks like Financing Available or 24hr Emergency Repair
- Your Keywords – If possible, you want all those tags to light up green. (Note: You can’t use competitor or brand names.)
For example, in the example above we used…
- Mike’s Plumbing & Heating
- Dallas Air Conditioning Repair
- Schedule Your Appointment
- Air Conditioner Repair Company
- Financing Available
- Home AC Repair Near Me
- Get 10% Your First Visit
You’ll want your descriptions to be around 90 characters – and you should also use your keywords in your descriptions. For example:
- Call Now for Prompt, Professional AC Repair Service. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- Coupons & Rebates. Low Monthly Payments. 24/7 Emergency Service
- Friendly, Skilled Dallas Technicians Who Provide Quality Air Conditioner Repair
- We Service and Repair All AC Makes and Models. Call Us for More Information
Google Ad extensions are exactly what they sound like, they lengthen your ad! Using extensions, you can add additional information about your business in the body of the ad. You can take this opportunity to showcase information about your service, link other relevant information, and display your pricing.
Essentially, they’re “extras” you can add on to your ad. You can learn more about setting up ad extensions here.
How to Improve Google Ad Quality Score
Ad relevance is very easy to improve, because Google will help guide you through it while you’re setting up your ads. You’ll want to start by optimizing your ad’s headline. While it may seem easy to write a short and sweet headline, you’ll need to put a little more thought into it than you may expect.
You’ll want to keep the headline simple and easy to understand at first glance, first impressions are important and you don’t want to make your target have to think too hard about what you’re trying to say.
Next, capitalize on locality. Be sure to include the city/state that you operate in. You can also phrase your headline in the form of a question, such as “Need your plumbing system fixed without breaking the bank?”.
For more information on ad headline optimization, take a look at this article. If after reading that article you feel like you still need help, feel free to read over Wordstream’s resources, as well as PPC Protect’s Google ad examples.
To improve your CTR, try using the fifty-dollar test method. You’ll want to start by creating a few different ads, a good number to start at is 10. You’ll want to make sure that every ad is totally different from one another, with different headlines and titles.
You can still use the same or similar keywords, as well as landing pages. Try to limit your use of specific keywords as this may affect the results of your test. From there, compare the ads results to each other, giving each a $50 budget, and see which versions perform best.
It’s also a good idea to create multiple ads – at least two – for every ad group to test.
For help with optimizing your landing pages, take a look at our SEO guide, which will walk you through all the fine details of creating a landing page that Google will love.
And just like that, you’re now well prepared to start creating and running your own google ads! We know, it’s a ton of information and you’re probably feeling nervous about getting started. But don’t worry, getting started is the hardest part, and it won’t be long before you get comfortable with using Adwords. If you still have questions about Google Ads that we haven’t answered in this doc, you can utilize Google’s help pages.
For more information about paid advertising, head back to our Marketing Playbook.
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