Google Search Ads
There are several items that are critical to setup effective Google Search Ads. The benefit of effective search ads is you’ll increase your click through rate (CTR), increase your chance to rank higher on the search results page and potentially have lower cost per clicks (CPCs).
Tell the User Exactly what you have To Offer
This is key, your want to be upfront to the user on the products and services you offer. You want to be extremely transparent on what you do, this way you’ll avoid paying for people who click your ad, but may not be a fit for your business. For example, if you are an auto mechanic that specializes in transmission repair, call that out in the ad. The last thing you want are a bunch of people who need oil changes calling your business, if you don’t offer this service.
Showcase your Selling Proposition
Best practice for Google Search ads is to think about your selling proposition, what is it about your business that sets you out from the rest? Is it:
- Locally owned
- Excellence customer service
- Lowest price
- World’s best cup of coffee?!
Identify several selling propositions and include that within your ad copy. You can even post several of your selling propositions with your search ads. Think from a user’s point of view, why would they want to click on your ad. I’m sure there are many competitors in your space, you need to think what you offer that other businesses can’t touch. Whatever that is, push that messaging to the user.
Use All of the Provided Ad Space
Google just expanded text ads by adding a third headline and a second line of description. The ad below is taking full advantage of this.
You want to literally take up every character that Google provides and put that within your ad. You’ll benefit from several ways:
- You’ll give the user significant information to determine if your business is a fit for them, before they click. This is what you want to avoid unwanted clicks that won’t convert into customers.
- You’ll take up more real estate within the Google Search results page. More space for you equals less space for your competitors, cool right?!
Use Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are additions to your ad to give even more information to your potential customers of the services and products you offer. The ad shown above uses these ad extensions and they benefit in several ways:
- They take up more real estate on the Search Engine Results Page.
- They will increase your quality score. Google shared that adding ad extensions will increase the quality of the ad, which means you’ll rank higher on the page and Google will gift you the opportunity to have lower cost per clicks.
This is a great article that goes over all of the ad extensions and the benefit of each. For example, you can have the following ad extensions:
- Callout extensions: Selling differentiators of your ad, for example: family owned, satisfaction guaranteed, etc.
- Call extensions: Phone number to your business (which you can track how many people call).
- Message extensions: This is one of my favorites, message extensions so your customers can text you. Given the digital age we live in, this is a great addition to search text ads.
- Sitelink extensions: Deep links within your site, example you can link to product or service pages.
- Structured snippet extensions: List of services or products that you offer.
- Price extensions: Price ranges, I personally like this as you can be upfront with the price of your services. If your price doesn’t fit within the users budget, they won’t click, thus saving you some money.
- Affiliate location extensions: Affiliate location extensions are geared for manufacturers where they can promote the nearest big box retailer to buy their products.
My ad copy blog post goes into more detail on ad copy best practices. M<y recommendation is to keep it simple and don’t stress about it. You should write 2-3 different ad copy and test them against each other. See which drives the highest click through rate (CTR) or even (CvR), conversion rate.
Google Search Keywords
Now we need to pick out keywords you should advertise against. A helpful approach is to put yourself in your potential customers shoes. What would they be searching if they are in market for your products and services.? Again, it doesn’t take a PhD to figure this out, just take a notepad and pad of paper and start writing down searches someone would type in.
Once you have this list, take it a step further and ask 4-5 friends/family members (pets not applicable).From there, you can use Google’s keyword planner tool to see what are relevant terms you should advertise on. I love the keyword planner tool as it will also give estimates on how many clicks you can expect from each of the targeted keywords.
Additionally, start typing in the searches within the Google search bar and see the suggested Searches Google offers. See example for tree service. This is a great source to identify new keywords.
The process of finding keywords is ongoing, always think of how a user would search. Often times they aren’t short searches like “tree service”. In the age of voice search (i.e. users searching on their phone from voice commands), search queries are getting longer. For example, the same business might get searches for “tree service for fallen tree in Dedham MA”.
I won’t belabor this segment, but keep it simple and start out with 10-15 relevant keywords and continue to expand. Once you’re live, you can check the search query report to identify search queries that are matching to your keywords. See a search query report below, for my business. From there you can find new keywords to ad, or even keywords to add as a negative keyword (thus excluding from serving on those search queries).
Additionally, I would highly recommend you advertise via Broad Match Modifier, which is putting a + in front of every word in your keyword. This means that each word with a + in front of, needs to be in the search query. This makes sure you’re only advertising on relevant keywords, while giving us the opportunity to expand to other search queries we didn’t think of, that have each of the keywords within the search query. Here’s a support article on how to setup broad match modified keywords.
Google Search Keyword Bids
When you advertise Google Search Ads, you only pay for every ad click. This has been, and continues to be one of Google’s main selling proposition. It works really well as you’re only reaching users who are in market for your products / services (based on what they’re searching) and you only pay if they click to your site. Sound pretty awesome, right? It’s because it is!
My theme (generally speaking for all marketing) is to keep it simple. Bids are not the exception to this. You can get very sophisticated by having unique bids by keyword, by device (mobile, desktop, tablet), but to start let’s keep it simple.
My recommendation is to set your daily budget you’re willing to spend (start small and scale up is my recommendation), and set the campaign bidding strategy to maximize clicks with enhanced CPC. This will maximize your investment by optimizing the campaign to squeeze as many website visitors out of your investment as possible. See screenshot below.
Enabling enhanced CPC allows Google to adjust bids if it feels like a user is more/less likely to become a customer.
In time, you can place bid modifications based on device, age, gender, household income, etc. but first start with this strategy then you can look at the data and place appropriate bid adjustments. In my opinion, the first bid adjustments should be by device as the performance by device typically varies significantly, see screenshot below.
Down the road, once you have conversions rolling in you can move to a more sophisticated bidding strategy, which is automated to either maximize conversions or hit a target cost per conversion you’re looking to hit.
Google Search Location Targeting
With Google Search you can advertise locally, nationwide or globally, depending on your business. Within the campaign settings, enter the geographic target you want to serve. A pro tip is to click under location options and make sure you select the box where it says: “people in your targeted location”. See the screenshot below.
This will ensure you only serve ads to users in this geolocation. If you select the first option, “people in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations”, you may serve outside your geo-target, if Google thinks they might be interested in that location. Take my advice, don’t do this. Often times you can serve to people in other countries. It will match if they did a search for something in your targeted area (i.e. check weather).
Google Search Conversion Tracking
This step is critical, every advertisers should setup conversion tracking so you know what you’re getting from your investment. Click this Google Support article on how to setup your Google Conversion Tracking.
Google Search Optimization Tips
Once you’re live for a few weeks, and you have conversion tracking setup (to track how many customers you’re getting from Paid Search), you can start optimizing. My general rule of thumb is to wait until you have 100-200 clicks before you start making changes. Once you get to this point, you can start making adjustments, such as.
- Keywords: Identify keywords that are driving conversions, to further push on, and identify keywords that aren’t performing well. For these, you can pause or pull back your bids.
- Devices: As mentioned earlier, you can modify your bids based on the performance of each device. Chances are you’ll see a varying degree of performance across devices, which you’ll want to adjust bids accordingly.
- Ad Copy: See which ad copy you’re getting a strong CTR and conversion rate, keep those live but pause the poor performing ads and replace with new ads leveraging learnings from the top performing ads. For example, take components of the top performing ad to test with the new copy.
- Network: You can segment performance based on network (Google Search and Google Partner Network), if the partner network isn’t driving customers, stop advertising on it.
- Demographics: If you look within the demographics report (left hand panel), you’ll see performance based on age, gender, and household income. You’ll definitely find varying degree of performance across each of these demos. Once you have data, you can update your bids accordingly.
- Time of Day and Day of Week: Depending on your business you’ll find that there are certain hours or days that work really well in driving customers. For example, if you’re a coffee shop, mornings are your jam. You’ll get a ton of traffic in the morning and folks clicking on your ad for directions. In this case, push heavily in the morning. Another example, if you’re an apparel retailer, you may find that folks are more likely to spend money in the evening, when they don’t have much on their plates (i.e. work, preparing dinner, etc). and are just winding down from the day. They may be sipping wine with may not hurt either :).
Helpful Google Ads Resources
For more helpful resources, check out the blog posts and articles below.
Google Ads Support
Google Ads Management
Google Ads How to Guides
Google Ads Optimization Tips
- Top 14 Google Ads Search Optimization Tips
- Auction Insights: What are they and how to make them actionable
- Google Search Partners
- AdWords Express vs. Google Ads
- Google Ads and SEO Synergies
- Google Ads – Questions and Answers
- Keyword Expansion Tip
- Google Search Ad Copy – Best Practices
- Top 5 Critical Search Settings to Check
- Google Customer Match
- In-Market Audiences
Google Ad Formats