In 2012, Google reported their search engine was used worldwide 3.2 billion times a day (Ardor SEO). We can only imagine that the number has reached the trillions today. Google AdWords is a must-have strategy to increase traffic to your latest marketing campaign. But before you set up your Google AdWords account and select the perfect keywords for your ad campaign, read our four steps for ensuring your paid search campaign has a positive ROI.
First, let’s cover the basics.
What is paid search and how does it work? Basically, paid search allows your company’s site to have premium placement in search engine results when a web user types in a specific keyword or phrase. The cost is usually based on clicks or views of the ad. Simply put, you pay to rank on sponsored search listings.
When should you invest in paid search? Paid search is a great solution if your search engine score is low. Ideally, your website should display in the top five search results on the first page. According to Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92% in recent years. Second-page results are far from a close second coming in at below 6% of all website clicks. Additionally, the first five results receive 67.6% of clicks, whereas the remaining five only receive 3.73%.
A more recent study by Moz shows that organic click-through rates have dropped by 25% on desktops and 55% on mobile. This is because Google is providing more ads per query, increasing the size of the ads, and has designed a subtler ad labeling, making the ad content less obvious. Including paid advertising allows your site to bump up to the top of the list, enhancing your company’s online presence.
How should you use paid search? Think of paid search as an anonymous focus group to help optimize your campaign landing pages and keywords. Use the first few weeks of your paid search campaign to direct traffic to variant web pages and perform an A/B test. Ultimately, find the page with the highest conversion rate and invest your ad spend there.
You can also use your ad campaign to find new keywords. Google AdWords generates a “Search Terms” report that displays all the keywords for which your ad has been displayed. For example, if you are bidding on the keyword “email marketing‟, Google may serve your ad when someone searches “smart email marketing.” Even though you did not bid on the exact word, the keyword “smart email marketing” will be included in this report because that’s what the user searched. This report shows you how close your selected keywords are to what’s actually searched. The report also displays the performance of each keyword, so you can determine if it’s worth adding to your campaign.
Now, let’s optimize your AdWords campaign.
Once you have the basics covered, here are four best practices to optimize your AdWords spending.
Bid on keywords that match your goal. There are infinite ways Google allows users to search for content. Simply typing in keywords means you’ve set up a broad match criteria. While your goal may be to reach as many impressions through Google, it also means your campaign is less targeted and you may spend more per click if your leads are not qualified. Consider using phrase matching “” or exact matching  for a more targeted approach. See examples below.
EXACT MATCHING CRITERIA: [Washington DC email marketing services]
PHRASE MATCHING CRITERIA: “DC marketing services”
BROAD CRITERIA: Marketing services
Start your campaign with a broad keyword search strategy and see what the results bring in. Then optimize your keyword buys for only those who only yield qualified leads.
Use a different ad group and landing page per keyword group. Google rewards the most relevant ad content to create an optimal search experience. So, the more targeted your ad and landing page are to your keywords, the more likely Google will display your ad even if your max bid is lower than a competitor whose content isn’t as relevant. This is what Google calls a quality score. It’s an algorithm that scores each of your ads for relevancy – it looks at how closely your keyword relates to your ad and in turn how your ad relates to your landing page. Google scans your landing pages to ensure companies aren’t buying ads and directing searchers to irrelevant pages. Improve your quality score by creating variable landing pages based on the keyword group you’ve purchased.
Improving click rates means a lower CPC from Google. By providing the most relevant content to the user searching, Google rewards your ad by lowering the click cost and serving your ad to more users. This is why it is imperative to take time selecting and testing your keywords and optimizing your content based on keyword groups.
Test at all times. Split test every single ad group with at least one other advertisement. This means you can buy the same keywords and test the matching criteria as well as the ad content. You’d be surprised at how the performance of an ad can improve with simple updates to the typography. Try all capitals, all lowercase, or changing punctuation styles to make your ad stand out from the rest. Aim for a standard conversion rate of 2% for each test.
Still have questions about Google AdWords or need help setting up a paid search strategy? Shoot your questions over to our team of MOSAIC experts, and we’ll provide you with a complimentary consultation.