Google AdWords is one of most powerful online marketing tools available today, capable of providing a substantial return on investment and boost to your bottom line.
The bad news is that unless you use it correctly, your precious marketing and advertising dollars may be wasted.
How do you master this elusive platform? Our AdWords team tells us it’s as much art as science — and you have to use a bit of both when designing your campaigns.
How Does Google AdWords Work?
AdWords is Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform, and an effective way to improve your position in the search engines while your organic SEO efforts gain a foothold. It’s also ideal for special events, sales and to respond to whatever may be going on in the marketplace.
When you run a Google search, the top three (+/-) results typically have a small “Ad” box next to the URL. When you see those, you know someone is running an ad campaign based on the keywords or phrase you used for your search.
The advertiser doesn’t have to pay for the privilege of you seeing their ad; they only pay if you click on it.
What if you click on a paid AdWords link, but you don’t buy whatever it is they’re selling? The advertiser has paid for that click, but without a conversion, that is essentially money down the drain.
The science of AdWords is the mechanical process of building a campaign and entering the necessary information. Where the artistry comes in is making sure the ads only get shown to people who are the most likely to convert to a sale after clicking that link.
The Art of AdWords Keyword Matching
When you set up a campaign, you tell AdWords what keywords or key phrases you want to match. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Except in our example above, you clicked on an ad that was targeted to your search term, but you didn’t buy. Why not?
Maybe that business was not in your local area. Or maybe you got to their website and discovered that what they had to sell wasn’t exactly what you wanted to buy.
You accounted for just a single click and likely cost the advertiser only a few pennies, but what if this happens over and over? It means they didn’t do a good job with keyword matching, for one. And it means that a large portion of the money spent on the campaign was wasted.
Google AdWords offers several different options for keyword matching, and each can be customized in many more ways. The main options are exact match, phrase match and broad match.
Choosing broad match, which is what most non-SEO experts would naturally do, will put your ad in front of a larger audience, potentially few of whom may be looking for what you have to offer. For that reason, choosing a broad match strategy for an AdWords campaign is almost always the wrong choice.
Instead, we have to use AdWords keyword matching strategies that ensure we reach the right audience — an audience of qualified prospects.
Using Geographical Limiting in Google AdWords Campaigns
Unless you have an unlimited AdWords budget, you can (and should) limit your campaign reach geographically. This is true even if you sell to a national (or international) audience.
This is where your marketing data analytics come in handy. Where are your customers coming from? If you can identify any specific geographical trends, use them to tailor your Google AdWords campaign.
If you sell in your local market, put limits on that too. Do you track your customer data? What part of your community are they coming from? If they primarily come from one part of town, or from a 3-mile radius from your location, put that knowledge to use.
The reason for this is purely economic. The wider the net you cast with your campaign, the higher the chance it will land in front of nonqualified (i.e., not really a prospect) searchers. Although, if that’s not obvious to the searcher, they may click your link anyway — and that’s exactly what the art of AdWords seeks to avoid.
With AdWords, It’s OK to Be Negative
AdWords also allows you to enter negative keywords. This allows you to delimit the exposure of your ads to Google searchers who use certain words or terms.
For example, if you sell high-end athletic shoes, you can exclude the words “cheap,” “inexpensive,” etc. in your AdWords campaign. If you run a bakery and you want to run a special on chocolate-chip cookies, you can exclude the word “recipe,” assuming that searchers who include that word are more interested in baking — rather than buying — their cookies.
These examples of negative keyword matching are very basic, but they give you some idea of how useful this targeting tool can be for your Google AdWords campaigns.
Monitor Your Search Terms History
Google AdWords gives you the capability to monitor the search terms that triggered the display of your ad (impressions) and which ones led to click-throughs. This is an important tool for helping you fine-tune your campaigns. And if you have the tracking systems in place, you can use these to provide invaluable insight into conversions.
This tool can help you refine your keywords and phrases, especially negative keywords and key phrases.
Be Locally SEO uses AdWords PPC as a key component of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for businesses across the U.S. We are a certified Google Partner, with a dedicated team of AdWords specialists who do nothing but design, execute and fine-tune our clients’ PPC campaigns.
Contact us today to learn how our platform of SEO, Local SEO, website design, social media, content marketing and Google AdWords can take your business to a higher level.