My previous post talked about getting started with AdWords. In this post we will see how, with a little bit of direction, your business can reap the benefits of a streamlined PPC advertising campaign. If you’re looking for a place to start, Google AdWords is the easiest and most effective PPC service out there. Here are a few of the most important things you should know about AdWords when just starting out.
Be sure to establish a weekly budget right away, before any of your ads start running. Accidentally running up a thousand dollar bill is not the best way to start a campaign.
Google has a couple tools to help you decide which keywords you would like to include in your advertising campaign. The keyword tool will help you brainstorm variations and permutations of your search phrases. The find keyword tool within AdWords will help you get a sense for how many people search for your specific keywords, as well as how expensive bids may be for them. There are also numerous third-party tools to help you manage your AdWords campaigns.
Each different keyword is an entirely unique and independent market. When starting your campaign, it’s best to start with a large number of keywords and their variations. As the campaign proceeds, the data will show you how to trim the fat from your keywords to maximize the value of your ad dollars. You may be surprised to find that one variation of a keyword does a great job sending buyers to your website, while another yields only wasted clicks, visitors who leave your site immediately without a purchase.
When selecting keywords, be sure to know how to effectively use the four different match types: broad-match, phrase-match, exact-match, and negative keywords. Using different combinations of each type can reveal less competitive, less expensive markets. Negative keywords are particularly valuable. Type a minus sign before a specific keyword that you don’t want your ads displayed for. If you are selling legal services, add “-pro bono” to your keyword list to avoid paying to attract visitors who don’t intend to pay.
Organizing your campaign into appropriate ad groups is a great way to drive more traffic to your site for less money. Each ad group should include all of the keywords that you want for a particular ad. Keep in mind that the more your ad matches the keywords, the better. Keeping ad groups small and specialized increases the relevance and effectiveness of your ads.
The best thing about PPC advertising is the ability to instantly make evidence-based modifications to a campaign. By constantly running two different versions of your ad for each ad group, you can compare the efficacy of the versions, and continuously optimize your ad copy. When you have a large enough sample for each version, keep the better one and try to beat it with a new alternate version. Repeat.
Don’t setup your AdWords ads to link to your homepage, unless of course the home page is the most relevant page on your website. All links in your ads should lead directly to a page that is all about the keyword the visitor searched for. This will reduce your ads’ bounce rates, and will lower the cost of your ads, as keyword – landing page relevancy is one of the factors Google uses to determine your keywords’ quality score.
Google Analytics is AdWords’ best friend. Be sure to link your AdWords account to your Analytics account if you have both. This setting can be found under the “Reporting” tab in AdWords. If your site is properly setup with Analytics, you will be able to see important behavioral statistics of the visitors your advertising campaign drives to your site. You can even see differences in visitor behavior between different keywords. If you have an e-commerce site, Google can track how ad-driven visitors spend money on your site. Keep on top of these statistics, and you’ll be able to emphasize your most valuable keywords, and trim away keywords that have a negative ROI.