Adwords Pay Per Click Survival Tips

Many people that have used pay per click advertising with Google Adwords often describe it as operating in a hostile environment. Even while this search engine giant is making $15 billion dollars a years on their paid search business, they aren’t doing anything that makes it easier for you to work with them.

However, to be fair we must understand that Google has two customer bases to balance, with each of them being unable to exist without the other. On one hand, Google has to please the searchers that want good information, quality content, fast answers, relevant search engine and paid search results, and no spam. On the other hand they have the advertisers that want traffic and lots of it for as cheaply as possible.

There are a few “bad apples” out there that will try to use underhanded techniques and get rich quick schemes to get ahead. These are the advertisers that Google is really concerned about. The problem is that when Google tries to take measures to protect their searchers and themselves from underhanded advertisers, the well intentioned ones suffer.

Adwords can be a very profitable place to invest your advertising budget. In fact, I make most of my living doing so. The key is to understand the (sometimes unwritten) rules, tips, and tricks to employ in order to keep Google happy. If Google is happy, then your per click costs will be going down, and your traffic will be going up. The added benefit is that making Google happy will generally result in better profitability for you as well.

Google is happiest when your ad is getting a high CTR (click through rate, meaning lots of people are clicking on your ad), and the people who click on your ads are satisfied with the information they see on your web site. This
makes Google the most money, and should work the same for you. Google measures how “happy” people are with the web sites they visit by how quickly they hit that back button.

Here are some tips that can rescue your Adwords campaigns:

Tip #1 Keywords

First of all, you just don’t have enough of them.

Regardless of the market you’re in, you should have no less than 300 to 500 keywords in your campaigns. If you are using less than this, you are undoubtedly leaving profitable keywords on the table.

Make use of a good keyword research tool like Keywordtopia or Wordtracker. These tools are easy to use. Simply plug in the most general term, or “root” term, that describes your targeted market or product into the chosen tool. You’ll likely be very surprised by the terms that will be delivered. Many times keywords are uncovered that you would have never considered on your own.

Don’t forget plural versions of existing keywords.

Increase your keyword list by looking for combination multipliers like cities and states. For instance, rather than using just one keyword like “weight loss center”, use that term along with each city and state. Next, use each city and state along with plural version of the term.

Take the time to brainstorm with colleagues and friends and add the terms you come up with to your campaigns. Before long you will have thousands of keywords at work in your Adwords campaign.

Tip #2 Proper Usage of Match Types

There are three match types in Google; broad, phrase, and exact. Check out Google’s Adword’s help documents for a discussion about how each one works. Most people who are just starting out with Adwords make this mistake. They only bid on the broad match. That is, putting the keyword or phrase by itself with no quotes or brackets around it. In fact, Google has a built in suggestion to start out only using this match type. That is not always sound advice.

I think its best to bid on all three match types. This also triples your keyword list. Since there is really no way to know which match type is most effective, you have to try them and track them and make adjustments as needed.

Tip #3 Keyword Grouping

Most advertisers start out with one ad group and stuff hundreds or even thousands of keywords or phrases into it. This does not make Google happy. They immediately think that you can’t possible write relevant ads for all these keywords, and have relevant landing pages etc. So, they tend to give you a low quality score and your clicks will be very expensive (if you can even get your ads running).

The best way to approach pay per click advertising is to make tightly focused ad groups. The way most advertisers accomplish this is with a theme. Basically, if all the keywords in an ad group can be served by a highly targeted ad and relevant landing page, they are considered to be well grouped. However, I recommend usingĀ an ad group for each keyword. Since you are using all three match types, each ad group has just three keywords or key phrases in it. Yes, this can be a lot of work to set up, but there are some good tools to help with the job. In fact, you can use Google’s Adwords Editor which is free.

Tip #4 Landing Pages

You absolutely must have targeted landing pages that address each of the conversations your customers have when they start searching for something.

For example, if you are advertising a service and trying to capture leads from people that are trying to sell their San Francisco home, you should send them to a landing page that gives them reasons why they should choose you as their listing broker. If you’re trying to capture leads from people that will be relocating to London, send them to a landing page that talks about your expertise in helping people purchase homes and handling relocations.

Many times advertisers capture completely different types of customer leads and send them straight to their home page. This rarely makes a person happy since they would like to continue the conversation they were having and quickly get the answers they are searching for.

The last thing they want to do is navigate their way through your website to find what they’re looking for. Since they are unhappy about landing on a page that doesn’t help them, they almost instantly hit the back button. Not only does this not please Google, but you’ve lost a sale, spent money on a click, and will likely be penalized with higher charges for future clicks.

Tip #5 Writing your Ads

While this topic could warrant writing an entire article about it, I’ll just highlight the most common mistakes to avoid.

You must try to repeat the keyword or phrase in the ad (this is why keyword grouping is important). Google makes the assumption that if you repeat what the user typed in, your ad is most likely relevant. They will reward this with lower bid prices.

Never carry a thought or sentence from one line to the next. Most people don’t really read the ads, but skim them quickly and click on one that attracts them.

Capitalize the first letter of each word. There is scientific proof that this will increase clicks. Why? It really doesn’t matter to me and it shouldn’t matter to you. Use this technique because it works!

Make proper use of the display URL, especially if it contains the keyword. Don’t use, but It’s easy to see which one draws more attention.

Tip #6 Split testing

When setting up an ad group, write two different ads. Then monitor them carefully to determine which one performs better. You can increase your clicks by 3 times, maybe more by taking this step. It doesn’t matter what you change about the ads, just make them different and always test and monitor.

Once you declare an ad a winner, ditch the under performing ad and write a new one in an effort to beat out the declared winner. Search the Internet for a split test calculator that will help you get a statistical answer.

Tip #7 Use of the Content Network

I recommend turning the content network off at first, and then taking the terms that have been profitable for you and starting another campaign that ONLY advertises on the content network.

If you do both in one campaign, it can be extremely difficult to effectively track both your keywords and the performance of your ads.

Tip #8 Geographic and schedule targeting

Use both if it makes sense for your market.

Using the earlier London real estate example, you would run two separate campaigns in an effort for trying to get area listings. People that are searching for “Sell house London” are not paying attention to geography, and people searching for the more general term “sell house”, targeting only people in London.

Use the scheduling feature to examine all the metrics. There will be some campaigns that will only be profitable to run on weekends for example. If you are able to determine this, it would make sense to only run your ads then.

Tip #9 Conversion Tracking

If you do nothing else, do this. You must track conversions!

If you don’t know what you’re getting for you’re advertising dollar, how can you make good decisions?

If you’re selling a product online, the best way to track conversions is to use Google’s own conversion tracking tool. This works extremely well. It’s a simple bit of code that is placed on your sales confirmation page that tells Google that, for this particular keyword or phrase, a sale was made. Google stores and reports the information so you can go to one place to see exactly what you spent on keywords, and what your return on that investment was.

There are several ways to do this, and it can be more difficult to do if you’re not selling something; however, it’s absolutely mandatory.

Tip #10 Bid Adjustments

All keywords are not created equally. You must examine your spending and your conversions for each and every keyword and adjust the bid (individually) for each of them.

Bonus Tip – Learn about the Adwords editor and use it to increase the profitability of your pay per click advertising.

Learn more about AdWords. Stop by Robert D’Arcy’s site where you can find out all about driving internet traffic with AdWords & other pay per click channels.

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