Don’t Let Your Google AdWords Go Down the Gurgler

With so much competition for the Internet advertising dollar, you have to be at the top of your game to make your AdWords campaigns pay dividends. Here’s how…Google Adwords2A colleague commented recently that AdWords has become a lot like playing Blackjack at a table full of novices. When they don’t know the rules of the game it makes it that much harder for you to win.

I have to trust him on that one because I don’t play Blackjack.

But I understand what he’s saying: FREE Google AdWords vouchers are a dime a dozen (excuse the inverted pun!) these days, so every would-be Webpreneur who’s been online more than 10 minutes thinks s/he can crack the big time without the slightest clue about what they’re doing.

Not so.

Google is continually making AdWords more complex and results-driven, so you have to stay clued up to stay in the game. The AdWords game, that is.

To guarantee you a successful AdWords campaign, here are my top strategies (BTW. I’m assuming a basic knowledge of how AdWords works. If you’re a newbie, go to Google’s AdWords for Beginners Tutorials):

1.    Structure Your Campaign from the Ground Up

Above you can see a simple diagram about how your AdWords accounts are structured.

Let’s use an example to illustrate how it all works:

Organic Cotton TshirtYou sell quality men’s, women’s and kid’s organic cotton T-shirts, so you would organize 3 separate campaigns for each group of ads – men’s, women’s and kid’s (and more if you have other categories; Google allows you up to 25 campaigns per account).

Each campaign can be specifically targeted by:

•    Daily budget
•    Location
•    Language
•    Distribution, ie., content sites or search engines

Within each campaign, you can have specific Ad Groups with their own ads, keywords, and cost per click.

So in this example, under your Women’s T-shirt Ad Campaign, you could have Ad Groups containing all the keywords related to the various spellings of T-shirt, women’s cotton T-shirts, women’s color T-shirts etc.

Same goes for all the other Ad Campaigns you’ve created. You can have up to 2000 Ad Groups per Campaign with up to 2000 keywords per Ad Group.

2.    Keywords are the Key

Develop your keyword list based on your target market, current site analytics, and keyword search tools (AdWords has its own Keyword Tool) for each Ad Group theme. (And don’t forget misspellings and variations with words like “tee shirt”).

Once you have a comprehensive keyword list for each Ad Group, cull the list of all one word or generic keywords and focus on 2 and 3 word phrases. Also cull irrelevant and unrelated keywords.

Google Adwords offers its advertisers an extremely useful tool called “keyword matching”, which I recommend you use: Keyword matching controls how precise a search phrase has to be to trigger your ad on the Google search results page.

The 4 keyword matching options are:

Broad Match (the default) displays your ad when any variation on your keyword is entered.  So, using the above example, when a searcher types in “T shirt”, your ad is going to appear.

Sure, broad match reaches the most users but in 99% of cases they are not targeted to your product, so are an absolute waste of time.

Phrase match narrows and refines the results by only showing searches that are an exact match for your keywords. If one of your keywords is “childrens organic t-shirts” and a searcher types in “cotton childrens organic t-shirt”, then your ad will be displayed. The words must be in the same order as your keyword. Phrase match won’t display your ads when the searcher alters the order of the words, like, “organic t-shirts for children”.

To choose the phrase match option, enclose your selected keywords with quotation marks, like,childrens organic t-shirts.

Exact match narrows your results even further by only displaying your ad when the exact keyword phrase you’ve selected is typed in. An example would be “organic cotton t-shirts”. Your ad will only be displayed if the user types in “organic cotton t-shirts”.

To choose the exact match option, enclose your selected keywords with square brackets, like, [organic cotton t-shirts].

Negative match stops your ad from appearing when specified words or phrases are used. For example, if you specify “nike” (or any brand name) in your list of negative matches, your ad won’t appear.

Use negative match to prevent unnecessary or irrelevant search phrases displaying your ad.

To specify which words you choose for this option, use a minus sign before the keyword, like,nike.

Note:  Phrase match, exact match and negative match drastically reduce the number of impressions (displays) your ads have, but dramatically improve the targeting of those ads and your overall Google ‘Quality Score’. (We’ll be talking about this a bit later.)

3.  It’s All in the Words

The art of writing an effective AdWords ad is about how creative you can get with only a couple of words to work with.

Let’s look at it this way: each Google search results page can display up to 10 ads and YOUR AD has to be the one that captures the viewer’s attention, so you need to go for the jugular.

But, with so few words to work with, it can be like going for the jugular with a plastic butter knife, unless you know the skills and techniques to attract and mesmerize those viewers.

The Headline should include 2 essentials: the keywords you are targeting (if your ad keywords are identical to the searcher’s keywords they will appear in bold print), and what you have to offer. The more inviting the offer, the more attractive it will be to the searcher.

The Description also needs to include 2 essentials:  why the searcher wants your product – think benefits, benefits, benefits, and a call to action.

Include the most important points first and fast. Add another benefit if possible and end with a persuasive call to action.

The Display URL doesn’t necessarily have to be the URL of the landing page (there is a separate box for that), but it helps to let your visitor know what the name of your site is, and if possible, the name of the page they are going to. It helps if your site name relates to the ad.

Oh, and by the way, Google are very picky about the language you use, so they would reject the first ad because the word “luv” doesn’t exist. They will also reject blatant sales pitch, excessive punctuation and capitalized letters (unless it’s an acronym).

And one final thing: your landing page needs to reflect what you are selling in your ad. Refer to our 10 Essential Tips to Create a Killer Landing Page to learn more.

4.  Multiple Testing

The most successful way to determine how well your AdWord content is performing is to create at least 3 or 4 ads for each Ad Group, all with slight variations in text. Google AdWords will display all of the ads in an Ad Group until it can assess which ad has the highest click-through rate (CTR), and then that ad will get the most impressions.

It’s not worth the time and money to run your ads if you aren’t prepared to continually monitor their performance. And then “tweak” the ads to continually improve that performance.

Use the “base model” method to improve performance and get more bang for your buck. This means:

•    With each set of ads in an Ad Group, look for the best performing ad by percentage of impressions and CTR. This becomes your “base model” ad;
•    Make at least one “tweak” to the remaining ads by changing at least one word per ad;
•    If there is a huge variation in CTRs between the “base model” and the others ads, make the change by using one of the words in the “base model”;
•    Test again the next day (or sooner) and see how the results have altered;
•    The goal is to try and beat the “base model” by creating a new and better performing ad;
•    That ad then becomes your “base model” and the cycle continues.

5.  Google’s Quality Score

Google gives each ad in its network a Quality Score based on its relevance and popularity plus a number of other factors. The higher the Quality Score, the higher up the search engine results page your ad will appear and the less you have to pay for it. Absurd, but true.

Google Quality Score

If your Quality Score isn’t high enough, not only will your ad end up on the tail end of the listings, Google can also demand such a high bid price per keyword, your campaign budget becomes unrealistic.

To find out more about how Google determines the Quality Score and what you need to do to have your ad appear in the first couple of listings, have a look at Google Performance.



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  • Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  • Thanks Calvin, we are constantly putting out content that will help our readers to be more successful and I am glad that you find it useful.

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