When searching on Google, you may have noticed listings tagged with “Ad” at the top of the results. These listings are a result of Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform called Google Ads. Through this platform, businesses can bid on specific keywords so that their ads will display in Google’s search results. Businesses only pay when the ad is clicked, which is one of the reasons why this model is appealing to many businesses.
Investing in Google Ads is a great way to get your website in front of a larger audience and drive Internet business. There are many Google PPC best practices to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your digital marketing budget.
Find the Most Relevant Keywords
If you’re buying an advertisement on a billboard or TV, you’re likely hoping that your message will catch people’s attention at the right place and time. When using Google Ads, you can make sure that your message will display the moment a user searches for keywords relevant to your business. That’s why it’s important to be strategic when choosing your keywords.
As mentioned earlier, Google uses a bidding model. The more a keyword is searched, the more expensive it tends to be. If you choose popular, broad keywords, you will likely spend more on traffic that is less qualified. Instead, you should focus on more specific keywords that are relevant to your niche audience and that relate directly to the pages on your website that you are promoting. This will help you get more qualified leads that are more likely to become customers.
You should conduct keyword research to understand cost-efficient terms that you can target to reach your audience. Google has a keyword research tool, Keyword Planner, which you can find in the Tools section of the Google Ads platform. This is a great way to find relevant keywords and understand the average monthly searches and cost associated with these words. If you’d like a more granular understanding of keywords within your industry, there are a variety of other popular keyword research tools that many businesses use, such as Moz and SEM Rush.
Once you’ve conducted your research, try to select the keywords that are relevant, have a decent search volume, and aren’t overpriced. Make sure to keep a close eye on your keywords over time so you can eliminate keywords that are not bringing in new customers.
Use Small, Focused Ad Groups
When creating a Google Ads campaign, you can divide the campaign into multiple ad groups. Within each of these groups, you can add relevant keywords, ad copies, and landing pages from your website. When doing this, make sure that all of the elements within a group are connected. For example, the copy that you’re using on the ad should be directly related to the landing page that the ad is leading to. Keeping your ad groups specific and small will allow you to more easily organize your Google Ads strategy. More importantly, it will help you to drive more qualified leads to your site which will ultimately help you spend more efficiently on the platform.
Don’t Forget Negative Keywords
Google allows advertisers to add negative keywords, which exclude search terms from your campaigns. For example, through negative keywords, a women’s clothing store can make sure that its ads are not displaying for users who are searching for men’s clothing instead. Make sure that you are including the right negative keywords in your campaign. This will help you to focus only on the keywords that matter to your customers and improve your overall Return on Investment (ROI).
Use Call to Actions (CTAs) In Your Ads
The primary goal of a PPC ad is for a user to take action by clicking your ad. A call to action is a prompt, typically written as a command or action phrase, that encourages the user to take a specific action. These are typically in the form of a button or a hyperlink. Google Ads gives advertisers space to include CTAs, such as “Learn more”, “Buy now”, or “Sign up today.” Make sure to take advantage of this space and use the right CTA that will encourage users to act.
Create Strong Landing Pages
While getting a user to click your ad is important, your job does not end there. When advertising for your business on the Internet, each page on your website should have its own goal. Goals can include downloading a guide, signing up for a newsletter, or educating a visitor with relevant content. Regardless of what your goal is, make sure that your landing page is designed to accomplish that specific goal. To learn more about effective landing pages, check out our post, Landing Page Best Practices for Small Business.
Reach the Right People with Targeting Options
As we mentioned in our last post, SEO vs. PPC: Which is Best for Your Small Business, Google Ads provides advanced targeting capabilities that can make sure your business is getting in front of the right audience. You should make sure that all aspects of your campaign are relevant and specific to your target audience, from choosing the right keywords to designing landing pages that will resonate with a potential customer.
You can then use Google’s targeting capabilities to reach this specific audience. In addition to keyword targeting that we discussed above, Google also offers the following additional options for targeting Internet business:
- Geographic targeting: It’s important to make sure that your ads only appear in locations that are relevant to your business. For example, if your business only provides services to customers in Chicago, you don’t want to pay for ad clicks in New York.
- Interest targeting: Google has a lot of data on how people browse the web and what they’re interested in. You can take advantage of these insights by targeting your ads to users who like the types of things that suggest they’d be interested in your business.
- Device targeting: People often interact with ads differently on their mobile devices than on a desktop computer. You can design ads that are more relevant and useful to someone browsing on their phone or computer and make sure they show up on the right device type.
- Demographic targeting: You can target your ads based on gender and age as well. If your products are much more likely to be popular with teens than older adults, limiting your ads to just teenage browsers will reduce the number of irrelevant impressions and clicks.
- Behavior targeting: Through behavior targeting, you can target users who are on the verge of certain events, like a graduation or a move. You can also target based on a user’s intent, such as when someone’s actively researching new products. Behavior targeting also allows you to reach people who have already visited your site.
Each of these targeting options gives you more control over who will see your ads so that you can reach the right person at the right moment.
Perform A/B Testing
No matter how much marketing experience you have, it’s difficult to know exactly how your specific audience will respond to your ads on the first try. And unfortunately, researching best practices from other businesses can only teach you what was effective for them.
To better understand what works best for your specific audience, you should invest in A/B testing. In its most basic form, A/B testing is the process of testing two different versions of an element on a web page or a digital marketing campaign to see which of the two performs the best. For example, you can test out two ads that are the same, except they have slightly different CTAs.
A/B testing allows you to make data-driven decisions to improve your PPC campaigns and ultimately drive more conversions. You can create multiple mini A/B tests in your ad campaigns, which will help you gain little bits of data over time and optimize your campaign accordingly. To learn more about A/B testing best practices, check out our post, The Ultimate Small Business Guide to A/B Testing.
Monitor and Update Your Campaigns Regularly
Make sure to regularly monitor the performance of your campaigns and optimize them accordingly. Google provides advertisers with valuable, real-time performance metrics that can help you understand which tactics work best for your specific audience. These learnings can help you tweak your campaigns and increase your ROI over time.
Google Ads can be extremely effective if you take the time to use them well. You can start by using these best practices, but continue to learn through the data and insights you gain from your campaigns. With each new ad, you can continue to improve your performance toward a strong ROI and a more relevant Internet business.