If your corporate budget only supports advertising on one platform, Google AdWords is a worthy choice. Effectively a paid shortcut onto the mythical first page of search results, an AdWords campaign can be surprisingly time consuming.
Cut to the chase and optimise every click-through expense with our twelve-point AdWords guide:
- Research industry keywords. Establish which terms customers search for with an analytics package like KISSmetrics or Google Analytics. Choose keywords and phrases carefully, without paying a premium to appear beside generic industry terms.
- Prioritise top keywords. Having identified industry search terms, rate them in the most likely order of value. Seek second opinions on your longlist from colleagues or friends to determine where the lion’s share of your Google AdWords budget should be directed.
- Always use negative keywords. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes perfect sense. If you’re a freelance photographer, add “jobs” as a negative keyword to ensure your ad won’t display in searches for photography jobs. These won’t generate an ROI.
- Avoid broad matches. Your ad may display if people search for misspellings, similar terms or synonyms. As above, these deliver poor results with wasted click-throughs. Focus on exact matches, or phrase matches where words appear in a specific order.
- Run responsive display ads. Google’s focus on mobile traffic means adverts are now responsive in size and format. This ensures your ads look good on every device, eliminating the old Google AdWords routine of creating different advert styles.
- Create multiple rotating ads. You can have more than one ad campaign running at any given time. Use different CTAs and landing pages to measure relative success. Some experts recommend always revising the worst-performing ad to maximise traffic.
- Enable ad extensions. Additional elements can be incorporated into AdWords adverts at no extra cost, and you should use every available field. Price extensions are a prime example, displaying tiered service offerings that redirect to dedicated landing pages.
- Use geo-targeting with location-based bid modifiers. Geo-targeting ensures your advert only displays in relevant locations. The Geographic tab enables you to tweak bid modifiers for specific locations, depending on their perceived value.
- Make your content compelling. Expanded Text Ads (or ETAs) offer two headline fields of 60 characters, an 80-character description field and a display URL. Use every character to sell your business, persuading audiences to click for more details.
- Evaluate key times and days. Perhaps your clients search for you at weekends, or inbound enquiries won’t get answered after 5pm. Google AdWords campaign rules can be adjusted according to the season or weather, as well as specific days and times.
- Have a dynamic landing page. Generating traffic through AdWords is only half the battle. Audiences arriving on your site then need encouragement to buy or commit. Use concise and compelling editorial alongside memorable visuals to promote key USPs.
- Refine, refine, refine. Evaluate keyword performance on a monthly basis, dropping terms with few searches and redirecting budgets towards popular searches. Review your adverts too, in case they could make a more compelling case for your business.
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