Everyone wants to be number one on Google, right? Well, that may or may not happen for you, but you can up your chances and your ranking, by complementing your current ranking techniques (keyword usage, lots of relevant, quality content) by using Google AdWords PPC.
Already ranking high in organic (non-paid) results? Great! You can still run ads to saturate the market and draw attention to your brand. Look at HubSpot (right). They have the top two organic listings in a search for ‘inbound marketing software’, but they also have a prominent paid advertisement.
Why Use Google AdWords?
Aside from the obvious – getting more brand exposure and website traffic, Google AdWords allows you to test landing pages. Send a user who clicks on one ad to landing page A and a user who clicks on the other to landing page B, and you have enough data to do basic A/B testing! Look at how many conversions each generates to see which is performing better overall. Then adjust your ads and your organic marketing accordingly.
Running AdWords can also help you find keywords to target in your content and social marketing, as well. You may start out targeting the term, “outsource social media”, but then you run a search terms report and find out that “help with social media,” actually performs better. You can then add the keyword to your campaign, and to your general keyword list.
Keywords, Ads and Landing Pages
The three elements to paid search are keywords, ads and landing pages. Your keywords tell Google which search words and terms should trigger your ad. Your ad should appeal to users entering that keyword phrase, and your landing page should be closely related to your keyword AND your ad, increasing the chances of conversion (providing lead data, purchasing online, etc.). This article focuses on keywords and bidding.
Should I Choose Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression?
Pay Per Click means just that – you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Pay Per Impression is also self-explanatory, though it is often referred to as CPM, which ends up meaning cost per thousand impressions. When starting out, unless your goal is simply to increase exposure, it is best to choose PPC. That way you only pay for ads which bring viewers to your landing page.
Bidding on Keywords and Other Factors to Determine Placement
The price you bid will almost always be higher than what you will actually pay. Placement is, instead, based on the lowest bidder occupying the least valuable spot. So, while the lowest-placed advertiser may have bid $1.25/click and you bid $4/click, you may only end up spending $2.50/click for the top spot.
Keeping keywords, ads and landing pages tightly aligned, can also give you an advantage in the listings. For instance, if yours are all closely related and you bid $2.50/click and your competitor’s are not well-aligned, even if they bid $4/click, you may still appear above them in the listings. Why? Google knows that keywords and ads that are well aligned means more clicks, which means more money for them! Oh, and it also makes for more satisfied searchers.
Keyword Match Types
Because any 100 people might search for the exact same product or service using 100 different phrases, AdWords gives you three different ways to choose keywords to display your ads.
Exact Match only displays your ad if the searcher enters the exact keyword in the exact order you specified. For example, if I set the keyword phrase [outsource social media], and someone searched for “outsourcing my social media,” they would not see my ad – though they might be very interested in my service!
Pros: You can target a very specific audience for your ads, reducing ad spend.
Cons: You’ve drastically limited your reach and will not get a lot of traffic. The terms you THINK people are searching for might not be the ones they really use.
Phrase Match shows your ad when the search term contains your keyphrase in the same order you specified, but it can include other words. So, searching for “outsource my social media” would trigger my ad on my keyword phrase “outsource social media.” Searching for “social media outsourced” would not trigger my ad, because they words are not in the same order.
Broad Match displays your ad when the searched phrase contains any of your keywords in the phrase, in any order. It also allows for variations such as singular or plural forms of your key words. The phrase “social media outsource in China” could trigger my ad for “outsource social media.”
You might choose to start with some broad match keywords, watching very closely to see which terms convert well (and to make sure your budget isn’t blown right away. Then use those in an exact or phrase match keyword.
Pros: A high volume of traffic, which can actually be a con…
Cons: A large amount of untargeted traffic from people who are not interested in your product or service. For example, if someone searches “outsource” and your ad for “outsource my social media appears,” what are the chances that they are interested in that, as opposed to outsourced IT support?
Negative Match allows you to block your ad from being displayed when a particular search term is entered. For instance, if I set the keyword “shouldn’t” to negative match, a search for “shouldn’t outsource social media” would not display my ad.
Keep on testing until you figure out what works best for you. Add and delete keywords over time, and keep watching, because just when you think you have it figured out – it will change!
Next Up - Ad Groups, Campaigns and Budgets.
- 7 Practical Uses for Your Google AdWords Search Query Data (searchenginepeople.com)
- How to Perform Keyword Research – in Seven Simple Steps (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Improve Your Paid Search Marketing ROI in Five Steps (scalablesocialmedia.com)