When correctly done, Google Ads and PPC advertising can deliver extremely valuable traffic and revenue for your business. It can enable you to gain a foothold in search results quickly, and its simple tracking and measurements make it easier to determine return on investment (ROI).
However, the opposite can also be true as unoptimised strategies and campaigns can result in huge amounts of money being wasted and potential customers lost before engagement.
If you have yet to use PPC and are thinking about implementing it in some form in 2020, the term stands for pay-per-click and is a marketing model where you pay a small fee every time someone clicks on your ads.
In contrast to content marketing, which is an organic method of driving traffic webpages, PPC effectively gives you a leg up by buying visits to webpages. PPC can be used alongside content marketing campaigns. It does not have to be an either-or situation.
Search engine advertising is a common form of PPC, and it allows you to bid on certain keywords that are relevant to your business and industry. If, for example, you’re a sports apparel company and bid on the word ‘leisurewear’, your ad may feature near the top of Google’s results page when a person enters that word in a query.
When the ad is clicked, you have to pay a small fee, but this outlay is almost always worth it as a visit to your webpage can lead to a host of positive customer actions and even a sale.
Optimise factors over time
Building effective PPC campaigns does take time, and inevitably mistakes are made when attempting to drive ROI. If you have recently got a campaign up and running and are struggling to make your paid traffic profitable, some of your basic fundamentals may be holding you back.
Conducting keyword research, setting landing pages, and outlining tracking methods are part and parcel of PPC strategies, but if you simply set them up once and don’t optimise over time, you will struggle to deliver consistent results.
Keeping an eye on your campaigns on a daily basis will throw up any red flags, such as low click-through-rates and keywords that are simply not converting. Acting on these quickly and decisively can bring a campaign back from the brink.
You also need to scale your strategy over time as a static approach can stagnate. When scaling up, you can focus on expanding your keywords list after you know they are beginning to convert and experimenting with new bidding strategies and different campaign types.
Make use of negative keywords
Negative keywords are an important part of PPC and those who fail to set any are missing out on an excellent way to streamline and target their campaigns.
Negative keywords are basically keywords that are the polar opposite of the keywords you will be using to target ad clicks. According to Google, they are “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase. This is also known as a negative match.”
A commonly used negative keyword is ‘cheap’, especially for premium and boutique-style brands with a focus on high-quality goods and services. You don’t want searchers clicking on ads when your offering is not suited to them at all as this will be a waste of money.
You can add a list of negative keywords in the ‘Keywords’ section of the Google Ads hub. If you need some inspiration, use a keyword research tool to find some irrelevant terms. These keywords will also optimise ad group relevancy, so don’t forget to set this up before starting.
Check the search term report
Google espouses the benefits of using its search terms report in its support guide for Google Ads. This report is a great resource for finding keywords and queries that people have used in the past to source content before clicking on your ad, which was shown in Google search.
The ‘match type’ column in the report will also tell you how closely these new terms are related to the keywords you are using in your campaign. You can find the report by navigating to the Campaigns section in Google Ads, where it is under the Keywords header.
The search term report can also throw up phrases that are not suited to your current campaigns. For example, if prospective employees are entering a query with your company name and the word ‘jobs’ or ‘career’ afterwards, you may be paying for clicks that are not leading to paying customers. While attracting employees is great, it will not drive leads and sales.
Finally, it can also give you some inspiration for your content marketing output as it will enable you to better understand your audience and the keywords they are using to get what they need.
Optimise bidding strategies
Google sets your bidding strategy to ‘automated’ by default when you get started, but this can be a costly oversight as there will not be a threshold in place for when it bids on the keywords you are targeting.
Fortunately, it’s easy to set up manual bidding by logging on to your account and navigating to the bidding section under the settings column for your campaign. While only a small tweak, this change could save you a significant amount of money.
Set up landing pages
A landing page is the entry point to your website after a user has clicked on an ad. You may have done all the hard work by getting the right person to your webpages, but if they see a page that doesn’t meet their expectations or support a specific action they were ready to take, you can lose custom entirely. Low conversion rates and soaring PPC costs will not translate to a successful campaign.
Building a landing page is relatively easy now and it will make all the difference when you get those ad clicks. Just make sure that the page aligns with the ad, has a simple and effective design without any flashy distractions, and allows the user to do whatever they came to your website for.
As with most things associated with marketing, a set-and-forget mindset is unlikely to deliver the ROI and results you need to support your business. A well-defined, optimised and scalable strategy will give you a platform from which to drive paid traffic to your all-important webpages.