Pay per click ads (PPC ads) are becoming more and more popular even with small businesses, especially with Google constantly making changes to its search engine’s algorithm that has companies looking into every channel possible to get their websites ranking high in search results. PPC brings a more immediate return compared to organic methods that require more time investment, such as creating quality content, sharing on social media, and reaching out to influencers and authoritative sites.
However, pursuing PPC does not guarantee you will get the traffic and the sales you want. Without managing your PPC strategy properly, you might end up wasting all the money you spent getting the wrong leads that drive traffic but don’t convert. With more businesses making their presence online, you cannot afford to make mistakes that your competitors will not hesitate to capitalize on.
Here are five PPC tips that you should take to heart so that you establish a good lead over the competition.
1. Add Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are basically the keywords you do not want your PPC ads to show up for. They act as the filters for your PPC campaign, so that your ads are directed exactly to the kind of people you want to get to your site. Adding negative keywords helps make sure you get more qualified leads, improving your click-through and conversion rates. Your ads’ Quality Scores will also see an increase when you’re using Google AdWords, which we will talk about in more detail later.
An example of how you should be using negative keywords is when your ad wants to bring in customers looking for a “mechanic”, not people looking for a job as a mechanic.
When using Google AdWords, you can see the search terms being used that trigger your ads by clicking on the Keyword tab, selecting a keyword, and then clicking on “See search terms”. Study the terms being used, and you should figure out which keywords aren’t relevant. Look for the Negative Keywords option when you click the Keyword tab, and click on Add to create your list of keywords for your ads to ignore.
2. Use Demographic Targeting
As the name suggests, this method of using PPC ads is about identifying what makes up your target audience so you can tailor your campaign to keywords that fit those people’s lifestyles and desires. Google Adwords’ has the feature which you can access by clicking on the Display Network tab. Look for the “Change display targeting” button, and select the ad groups that you’re planning on using demographic targeting.
The options right now are limited to gender and age, but they should be enough to narrow down your target audience to get more qualified leads for the ads. You also have to keep in mind that the information Google is getting about the demographics is also limited, as there are privacy concerns with how many Internet users want their age and gender to be available to businesses.
3. Start Using Image Ads
The value of simple link ads with descriptive copy cannot be denied, but there is always going to be a more immediate response from the target audience when seeing an advertisement that has visual elements to it.
With Google AdWords, you can create image ads that will show up on sites that are part of the Google Display Network (meaning the sites that run AdSense). Which sites those image ads will appear in is decide through contextual targeting. It takes into consideration all the keywords in your ad group, and then matches them with sites that have similar displays or themes.
You can also choose the exact sites for your ads to appear in that are within the Google Display Network. With a Google AdWords account, you can check out the full list of GDN partners.
Remember that you still need to write copy for the ads. The people seeing them on the display network aren’t always going to be in the stage of wanting to buy products immediately. Focus on getting your business’ brand out there and attracting possible leads with “benefits” instead of a hard sell “buy now” message.
4. Maximize Your Quality Score and Pay Less
With Google AdWords, the program evaluates how helpful your ads, keywords and landing pages are to the user. Generally speaking, the higher the score, the lower the costs and the better the positions for your ads.
Google calculates the Quality Score every time someone triggers your ad through search. It checks the expected click-through rate (CTR) of the keywords, CTR of the display URL, and the CTR history of the entire account you’re using. It also checks the relevancy of the keywords with the ad and with what the users are searching for, as well as the quality of the landing page.
On top of those factors, it also sees how well the account has been doing for the regions and devices it’s targeting (with mobile becoming a more important platform), and the ad’s performance on websites if it’s on the Display Network.
The only things you have full control of here are the quality of the ad in relation to the keywords you’re using and the quality of the landing page. Work on the copy, and optimize your landing page for the best results. Don’t be too restrictive by going for phrase and exact matches, and don’t get too specific with the keywords to the point very few people are using them in their searches.
5. Bid on Your Brand Terms
It might sound like a complete waste of money to do so, as there is the assumption that organic listings will have your site ranking at the top for such terms. You might also believe that the paid search ads for your brand could take away from the organic traffic you’re getting. The latter argument is easily laid to rest by Google itself with a study proving otherwise.
As for the former, there is a very real chance that your competitors might be bidding on your brand terms, topping your organic listing with a fully optimized paid ad.
Besides avoiding the risk of sneaky competitors leeching off of your brand, you should also bid on your brand terms to control the results pages with more links to your site. This increases the chances of the searchers clicking on your links.
Paid ads to your site will also be better optimized in getting your message to the searchers that you have what they are looking for, and in directing them to the best landing pages that you know will convert.
A successful PPC campaign that will put you ahead of your competition relies on having a focused approach to the keywords you’ll be using, understanding the power of visuals, and cementing control over your brand. Do you have any other PPC tips you believe need mentioning? Sound off in the comments section!