Search & Destroy: Use These 3 Rules to Navigate the Treacherous Waters of Google Ads
Whether or not you appear amongst the search engine results in the form of paid ads depends on many factors, most important of which is your bid and 3 fundamental rules! In the case of PPC (pay per click ads), not following these 3 rules will result in low quality scores, which translates to higher advertising costs. The cost per click is based on your Ad Rank, which is a combination of your bid and a quality score that Google assigns based on the relevancy of your keyword, your ad, and your landing page.
The 3 rules can be characterized as: Join or Die. Google’s objective is to create a seamless search experience, and the 3 rules uphold this objective; violators will be persecuted. Sounds pretty harsh right? Let’s unpack these golden rules so as to adhere to them and thrive! Being “the dude that abides” pays off in real terms.
To please Uncle Google, you must:
Be relevant. Build the strategy and structure of each ad around users’ search intent. Don’t pretend to have that thing people search for if you don’t. If people bounce off your website, Google perceives it as poor user experience and decreases your quality score. Since you pay for every click, it is also in your interest to bring relevant traffic to the site.
Optimize the site for mobile. In Q3 of 2018, as much as 43% of all US site traffic is coming from mobile**. Make sure that your mobile site has short loading times and is fully functional. Failing to provide a good mobile experience is a big miss in Google’s eyes (and again, a damaging blow to quality scores.
Follow Google’s advertising guidelines. Don’t use click baits, tricky copy, excessive capitalization, etc. Google may even suspend your account if you rub them the wrong way. It is highly recommended you review these guidelines. You can find them here. Read the guidelines. Read them.
Following Google’s rules? Here’s what to do next!
Once you’ve made sure that you’re in line with searchers’ intents and you offer a smooth user experience, it is time to take care of the other crucial components: bidding and optimization. When you enter the digital arena, you are operating in a competitive and dynamic environment, and the cost of each click largely depends on your competitors’ ad rank. So, given the high competitive stakes, how do you work with the account to make the most out of your budget?
1) Measure and evaluate.
Define your advertising objective on Google Ads. Are you driving sales? Pushing e-book downloads? Gathering leads? Make sure that you implement detailed tracking for each desired action. This will help you evaluate if Google Ads is the right channel for you.
2) Don’t set it and forget it.
Think of the amount of money you are willing to pay for a user to perform a desired action, and optimize your account towards this number. This is a continuous process. Remember, you are bidding against competitors who are constantly changing their bids, and you are responding to new competition exiting and entering the arena. Furthermore, the basic search behavior of users can change over time. Know your numbers, observe, and react - that’s the name of the game.
3) Keep a clean account structure.
A good structure ensures that your ads are triggered in response to the right search term, and properly addresses the users’ search intent. Steering traffic well between ad groups guarantees clean data. Having a messy structure might result in misinterpreting the data and making misinformed decisions, putting you further away from your advertising objective.
4) Start small, then scale, go wild, or narrow down.
How you start depends on the budget and competition of your sector. Companies with smaller budgets should start with more narrow keyword match types and lower bid levels, and then scale over time. Otherwise, you can risk spending huge portions of your budget in a matter of hours.
5) Use search term reports.
We have seen too many accounts where search term reports were never touched. This is the easiest way to waste money on Google Ads. Make sure you filter out irrelevant traffic through negative keywords and act on search terms that are relevant for your business.
6) Pick your battles.
Bidding aggressively to appear on the top position doesn’t always translate into the best results. The top position indeed attracts the most clicks, but it is also the most expensive. It may be that dropping a position or two can yield a higher profitability without sacrificing huge volumes.
7) Utilize the functions that Google Ads offers.
Google Ads is a powerful platform that allows for granular optimization and ad differentiation. Knowing the ins-and-outs of this platform can help you make the most out of your budget. You can use bid adjustments that allow you to bid differently depending on demographics, devices, or time. You have access to testing tools, remarketing, Gmail ads, display ads, YouTube ads, countdowns, and many many more options.
If you feel you need help with making the most out of your Google Ads presence, drop us a line!