Rescue Your AdWords Campaigns With These 10
Colin Phipps - 3rd April
Advertising on Google's AdWords can best be described as
operating in a hostile environment. Even though the search
engine giant makes $15 Billion a year on this "little" paid
search business they have, they don't go to any great lengths
to make it easy for you to work with them.
In Google's defense, it has to balance two customer bases that
can't exist without each other. On the one hand, there are the
searchers. They want good information, relevant search engine
(and paid search) results, fast answers, quality content, and
no spam (definition open to interpretation). On the other hand,
there are the advertisers. They want traffic, as much as they
can get and as cheaply as they can get it. There are also some
"bad apples" out there that try and get away with underhanded
techniques and get rich quick schemes. These are the ones that
Google is the most concerned about. The problem is that the
very measures that Google puts in place to protect itself and
its searchers from these types of advertisers are the ones that
can make it difficult for the well-intentioned advertiser from
making AdWords work for them.
AdWords can be a very profitable place to invest your
advertising budget. In fact, I make most of my living doing so.
The key is to understand the (sometimes unwritten) rules, tips,
and tricks to employ in order to keep Google happy. If Google
is happy, then your per click costs will be going down, and
your traffic will be going up. The added benefit is that making
Google happy will generally result in better profitability for
you as well. Google is happiest when your ad is getting a high
CTR (click through rate, meaning lost of people are clicking on
your ad), and the people who click on your ads are satisfied
with the information they see on your web site. This makes
Google the most money, and should work the same for you. Google
measures how "happy" people are with the web sites they visit
by how quickly they hit that back button.
Here are my tips to rescue your AdWords campaigns.
Tip #1 Keywords
You don't have enough of them.
If you don't have at least 500 - 1000 keywords in your
campaigns (and I don't care what market you're in), I can
guarantee that you're leaving profitable keywords on the
Use one of the keyword research tools like Wordtracker and
Keywordtopia. If you plug in your "root" term (the most general
term or two that describes your product or market), you'll be
amazed at the things that pop out and have you thinking.
Don't forget plural versions of existing keywords.
Look for combination multipliers like cities and states...for
example, instead of the one keyword of "weight loss center",
use that along with each state, and then add each state along
with "weight loss centers" etc.
Brainstorm a bit with friends and colleagues and add in these
ideas. You'll have thousands of keywords in a very short period
Tip #2 Correct Usage of Match Types
There are three match types in Google; broad, phrase, and
exact. Check out Google's AdWord's help documents for a
discussion about how each one works.
Most people who are just starting out with AdWords make this
mistake. They only bid on the broad match. That is, putting the
keyword or phrase by itself with no quotes or brackets around
it. In fact, Google has a built in suggestion to start out only
using this match type. That is not always sound advice.
I recommend bidding on all three match types (this also
effectively triples your keyword list). There is almost no way
of knowing which match type will be the most effective for you.
You need to try them and track them, then adjust
Tip #3 Keyword Grouping
Most advertisers start out with one ad group and stuff hundreds
or even thousands of keywords or phrases into it. This does not
make Google happy. They immediately think that you can't
possible write relevant ads for all these keywords, and have
relevant landing pages etc. So, they tend to give you a low
quality score and your clicks will be very expensive (if you
can even get your ads running).
The key is to make tightly focused AdWords groups. The way that
most people do it is by a "theme". Generally, if all the
keywords or phrases in an adgroup can be served by one highly
targeted ad and landing page...they are in a good grouping.
However, my suggestion is to have one adgroup for EVERY keyword
(include all three match types, so every adgroup really ends up
having three keywords or phrases). This is a lot of work, but
there are tools out there that can help. Google's own AdWords
Editor is free and will help a lot.
Tip #4 Landing Pages
You simply must have targeted landing pages for each of your
customers' "conversations" that are going on when they sit down
to search for something.
If you're doing advertising and trying to capture leads from
people who are looking to sell their home in San Francisco,
send them to the page that talks about why they should use you
to be their listing broker. If you're capturing leads from
people looking into relocating to San Francisco, send them to a
page that talks about your expertise in handling relocations
and helping people buy homes.
Too often, advertisers capture totally different type of
customer leads and simply send them to their home page. This
does not make people happy, as they want to continue the
conversation they were having quickly...and get answers to
their questions and problems, not try to navigate through your
web site to find the information. They're not happy, so they
hit that back button in less than 5 seconds. This does not make
Google happy, you've lost a sale, and Google may penalize you
with higher click charges.
Tip #5 Writing your Ads
This could be a whole article in itself. Common mistakes to
You must try to repeat the keyword or phrase in the ad (this is
why keyword grouping is important). Google makes the assumption
that if you repeat what the user typed in, your ad is most
likely relevant. They will reward this with lower bid
Don't continue a thought or sentence from one line to the next.
Not many people actually read the ads...they skim and click
when their eyes are attracted to something.
Capitalize the first letter of every word. This is
scientifically proven to increase clicks. Why? I don't care,
and you shouldn't either...it just works!
Use the display URL effectively, especially if it has the
keyword in it. Don't use www.wieghtlossclinic.com use
WeightLossClinic.com . It should be obvious which one draws the
Tip #6 Split testing
When you set up an adgroup, always write two different ads. You
must then monitor them to see which one is performing better.
You can literally increase your clicks 3x or more by doing
this. It doesn't matter what you change and make different in
your ads. Just change something and always test and
When one ad can be declared as the winner (search the web for
split test calculators to get the statistical answer), get rid
of the under performing one and immediately write another new
one to try and beat the one that just won.
Tip #7 Content network
I recommend turning the content network off at first, and then
taking the terms that have been profitable for you and starting
another campaign that ONLY advertises on the content
If you do both in one campaign, it can be very difficult to
effectively track your keywords' and ads' performance, and your
return on your advertising investment.
Tip #8 Geographic and schedule targeting
If it makes sense for your market...use both.
In our real estate example in San Francisco, you'd want to run
two different campaigns for trying to get listings in your
area. People searching on "Sell house San Francisco" not paying
attention to geography, and people searching on the more
general "sell house"...targeting only those people in San
Examine all the metrics for using the scheduling feature. There
are campaigns, for example, that are only really profitable on
the weekends. If you can determine that, then obviously it
makes sense to only run your ads then.
Tip #9 Conversion tracking
If you do nothing else, do this. You must track
If you don't know what you're getting for you're advertising
dollar, how can you make good decisions?
If you're selling a product online, the best way to do this is
to use Google's own conversion tracking. This works very well.
It's a simple bit of code that you, or your web designer can
add to your sales confirmation page that tells Google that, for
this keyword or phrase, a sale was made. Google stores and
reports on this information so that you can go to one place and
see what you spent on keywords, and what the return on that
There are other ways to do this, and it's a bit more difficult
to do if you're not selling something; however, it's absolutely
mandatory. Do web searches on conversion tracking to learn
Tip #10 Bid Adjustments
All keywords are not created equally. You must examine your
spend and your conversions for each and every keyword and
adjust the bid (individually) for each of them.
Bonus Tip - Learn the AdWords editor...and use it.
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