Up Your Google Ads Game

Written by Caleb Knight

The suite of Google marketing products at your disposal can easily get confusing. Google Analytics, Optimize, Tag Manager, Data Studio, DoubleClick, and Ads. It’s hard to keep up with what each product gives you and how to best utilize them in the Google ecosystem to work together. One of the key products that then funnels down into products like Optimize, Data Studio, Analytics, and more is Ads. 

Whether you’re a service provider or you sell products, your business should be knowledgeable about Google Ads and know how it can bring in the customers. Why? Because when someone has a want or a need, where do they go for an answer? Google, the most popular search engine receiving over 3.8 billion search queries today. Ads allows you to reach your potential customers right when they ask their questions, state their service needs or look up a product on these search queries.

Getting in front of a customer is half the battle but to get there it comes at a cost. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the general form of Google Ads as it becomes a pay-to-play type of advertising. A common misconception is that to improve your PPC metrics, all you need to do is throw more money at your campaign. We’re happy to say that is not the case. There are varying tactics and methods you can use to reach the right audience, gain more clicks, and improve your quality scores without throwing more money at Google. 

In this article, we cover four of our favorite strategies to consider when you’re assessing your Google Ads performance. 

Keyword Term Structure

We’re going to start at the beginning of the Google Ads experience, the keyword query that a user might enter to (hopefully) see your ad. It’s vital to both your business advertising and to the user that the keywords that they enter are relevant to their search. If your ad for window washing shows up when a user searches how to clean an aquarium, you’re wasting your money and the searcher’s time.

This is why Google assigns a quality score to ads that will be a factor in how well your ad will rank. An ads quality score is a cumulative compiling of the click-through-rate, relevance to the ad group, landing page (to be discussed further), ad text, and even the Google Ads account history. The lower your quality score goes, the less opportunities it has to be seen. Meanwhile, the higher your quality score is then the lower your overall costs are. So how do we raise the quality score of ads?

Do your homework. Do your keyword research.

Google’s very own keyword planner is an invaluable tool that helps you spot opportunities in keywords as well as wasteful keywords, like negative keywords. If you were advertising for selling used cars, you might set “new” to be a negative keyword so that you don’t show up for a user searching for “new cars for sale.” A second critical piece of your keyword research is finding new opportunities of hyper-focused terms, often called long-tail keywords. Rather than a basic query of “marketing Gainesville Florida,” a long-tail keyword would look more like “digital marketing and SEO agency Gainesville Florida.” If your user wants to get that specific, they know what they need and therefore know that you can help them meet those needs.

Hyperfocus Ad Groups

Let’s say a user searches for “brake replacement near me.” Are they more likely to click the ad that says “Car Maintenance Here! Get all your car needs fixed here!” or “Local brake replacement specialists since 1981. Protect yourself and your car with new brakes today?” While every business is different, focusing ad groups on specific products or services help all parties. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to have no more than 20 keywords per ad group. If you find you have more than that, make sure to ask yourself, does my ad really speak to each and every one of these keywords listed? 

Again, if you were advertising for a car repair shop, ad groups might include “engines and transmissions,” “tires,” “oil changes.” While setting the ad groups to be hyper-specific takes more time, it will pay off in the long run by delivering the most applicable ads for users and saving you money.

Landing Pages

Congrats! A user clicked your ad! You won the battle but not the war. If you sent invites to a birthday party but didn’t include location, start time, or date, then what’s the point? Your potential customers online are the same way. Now that you invited them to your party, the next step is to explore your site of how you can help them! Each user that clicks on your link believes you can provide solutions to their problems. Reward their faith with a well put together landing page that answers all of the questions that a user may have. There’s no need to get too cute with these landing pages either, give a clear call to action or next step to make sure you don’t lose the attention of your user.

Landing pages are your owned content so you want to make sure you and your business are putting your best foot forward. To do so, make sure you continue to optimize the landing pages that deliver on your audience’s needs. 

Set It and Don’t Forget It

When it comes to Google Ads, there is a great deal of it that feels foolproof and easily sets you up for success. However, as smart as their technology is, the difference-maker still sits between the desk and chair. 

To get the best returns on Google Ads, you want to be regularly checking (we recommend at least once a month) and optimizing your campaigns, ad groups, and ads. At all of these levels, there are tweaks you can make to better your return on investment.

  • Bid strategy: Automated bidding strategy relies on Google’s algorithms to adjust your bids based on your competition. Meanwhile, manual bidding puts you in control of the bidding process changing bid amounts at the ad groups and keyword level. This might sound like more work, but it can save you money by reducing spending on ads that aren’t performing well.
  • Ad copy: When’s the last time you read over your ads? Did they make you want to buy your product? If you don’t want to answer either of these questions, there’s your answer. Make sure that your ad copy (including headline and description) align with what the searcher wants, how you can give them that, and the keywords as well. Variations on your ads are helpful as well. If you’re stuck between a few iterations of an ad, you can run these variations and test what gives you a better return on investment. This kind of A/B testing is crucial to improve digital marketing performance.
  • Keyword Match: The keyword match type tells you the type of matching of the search query to your ad fits. For example, the broad match uses any word in the keyword phrase. Meanwhile, the exact match type requires your keyword phrase to be entered verbatim into the search query solely or as a portion of the query.
  • Demographics: Google Ads is aware of basic demographic information about a searcher. If you sold walking canes and you knew your target demographic was a 50-64+ age range, wouldn’t you want to bid more for their viewership? You can adjust bidding based on regions, ages, gender, and even time of day.

Caleb Knight

Caleb focuses on providing clients with exceptional results through strategy, content, and data.