Businesses have gotten big success with Google Ads (Adwords). Taking that first step looks like an easy choice, and it actually is but many stops short when they see the requirements. You have to bid on keywords, set a budget, create campaigns, and use extensions!
If you’re just getting started, you might be terrified of messing it up. It’s understandable. The steps you will go through will guarantee you are putting more money into your bank account rather than just funding Google’s large empire.
Here is the thing. Google Ads work, and they can produce nearly instant results. You can get started in less than an hour, and if done right, you can start generating new sales at the end of the hour.
When set up and managed properly, Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) is one of the best sources for new customers.
Google Ads is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) system that lets your brand appear in search results when people look up information related to your products or services.
In this post, we will discuss how you can use ads on Google to get more visibility for your business. Here is a clear guide on how to advertise on Google.
Let’s get started.
What is Google Ads?
SEO is a very useful and practical process, but let’s be honest, SEO is a slower process. Think of Google Ads as your way to go for more instantaneous results. Before we get into the Google Ads tutorial, here are a few things that highlight the power of Google Ads:
64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are searching for an item to buy online (Wordstream)
89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused (Google)
Businesses mostly make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. (Google)
That’s an amazing statistic to work with.
In the summer of 2018, Google renamed its AdWords platform to be Google Ads. They chose the new name to display more features than just text ads on Google searches. The new and full platform assists you in advertising through display, product listings, and even video integrations on YouTube.
How Does Google Ads Work?
Google’s advertising system is more or less like an auction, with a few small differences. As an advertiser, you get to select any search terms you would like your ad to appear on, and you set a maximum bid of how much you are prepared to pay when somebody clicks through on your ad. This is where the term “cost per click” (CPC) comes in.
So let say you run a car rental business; obviously, your keywords would be car rental, so you choose the keyword and set an amount you willing to pay to google (let’s say $2 dollars) anytime someone clicks your ad that directs them to your site.
The amount of your bid compared to other advertisers bidding on the same term will help determine how high up on the page Google places your ad.
Just like in most auctions, the highest bidder wins the prize, and everyone else goes home. With Google Ads, the bids are mostly secret, and even the highest bidder doesn’t always get the top spot. Other factors like quality score determine which advertiser gets the edge. If your quality score is high enough for a certain keyword, Google might not even charge you the full amount of your maximum bid.
Your quality score is a mixture of how well your landing page matches the search term you are bidding on and how well you can deliver on what the user is searching for. The more useful your ad and landing page are to the search, the more likely you are to pay less for the ad and get the click.
Using the car rental analogy, you would want your landing page to be about car rentals, the different types of cars with their features and their price, and not about why you think Mercedes Benz is better than Toyota.
It might look like you have to think for thousands of search variations to produce that high ad position and click. And in a way, you do, but there are some tricks in Google Ads to make it simple and nearly automated. For example, match types and ad groups help you separate your messages so that they match the user’s intent more closely.
But that’s enough chatter, let’s get into the business of the day.
Part 1: Getting Started with Google Ads
This will be the biggest section of the tutorial. You have to create your Google Ads account first, but then there are some preparations to do with keyword research and deciding what makes a good ad copy for your product/offer.
Create your Google Ads Account
You can set up your Google Ads account at: https://ads.google.com/home/
Google has a guided setup where you answer questions like your email address and the website that you will be sending your ads to. You will also set your country, time zone, and currency.
The setup is pretty straightforward. There are some options and extensions for your ads that take a little more thought and effort, and we will walk you through that in the “Advanced” section of this post.
Tip: If your budget allows, take advantage of Google’s support. They have a choose-a-path feature that offers different options depending on which stage you are in with your account: https://support.google.com/
Note that once you have a Google Ads account set up, you can import that into a Bing Ads account as well. That will post your ads on Bing, Yahoo, and AOL searches. bingads.microsoft.com
Here’s What You’ll Need Before You Start:
- A website (better: landing pages on your website)
- Keywords — search terms you want to advertise on (better: organize those keywords into groups)
- Ad copy and headlines — The messaging of your offer or service
Select Your Keywords
When you see “keywords” in reference to ads (or maybe “paid keywords,” to be more specific), think of these as the phrases people search for in Google, and your ad would appear in front of them as a possible solution. So, someone who is searching for a car to rent will put in the word “car and rental” in whatever phrase they are comfortable with, and your ad will show up.
Keywords are the building blocks of your ad campaign. You should research them and learn intermediate to advanced keyword strategies. But because you mean a lot to us, we’ll shed more light on keywords in this tutorial on long-tail keywords, but for now, let’s cover the basics.
If a business offer car rental services, their keywords might include:
- Car rentals
- Cheap cars to rent
- Rent classic cars for less price
- Rent cars
This is just the basic idea. But no strong Google Ads campaign runs on just a list because people don’t always search that way in Google. You have to be creative and use a wider net to catch people who have an idea of what they want, and your services can help. This is where match types come in.
Keyword Match Types
Using the example above, their ads would serve people looking for cars to rent. That’s a lot of territories to cover. You might be tempted to cut corners and just go with any “rental services” search. That would be a bad choice. It opens door to bad matches. Consider this kind of search: Rental Services. This has nothing to do with their business, and they would end up losing money on any of their ads that people clicked because there are many kinds of things to rent out.
Choosing the right keyword match types is a major part of running an effective campaign.
And while you can’t foresee every possible way of how people search on Google, you can come pretty close with keywords and how closely their search lines up with those keywords. Check out these different match types and how they work.
Exact Match: [Car rental]
This tells Google to match searches with only this term as you typed it — without additional phrases tacked on before or after. The words have to stay in order.
Google takes your request and returns your ad on searches for car rentals. It also returns your ad on “close variants,” and that includes errors like “car rentels”.
Phrase match: “Car rental.”
This keeps your phrase together as you typed it (and in order), but other words can come before or after (just not between) your words.
So, Google will return your ad on searches for cheap car rental, car rental in Nigeria.
It won’t return ads on phrases like “cars I can rent.”
Broad Match: Car rental
This will return all sorts of variations (similar to what you saw with exact match), but it doesn’t have the confines of whatever comes before or after it.
It will return ads on searches for – Cheap Car rental in Nigeria, Rent a vehicle. Vehicle rental.
Modified Broad Match: +Car +rental
This adds a bit more control to broad matches. Like an exact match, it returns on variations (misspellings, plurals, abbreviations, and stems (like turning “rent” to “rented” or “rental”)
It returns your ad on searches for car rental in Lagos, Best cars to rent, rent clean cars.
One vital thing to note about the modified broad match is that it does not activate synonyms as the broad match does. This is often misunderstood. Broad modified is more like using an exact match with a wild-card.
As of February 2021, Google publicized that it will be phasing out the Modified Broad Match type. Advertisers can continue to add modified broad match keywords through July 2021, and after that, you can expect to see changes in match-type behavior.
Tip: Keywords are not case-sensitive. Pay more attention to spaces and plurals. Also, avoid non-standard characters like: & @ % *
Always Start with the Best Keywords for Your Campaign
Since you pay for any click that your ad gets, you want to match your ad to the most relevant searches possible.
Is It Okay To Bid On My Own Branded Terms?
Bidding on your own proprietary terms is actually an easy win. Do not just write them off; they provide some use.
- It fights off competition.
Once others identify your brand as a competitor, they will start targeting your keywords. This is particularly true if your competition is more experienced. And you don’t want to leave your brand unguarded. Even if you feel secured with organic results, it’s smart here to play it safe. But all in all, a branded/ proprietary term is great for you.
Double up the message
Having an ad on your branded terms gives you space to strengthen your message. Your home page is more likely to rank for your brand name, so visitors can skim the meta description (or at least the one that Google chooses) before clicking. Your ad lets you control the messaging and get more specific.
Is It Okay To bid on my competitor’s branded terms?
It’s appealing, and there’s no right or wrong answer. After all, people searching for your competitors by their keywords are more likely to be part of your target market.
However, there are warning accounts about bidding on your competitor’s branded terms. Be sure to consider the costs of advertising on those keywords.
Keep these points in mind.
- You cannot include their brand name in the ad copy or headline.
- You might run into reprisal
- Your quality score won’t be very high, costing you more per click
If you have assessed the risks and want to do some test runs, you should do it without too much risk.
Part 2: Write Strong Ad Copy
Once you are ready to create your ads, follow these best practices for writing headlines and ad copy.
You have less than 25 characters to grab someone’s attention. Don’t think of them as “readers;” at this point, they are “browsers,” scanning the pages to see what might answer their question.
Your headline should be attention-getting (but not misleading), relevant, and clear. Every headline should have the same single objective: make them read the next line.
Create headlines with the actual searches in mind. It’s tempting to use an umbrella term like “rent a car” but you are missing out on a feature that plays in your favor.
Google often bolds the words in a headline that match what the visitors search for. If the user searches for cheap cars to rent, a better headline would be “rent cheap cars under $100.”
Tip: Consider dynamic keyword insertion. It automatically drops the exact keyword into your headline, and it’s best used in your highly specific ads for products or services that you offer.
Be appealing and clear about what you can do for the reader. You have two lines of 35 characters each to describe your offer. Your ad body copy is your best shot at getting someone to understand what services you offer and then take advantage of that offer or click through to learn more. Anything vague or mysterious can only waste your money on clicks from high bounce rate visitors.
When you are setting up your account, be ready for ad variations with different keyword groups. This might be a product line or different services. For example, your ads for “rent your car” would be different from your ads for “rent a G-wagon” since the reader has a specific product in mind.
High-performing ads get people to your site, and you pay for google whether or not the visitor buys or signs up. That means to be successful overall; your ads need to point to a sturdy, relevant landing page that delivers on what the ad promised.
One great feature about the display URL is that it doesn’t have to be the actual landing page URL. You can take advantage of this and use it to your business advantage by creating a display URL like www.yoursite.com/keyword-you-chosed. Any matching keywords in the URL usually get automatically bolded in the results, too!
Part 3: Optimize Your Google Ad
Optimizing your ads for various circumstances and reasons can be the difference between a successful ad campaign and a failed one. You would ideally want to start with:
Change The Default Settings
It’s natural for us to accept default settings when starting something new. We put our absolute trust in that program providing a good deal for us. In Google Ads, they aren’t always in your campaign’s best interests and could cost you money.
Before you launch a new Google Ads campaign, you might want to edit some of it or even turn some of it off totally. Here are the most important tips to remember.
Don’t go for the combo deal.
Google suggests that you start with a package deal — search and display advertising.
The package deal, especially the display setting, will eat through your budget before you’ve had a chance to find your stand.
Choose “All Features”
Once you select the search network, it turns on the Google Ads Campaign Default Settings. Added-on features like these can cloud the process when you’re just starting. We suggest that, here, you turn on “All features.” Here are some options that come available when you turn on “all features.”
- The schedule setting is a budget stretcher. It helps you reach people at the right time. It also starts and ends your campaign if you need to run your ads across specific dates.
- Ad delivery/ad rotation – You can run multiple ads for the same search. It lets you try new messaging or spread out what you want to say.
- Dynamic search ads – This is a unique setting for businesses with many products or services. Google Ads will serve up content from your landing pages (that Google has indexed) to match the search.
- Responsive search ads – All you have to do is pack the possible headlines and descriptions for an ad and give Google the flexibility to come up with different variations.
- Campaign URL options – Give you the flexibility to add tracking codes to your URLs.
This will give you a few more choices that make sense at this stage.
Expand your extension options
The hidden extensions are a little more advanced and probably best to use more once you’ve got a campaign underway. Even though Google has a reason for cutting potential distractions, this feature might provide something good for you. Decide for yourself. These are the options you would otherwise miss out on:
- App – This shows up on tablet and mobile searches, letting you connect your ad to apps.
- Reviews – Your ads can include customer feedback from 3rd party review sites.
- Callouts – This is additional information to highlight a unique service like “free shipping” or “price matching.”
- Structured Snippets – Pull details about a product or an offer from your landing page into your ad.
- Site link extensions offer extra real estate for your ads and help your ads stand out a bit more. Also, they provide links to possibly more relevant content.
Ad delivery/ad rotation
There is a tricky feature in the ad rotation options that could give you a false sense of confidence. Unless you have a short amount of time to manage a campaign, never use the auto-optimize options. They’re tempting, but you need unbiased data to really tell what is working well. Remember, experiments are vital to your business’s success.
Rotate your ads evenly until you have enough feedback about conversions, click-through rates, and costs to choose a winning message.
Target a location
The default setting captures a wide group. If you have location-based products or services, a targeted location is a good way to save money from clicks that aren’t likely to convert. Using the car rental service example, obviously, you would want to target people that are geographically closer to you than someone in another state or worse country.
If you don’t want your ads to show to anyone outside of your geographic coverage area, be sure to select “people in my targeted location.”
Don’t scroll past this one. It’s shown as “Location Settings (Advanced).”
Easily connect your Ad Data to Google Analytics.
If you connect your new Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account, you can measure and improve your ad performance. It lets you import metrics like bounce rate and pages per session into your Google Ads account, and it opens the door to remarketing campaigns.
Follow these steps to link your accounts:
- Log in to both Google Analytics and Google Ads with the same email address (Both accounts must have the same email).
- You will need admin-level access to link both accounts.
- For Google Ads, you need admin-level access. Go to Tools and Settings > Account Access to confirm.
- Check access level under Tools & Settings.
- For Google Analytics, you need Edit permission.
- According to Google, you don’t need these permissions permanently. “These permissions are only required for the linking process. After you’ve created the link, the permissions can be modified or removed entirely.”
- In Google Analytics, open Admin> Property User management. You need to have at least Edit, Read & Analyze access.
- While still in Google Analytics, return to the Admin view and look down to the Product Linking section below “Property.”
- Choose “Google Ads linking.”
- As long as you’re logged in, you should see your Google Ads account ID carried into the list with a check box. Check the box and continue.
- Name your account (using Link Group Title) and choose the views that you would like to pull data from.
- Finally, click “Link Accounts” to finish.
And that’s it; you just linked your google ads to google analytics.
Part 4: Improve your Google Ads Campaign
Increase your keywords count by reviewing what works for your competitors
Your competitors already possess a road-tested approach with the same audience you are targeting. Learn what worked from them use it (of course, you will tweak it a bit to suit your business personality).
Advertise on long-tail keywords
Once you create core topics that work for you, it’s time to explore longer search phrases that stem from them. Use your more effective keywords and brainstorm ways that people would ask specific questions about them. Use locations and situations for inspiration.
CORE KEYWORD LONG TAIL SUGGESTION
Car rental Rent a car in Lagos
Digital marketing software Free digital marketing software for you
Photography Online digital photograph course
Using long-tail keywords gives you a 3-step boost.
There are keyword tools to help you find more useful long-tail keywords for your campaign. We’ve listed a few.
SpyFu: Type a” starter keyword” idea into SpyFu’s search bar, and select the Related Keywords tab. SpyFu finds results from competitors who purchase the core keyword and also looks at similar keywords those sites buy monthly.
Uber Suggest: If you start with a root word like “iPhone” the tool brings up longer variations that may inspire new keyword ideas for you–“iPhone stores near me.” You can also ask the tool to suggest keywords tied to universal search types like images, shopping, YouTube, and news.
Google Auto Suggest: Type some of your keywords into Google, and note the phrases that Google suggests. These suggestions are updated in real-time and sure to generate some traffic since they are based on actual user searches and not a word bank.
Improve Your Quality Score
When you use keyword tools to guess a search term’s CPC, those costs will be nothing more than just estimates because the amount paid differs from one advertiser to another based on many factors like their ad position and how relevant their landing page is.
Google gives a Quality Score to your ads to determine how much you will pay for any clicks–even though you’ve placed a bid.
Your Quality Score affects your cost-per-click (CPC).
Your Quality Score is a number 1-10 and is determined by your ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected click-through rate (CTR).
If you can improve any of these three, you can move your Quality Score in the right direction, helping to decrease your overall ad costs.
Improve your ad relevance by using targeted, helpful ad copy for tight ad groups. Your landing page should echo what you described in your ad and give the visitor a clear solution to what they searched for.
The better the match, the less you might pay. It’s a huge oversimplification, but it’s a helpful direction.
A campaign doesn’t go live until you decide it’s ready. You have total control over the keywords that you advertise on, the wording of the ads, how much you will bid for each one, and even the date that the ads start or stop running.
When people search on Google, they are looking for something specific. They are searching with intent; they are heading to Google to find solutions for their problems. You have solutions. It’s just a matter of matching with the right search at the right time.