How To Use Google AdWords Without Throwing Your Dollars Down The Drain – Big Digital Adelaide 2016
After an introduction on who Karen is and what she does it was time to get our hands dirty with Google AdWords (thanks to Amy Who for the photo of Karen in action!).
Karen asked the audience, which was pretty packed, who had used Google AdWords before and then who wasn’t wasting money. Most people had had a go at using Google AdWords before but only two people put their hands up who were confident that they weren’t wasting money so clearly there were a lot of people ready to learn! She briefly ran through the different types of ads you can run through AdWords including search ads, shopping ads, display ads and YouTube ads.
When it comes to why anyone should use Google AdWords, it’s actually quite simple. Nothing is more powerful than appearing on the first page of the search results (SERPs) at the exact moment someone is looking for your product or services. And even if you are ranking well organically, running an AdWords campaign gives you another chance to appear on the first page.
So who should use Google AdWords?
Karen explained that you need to find niche keyword phrases that accurately represent your business and do your keyword research and see what kind of volumes there are. E-commerce businesses usually do quite well using Google AdWords, but this does depend on the value of the product. Karen recommends running AdWords if you have a product value of at least $100 (but as with everything in life, there can be exceptions to this rule).
She then explained that quality score is the combination of expected click through rates (CTR), your ad relevance plus the landing page experience and you really need to nail this if you want to save money using Google AdWords. Google says they are all about user experience and AdWords is no different.
Karen moved on to the main body of her presentation and gave the audience these top 10 tips on running a successful Google AdWords campaign without wasting your hard earned dollars:
1) Keyword Match Type
Broad match is just that – broad. So if you are selling wedding dresses, and you use the broad match keyword of ‘dress’, you’ll rank for everything under the sun relating to dresses – red dress, dress up, dress shoes, etc. Not what you want as this will end up costing you a lot of money for not a lot of return on investment.
2) Choose your network carefully
The default setting on a new campaign is Search Network with Display Select. If you want to run a purely search based campaign, choose Search Network only. Display network ads often have bounce rates upwards of 95% and so they can end up costing you a significant amount of money with very little return.
3) Do your keyword research
Knowing what specific and relevant keywords to target is key to running a successful campaign. AdWords has a free keyword research tool, so there is no excuse not to do it. Also make sure you are using 2-3 keyword phrases, not singular phrases to ensure you are attracting the right traffic. So for example ‘designer wedding dress’ instead of ‘dress’. Consider the keyword intent and make sure they describe your product or service accurately.
4) Look at your search terms report
Karen showed everyone where the search terms report can be found in AdWords. It contains invaluable information – it shows you what search terms your ad is appearing and getting clicks for. This enables you to see if there are any keyword phrases that are completely irrelevant, or conversely, great keywords that are getting clicks that you may not have added to your campaign yet. Make sure you add relevant keywords to your campaigns and use negative match keywords for ones that aren’t relevant.
5) Add negative keywords
If your ads are coming up for keywords that are totally irrelevant then that is going to impact your expected CTR, which we know is a component of your quality score. So, by adding negative keywords, this increases your relevance, improves CTR and therefore improves quality score. Some common phrases/words Karen looks to negative match on campaigns are job-related – job/jobs/careers/training/courses/salary etc. You can use your search terms report (as well as places like Google suggest/related search terms) to do this on a regular basis (which Karen highly recommended), but you can also add negative keywords right from the start if you know there are some terms that may be associated with some keywords you are targeting that are completely irrelevant for your product or service.
6) Use multiple ad groups and ads
Karen explained that breaking down your campaigns into multiple ad groups with different ads in each ad group is the best way to organise your account. You don’t need to take it so far as to have one keyword per ad group, rather group similar keywords together in a relevant ad group. You also need to personalise your ads to the keyword you are targeting. This will increase your quality score which can help you save money – something which Karen is very passionate about when it comes to managing her client’s AdWords accounts.
7) Consider your landing pages
Using landing pages which are highly relevant to the keywords you are targeting can also help your campaign. An example from Karen was an outdoor blind company, where for awning keywords she is using the awning page as the landing page, for outdoor blind keywords she is using the outdoor blinds page as the landing page, and for shutter keywords she is using the shutters page as the landing page. Also consider adding keywords to your landing page as this will increase relevancy and create a better landing page experience – all of which helps your quality score.
8) Choose your geography
If you only operate in certain areas, whether that’s suburbs, cities or countries, you should only run your campaigns in these areas. It may sound obvious but Karen gave an example of an Australian account she took over and it was running worldwide and attracting the majority of its traffic from Mongolia!
9) Use Ad Extensions
Karen talked the audience through a few different types of ad extensions and explained their value – not only do they make your ad more relevant but they also make your ad bigger which takes up more real estate on the results page (and that can only be a good thing!). To run location extensions you’ll need to link your AdWords account to your Google My Business page.
10) Link to Google Analytics
And last but not least, link your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. This enables you to see Google Analytics data in your AdWords account – metrics like bounce rate and pages per session. If you don’t link them, when you look at your Analytics data, paid and organic traffic won’t be separated out.
Don’t forget to set up goal pages on your website in the form of a unique thank you URL for contact forms or downloads. This helps you measure conversions accurately both on Analytics and AdWords. Install AdWords conversion tracking code for any goal pages and find out which keywords are converting best. You can also set up call tracking in AdWords to see how many people are calling you directly from your ad.
At the end of the day, Karen says you need to see if you are making more money since starting to use Google AdWords – because if you are then it’s working for you. And if not, it may not be the right path for you.
Karen then took questions from the audience which included ones about what changes are coming up in AdWords, how best to implement call tracking, how to implement multiple ad groups when you have a very large account and how do you manage accounts in saturated industries like tourism.
With a great turnout to the first session of the day following the opening keynote from Sisarina’s Melanie Spring, Karen managed to get the audience excited for the day ahead with many people staying on to learn more about paid search.
You can see Karen’s complete slide deck here.
Did you attend Karen’s presentation? We’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments!
Karen Dauncey has been working in SEO since 2003. She specialises in helping businesses get found online through Google using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Karen has been running, Blue Cherry Online Marketing since 2008 and running her own SEO and Google Ads agency has brought her a wealth of SEO knowledge and practical digital marketing experience. Karen has optimised over 800 websites, managed millions of dollars’ worth of spend on Google Ads and has a solid understanding of the constantly shifting industry of digital marketing and SEO. This gives her a unique advantage when it comes to being able to recommend the right online marketing strategies for your business.
Karen is also the founder and creator of The SEO School, an online SEO course to help teach business owners how to do their own SEO. She regularly delivers educational programs for both Local, State and Federal Government and is an advisor for the ASBAS Digital Solutions Program. Karen’s passion and commitment to help small business owners get found online is the driving force behind her online school, making SEO advice accessible to all with free resources and online courses.
Karen has attended search engine conferences in London, Stockholm, Adelaide and Sydney, and was also invited to attend a pilot Business Coaching Course at Google’s Head Office. She has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.