The first time logging into the Google AdWords can be overwhelming. Depending on your view in the interface, there are probably several accounts, campaigns, numbers, charts and columns over different ranges of time. What are these things? What do you do with all of this information? Where do you go?
While all of the functions of AdWords may seem hard to conquer, have no fear. Google AdWords is easily manageable after learning just a few tips and tricks. Once you understand the basics, you can be on your way to becoming an AdWords fundamentals pro and making adjustments to your account. From one PPC newbie to another, here are ten important things you should know.
- The Account Basics
Within an account you can serve your customers different ad types on the two main networks: the search network and the display network. The search network includes Google search and other sites that show AdWords ads based on search results and are text ads. The Display Network includes a collection of Google sites and mobile apps that show ads matched to the content on a given page and are mostly to be used to increase brand awareness and engagement with an image ad.
For each business you serve, all of the paid search efforts should be consolidated under one account. Even if a business offers multiple products or services, these can still be combined in one account and can be organized accordingly within. In each account, you can have campaigns and ad groups. Each campaign in your account has its own budget and settings in how the ads will appear. You can break out different products or services or locations by campaign. Ad groups are within campaigns and they contain a set of similar ads and keywords that you want to trigger your ads to show. See the chart below for a basic account structure.
By using this account structure, you will be able to effectively target the right audience, control costs, measure the success, and continually monitor and effectively manage your accounts.
- Account Audit
Before making any changes to an account, it is important to understand the current structure of the account and if it is successful or not. To make yourself familiar with an account, consider doing an audit. Ideally it would be most effective to make a checklist of items-which may include data on click-through rate, keywords, geo-targeting, ad scheduling, and ad copy- to find where the account may be doing really well and then not so well. For example, running a search term report can show what kind of keywords are pulling in traffic. Are the keywords in the account pulling in relevant traffic and getting conversions? Are there keyword opportunities being searched that could be added to the list of words? Checking your targeting, click-through rate, keywords, match types, ad copy, and landing pages are all essential in having a well-functioning account.
Selecting the right keywords for your account is an important step. The keywords you choose decide when your ads will appear when someone is searching in Google. The keywords you will want to use are words or phrases that describe your product or service to target your ads correctly. When someone searches Google for your keywords or a close variance of a keyword, your ad will be appearing alongside or above search results. If you are taking over an existing account that already has keywords in place, run a search term report to see what keywords are bringing in the most traffic, least traffic, or search for keywords that you are not included in your set of keywords that could be an opportunity for better targeting.
- Match Types
Match types and keywords can almost go hand-in-hand. Each keyword you select should have a match type to help with creating the right audience for your ads. Not only do you want to be choosing high quality keywords for your account, but also pairing them with the correct match type. Below is a list of the four match types and a description of each.
- Broad Match – covers the largest span of audience. This match type will bring traffic to your ads even if words are synonyms, related searches or other variations that Google feels are relevant.
- Broad Match Modifier – Ads may show for a modified keyword or close variance, but not synonyms to your keyword. Add a plus sign before the keyword to designate as a broad match modifier term. All words with a “+” must be present in some order in the search query for the term to trigger an ad. Ex. +keyword
- Phrase Match – Your ad will only appear when a user searches for your key phrase using your keywords in the order you have put them in your ad group, but there might be other words either before or after that phrase. Designate a phrase search term by using quotation marks around the word or phrase. Ex. “keyword”
- Exact Match – Ads are shown in searches when the search term is the exact same as a keyword you are bidding on. Designate exact search terms by enclosing them in parenthesis. Ex. [keyword] Sometimes using exact search terms may seem like you are limiting your audience since you are relying on one exact term to show your ad, but it does draw in the most relevant traffic because you can know for sure that customer is interested in your product or service.
- Ad Copy Creation and Testing
Once you have created a solid keyword list with match types, use this to write your text ads. It is a best practice to have at least two relevant ads running in each of your ad groups. This way you can conduct an A/B test on what copy is resonating well with you audience. Depending on what you are trying to measure, a strict A/B test can be conducted by changing one element of the ad and comparing the two against each other. For example, by changing either the headline, description lines, or call to action, it will be easier to see what your audience relates to better. Keep in mind, ads have very strict character limits and must be approved by Google before running on the network. Headlines can only include up to 25 characters, there are two description lines that include 35 characters each, which should include a call to action.
- Ad Extensions
Ad space on Google search pages is competitive. Once you have captured a top ad position, you’ll want to use as many ad extensions as you can to showcase features or benefits of your product or service. The types of ad extensions include sitelinks, location extensions, call extensions, structured snippets, call out extensions, app extensions, and reviews. If you are able to put more details about your product or service out there, you could have a higher chance of attracting potential customers.
- Identifying Competitors
It is important to know who you are competing with for ad space in Google. Businesses offering the same products or services as you will be bidding on similar keywords and competing for the same ad space. It is important to identify by doing research to see who the main competitors are, and to make sure you are proclaiming the best attribute of your product or service in your ads.
- Excluding Terms – Negatives
While it may be time consuming in building a keyword list with match types and grouping them into ad group and campaigns, you’re doing it to find a good target audience. Sometimes, closely related terms that may not be relevant to your product or service will creep into your search term reports. You’ll want to find a way to stop these people from clicking on your ads. Excluding terms by campaign or ad group will help narrow your traffic to the right people. Conduct a search query report for a minimum of two weeks to a month and see how often a term appears that may be drawing in irrelevant traffic. Tools like AdWords Editor, can help make it easy to exclude multiple keywords at once.
- AdWords Tools
Since setting up or restructuring account can be a lot work, AdWords provides a user with some great tools to help make completing tasks a little easier. AdWords Editor is a separate program that can be downloaded to your computer and allow you to make changes offline or make mass changes to account and upload them all at once. Because it’s offline until changes are made, it’s easy to correct errors before changes go live. Another helpful tool is Keyword Planner. Keyword Planner helps you see the kind of search volume you’ll receive on keywords and an estimate on how much you could expect to be bidding. You can also target specific locations and the program offers many different insights for related keywords or ad groups.
- Refining Your Account
After setting up your account, you will want to continue to monitor performance and make sure everything in your account is running correctly. Check to make sure you are receiving the best traffic by conducting search term reports and excluding any terms that are irrelevant to your business or adding terms that may be a good opportunity. Adjust bids to keywords to remain in the top position on the page and make sure your ads continue to have a good quality score. If any of these things are lacking, your ads could slip down in page position and not be shown as often to users. Conduct placement reports to make sure display ads are being run on non-explicit sites. Keep track of a daily budget so that you are not spending too much money or too little. Every few months continue testing different types of ad copy. All of these things will help keep your account running efficiently and achieve your goals.