How to advertise on Google
You may have heard of Google Adwords before and maybe you’ve even tried it out. For those of you who know nothing about Adwords, it’s Google’s online PPC (pay-per-click) marketing platform that helps you drive interested leads to your website. Getting set up and learning how to advertise on Google really isn’t too difficult.
Go to Google and type in a search term, next to the top results, you’ll see a green square that says “Ad”. Google reserves four spaces at the top of the results for ads. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you might see some more there. It depends on the keyword and the competition but you might not see any Google ads for a specific search.
How does Google Adwords work?
Google makes 97% of its money from advertising. Tens of billions of dollars every year.
Adwords can seem a little complicated when you’re first starting out but you’ll catch on real quick. First advertisers set a maximum bid on search keywords. Then Google looks at each bid and multiplies them by the quality score of the page that the ad links to when figuring out who should get that number one ad spot. Google wants to show its users valuable, relevant content so first place doesn’t necessarily go to the highest bidder.
How does Google calculate quality score?
Relevance score (Keyword, Ad & URL) + Your landing page user experience score = Quality score.
Once Google gives you a quality score, you’re given an ad rank by multiplying your quality score by your maximum bid. The highest ad rank takes the number one position.
As you can see here, Marketer 1 set the lowest maximum bid of $2 but will still receive the number one ad position because they have a much higher Quality score, giving them the highest Ad Rank.
This doesn’t mean that Marketer 1 will pay the full $2 for each click either. That is just the maximum amount they are willing to pay. The exact amount they pay will be determined by the Ad Rank of the person below them (12) divided by their own quality score (8) plus $0.01 = $1.51 per ad click.
Marketer 2 would pay 10 / 4 + $0.01 = $2.51 per ad click. Notice that this one pays $1 more per click than Marketer 1 but will still be displayed below marketer 1
Wordstream has a great infographic on this that you can check out here.
How much will Adwords cost you?
The CPC varies so much from keyword to keyword and niche to niche. It could be $0.02 per click, it could be $100.00 per click. It all depends on the competition and what other companies are willing to pay to have their ads show up for a specific search term. To get a general idea of how much it will cost you, you need to sign up for an Adwords account and do your keyword research. Go to the keyword planner within Adwords and type in the keyword you want to show up for. Google will show you the average number of monthly searches that keyword has along with the suggested bid price.
Getting started with Google Adwords
- You need a Google account before you can create an Adwords account. If you’ve been following along, you’ll have a Google account by now.
- Go to https://adwords.google.com and click “Get Started”.
- Enter your email address and website address then press “Continue”.
- Set your time zone and currency
- Google will send you a verification email. You should just need to click on the link within your email to verify you’re a real person.
Once you finish the simple set up process and log in you’ll see a page that looks something like this:
I know, it looks overwhelming at first but you don’t need to learn everything and I’m just going over the basics to get you started.
Do your Adwords homework
You’re going to want to set up an Ad campaign, but before you do that, you need to do your homework. Spend a bit of time on keyword research so you have a good idea of what you want to bid on. If you haven’t done so, check out the page dedicated to keyword research.
Go to “Tools” – “Keyword Planner” Then click on “Search for new keywords…”. Just type in a search term under “your product or service” and click “get ideas”. You’ll see a page that shows you the average monthly searches, competition and the suggested bid for that keyword. You’ll also be given a list of relevant keywords. Look for ones with a lower suggested bid price as long as they are highly relevant to your page.
Have your landing page ready
Another thing you need to have prepared before you start spending any money on PPC ads is a user friendly landing page with an email opt in form. Do some competitor research. Search the terms in Google that you want to rank for and check out the top ad positions and the top organic search results. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at your competitor’s landing pages to get an idea of what is driving their success and what changes you can make to come out on top. That’s not to say you should copy them completely.
Have an email campaign set up
Also have an email campaign set up for new subscribers and have a sales pitch ready to go for later on down the road. Your initial sales conversion will probably be low but if you can at least get a high email opt-in rate, you can send them offers once you’ve broken the ice and given them something of value. I talk more about this in the email marketing section.
Set up conversion tracking
The last thing you’ll need to do before you begin with ad creation is set up conversion tracking. You’re going to want to know how your ads are doing and if they are paying off. Google will give you a snippet of code, called a tag, that you can embed into the page you want your visitors to end up at. Here is Google’s guide on setting up conversion tracking.
Starting your first Google Ad campaign
A campaign consists of one or more ad groups. Ad groups consist of one or more ads which are triggered by one or more keywords or search terms. You can run as many campaigns as you want with one account. You might have two different websites that you want to send visitors to. In this case you would want to set up two separate ad campaigns.
Click the red + Campaign button in the Campaigns Admin panel and choose “Search network only”. You want to start out with this option because your traffic will be much easier to track and will generally be higher quality visitors.
Follow the steps
- Go ahead and name your campaign. Choose something obvious like the name of your business or website.
- Next to “Type”, leave this setting as it is, as well as the “Standard” setting to the right. The other features are for more advanced campaigns.
- Under “Networks”, go ahead and uncheck “Include search partners”.
- Next to “Devices” it will say “Ads will show on all eligible devices by default.” This is usually fine except for the fact that you will probably have a higher conversion rate with desktop users.
- Which locations do you want to target or exclude? If you’re running a local business you probably only want to target that specific area so that your ads don’t show to users in other countries. You don’t want to be getting charged for those clicks. If that’s the case, go to “Advanced search”, enter your area and you can set the target radius in miles. It also allows you to exclude specific regions.
- Choose your language
- Choose your bid strategy. I recommend sticking with manual CPC. Then choose your default bid. This is the default CPC you’re willing to pay. You can set a different CPC for each keyword later on. Then choose your daily budget. It says “Actual daily spend may vary”. But don’t worry, if you hover over the question mark, it explains that you will never be charged more than 30.4 X your daily budget each month. Once you’re daily budget is reached, Google will stop displaying your ads within that campaign until the next day.
- Last step in setting up your campaign is to decide if you want ad extensions. You can add things like location information, phone number, links to additional pages of your site, etc. It’s no extra charge to display these extensions but you do get charged as you normally would per click or call.
- Click “Save and Continue”.
Next is to create your ad groups
If you’re in the hiking and outdoors niche, you might have one group of ads targeting hiking boots, one group of ads targeting walking sticks, one group of ads targeting backpacks and so on.
Enter your landing page, name your ad group and then enter your bid. The default will be whatever you set it to earlier but you can now change it for each ad group if you want.
Enter the keywords you want to show up for. There are a few different types of keywords and you can set them based on each specific keyword.
This is the default setting, so all you have to do is enter the keyword and your ad will show for broad variations of your keyword. This can be a good thing if you want to get your ad in front of more viewers but it won’t necessarily be as relevant to what the user is searching for. This can result in higher CPCs and lower conversions.
This is more targeted than broad match. Your ad can possibly show for close variations of your keyword and your exact keyword phrase with words before or after. To enter a phrase match keyword, type your keyword in quotations ex: “quality hiking boots”.
This is the most targeted search. Your ads will only appear when someone types in your exact keyword(s). To choose exact match, enter your keyword in square brackets ex: [quality hiking boots]. I think this is the best option when starting out because typically your ad will be more relevant to the search query. This can create higher ad ranks with lower CPCs.
You can choose to have your ad not show up for specific keywords. Maybe you don’t sell to kids, therefore you wouldn’t want your ad to show up and potentially cost you money when someone enters a search term with the word “kids” or “children” in it. If you use broad match or phrase match, you might want to include negative keywords. All you have to do is include a (-) in front of the keyword. ex: -kids
You can always make changes to your keywords even after your ad is running.
Keep in mind, keywords are not case sensitive. It doesn’t matter if you enter “Quality hiking boots” or “quality hiking boots”.
You can then either create a new ad group or click “Continue to ads”.
Writing your first ad
You’ll get a preview on the right hand side and you can choose to preview the mobile or desktop view.
- Enter your finial URL. This will be the URL that people reach after clicking on your ad. They won’t see this so it doesn’t have to be pretty.
- Headline 1 and Headline 2 each only give you 30 characters, so make it count. Preview your competitors ads and think “How can I stand out?” To get the most clicks, Include your main keyword in heading 1 while trying to list at least one benefit and list your features in heading 2.
- Path is what shows in your ad after your domain. Google gives you up to 30 characters to help tell users what they will land on after they click your ad.
- Then enter a description of your product or business within 80 characters. Again, get ideas from your competitors and include something that will set you aside from the rest. Include any exclusive offers or promotions and make it completely relevant to the rest of your ad and landing page.
- Once you’re happy, click “Create ad”. Remember, you can make changes later and most likely will. You’ll need to do a lot of experimenting and tweaking of your ads, especially when you’re first starting. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a lower daily budget at first, post multiple different ad groups, each with multiple different ads and see what’s bringing in the most targeted traffic and sales.
- You’ll then be able to create another ad for that ad group or you can click “Save and finish”. You’ll be brought to your campaigns page, which is where you’ll spend most of your time on Adwords.
Making edits and creating additional ads
This is where you can see how all your ads are doing and make any edits you want by going through the top navigation bar. You can also delete ads that aren’t converting well. Click on “Ads” to see how each individual ad is doing.
You’ll be able to create a new campaign, create a new ad group if you click on an existing campaign or create a new ad if you click on an existing ad group. When you click on the red “+ Ad Group” button, Google will ask you which campaign you want this ad group to be under. When you click the “+ Ad” button, Google will ask you to select the ad type and then select which Ad group you want your new ad under.
If you want to add keywords, go to the “Keywords” tab and click the red “+Keywords” button on the left. You can also edit existing keywords here by clicking on each keyword and then you can change the keyword itself or change the match type.
Remember how we talked about ad extensions? You can also add / remove / edit your extensions by clicking on the “ad extensions” tab in the top menu.
Testing your ads
One more thing I want to mention: Don’t go too crazy testing out your keywords in Google search. You don’t want to rack up too many impressions. A high number of impressions with a low number of clicks will give you a low CTR which can hurt your quality score and increase your CPC.
Instead, go to “tools” – “Ad preview and diagnostics” and then you can type in your search term to preview your ad. You can also choose the location, language and device on the left hand side.
I hope this was helpful. You should now have a pretty good idea of how Adwords works and how to advertise on Google successfully. You’ll need to do a lot of tests and analyze different ads and keywords for different products and services.
Next chapter is on Google Adsense. We talk about how you can make money with other people’s ads.