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Audit Your Google Ads: How to Spend Less and Earn More

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Audit Your Google Ads: How to Spend Less and Earn More

If you are operating and managing your own Google Ads it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin. For many small businesses that do marketing in-house, you can typically start by having a consultation with the Google Ads team once you get your account set-up. Unfortunately, the problem is that there is often a lot that you can be doing for your Ads (which involves spending less and earning more) that Google may not tell you because this gets into more advanced practices. 

This article isn’t intended to knock the professionals on the Google team by any means, I myself have found them to be very helpful in the past; however, I do want to give you some independent fixes that could be getting you better results without increasing your bids all the time. The strategy is key with Google Ads, and when you get over the learning curve of managing yourself, there is a lot you can improve for your individual business.

Tips to Auditing Your Google Ads for Success

Google Ads almost always works when you know how to effectively monitor your campaigns, keeping in mind that you also need to have solid business development and branding in place before you can be successful. The goal with Ads is profit, so increasing your conversions and sales on your website. In order to be successful, your strategy really needs to be tailored to your individual business, but there are some tweaks anyone can make to have a successful go at it! Here are some tips on auditing your Ads, so that you can spend less and get more conversions with your advertisements. 

1. Data Analysis is Key for Determining Spending 

This sounds like a pretty basic point, but I want to start a general here and then get more specific in subsequent sections. Let me be clear, data-driven decisions are the best choices when you are determining how to spend on Ads. If you can look at your analytics and determine what is acting as a successful keyword and driving traffic on your site, then that is a smart budget adjustment. The problem is that general budget increases to get your ad on page one of a search, won’t necessarily do anything if people were not hoping to find your company/industry in the first place. Look at data for what is performing well, and don’t put as much money (or attention) into what is not.

A quick word about profit & advertising costs. If you know you are making a profit while spending money on your ads, then you DO want to increase the amount you are funneling into it—this is just best practice in advertising (the whole spend money to make money theory). If you are getting a good ROI on your Ads campaigns, keep it yet. One of my favorite quotes about advertising came from Henry Ford: 

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” 

Henry Ford

The issue arises when you are funneling a bunch of money into Google Ads and are not seeing results. Also, remember that it may not just be Ads you need to look at. If you feel like you audit, look at analytics, and keep a close eye on your campaigns and you still aren’t seeing the results you should be, it may have to do with your website, brand image, reviews, or other relevant business issues. Ads works when all of those things are in place. 

Bottom line. Look at your data and analytics regularly and often. You may have a learning curve at first, but in the end, you will be able to make the kind of corrections that save money and see a far better ROI once you get the hang of it! 

2. Incorrect Audience Targeting

One of the errors that can lead to excessive spending without seeing the kind of conversions you want is targeting your brand’s audience incorrectly.

You could be:

  • Targeting the wrong location 
  • Bidding at the wrong time of day or days of the week 
  • Targeting the wrong kind of devices
  • Advertising on the wrong networks

Look into demographics about your audience (for example, where you sell your products) and data on what days/times or devices perform best to make these kinds of adjustments. 

3. Errors in Keyword Targeting 

There are a lot of mistakes made (and solutions for them) with keyword targeting. In fact, poor keyword targeting is one of the most significant problems for high-paying and underperforming Ads accounts. The biggest mistakes often fall in one of two categories: (1) targeting over-inclusive keywords or (2) targeting non-converting keywords. I’m going to break-down some solutions for each category: 

Error #1: Targeting Over-Inclusive Keywords

Unfortunately, Google Ads is not one of the places where casting your net wide is a good thing. You do want to have enough keywords and keyword combinations to make sure you rank in relevant searches, but using “overly-broad” keywords is not likely to get you anywhere. In fact, it is likely to just get you a lot of junk. 

For example, I was helping a small business with their Ads recently, and a Chicago-Based photography and video company had “Chicago” and “Video” as keyword options. They wound up getting a lot of traffic for people just looking for videos of Chicago—not traffic looking for a videographer in Chicago. In a PPC campaign, this is no good. I had to go into their Google Ads and did two different things to troubleshoot this junk traffic (and PPC over-spending):

  1. Add negative keywords to their campaign. If you do some research it is pretty easy to find negative keywords you should be using in your specific industry. Google Ads support can also give you a list of recommendations. This will help you to decide what keywords you don’t want to target and therefore not have PPC losses on words that are not driving traffic.
  2. Analyze their search terms report closely. If you analyze your search terms report you can learn a lot of valuable information to make adjustments. For example, you can find out what search queries ultimately lead people to your page (through them clicking on the ad). It will also allow you to figure out which are performing poorly and will need to be added to your negative keyword list.

Doing both of these things can really help you to eliminate over-inclusive keywords and make sure the clicks you are getting are the most accurate possible, which will in turn save you money and boost conversions.

Error #2: Non-Converting Keywords 

The second largest problem is using keywords that are non-converting. What this means is that you need to look at what keywords are performing well and which are not and make a decision about which to add to your negative keyword list. By looking at performance data (i.e, conversions) you can figure out which keywords are more relevant and valuable to your advertisement. 

Here are some steps you can take to figure out what keywords are not working well and build your own analysis: 

Step 1: Export a keyword report,

Step 2: Add the data into a spreadsheet & create a pivot table to determine which keywords are not performing well and what might be able to cut costs.

Step 3: Cut costs by “pausing” non-converting keywords. 

The Takeaway 

There are many things you can do to audit your Google Ads, and the things I’ve mentioned in this post are just a starting point. As I mentioned, data analysis is really key here—you want to make sure you are checking your Ads performance regularly and doing what you can to make adjustments so that you stay within your budget! Learn about more ideas for an audit here.

Do you know of any helpful Google Ads audit tricks? Let us know in the comments section below! 

Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor-in-chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all things digital marketing, both as a ghostwriter, guest writer, and blog manager, for over 10 years. Check out her blogging services to learn more!

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

Here’s what happened in the world of Google and search engines this week:

1. Google’s June 2024 Spam Update

Google finished rolling out its June 2024 spam update over a period of seven days. This update aims to reduce spammy content in search results.

2. Changes to Google Search Interface

Google has removed the continuous scroll feature for search results. Instead, it’s back to the old system of pages.

3. New Features and Tests

  • Link Cards: Google is testing link cards at the top of AI-generated overviews.
  • Health Overviews: There are more AI-generated health overviews showing up in search results.
  • Local Panels: Google is testing AI overviews in local information panels.

4. Search Rankings and Quality

  • Improving Rankings: Google said it can improve its search ranking system but will only do so on a large scale.
  • Measuring Quality: Google’s Elizabeth Tucker shared how they measure search quality.

5. Advice for Content Creators

  • Brand Names in Reviews: Google advises not to avoid mentioning brand names in review content.
  • Fixing 404 Pages: Google explained when it’s important to fix 404 error pages.

6. New Search Features in Google Chrome

Google Chrome for mobile devices has added several new search features to enhance user experience.

7. New Tests and Features in Google Search

  • Credit Card Widget: Google is testing a new widget for credit card information in search results.
  • Sliding Search Results: When making a new search query, the results might slide to the right.

8. Bing’s New Feature

Bing is now using AI to write “People Also Ask” questions in search results.

9. Local Search Ranking Factors

Menu items and popular times might be factors that influence local search rankings on Google.

10. Google Ads Updates

  • Query Matching and Brand Controls: Google Ads updated its query matching and brand controls, and advertisers are happy with these changes.
  • Lead Credits: Google will automate lead credits for Local Service Ads. Google says this is a good change, but some advertisers are worried.
  • tROAS Insights Box: Google Ads is testing a new insights box for tROAS (Target Return on Ad Spend) in Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns.
  • WordPress Tag Code: There is a new conversion code for Google Ads on WordPress sites.

These updates highlight how Google and other search engines are continuously evolving to improve user experience and provide better advertising tools.

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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