Google Search Campaigns are one of the most popular forms of online advertising.
If you’ve always wanted to run a Google Search Campaign of your own but didn’t know how this article will help you get started.
Even if you don’t know what a Google Search Network ad is, know more than enough to run a profitable Search Campaign of your own.
What are Google Search Network Campaigns?
Chances are, if you’ve used the internet, you’ve come across advertisers who are running Google Search Campaigns.
Google Search Campaigns allow for you to display advertisements in the search listings of a Google Search.
This is useful when you consider that Google processes more than 4 billion searches per day.
Another benefit of Google Search campaigns is you can pick the keyword that triggers your search and display ad.
For example, if you’re selling ‘fishing rods,’ you can decide to only show your ads when someone types the word ‘fishing rods,’ into Google.
Depending on how well your ad is optimized, and how much you’re bidding for your ad, you can influence how high your ad shows in the search network listings.
Google Search ads can also show up on a variety of other websites and apps.
Lay the Groundwork for Your Google Search Network Campaign
Before you run a Google Search campaign, you need to do some groundwork and develop a plan for your ad group.
Running a Google Search campaign can cost a lot of money and, if you don’t plan ahead, you’ll end up running ads that don’t generate an R.O.I. – while losing a lot of money in the process.
On top of that, if you fail to plan ahead, your conversion rate will be a lot lower than the average click-through rate of 3.17 percent.
So, what do you need to think about, when developing a Google Search Campaign plan?
One factor that you should pay attention to are the keywords that you’re going to be targeting.
Choose the Right Keywords to Target
The keywords, rather than image or text ad data, you target are arguably the most important factor when running a Search campaign.
After all, the keywords you select can influence how much your campaign is going to cost, but also the likely success of your search and display campaign.
Let’s first take a look at why keywords influence the success of your campaign.
Let’s continue with the example of ‘fishing rods,’ from earlier.
The success of your campaign is going to depend on your ability to accurately identify keywords with ‘buyer intent.’
In layman’s terms, that means keywords people type into Google when they’re actively looking to buy something.
What keyword do you think is going to drive better results when running a Search Campaign on Google.
‘Buy fishing rods’ or ‘fishing rods’?.
Odds are, it’s going to be, ‘Buy fishing rods.’
Those people are the ones who are looking to purchase something right now.
People just typing in ‘fishing rods,’ might still be in ‘research mode.’
It can also be a good idea to run a display network campaign based on a specific product or model name.
Again, this is because if someone is searching in relation to a specific product, there’s a good chance that they’re looking to buy – as opposed to the intent of someone who just runs a generic search.
When it comes to identifying keywords that are going to generate positive R.O.I., you don’t have to rely on guesswork.
That’s because you can use something known as the Google Keyword Planner tool.
This tool let’s you know what keywords people are typing into Google, in relation to a specific topic and getting search results.
It also let’s you know which keywords cost the most ‘per click,’ and how much competition there is, too.
Note: The keywords that cost the most tend to let you know which keywords are the most profitable.
Remember, Google Ads work using auction mechanism.
The price of ads rise, depending on who’s willing to pay the most for any one display ad.
If marketers are willing to outbid each other to a high degree, there’s a good chance that it’s because they can afford to bid so highly, as they have confidence that the ad will still generate a positive R.O.I. – in spite of the high bid.
This is all because high value keywords with buyer intent tend to convert much better than keywords that don’t represent buyer intent.
For example, if you pick a targeted keyword that signals buyer intent, you might be able to convert 1 in every 5 people that image ad click.
This is opposed to converting 1 in every 50 for a keyword that is less targeted and lacks buyer intent.
In a situation like that, it’s easy to see how a $2 CPC keyword might prove more profitable than a $0.50 CPC keyword.
Of course, this is all assuming that your landing page is adequately optimized – something we’ll touch on later.
Knowing that, let’s take a look at how you can use the Google Keyword tool to come up with keywords for your ad group.
First, head over to the Keyword Planner.
Once there, select “Dkiscover new keywords.”
Then, input a basic keyword that’s related to what you’re looking to sell.
So, in my case, I’ve entered ‘fishing rods.’
Upon doing so, I’m presented with the following page.
This page can be a little bit overwhelming at first, so let’s break it down.
The list at the tops shows related words I might want to consider.
Below that, you’ll notice that I’ve highlighted the tab called ‘Keyword by relevance’
This is essentially where Google has grouped search and display keywords into topics.
Each keyword also has its own ‘Avg. monthly searches,’ figure. This helps us identify high-volume keywords that could potentially provide a lot of traffic volume.
You can also see the top of page bid, which is how much we can expect to pay to hit the front page.
The competition tab tells us how many other people are likely bidding for the same words.
As you can see, all these terms have high compeittion, which means it’s likley going to cost quite a bit to run those ads.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — those keywords may also generate a pretty high ROI.
You might notice also, however, that a lot of these keywords aren’t that useful for people who are in the business of selling fishing rods.
As a result, it can be helpful to click through the ‘Groped view,’ option on the right sidebar, which groups related keywords together. Click on the carrot under each group and you’ll see more related terms.
You’ll now notice that a lot of the ‘Ad Group Ideas’ and ‘keywords’ are more relevant and provide much more in the way of keywords with ‘buyer intent.’
In any case, what you’ll want to do after reviewing these keywords is to jot them down. You might even want to download them, by clicking on the ‘Download’ button.
You can also use Ubersuggest to find keyword ideas. It is helpful for finding content ideas as well as keywords for Google Search Network Ads.
Pay attention to the “suggestions ” and “related” tabs to get more ideas.
Make Sure Your Landing Page (or Website) Meets Google Guidelines
Once you’ve identified some worthwhile keywords, you’ll then want to take a look at the webpage you’re sending ad traffic to make sure it is well-optimized.
If you’re sending traffic to a landing page, make sure that your landing page is compliant with the guidelines Google provides.
Even if you’re sending traffic to a normal webpage, ensure that the page in question follows the guidelines.
Google disabled 780 million ads in one year due to policy violations – you don’t want to be part of that statistic!
Now, let’s take a look at how you can set up a campaign.
Setting up a Google Search Network Campaign
Set a Goal for Your Google Search Network Ad
Then, select your goal. Google offers several options including sales, leads, traffic, and brand awareness. To stay with the fishing pole example, I’ll pick “sales.”
Then, select a campaign type. Since we want to show up in Search, choose “Search.”
Next, choose what action you want users to take. Since we’re selling fishing rods, I’ll choose website visits.
If you are a brick and mortar store, you’ll wan to choose “store visits” while an app company would choose “app downloads.”
Name Your Campaign
Now give your campaign a name. Make it something that is easy to remember and descriptive.
You can also choose the “Display Network” option, which will display your ad on partner sites across the internet.
If you want to only show up on search, make sure you untick ‘Display Network.’ This will ensure the quality of your traffic is high, as clicks will originate only from searches that take place directly on Google.
Set Your Location & Language
You then have the ability to choose a ‘Location’ for your ad. Pick whatever is relevant to your offering and circumstance. If you are online, you might choose all countries and territories, but there’s likely a smaller audience you can target.
If you’re advertising in a foreign country, pick ‘English’ as the language, so that you’re still showing your ads to people who find them relevant.
Choose Your Audience
Now choose who you want to show your ads to based on interests.
Set Your Budget
You can then adjust your budget and bidding.
If you’re new to Google ads, you might want to pick the ‘Maximize conversions’ option.
Don’t be too worried about what you pick here, as you can always adjust your bidding options later.
The budget section dictates how much you’re going to be spending, per day, on your ads. Your ads will never go over this daily spend limit.
You can experiment with the ‘Ad extensions’ section, once you have a bit more experience with search campaigns.
For now, however, just click on ‘Save and continue.’
Create Your Ad Group
You then get the chance to set up your Ad Group, which are one or more ads with a similar target.
You can obtain keyword suggestions here, by typing in the URL of your landing or other page where you’re sending traffic to.
However, it’s arguably better to come up with your keywords using the display network strategy we went through earlier.
When typing in your keywords, it’s important that you pay attention to ‘Match Types.’
What are Match Types and Why Do They Matter?
Match Types influence the ‘kind of keywords’ that trigger your ad or entire ad group.
If you pick ‘Exact match,’ your ad will appear only when the exact keyword or phrase you have provided is entered into Google Search.
If you pick ‘Broad match,’ your ad will appear for a variety of keyword variations that are typed into Google Search.
Exact Match is often the best option for people who are just starting out with Adwords to get search network traffic.
Below, you’ll find a great explanation, in terms of the different match types.
Create Your Google Search Network Ad
Now it is time to create your ad.
Creating effective copy for your search and display ad is something that takes a lot of skill.
Start by adding the URL you want your ad to go to, then click “view ideas” to get suggestions.
Wordstream offers a ton of great advice on how to create great ad headlines.
Here are some more tips from Google:
If you bid for a certain keyword, make sure that your ad copy contains that keyword. This makes your display ad seem more relevant and the matching of the two will improve clicks.
You also need to make sure that your ad headlines match your landing page headlines – I briefly touched upon this above.
Optimizely found that they could improve conversions by 39.1%, by matching landing page headlines with ad headlines.
Below shows how Optimizely set up their campaigns, initially.
The next image shows how Optimizely adjusted their ads and landing pages in order to improve search network conversions.
Aside from reading more on the topic and practicing, studying other ads can be a great way to improve your skills.
Pay attention to the “Ad Strentght” circle in Google Ads, it will give you an idea if your ads are likley to do well.
Keep an eye out for appealing ads, as you’re using Google on a day-to-day basis. ‘Screenshot’ these ads and keep them in a ‘Swipe file.’
You can then use these ads for inspiration, when running your own campaigns.
You can also use a tool, like SpyFu, to find competitor ads that have been running for a long time.
If an ad has been running for a long time, there’s a good chance that the marketer running that ad is turning a profit – after all, they’ve found a way to fund that ad for a long period, so it’s most likely profitable.
Once you’ve created your ad copy, you then have the chance to review your campaign.
Once you click ‘Save and finish,’ you then have to wait for Google to approve your campaign.
If you ever want to adjust the bidding strategy for your image ad campaigns, you can do that by going into the ‘Settings,’ of your campaign.
If you bid high, there’s a good chance that you’ll appear higher in the search listings.
Appearing high in the search listings is worth it, when you consider that the top three listings on the first search results page earn 41% of the clicks.
If you’ve never run a Google Search Network Campaign before, you’re probably excited to get one going now, after having read this post.
But you need a plan of action, if you want to ensure that your ads are going to generate a return on investment.
In this post, we’ve examined how you can find the right keywords, so that you can improve the odds of having a successful search and display campaign. We also explored how you can write effective ads that will get people to click on them.
Now that you how to get started, why not get the ball rolling and see what’s possible for your business when using Google Search Network ads? If you need more tips or want to optimize your ads, check out this complete guide to managing Google Ads.
Best of luck!
Do you have any tips that you can share in relation to setting up a profitable Google Search Campaign?
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How to Write For Google
Are you writing your SEO content based on the latest best practice tips?
I originally wrote this SEO copywriting checklist in 2012—my, how things have changed. Today, Google stresses quality content even more than before, conversational copy is critical, and there are revised SEO writing “rules.”
I’ve updated the list to reflect these changes and to provide additional information.
As a side note, I would argue that there’s no such thing as “writing for Google.” Yes, there are certain things you should do to make the Google gods happy. However, your most important goal should be writing clear, compelling, standout copy that tells a story.
I’m keeping the old headline in the hopes that I can convert some of the “write for Google” people to do things the right way.
Whether you’re an in-house SEO content writer, a DIY business owner, or a freelance SEO copywriter, this 27-point checklist will help you write engaging, Google-happy content—every time.
Items to review before you start your SEO writing project
– Do you have enough information about your target reader?
Your copy will pack a powerful one-two punch if your content is laser-focused on your target reader. Ask your client or supervisor for a customer/reader persona document outlining your target readers’ specific characteristics. If the client doesn’t have a customer persona document, be prepared to spend an hour or more asking detailed questions.
Here’s more information on customer personas.
– Writing a sales page? Did you interview the client?
It’s essential to interview new clients and to learn more about their company, USP, and competition. Don’t forget to ask about industry buzzwords that should appear in the content.
Not sure what questions to ask to get the copywriting ball rolling? Here’s a list of 56 questions you can start with today.
– Writing a blog post? Get topic ideas from smart sources
When you’re blogging, it’s tempting to write about whatever strikes your fancy. The challenge is, what interests you may not interest your readers. If you want to make sure you’re writing must-read content, sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Google Trends, and BuzzSumo can help spark some ideas.
– Did you use Google for competitive intelligence ideas?
Check out the sites positioning in the top-10 and look for common characteristics. How long are competing articles? Do the articles link out to authoritative sources? Are there videos or infographics? Do the articles include quotes from industry experts? Your job is to write an essay that’s better than what’s already appearing in the top-10 — so let the competition be your guide.
– Did you conduct keyphrase research?
Yes, keyphrase research (and content optimization) is still a crucial SEO step. If you don’t give Google some keyphrase “cues,” your page probably won’t position the way you want.
Use a keyphrase research tool and find possible keyphrases for your page or post. As a hint: if you are tightly focusing on a topic, long-tail keyphrases are your best bet. Here’s more information about why long-tail keyphrases are so important.
If you are researching B2B keyphrases, know that the “traditional” keyphrase research steps may not apply. Here’s more information about what to do if B2B keyphrase research doesn’t work.
– What is your per-page keyphrase focus?
Writers are no longer forced to include the exact-match keyphrase over and over again. (Hurray!) Today, we can focus on a keyphrase theme that matches the search intent and weave in multiple related keyphrases.
– Did you expand your keyphrase research to include synonyms and close variants?
Don’t be afraid to include keyphrase synonyms and close variants on your page. Doing so opens up your positioning opportunities, makes your copy better, and is much easier to write!
Are you wondering if you should include your keyphrases as you write the copy — or edit them in later? It’s up to you! Here are the pros and cons of both processes.
— Do your keyphrases match the search intent?
Remember that Google is “the decider” when it comes to search intent. If you’re writing a sales page — and your desired keyphrase pulls up informational blog posts in Google – your sales page probably won’t position.
— Writing a blog post? Does your Title/headline work for SEO, social, and your readers?
Yes, you want your headline to be compelling, but you also want it to be keyphrase rich. Always include your main page keyphrase (or a close variant) in your Title and work in other keyphrases if they “fit.”
– Did you include keyphrase-rich subheadlines?
Subheadlines are an excellent way to visually break up your text, making it easy for readers to quick-scan your benefits and information. Additionally, just like with the H1 headline, adding a keyphrase to your subheadlines can (slightly) help reinforce keyphrase relevancy.
As a hint, sometimes, you can write a question-oriented subheadline and slip the keyphrase in more easily. Here’s more information about why answering questions is a powerful SEO content play.
– Is your Title “clickable” and compelling?
Remember, the search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Focusing too much on what you think Google “wants” may take away your Title’s conversion power.
Consider how you can create an enticing Title that “gets the click” over the other search result listings. You have about 59 characters (with spaces) to work with, so writing tight is essential.
– Does the meta description fit the intent of the page?
Yes, writers should create a meta description for every page. Why? Because they tell the reader what the landing page is about and help increase SERP conversions. Try experimenting with different calls-to-actions at the end, such as “learn more” or “apply now.” You never know what will entice your readers to click!
– Is your content written in a conversational style?
With voice search gaining prominence, copy that’s written in a conversational style is even more critical.
Read your copy out loud and hear how it sounds. Does it flow? Or does it sound too formal? If you’re writing for a regulated industry, such as finance, legal, or healthcare, you may not be able to push the conversational envelope too much. Otherwise, write like you talk.
Here’s how to explain why conversational content is so important.
–Is your copy laser-focused on your audience?
A big mistake some writers make is creating copy that appeals to “everyone” rather than their specific target reader. Writing sales and blog pages that are laser-focused on your audience will boost your conversions and keep readers checking out your copy longer. Here’s how one company does it.
Plus, you don’t receive special “Google points” for writing long content. Even short copy can position if it fully answers the searcher’s query. Your readers don’t want to wade through 1,500 words to find something that can be explained in 300 words.
Items to review after you’ve written the page
– Did you use too many keyphrases?
Remember, there is no such thing as keyword density. If your content sounds keyphrase-heavy and stilted, reduce the keyphrase usage and focus more on your readers’ experience. Your page doesn’t receive bonus points for exact-matching your keyphrase multiple times. If your page sounds keyphrase stuffed when you read it out loud, dial back your keyphrase usage.
– Did you edit your content?
Resist the urge to upload your content as soon as you write it. Put it away and come back to it after a few hours (or even the next day.) Discover why editing your Web writing is so very important. Also, don’t think that adding typos will help your page position. They won’t.
– Is the content interesting to read?
Yes, it’s OK if your copy has a little personality. Here’s more information about working with your page’s tone and feel and how to avoid the “yawn response.” Plus, know that even FAQ pages can help with conversions — and yes, even position.
– Are your sentences and paragraphs easy to read?
Vary your sentence structure so you have a combination of longer and shorter sentences. If you find your sentences creeping over 30 or so words, edit them down and make them punchier. Your writing will have more impact if you do.
Plus, long paragraphs without much white space are hard to read off a computer monitor – and even harder to read on a smartphone. Split up your long paragraphs into shorter ones. Please.
– Are you forcing your reader onto a “dead end” page?
“Dead-end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages) can stop your readers dead in their tracks and hurt your conversion goals.
Want to avoid this? Read more about “dead-end” Web pages.
– Does the content provide the reader with valuable information?
Google warns against sites with “thin,” low-quality content that’s poorly written. In fact, according to Google, spelling errors are a bigger boo-boo than broken HTML. Make sure your final draft is typo-free, written well, and thoroughly answers the searcher’s query.
Want to know what Google considers quality content — directly from Google? Here are Google’s Quality Raters guidelines for more information.
– Did you use bullet points where appropriate?
If you find yourself writing a list-like sentence, use bullet points instead. Your readers will thank you, and the items will be much easier to read.
Plus, you can write your bullet points in a way that makes your benefit statements pop, front and center. Here’s how Nike does it.
– Is the primary CTA (call-to-action) clear–and is it easy to take action?
What action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to contact you? Buy something? Sign up for your newsletter? Make sure you’re telling your reader what you want them to do, and make taking action easy. If you force people to answer multiple questions just to fill out a “contact us” form, you run the risk of people bailing out.
Here’s a list of seven CTA techniques that work.
– Do you have a secondary CTA (such as a newsletter signup or downloading a white paper?)
Do you want readers to sign up for your newsletter or learn about related products? Don’t bury your “sign up for our newsletter” button in the footer text. Instead, test different CTA locations (for instance, try including a newsletter signup link at the bottom of every blog post) and see where you get the most conversions.
– Does the page include too many choices?
It’s important to keep your reader focused on your primary and secondary CTAs. If your page lists too many choices (for example, a large, scrolling page of products), consider eliminating all “unnecessary” options that don’t support your primary call-to-action. Too many choices may force your readers into not taking any action at all.
– Did you include benefit statements?
People make purchase decisions based on what’s in it for them (yes, even your B2B buyers.) Highly specific benefit statements will help your page convert like crazy. Don’t forget to include a benefit statement in your Title (whenever possible) like “free shipping” or “sale.” Seeing this on the search results page will catch your readers’ eyes, tempting them to click the link and check out your site.
– Do you have vertical-specific testimonials?
It’s incredible how many great sales pages are testimonial-free. Testimonials are a must for any site, as they offer third-party proof that your product or service is superior. Plus, your testimonials can help you write better, more benefit-driven sales pages and fantastic comparison-review pages.
Here’s a way to make your testimonials more powerful.
And finally — the most important question:
– Does your content stand out and genuinely deserve a top position?
SEO writing is more than shoving keyphrases into the content. If you want to be rewarded by Google (and your readers), your content must stand out — not be a carbon copy of the current top-10 results. Take a hard look at your content and compare it against what’s currently positioning. Have you fully answered the searcher’s query? Did you weave in other value-added resources, such as expert quotes, links to external and internal resources (such as FAQ pages), videos, and graphics?
If so, congratulations! You’ve done your job.
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