Maintaining visibility in the search engine results pages (SERP) is essential for any advertiser. The SERP is constantly changing with new ads, features, and most importantly, competitors entering all the time, so it’s important to monitor your rankings and adjust your campaigns accordingly.
There are three main competitive metrics that you should be tracking in Google Ads: impression share, impression share lost to budget, and impression share lost to rank.
By understanding and optimizing for these three important search metrics within Google Ads, you can outrank your competitors and reach more customers in paid search results.
When you pair with auction insights, SERP Analysis, and an understanding of search intent, you can easily dominate the SERP and reach more customers in no time.
1) Impression Share
Shorthand: IS, Search Impr. Share
Optimize to: Increase how often your ads show up in the SERP (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)
Your impression share is the percentage of impressions that your ad receives in relation to the total number of impressions that could be shown.
This metric can be found under “Auction insights” in your Google Ads account or as an additional column when you modify your view. If you have a low impression share, it means that your ads are not being shown as often as they could be.
There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, but it’s usually because your competitors are outbidding you or their ads are more relevant to the user’s search.
Example: In image 1, the first campaign has a 31.75% Search Impression Share for the selected time period.
This means that their ad isn’t showing roughly 68% of the time and they should look at Impression Share Lost to Rank and Impression Share Lost to Budget to see why their ads aren’t showing very often.
Their competitor, on the other hand, might have an impression share of 76% which means they will probably get more traffic and potential customers.
Top Impression Share
Shorthand: Search Top IS, Top IS
“Search top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the top location, or anywhere above the organic search results, compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
Absolute Top Impression Share
Shorthand: Search Abs. Top IS, Abs. Top IS
“Search abs. top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location, or the very first ad above the organic search results, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
Exact Match Impression Share
Shorthand: Search Exact Match IS, EM IS
A percentage is calculated by dividing the number of impressions that your campaign received for searches that exactly matched your keyword by the total estimated number of exact match impressions you were eligible to receive.
2) Impression Share Lost to Budget
Shorthand: IS LTB, Search Lost IS (Budget)
Optimize: Limit how often your ads do not appear in the SERP due to budget (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)
The percentage of time your ad didn’t appear because your budget was too low.
You may miss opportunities for impressions. A value of 20% indicates that in 20% of customer searches that matched your keywords, your ad didn’t appear because your budget is too low.
Example: In image 3, the first campaign has a 31.75% Search Impression Share for the selected time period.
When we look at the Search Impression Share Lost to Budget, we can see that they are losing almost half of their Impression Share because of budget.
We can then determine that there is roughly 50% more opportunity to compete for your matching search queries.
You can also calculate how much money you would need to spend to get your IS LTB to 0%.
3) Impression Share Lost to Rank
Shorthand: IS LTR, Search Lost IS (Rank)
Optimize to: Limit how often your ads do not appear in the SERP due to rank (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)
The percentage of time your ad didn’t appear because of poor ad rank, which is determined by your bid relative to your competitors and by your ad quality.
If you see 20% for this search metric, then in 20% of customer searches that matched your keywords, your ad didn’t appear because of rank.
Example: In image 4, we can see that the first campaign is losing roughly 22% to rank. That means that 22% of the time their competitors are either bidding more aggressively or have more relevant ads.
Auction insights is a competitive tool that can be found under the “Reports” tab in your Google Ads account. It shows you how often your ad appears in relation to your competitors.
This information can help you adjust your bids, improve your ad rank, and even increase your return on ad spend.
Or even see why your cost shot up!
While the search metrics displayed under columns can show you a relative percentage of various KPIs, the auction insights tool will show you exactly who is bidding against you.
Use the time series chart for an easy-to-share and effective visual for clients.
IS = Impressions/ Total number of eligible impressions
Top IS = Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top
Abs Top IS = Impressions on absolute top/eligible impressions on top
What is SERP?
SERP stands for search engine results page. A SERP is the web page that a search engine returns with the results of a query.
A SERP feature is any element on a SERP that is not an organic result. Examples of SERP features are ads, local pack listings, image carousels, and featured snippets.
In order to dominate the SERP, you need to have a strong presence in both paid and organic results. Use the three competitive metrics above to outrank your competitors in paid search.
What is SERP analysis?
SERP analysis is the act of analyzing the results of a given SERP in order to better understand how users interact with the search engine results page.
You can check for competition, monetization potential, and most importantly: search intent.
In image 6, we can see that the search query “mattress” has quite a few competitors for the same keyword.
Using one of my favorite SEO tools, Ahrefs, we can see that the keyword “mattress” has an average of 325k searches per month and an average 233k clicks with an average cost per click at $8.
When I click on the Casper Mattress ad, we can see that the products range from $1,300-$2,900.
With this quick SERP analysis you can determine that:
- “Mattress” is a competitive keyword
- “Mattress” is in demand
- “Mattress” can be very profitable
When paired with a SERP analysis, understanding search intent can help you understand what people and potential customers are looking for when they type in your keyword.
When scrolling through the SERP for this keyword, you can see common themes in the results.
For example, we can see a few relevant themes with this keyword that shows what customers may be looking for:
From this list, we can then adjust ad copy and keyword set for relevancy.
Additionally, you can further implement your understanding of search intent by speculating that the keyword “mattress” would not be able to compete on the SERP for relevancy (or rank) with products such as:
- bed frames
- bed sheets
- mattress pads
Of course, there is far more nuance for certain products, but if you combine search intent with competitive metrics, you can easily dominate the SERP.
SERP analysis is critical for understanding how to dominate the SERP. By using competitive metrics and search intent, you can create a campaign that will outrank your competitors and maintain a strong presence on the SERP.
This way, you can ensure that your product is seen by potential customers and can generate revenue for you or your clients.
Tips to Boost Your PPC Campaigns in 2022
Digital marketing and advertising are always evolving with the new online trends, customer behavior, and industry demands. That means that marketing and advertising strategies should never be set in stone, rather, you should always make sure that your strategies and tactics are evolving as a result.
And that’s where marketers and business leaders make their first mistake. To craft the perfect PPC marketing plan, you need to keep your plan flexible and scalable. This will help you adapt your approach, expand different elements of your strategy, and boost your results in a competitive industry.
That’s exactly what we are going to talk about today – keyword and landing page expansion and how these tactics can help you boost your PPC campaigns in 2022 and beyond. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Keyword Expansion and Why is it Important?
In the competitive SMB market, companies need to continuously add value to their marketing and advertising efforts to build their competitive edge, and that means adding relevant keywords to your list. Keywords are not just important for your overall marketing efforts – they are instrumental to a proper landing page and PPC optimization.
If you have a plumbing company, for example, then you should know that localized keywords are the basis of marketing for plumbers because they allow you to build your visibility online. What you might not have known is that expanding your keywords can boost your advertising and landing page performance, as well.
The same goes for any local or global business, as adding new keywords will allow you to expand the reach and visibility of your ads, but also the reach and relevance of your landing pages. This brings us to the next important question.
What is Landing Page Expansion?
Expanding your landing pages is one of the best ways to boost brand visibility and the performance of your ads, which lead to your landing pages. After all, your ad can only be as effective as your landing page.
That’s why you should continuously expand your landing pages to justify the ad spend and to help your PPC campaigns produce positive results over the long term. Now that you know what keyword and landing page expansion is, let’s go over some of the best practices you can use.
Top Ways to Find More Relevant Keywords
Regularly finding new keywords for your PPC ad copy and your landing pages is an essential step toward building long-lasting, fruitful advertising campaigns. After all, keyword research and implementation is not a one-time thing, and it requires constant investment if you want to stay ahead of the competition.
With that in mind, here’s how you can find more relevant keywords:
- Use the Google Keyword Planner
- Google new relevant phrases
- Identify and use keyword synonyms
- Use dedicated tools like BuzzSumo and Ahrefs
- Consider YouTube SEO and look for keywords in video titles and descriptions
- Go through your competitors’ landing pages
- Go through your competitors’ ad copy
- Go through your competitors’ blog content
- Consider leveraging dynamic search ads
- Go to Quora and forums to find long-tail keywords
- When in doubt, check Reddit for keyword ideas
These are some of the safest ways to find new keyword ideas to add to your ad copy and landing pages. However, make sure to analyze every new search term you come across and its potential and relevance for your business.
You should also keep misspelled phrases in mind, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
Optimizing Landing Pages for Better Ad Performance
Landing page optimization should be a continuous process, especially if you want to justify your ad spend and make your PPC campaigns produce a positive ROI. While the ad itself is the first point of contact, it will be the landing page that will engage and convert visitors into paying customers. That said, you also want your landing pages to be visible in search in order to boost brand visibility and reach.
The definition of a landing page is that it is a separate web page created for marketing and advertising purposes, but to generate the desired results, you need to optimize it by:
- Adding a clear value proposition
- Adding calls to action throughout
- Structuring your content
- Complementing content with visuals
- Optimizing your above-the-fold content
- Reducing customer effort
- Optimizing your headings and subheadings
- Adding user-generated content
And of course, you need to optimize your landing pages by adding new keywords, removing underperforming ones, and monitoring their performance.
Implementing Misspelled Keywords
One of the best ways to improve your advertising efforts and add relevant search terms to your list is to add misspelled keywords. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but there is no denying that people tend to misspell the terms they’re searching for – terms you want to use to boost your ad and landing page visibility.
People tend to misspell concepts and phrases they don’t understand well. For example, people don’t understand the metaverse, or concepts like the metaverse VR, metaverse real estate, and so on. But that goes for all new, high-tech terms, which tend to produce a lot of misspelled keyword phrases.
The second reason that misspelling occurs is that people tend to be bad at brand retention. If people are misspelling your brand slightly, then you can use those keywords to help Google rank you higher for that term.
Don’t go overboard, however, and only use misspelled search terms as a way to expand your keywords and landing pages.
Keyword and landing page expansion, when done correctly, can help you scale your PPC campaigns, adapt to new trends, and reel in more customers. Through meticulous landing page optimization and the implementation of new keywords, you’re able to save your marketing and advertising dollars, which will allow you to better allocate your resources to other complementary campaigns.
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