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Everything You Need To Know About Cloudflare For SEO

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Everything You Need To Know About Cloudflare For SEO

Maybe you’ve heard of Cloudflare in your SEO wanderings. But even among those familiar with the name, many don’t know know how it really works.

Some think that the platform is nothing more than another DNS management system.

However, I can confidently say that the platform offers exceptional features for:

  • SEO security.
  • DDoS protection.
  • Speed optimization.

If you haven’t had the time to learn how Cloudflare can improve your SEO, this guide covers multiple feature implementations that can supercharge your search engine optimization in the next few pages.

(Disclosure: I’m a Cloudflare certified partner. This article is based on my 20+ years of experience in enterprise SEO and familiarity with the platform; I’ve received no compensation for writing this.)

Wait. What Is Cloudflare If It’s Not A DNS Management System?

Cloudflare started as a DNS management tool but has since expanded into a tool for:

  • DNS management.
  • Security.
  • Caching.
  • Website optimization (more on that below).
  • Bot Management.
  • WAF.
  • So much more.

If you dig into the company, they call themselves a “web performance and security company.”

And through a global network, they’ve been able to offer fast, private, and secure features that can help you keep your site fast and secure.

Plus, the company has been rapidly adding features that show the power of running Cloudflare in the background of your website.

For example, one of the major announcements at the end of October 2021 was that IndexNow had become a thing. Microsoft and Yandex have both pushed IndexNow, an open-source protocol that allows you to tell search engines to instantly index your pages.

Cloudflare partnered with Microsoft, and the two announced that 60,000 websites have opted into the Crawler Hints feature.

Essentially, the feature, which is part of Cloudflare’s platform, tells Bing that you have new website assets that need to be crawled.

The protocol works so well that Google has said they’re going to test it to see whether it’s something they may integrate into their search engine.

As anyone in the SEO field will tell you, instant indexing is a complete game-changer for site owners.

With that context under your belt, let’s take a look at how Cloudflare can improve your SEO and how to use some of its features.

Cloudflare Features That Can Improve Your SEO

Security-Related Features

  • SSL/TLS.
  • Firewall.
  • Bot Management.
  • WAF.
  • Captcha.

Performance-Related Features

  • CDN.
  • Caching.
  • Code Minify.
  • Image Optimization.
  • Redirects.

Security-Related Features

Do you know any SEOs who are security experts? Of course, you take on many roles when working on a site’s optimization, but there are a lot of security aspects that are simply out of your wheelhouse.

Cloudflare can help you bridge the security gap to improve user experience and site security with the following features:

SSL/TLS

Screenshot from Cloudflare, December 2021

Data security is at the forefront of consumers’ minds. In 2019, over 15 billion records leaked due to eCommerce data theft.

Cloudflare offers SSL free of charge to encrypt a user’s web data and even boosts SEO through:

  • Faster page load times.
  • Google’s favor towards HTTPS sites.

A site needs to use SSL/TLS to be PCI compliant and trusted by users.

Cloudflare offers numerous configuration options, including custom certificates, modern TLS only, HSTS, automatic HTTPS rewrites, and much more.

Firewall

Firewalls help you control web traffic and who can access your site.

Through HTML filtering and fine-grained controls, developers can use Cloudflare to manage rules, control bots, show captcha codes, create custom expressions for advanced rule setups, and much more.

Using firewalls makes it possible to keep your site safe and secure with precision rules.

Bot Management

Cloudflare bot managementScreenshot from Cloudflare, December 2021

Bots slow up a website and leave spam wherever they go.

Additionally, bots can steal information and damage your brand. Through real-time monitoring, it’s possible to keep bots from infesting your site through Cloudflare’s:

  • Behavioral analysis.
  • Machine learning.
  • Bot scoring.

Cloudflare can stop bots from DDoS-ing your site, scraping your content, and spamming content, too.

If you’re running a major content marketing strategy, preventing bots from scraping your site can lead to better SEO rankings since bots won’t be reposting the content everywhere.

WAF

If you’re working on an enterprise site, there’s a good chance that they use APIs and applications. A WAF is a web application firewall that integrates into these growth tools to offer:

  • OWASP rule adherence.
  • Managed rules.
  • Monitoring of stolen and exposed data.
  • Custom response options.
  • Much more.

While a WAF may not offer direct SEO benefits, it will keep applications and APIs safe and secure.

Captcha

Do you hate captcha codes? Everyone does.

Cloudflare helps you reduce the time it takes to solve captchas down to five seconds with the introduction of Cryptographic Attestation of Personhood.

Instead of captcha codes, you can add a new layer of security to your website while also eliminating the concern of bots on your site.

Performance-Related Features

Speed and performance are integral to technical search engine optimization. This demands a speedy site, and Cloudflare helps you meet these performance needs through the following:

CDN

If you’re not already using a content delivery network (CDN), you need to start. Cloudflare has an extensive global edge delivery network that allows you to:

  • Reduce bandwidth costs.
  • Protect against DDoS attacks.
  • Reduce site load times.

Content is cached at a close data center, so when two visitors from the same region visit your site, the second user will enjoy rapid speeds thanks to the files being on the closest edge server.

Caching

Cloudflare caching and speed optimizationScreenshot from Cloudflare, December 2021

CDNs boost speeds for static files, but there’s more that you can do. For example, caching can help reduce load times further by controlling how long files remain on edge servers.

Furthermore, you can control which files are cached, for how long, and more.

Ultimately, caching will lead to even faster site load speeds.

Code Minify

Inside Cloudflare’s settings page, you should enable the auto-minify setting on your speed tab, which will further improve site speeds. When this setting is enabled, it will remove unnecessary characters in the following files:

When unnecessary characters are removed, the end-user will download the file faster.

Image Optimization

Cloudflare image optimizationScreenshot from Cloudflare, December 2021

Minify is just one of the ways to improve a site’s speed.

You should also consider your image sizing, especially with today’s high-resolution images that take longer to download.

Utilizing Cloudflare’s servers, you can take control of image optimization through a system that offers image:

  • Storage.
  • Resizing.
  • Optimization.
  • Delivery.

You can even use the polish feature to begin optimizing all of the images already on your site. Reducing image size is just another way to improve load speeds and boost site rankings.

Redirects

Redirects are a major consideration, especially on an enterprise site where you’re managing hundreds or thousands of pages.

You can find resources about redirect mistakes, but many of these mistakes can be eliminated with Cloudflare.

If you open up your dashboard, you’ll find that you can select Rules and then narrow these rules down to pages.

Through the dashboard, you can setup redirects easily by adjusting:

  • URL.
  • Setting.
  • Status code.
  • Destination URL.

You must allow your traffic to pass through Cloudflare for these settings to work for you.

Redirects will play an important role in your site’s success if you delete pages or are trying to trim down your pages without losing a lot of the optimization that you already have in place.

Manually adding redirects into a .htaccess file or something similar is always an option, but using a dashboard through Cloudflare helps:

  • Speed up redirect creation.
  • Reduce the risk of errors when creating redirects.
  • Reduce server functions and bandwidth by redirecting at the DNS level.

If you’re struggling to manage your site’s redirects, the platform can help ease the burden.

Cloudflare Pages

Frontend developers will want to dig deeper into Cloudflare Pages because they make it simple to deploy and collaborate on websites.

In addition, building sites that are fast is just a little easier thanks to the following:

  • No hosting solutions that help you connect to GitHub, so you can rapidly build and deploy a site.
  • Create previews and invite an unlimited number of collaborators for free.
  • Analytics are built into the pages, so you don’t even need to worry about adding additional coding.

If you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, you may be wondering why you would ever need to use Cloudflare Pages.

These static pages allow you to make lightning-fast landing pages that you can use when running ads or optimizing product pages.

As an SEO expert, you know that even a second can make a difference in conversion rates, bounce rates, and more.

Creating rapid static pages will empower your team and open the possibility of testing out new pages and designs faster than ever before.

Additionally, since these pages are static, there is no strain on your server or database.

Cloudflare Workers

If you have to create signup forms or write code, Cloudflare workers can make the process effortless. Serverless code can be deployed to users worldwide, and it’s a way to change how your team builds apps.

Plus, the platform offers automatic scaling and uses a global network to remain fast and efficient.

You also don’t need to maintain servers, pay as you go and also join other big sites that use Cloudflare Workers, including:

  • LendingTree.
  • DoorDash.
  • Discord.
  • 23andMe.

You can also leverage workers in several SEO-friendly ways, including:

  • Creating exit pop-ups to convert potentially lost sales or keep site users on your site just a little longer.
  • Add custom headers to your site instead of using coding. For example, you can add an x-robots-tag to the header to keep pages smaller and load times faster.
  • Alter headings to change caching rules for different file types.

If you have a multitude of redirects that you need to make, there are even examples that will show you how to create mass redirects.

Coding can be extremely powerful and leveraged to help you optimize your site more effectively.

Want To Dictate TLS Versions?

You can do that with Workers, too. It’s easy to check TLS versions and throw error codes to the end-user that tells them to use a higher version of TLS.

Workers is a very powerful tool that can be used to augment current applications without the need for infrastructure or advanced configuration. However, there is a learning curve that requires some understanding of coding to use Workers.

Start reading through the tutorials and examples to determine how to leverage workers properly.

How To Enable Crawler Hints

Remember at the beginning of the article when I mentioned Crawler Hints and the IndexNow protocol? If you want to enable this feature on your own site or a client’s site, you’ll want to:

  • Log into your Cloudflare platform.
  • Navigate to your Cache tab.
  • Go to the configuration section.
  • Click the switch to turn on Crawler Hints.

In just seconds, you can turn on IndexNow across any website using Cloudflare.

Leveraging the platform’s power makes it fast and easy to stay on top of the recommendations that search engines have to optimize your site.

How Cloudflare Integrates Into Your SEO Plan

We’ve learned about numerous features that Cloudflare offers (and there are more), but how they align with your SEO strategy may not be apparent at first.

Running Cloudflare won’t help you with all of Google’s signals, and it’s not going to help you acquire links or change on-page factors.

But it will eliminate much of the optimization for:

  • User experience.
  • Core Web Vitals.
  • Site speed.

Speed remains one of the most important factors for ranking an enterprise website in 2022.

You’re in complete control of your enterprise site’s speed, and Cloudflare puts even more control in your hands without needing to invest in infrastructure.

Cloudflare is smart, and the advanced features that make a world of difference include:

  • Smart routing, so traffic is routed to servers that aren’t congested and are running optimally.
  • Continual, automated monitoring keeps servers running smoothly and automatically adjusts routing based on node outages or issues.
  • An intelligent caching system that focuses heavily on latency and travel distance to allow for faster site load speeds.
  • Image optimization and CDN work together to improve user experience, reduce site speed and make search engines happier in the process.
  • Reliability is further improved so that your site remains online. When crawlers land on your site, you can be confident that your site will be available and run smoothly.

In terms of technical SEO, Cloudflare truly helps eliminate some of the most common pain points of optimization experts.

Cloudflare is a tool that, if used properly, can help you keep on top of new search engine trends while improving your site’s security, speed, and even user experience.

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What Is It & How To Write It

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What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report
”google
”seo
”seo

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.

FAQ

What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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Google Dials Back AI Overviews In Search Results, Study Finds

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Photo of a mobile device in mans hand with generative google AI Overview on the screen.

According to new research, Google’s AI-generated overviews have undergone significant adjustments since the initial rollout.

The study from SE Ranking analyzed 100,000 keywords and found Google has greatly reduced the frequency of AI overviews.

However, when they appear, they’re more detailed than they were previously.

The study digs into which topics and industries are more likely to get an AI overview. It also looks at how the AI snippets interact with other search features like featured snippets and ads.

Here’s an overview of the findings and what they mean for your SEO efforts.

Declining Frequency Of AI Overviews

In contrast to pre-rollout figures, 8% of the examined searches now trigger an AI Overview.

This represents a 52% drop compared to January levels.

Yevheniia Khromova, the study’s author, believes this means Google is taking a more measured approach, stating:

“The sharp decrease in AI Overview presence likely reflects Google’s efforts to boost the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI-generated answers.”

Longer AI Overviews

Although the frequency of AI overviews has decreased, the ones that do appear provide more detailed information.

The average length of the text has grown by nearly 25% to around 4,342 characters.

In another notable change, AI overviews now link to fewer sources on average – usually just four links after expanding the snippet.

However, 84% still include at least one domain from that query’s top 10 organic search results.

Niche Dynamics & Ranking Factors

The chances of getting an AI overview vary across different industries.

Searches related to relationships, food and beverages, and technology were most likely to trigger AI overviews.

Sensitive areas like healthcare, legal, and news had a low rate of showing AI summaries, less than 1%.

Longer search queries with ten words were more likely to generate an AI overview, with a 19% rate indicating that AI summaries are more useful for complex information needs.

Search terms with lower search volumes and lower cost-per-click were more likely to display AI summaries.

Other Characteristics Of AI Overviews

The research reveals that 45% of AI overviews appear alongside featured snippets, often sourced from the exact domains.

Around 87% of AI overviews now coexist with ads, compared to 73% previously, a statistic that could increase competition for advertising space.

What Does This Mean?

SE Ranking’s research on AI overviews has several implications:

  1. Reduced Risk Of Traffic Losses: Fewer searches trigger AI Overviews that directly answer queries, making organic listings less likely to be demoted or receive less traffic.
  2. Most Impacted Niches: AI overviews appear more in relationships, food, and technology niches. Publishers in these sectors should pay closer attention to Google’s AI overview strategy.
  3. Long-form & In-Depth Content Essential: As AI snippets become longer, companies may need to create more comprehensive content beyond what the overviews cover.

Looking Ahead

While the number of AI overviews has decreased recently, we can’t assume this trend will continue.

AI overviews will undoubtedly continue to transform over time.

It’s crucial to monitor developments closely, try different methods of dealing with them, and adjust game plans as needed.


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10 Tips on How to Rock a Small PPC Budget

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10 Tips on How to Rock a Small PPC Budget

Many advertisers have a tight budget for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, making it challenging to maximize results.

One of the first questions that often looms large is, “How much should we spend?” It’s a pivotal question, one that sets the stage for the entire PPC strategy.

Read on for tips to get started or further optimize budgets for your PPC program to maximize every dollar spent.

1. Set Expectations For The Account

With a smaller budget, managing expectations for the size and scope of the account will allow you to keep focus.

A very common question is: How much should our company spend on PPC?

To start, you must balance your company’s PPC budget with the cost, volume, and competition of keyword searches in your industry.

You’ll also want to implement a well-balanced PPC strategy with display and video formats to engage consumers.

First, determine your daily budget. For example, if the monthly budget is $2,000, the daily budget would be set at $66 per day for the entire account.

The daily budget will also determine how many campaigns you can run at the same time in the account because that $66 will be divided up among all campaigns.

Be aware that Google Ads and Microsoft Ads may occasionally exceed the daily budget to maximize results. The overall monthly budget, however, should not exceed the Daily x Number of Days in the Month.

Now that we know our daily budget, we can focus on prioritizing our goals.

2. Prioritize Goals

Advertisers often have multiple goals per account. A limited budget will also limit the number of campaigns – and the number of goals – you should focus on.

Some common goals include:

  • Brand awareness.
  • Leads.
  • Sales.
  • Repeat sales.

In the example below, the advertiser uses a small budget to promote a scholarship program.

They are using a combination of leads (search campaign) and awareness (display campaign) to divide up a daily budget of $82.

Screenshot from author, May 2024

The next several features can help you laser-focus campaigns to allocate your budget to where you need it most.

Remember, these settings will restrict traffic to the campaign. If you aren’t getting enough traffic, loosen up/expand the settings.

3. Location Targeting

Location targeting is a core consideration in reaching the right audience and helps manage a small ad budget.

To maximize a limited budget, you should focus on only the essential target locations where your customers are located.

While that seems obvious, you should also consider how to refine that to direct the limited budget to core locations. For example:

  • You can refine location targeting by states, cities, ZIP codes, or even a radius around your business.
  • Choosing locations to target should be focused on results.
  • The smaller the geographic area, the less traffic you will get, so balance relevance with budget.
  • Consider adding negative locations where you do not do business to prevent irrelevant clicks that use up precious budget.

If the reporting reveals targeted locations where campaigns are ineffective, consider removing targeting to those areas. You can also try a location bid modifier to reduce ad serving in those areas.

managing ppc budget by location interactionScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

4. Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling also helps to control budget by only running ads on certain days and at certain hours of the day.

With a smaller budget, it can help to limit ads to serve only during hours of business operation. You can choose to expand that a bit to accommodate time zones and for searchers doing research outside of business hours.

If you sell online, you are always open, but review reporting for hourly results over time to determine if there are hours of the day with a negative return on investment (ROI).

Limit running PPC ads if the reporting reveals hours of the day when campaigns are ineffective.

Manage a small ppc budget by hour of dayScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

5. Set Negative Keywords

A well-planned negative keyword list is a golden tactic for controlling budgets.

The purpose is to prevent your ad from showing on keyword searches and websites that are not a good match for your business.

  • Generate negative keywords proactively by brainstorming keyword concepts that may trigger ads erroneously.
  • Review query reports to find irrelevant searches that have already led to clicks.
  • Create lists and apply to the campaign.
  • Repeat on a regular basis because ad trends are always evolving!

6. Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding is a game-changer for efficient ad campaigns. Powered by Google AI, it automatically adjusts bids to serve ads to the right audience within budget.

The AI optimizes the bid for each auction, ideally maximizing conversions while staying within your budget constraints.

Smart bidding strategies available include:

  • Maximize Conversions: Automatically adjust bids to generate as many conversions as possible for the budget.
  • Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): This method predicts the value of potential conversions and adjusts bids in real time to maximize return.
  • Target Cost Per Action (CPA): Advertisers set a target cost-per-action (CPA), and Google optimizes bids to get the most conversions within budget and the desired cost per action.

7. Try Display Only Campaigns

display ads for small ppc budgetsScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

For branding and awareness, a display campaign can expand your reach to a wider audience affordably.

Audience targeting is an art in itself, so review the best options for your budget, including topics, placements, demographics, and more.

Remarketing to your website visitors is a smart targeting strategy to include in your display campaigns to re-engage your audience based on their behavior on your website.

Let your ad performance reporting by placements, audiences, and more guide your optimizations toward the best fit for your business.

audience targeting options for small ppc budgetScreenshot by Lisa Raehsler from Google Ads, May 2024

8. Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max (PMax) campaigns are available in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

In short, automation is used to maximize conversion results by serving ads across channels and with automated ad formats.

This campaign type can be useful for limited budgets in that it uses AI to create assets, select channels, and audiences in a single campaign rather than you dividing the budget among multiple campaign types.

Since the success of the PMax campaign depends on the use of conversion data, that data will need to be available and reliable.

9. Target Less Competitive Keywords

Some keywords can have very high cost-per-click (CPC) in a competitive market. Research keywords to compete effectively on a smaller budget.

Use your analytics account to discover organic searches leading to your website, Google autocomplete, and tools like Google Keyword Planner in the Google Ads account to compare and get estimates.

In this example, a keyword such as “business accounting software” potentially has a lower CPC but also lower volume.

Ideally, you would test both keywords to see how they perform in a live campaign scenario.

comparing keywords for small ppc budgetsScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

10. Manage Costly Keywords

High volume and competitive keywords can get expensive and put a real dent in the budget.

In addition to the tip above, if the keyword is a high volume/high cost, consider restructuring these keywords into their own campaign to monitor and possibly set more restrictive targeting and budget.

Levers that can impact costs on this include experimenting with match types and any of the tips in this article. Explore the opportunity to write more relevant ad copy to these costly keywords to improve quality.

Every Click Counts

As you navigate these strategies, you will see that managing a PPC account with a limited budget isn’t just about monetary constraints.

Rocking your small PPC budgets involves strategic campaign management, data-driven decisions, and ongoing optimizations.

In the dynamic landscape of paid search advertising, every click counts, and with the right approach, every click can translate into meaningful results.

More resources: 


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