Once you have set up a Google Ads account the next step is boost the results. Optimization is the process of improving or getting the most out of your advertising spend. If you are like most of us, advertising dollars are precious. And you want to use your marketing budget as efficiently as possible. There are a number of strategies for optimizing Google Ads. The following are some of our favorites.
Google offers two platforms for paid search, Google Ads and Smart Campaigns. The latter is a fully automated search platform with Google providing all of the optimizations through their algorithms. Google Ads puts the marketer in the driver’s seat with all of the controls. For many, Google Ads is overwhelming. In our experience, having all of the functionality allows for better goal setting and more precise optimizations. Our Google Ads campaigns have always beaten Smart Campaigns.
When we start the process of optimization we begin with a review of keywords. Go to the Search Terms report. This data shows us what people are actually typing in the query bar to come to our site. When we find popular search terms, especially ones we can use in exact match, we add them to our list of keywords. Google’s bid automation suggests that you only use Broad match keywords. In our experience exact match keywords perform better. While you will have a smaller target audience your cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion will drop.
At the same time, we look for search terms we do not want. When working with Ford’s Appliance store we will add “cars”, “dealer” and “automobile” as negative keywords so we don’t show for people looking to buy a Mustang.
Another important section of Google Ads to review is the keywords section. Take a close look at how keywords in each ad group are working. Notice which are eating up budget but not producing conversions. Eliminate those keywords that are not delivering.
A goldmine of optimization data lives in the Segments section of the dashboard. There are a myriad of possibilities to consider when using “Time” as a segment. Examine each campaign to learn if there are specific times of the day that outperform others. Consider what days of the week deliver the results you want, and which do not. It could be particular weeks of the month that have the best results. Choose how to use that information. One possibility is to increase your bid amounts during peak periods. Another solution is to eliminate times that badly underperform, so your ads do not show then. Or both.
The Segments area informs on how various devices deliver. Consider whether Desktop, Mobile or Tablets are the most valuable devices for your business. Again, you can choose to adjust your bids based on the data or you can eliminate a device all together. Google has added a 4th device, TV screens, now that it is moving into TV.
Improving the Quality Score of your ads takes more time than some of the other suggestions in this blog but it usually produces the biggest long-term results. Quality Score is a diagnostic tool meant to give you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers.
This score is measured on a scale from 1-10 and available at the keyword level. A higher Quality Score means that your ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword, compared to other advertisers.
By improving your ads, landing pages and keywords so that they better align you will improve your Quality Score, which in turn will boost your Ad Rank. Google uses ad rank to determine the cost of your bid. The higher your ad rank the less you pay per click. Over time, this can pay off handsomely.
One trick to improve Quality Score and lower costs is to use SKAGS, Single Keyword Ad Groups. In a normal ad group, Google suggest you use 5-20 keywords. With SKAGS you set up one keyword per ad group of your campaign, and then make a set of ads for it whose headlines feature that keyword at least once. Use the keyword in each description. With SKAGs you have a 1:1 ratio of keywords to ads. This gives you much higher relevance to the keyword when users search for it or terms that are similar. Because your keywords, ads and landing pages are so closely aligned your Quality Score improves and costs go down.
These are some tried and true methods for Google optimizations. Without Google optimizations, your performance will stagnate. Google Ads is a living evolving form of advertising. People’s habits change and with it, online behaviors morph. At the same time, Google algorithms update as well. With regular maintenance Google ads can provide a valuable and consistent flow of leads and sales for your business. It is worth the effort.