Six of Our Favourite PPC Tricks and Tips
Did you know there are 63,000 searches every second on Google? It’s a mind-boggling number. And when you think how much potential there is to capture even a small fraction of business from those searches, it’s enough to make any company take their search engine strategy seriously – and even invest in paid search advertising.
As if that wasn’t enough, 15% of those searches each and every second are entirely original – they’ve never been typed into Google that way before. Which just means the scope for getting your business, product or service found with a creative and clever pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is incredible… providing you get it right.
How do you win at PPC?
If you don’t get your PPC right on Google Ads (formerly called Google Adwords), paying for each click can be a loss leader, leaving you feeling confused and short-changed. It’s therefore essential you know what you’re doing. That’s why we’ve put together this list of six of our favourite PPC tricks and tips!
Read on to make sure you avoid some common mistakes and start to make the most of your ad spend, from the very first day of your very first campaign.
1. Bundle your keywords into relevant campaigns
When you write ad copy there’s a metric called quality score. A big part of your ad’s quality score is how relevant your ad copy is to the keywords you’re trying to be found by. You’ll therefore want to make sure you bundle keywords into clusters so you can write ad copy that uses them. Get this wrong, and you’ll have a lower quality score.
This is hugely important because if you have a bad quality score, you end up paying more per click than if you have a good quality score.
To put that into perspective, quality score is rated between one and ten.
- One is really bad, and you’ll pay 400% more per click
- A quality score of five is Google’s benchmark
- However, even at six, you’ll be paying 16.7% more than you should have done.
Get over that, however, and you start to save money:
- At a quality score of seven, your cost per click is 28.6% cheaper
- If you can get your score to ten, it’s 50% cheaper.
The positive thing is even slight improvements to your quality score can reap big dividends. For instance, going from a quality score of one to two, you make a 150% saving.
All of this makes the relevancy of your ads to your keywords hugely important, and easily one of the top six Adwords tips and tricks to help improve your campaigns on a cost-efficiency basis.
2. Point your ads towards relevant landing pages
The great thing about Google ads is you can be found for anything. However, the downside is that can include services that you don’t actually offer, which Google makes you pay through the nose for anyway. That can end up costing you an absolute fortune, and it’s often almost all completely wasted. Which makes it massively important that you send people through to pages relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on.
It’s quite common that when we take over our customers’ Google Ads accounts their keywords aren’t bundled correctly so the ads aren’t specific enough. Or they’re pointing all their ads to the homepage, which is simply not going to be a great landing page for every keyword bundle you use.
Being as relevant as possible may seem like common sense, but the number of examples we’ve seen where businesses don’t do this, and the considerable money you can waste on it, make it one of our top Adwords tips to improve your campaigns. Being candid, it’s also one of the very first things we check on day one whenever we take over a new Adwords account.
3. Use negative keywords
Our third Adwords tip to help improve your effectiveness at PPC also involves being specific to exclude the things you don’t want to be found for, as well as the things you do want to show up in search for.
For instance, you may want to be found for ‘software development,’ but you may not want to be found if someone types ‘software development books.’ Or you may want to be found by ‘software development agency,’ but not ‘cheap software development agency.’ The ones you don’t want to be found by are called negative keywords, and they’re a handy way of being even more specific and reducing wasted ad spend.
4. Use the correct keyword match types
The fourth of our six Adwords tips and tricks to help improve your paid search campaigns involves delving into the different match types and how you can use them.
Google ads have various match types. They are:
- Exact match: Put [square brackets] around a keyword and your ad will typically only appear if that exact phrase is used in a Google search – although Google does use some discretion with this and it can include roundabout exact matches, too. Nonetheless, it’s pretty close to being exact.
- Phrase match: You can use this by putting “speech marks” around key phrases. For instance, if you decided to target the key phrase ‘leather shoes’. With an exact match campaign, someone searching Google for ‘blue leather shoes’ wouldn’t see your ad. However, if you ran a phrase match campaign against ‘leather shoes’, someone searching for ‘blue leather shoes; would see your ad. It means you’d capture relevant searches with it that an exact match wouldn’t, while avoiding overspending on search results that aren’t relevant.
- Broad match: We’d always suggest using this one sparingly at best, and with extreme caution – if you even want to use it at all. That’s because with broad match, Google can decide what you’re going to be found by and can shove as many words between as it wants. For instance, a broad match campaign could potentially see the ‘blue shoes’ example earlier get changed to ‘Bluewater Shopping Centre Shoes.’
It’s important to remember that as amazing as Google can be for both customers and businesses, as a business itself, Google wants to make as much money as possible.
Anything Google suggests immediately out of the gate, and the vast majority of things Google suggests over time, we typically say no to when managing PPC campaigns for our clients. If you’re using phrase match and exact match campaigns set up, paying for a broad match campaign too is likely to be wasted money. Never take what Google says here as gospel!
5. Set up goal conversion tracking
Conversion tracking tracks the successes of your campaigns. For instance, it’s easiest to explain on an e-commerce website, where a conversion means making a sale. The beauty of that with an e-commerce site is that with checkout conversion tracking you can close the loop and see the physical sales being made by your Google Ads campaign. For example, we’re able to say to our clients “your PPC campaign is generating around X thousands of pounds a month vs Y spend,” which makes it very easy to see the worth of the campaign at a glance.
Sales aren’t the only metric you can use for a conversion tracking campaign, however. You could, for instance, track the number of calls generated by your ads, visits to certain pages on your site (which goes back to point two above!), instanced of people filling out the contact form, times they downloaded an app, or whatever you decide you want to class as a conversion.
The beauty of that is twofold:
- It allows you to see how your campaign is performing
- There are different bidding strategies that take conversions into account.
In the latter case, you could want your ads to show, for instance, to people searching for ‘blue shoes’ but who are also more likely to convert when they click on your ad. Based on browsing habits, Google is likely to know which cohort of people are likely to fall into that cross-section and purchase after searching for that term. That’s why setting up conversions is one of the most important Adwords tips to improve your campaigns that we could possibly give.
6. Don’t just set up PPC campaigns and leave them!
When you first set up your first PPC campaign, you may well be tempted to leave it for a few days or weeks before seeing the results that come in. Our suggestion? Don’t! Being proactive is one of the most Adwords tips to help improve your effectiveness, and the need to operate like that never goes away.
In fact, when it comes to your PPC, Google gives you weekly, monthly, quarterly, six-monthly and annual tasks. Plus, when you first set up, there are even daily tasks that you need to do on your Google ads.
To begin with, you’ll want to track what’s going on with your keywords and your wasted keywords, and delve into the keywords Google tells you you’re being found for – which can help you decide on negative keywords. There is always something to do.
We’ve been running PPC campaigns for our own creative agency business since 2002, and we’re always learning, making changes, and readjusting our approach. There is always something to do. Google changes things. A lot. When it comes to running effective PPC campaigns, you’ll want to keep abreast of those changes and react to them or get ahead of them to make sure you get the absolute most from your ad spend.
Need a little extra help with PPC?
Of course, the advice above is relevant if you’re launching and managing your PPC campaigns yourself. That can be a lot of work – especially if you want to get the most from every pound you invest.
It’s also important to point out that it can also be incredibly misleading – even dangerously so.
Google employs straightforward, easy-to-follow setup wizards that can, at least at first, make PPC seem like a breeze. However, it’s important to remember that Google will let you serve your ads and waste all of your money – then suggest you bump up your budget for your next PPC campaign.
A good PPC agency functions in the same way as a good accountant. They may charge fees, but they can end up saving you far more than they initially cost. In terms of time, expertise and potentially wasted expenditure on wayward searches and keywords, employing an experienced agency to manage your PPC can pay for itself, several times over.
At One2create, we have over 19 years of experience operating PPC campaigns for both our own business and businesses of all kinds, across Hampshire and beyond.