Thursday, August 12, 2010

About Google Adwords


Note: This is an excerpt from my book AdWords Edge: How to Get More Clicks With Less Money available at

Google AdWords are those small boxed ads that appear on the right-hand side of a Google search results page. Google AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) program.

Setting up a low-cost AdWords campaign is a great way to test your business idea and your keyword selections. It is a fast and cheap predictor of how successful your site can be before you spend a lot of time creating content, building a web site, optimizing your pages, and acquiring links.

Studies have shown that the best sales results are obtained by those that do a combination of both SEO and PPC. If you are listed in more places on a search results page, you stand a greater chance of being clicked on. Another reason is that if you are listed on the both the free (organic) side of the page AND on the paid side of the page with an AdWord ad, you may be seen as a more important player.

What makes Google AdWords great is that it can also be used as a relatively low-cost way to quickly validate the results of your keyword research. Unlike other PPC programs, AdWords can be setup for $5 with no monthly minimums and your ads run almost immediately.

One problem with site optimization is that it can take awhile to see the results of your efforts. With Google AdWords, you can place a number of different ads simultaneously and start seeing your results within a matter of minutes. As such, it is a great keyword research.

The name of the game with Google AdWords is to avoid a costly bidding war with your competitors, get your clicks as cheaply as possible, and to run you ads against keywords that have the least competition. This is best accomplished by finding as many unique keyword phrase variations as you can. Many advertisers using AdWords simply copy each other and hence drive up the cost of everyone’s clicks on keywords they feel they must compete on.

Ongoing Keyword Research and Testing

Although it is a good start, don’t assume that you can simply use the results of your KeywordDiscovery or WordTracker keyword research for your AdWords campaign..

Keyword phrase research for a successful AdWords campaign should be ongoing and you should strive to come up with at least a couple hundred different keyword phrases at the beginning. This means having a list of possible permutations of different phrases that use different action verbs, singular and plural, single and double words, hyphenation, etc.

Find those keyphrases that nobody else is bidding on and therefore that you can get very cheaply. You may not get a lot of clicks on each one, but if you have enough of these, collectively they can account for a substantial portion of your click traffic from your AdWords campaign.

Make it a habit to think of at least three new keyphrases every day for a month. If you follow no other recommendations here, make sure you do this – because chances are your competition won’t.

Use Keyword Matching Options

Google allows three different forms of keyphrase matching:

1. Broad matching. Phrase words can be in any order, and can be part of larger phrase. For example, google search engine optimization. With broad matching, these words can appear in any order such as “search engine optimization for google” and as part of a larger phrase.

2. Phrase matching. Enclose those words you want to appear in exact order in parentheses. For example, use “search engine optimization” if you want to allow only phrases with the words “search engine optimization” in that order. With phrase matching, there can be other words included in the phrase, such as google search engine optimization best practices.

3. Exact matching. Enclose the entire phrase in square brackets. For example, [google search engine optimization]. With exact matching, the phrase must be in the exact order shown and cannot include any other words.

Set up Multiple Ad Groups
You should have a number of different keyword phrase variations that are centered around common, similar keywords. Each “cluster” of related phrases should be placed in their own Ad Group.

Create Multiple Ads per Ad Group
Because you don’t know in advance which ads will have the highest click-through rate (CTR), you should create several ads per Ad Group. These ads then be constantly tweaked and refined to determine which ads are the best for pulling in clicks. I cannot stress how much difference it can make by simply changing one word in the title or in the description, or changing the order.

Writing Great Ads

Writing compelling ads in a Google AdWords campaign is both an art and an science. It is all about writing good sales copy, in a very limited space, for the Web.

Google has the following limitations:

Ad title: 25 characters maximum
Ad description: 70 characters maximum (2 lines at 35 characters per line maximum)
This isn’t a lot of space, so make every word count. Some tips for writing good ads:
1. Use keywords from your particular Ad Group in the ad title or description. Your click-through rate may double if you include the keywords in the ad.

2. Consider stating the problem or the solution in the ad. For example: “No traffic to your site?” or “Learn SEO tips for your site”.

3. Use of the following can have particularly good results:
• Use of “action words” (get, buy, order)
• Use of “sales” words (new, leading, top, discount)
• Use of region, geography (Seattle services)

Setting Up Tracking URLs

Although you can see at a glance in the AdWords program which ads are pulling the most clicks, you should nevertheless set up tracking URLs for each ad or each Ad Group for ease of analyzing all of your site traffic using your stats program. With tracking URLs, you can look at your site traffic reports and see exactly how much traffic your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign(s) did in relation to your “free” clicks obtained through traditional SEO methods and from your incoming reciprocal links.

Tracking URLs for Google ads are extremely simple to set up. Here is a representative tracking URL:

Use whatever format works best for you to track your Google AdWords traffic. At a minimum, you should at least be tracking at the Ad Group level to determine which “keyphrase clusters” are doing the best and ideally down to the ad level so you know which specific ads are doing the best in each Ad Group.

Setting Your Daily Budget Limit

Whatever daily budget you decide to place on your Google AdWords campaign is totally up to you. The only recommendations I can give here are as follows:

• Set your daily budget higher than is comfortable for you in the first month. Much good testing data can come out of the first month, but only if you don’t stifle your efforts by setting your daily budget too low. Google states that your daily budget can be exceeded, but not your daily limit x 30 (for a monthly budget). Pump up the budget initially to see quickly which ads and groups to dump or revise.

• Don’t fret about trying to appear in the #1 AdWords spot for a given keyword. There is no real difference in click-through rate between positions 1 thru 3.

This just covers a few of the tips and best practices for using Google AdWords.

Note: This is an excerpt from AdWords Edge: How to Get More Clicks With Less Money, available at


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