We’re now at a point in business, specifically marketing, where the customers of the world always look to an internet-enabled computer first in order to conduct their searches. Making sure that your business is listed in the local “Yellow Pages” of your city is no longer the safest bet to be found, especially when your business can, potentially, serve the entire world.
But in order to make the most of marketing yourself and your products or services on the internet, you’ve got to be proactive. Google Ads is one of the ways that you can invest in a more aggressive form of marketing and promotion. It’s so useful in fact that about 40% of the world’s digital marketing dollars are spent on it. But how does it work? And what’s the best way to improve your chances of success?
Boosting Your Search
Focusing marketing efforts on Google is important because Google itself controls over 70% of the search engine traffic. Everything on the Google search engine starts with keywords. When people are looking for something, whether it is handcrafted goods or an architect to draft plans for a home, they type in a series of words relevant to that search. Under ordinary circumstances, the top results that appear in a Google search are based on the “quality” of the content. A highly rated plumber, with an active website, lots of content, lots of links, and plenty of positive reviews should “float to the top” of a search with strategically chosen and implemented keywords.
With Google Ads, businesses enter bids in an auction to have their results for specific keywords boosted and prioritized with the Google search engine. Those successful bids appear right at the top of the list as ads and will be the very first thing people see, even before the natural, organic search results. The more successful bids you get, the more frequently you will appear at the top of these lists. So, it’s important to make sure you get the most out of your bids, and you can do that by following these tips.
1. Learn the System
As much as it might be tempting just to go in and start letting automated systems do your bidding for you, this is highly inadvisable as your starting point. Take the time to actually learn the Ads system, understand some of the basic principles behind Pay Per Click marketing, or PPC, and get a grip on the relationships between different factors like keywords, content quality, and how these affect your ranking. Remember that if you go bidding with a website and content that rate high on Google’s quality rating system, you’ll pay lower amounts for your bids.
2. Use a Good Automation Strategy
Google Ads runs billions of auctions every month, and you don’t want to spend your time overseeing every single one. Fortunately, there are automated bidding processes built in that allow you to set the parameters for how your bidding is adjusted and submitted. However, the real question becomes, just how much automation should you be using?
This answer will vary from one business to the next, but you should find the right combination of automated and hands-on bidding to ensure that you’re getting the most for your money. You don’t want to waste time participating in thousands, or even billions of bids, but you don’t want to be out of the loop either on how the algorithms are handling your bids!
3. Choose Good Metrics
Metrics are the lifeblood of making good decisions. The information you get will help you to determine whether you’re doing something right or need to improve in some areas. The same with the metrics you get back from your bidding, as well as the clicks you’re getting on your ads.
That is why it’s critical that you ignore metrics that aren’t relevant to your business or goals and concentrate on those metrics that will meaningfully affect your operations. For example, if your targeted market is mostly using computers and laptops to conduct searches, then the metrics coming in from mobile platforms should play a much smaller role in your decision-making.
4. Make Use of Your Bid Modifiers
Once you know what metrics are important to you, make sure you take this into account and tweak your bid modifiers. Bid modifiers are a fantastic way to get even more detailed about micro-managing the way your bids play in the bidding system. There are a lot of different variables that will change given the time of day, the day of the week, or even the type of bidding plan that is being used.
By taking the time to really understand and exploit what bid modifiers can do for you, you can fine-tune and hone in on the results that you want. So if your metrics are telling you your New York City, New York results are better than your Austin, Texas results, you can change your modifiers to reflect where you want to direct your bids.
5. Pay Attention to Quality
Remember, one of the things that Google evaluates when deciding how to address your bidding and pricing is the “quality” of your marketing. Ads quality is what determines just how much you’ll pay on your bid, and the higher your Ads quality, the lower the prices you’ll pay per click. But what determines your Ads quality?
A host of factors. Pay attention to things like having a good landing page, a proper balance of keywords, and your click-through rate. It essentially means having your website and content be in a good, search-friendly shape before you even start bidding.
6. Develop a Bidding Plan
Once you have an understanding of automation, which metrics to use, and how the interrelated systems work, you should come up with a solid bidding plan. Google Ads has a few different bidding plans and strategies that you can use—and automate—but you’ll choose different options based on the type of results that you want to see.
Someone who wants to maximize the conversions to actual sales, for example, will go with the Target Cost per Acquisition plan. On the other hand, someone who is more concerned with simply appearing at the top of Google searches, or within the first 1 to 4 pages, would benefit more from following a Target Search Page Location plan. What you want to get out of Google will determine your plan for your Ads efforts.
7. Don’t Make Constant Changes
The Google search engine is all about machine learning. That is, it is constantly analyzing incoming results and comparing them with the hoped-for goals, in order to better adjust its actions to help match the hoped-for results. Given enough time, the algorithms eventually “catch up” to what you’re doing and can really help to push your goals along.
However, the opposite is true if you move too fast. If you’re impatient or restless, and you find yourself always changing your goals and your subsequent bidding plans and strategies, you are essentially forcing the Google algorithms to “start over” and collect fresh data for analysis and comparison. People who frequently change their strategies are, in other words, “starving” Google of the data and time it needs to actually start helping you with your objectives. While there’s nothing wrong with changing plans when it’s clear they’re not working, doing so frequently will never let you know when a program actually is working because you haven’t given it time to thrive.