Are you looking for how to set up a Google Ads Search pay-per-click (PPC) campaign? You’ve come to the right place! This blog post will clearly outline the Google Ads Search PPC process, how to run ads and create a winning strategy to improve your business’s return on investment (ROI). We’ll show you some examples of campaigns, how to set up & create your campaign, and explain some of the key elements of a campaign strategy.
What is PPC marketing?
PPC marketing allows your ads to show up prominently on search engine results pages, websites, and social media platforms. Paid ads appear at the top of the SERP ahead of organic results in many cases. Google Ads is the largest PPC advertising platform.
Having a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy is an essential part of any business’s marketing efforts, as it will help to bring in highly targeted traffic to your site, which will increase sales and leads for your company. Read on to learn how to set up a Google Ads Search PPC campaign.
How to Create a Successful PPC Strategy?
Step 1: Identify Goals With Budget In Mind
Before starting a PPC campaign, it’s important to identify your business goals, determine your key performance indicators (KPIs), and set a budget for your ad spend.
Clearly outline your goal, whether it’s to achieve sales, generate leads, drive clicks to your website, or enhance engagement with your ads. Choosing one of these goals will help determine the type of campaign to run on the platforms that you’re advertising on. Depending on what you choose, ad platforms like Google Ads will show your ads to different audiences who are more likely to take the action that you want and improve your ad performance.
What is a key performance indicator (KPI)?
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a target that helps you measure the success of your PPC campaign against your company’s goals & objectives. Your KPIs should have a clear and well-defined focus area and should address a specific aspect of your operations, like sales, leads, or website traffic.
To help determine your budget, identify who your target audience is, or who you want to reach with your ads. Think about their demographics and preferences, as you can use these to help target your audience when creating your campaign. Are your goals to reach everyone in a particular country with your ads, in a city, or in a specific neighbourhood? Are you targeting the general population, or people within a specific age range who like certain interests? Get clear on who you want to target, and that will help you identify how much to spend on the ads.
How to align PPC goals with SEO
While separate parts of your marketing efforts, PPC and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can complement one another in a few ways. Here are some ways you can integrate the two:
- Use PPC to identify keyword opportunities for your SEO efforts. By optimizing your site for high-cost keywords, it can help improve your organic ranking, and reduce your future ad spend
- Use PPC to bid on your branded keywords & control your brand narrative, by controlling what headlines & descriptions show up at the top of search engines
- Identify high-performing PPC keywords to help determine where to focus your SEO efforts. That way, if your ads ever stop running, you can still rank for those keywords organically and bring in traffic.
PPC campaigns and SEO, are essential to improve your website’s traffic. Check out our blog post to learn about the difference between PPC and SEO and which provides the most value for your business.
Step 2: Do Competitor Paid Ad Research
How to research competitors for a PPC campaign
Before launching a PPC campaign, researching your competitors can help inform your strategy and help you improve your campaigns. It pays to know what tactics they’re using! Some of the benefits of doing competitor research include:
- You can identify what keywords competitors are targeting and how much they are spending
- You can see what ads your competitors are running to help determine your own creative elements & copy
Some of the tools available for PPC competitive analysis include:
- Google Ads Auction Insights – A free tool from Google that shows your performance against competitors, available during live campaigns.
- Facebook Ad Library – A free tool that shows you what ads a business is currently running. Very useful!
- SEMrush – A paid tool that helps you plan, analyze, and improve your Google Ads campaigns. By entering a website, it reveals information about your competitors, top keywords, and more.
- Ahrefs – A paid software that includes tools for link building, keyword research, competitive analysis, and site audits.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner – You can use this free tool to discover new keywords related to your business and see estimates of the searches they receive and the cost to target them.
Step 3: Build Out Google Ads Search Keywords
PPC keywords are vital to the performance of your Google Ads Search campaigns, but finding the keywords that maximize your ROI can be a challenging task.
How to choose keywords for your Google Ads Search PPC campaign
In order to choose the right keywords for your Google Ads Search campaign, use a user-centered design and put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and think about what they would be looking for if they were searching for the product or service that you offer. Write down some ideas, and use them at the next step of the process.
How to conduct keyword research for a Google Ads Search PPC campaign
Use a tool like Google Ads Keyword Planner to search for words or phrases related to your products or services. You can also use your landing page as a starting point and it will show you relevant keywords to target. The search results will show you search volumes for related keywords, as well as the bid required to reach the top of the page.
When choosing your keywords, it’s important that they match the text on the landing page that you’re sending people to. This will help give your ads a better relevancy score and improve your results.
Once you have a big list of keywords from Google Ads Keyword Planner, narrow it down into two categories: branded terms related to your company and generic or non-branded terms. You can also use Google Ads Keyword Planner to sort your keywords by similar terms, which can save you time!
For the non-branded terms, aim for keywords that are high volume and low competition, as you’ll have more opportunity for your ad to show up, and fewer businesses to compete with. This will help maximize the ROI of your campaigns. You can also try out a mix of timely or seasonal keywords with evergreen keywords that are popular year-round. Also, try to target long-tail keywords or three or more words, as these are generally less competitive and have higher search intent.
It’s also important to come up with a negative keyword list when setting up your campaign. Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns and filter out irrelevant traffic. You can build your negative keyword list during the ongoing optimization phase of your campaign as well, which is discussed below.
Once you’ve chosen your list of keywords, group them into categories by similar themes, such as the types of products or services you want to advertise. These lists will become the ad groups in your campaign & will determine the ad account structure, which is covered in the next section.
Step 4: Build the Ad Account Structure
Campaign structure is an extremely important piece of your Google Ads Search PPC Strategy. Having a well-defined & consistent structure will ensure that your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are aligned with your business goals and objectives.
How to structure your Google Ads Search PPC account
A Google Ads Search account has a hierarchical structure consisting of four parts: account, campaign, ad group, and ad. While there are several ways to structure your account, it’s best to create a logical and consistent account structure that aligns with your business. For example, use campaigns to separate your products or services by category, ad groups to group related keywords, and ads to match your keywords & landing pages.
How to organize Google Ads Search PPC campaigns
It’s best to separate branded and non-branded keywords into their own campaign with their own budgets, as people searching for your branded search terms are more likely qualified leads. As well, competition for these keywords will most likely be lower, so you’ll be able to drive traffic and conversions to your site at a lower cost.
How to organize Google Ads Search PPC ad groups
Ad groups help ensure that your ads are relevant to the included keywords. At the ad group level, create separate ad groups for the themes/categories of keywords that you identified above. This will ensure that the keywords in each ad group as focused and relevant to your target audience.
How to create Google Ads Search PPC ads
At the ad level, create ads that feature the keywords in their given ad group and link through to a landing page that has the same keywords listed. This will ensure that your keyword quality score is as high as possible by increasing your expected click-through rate (CTR), relevancy, and landing page experience scores. These scores are important in determining how your ads rank on Google compared to your competitors.
How to use Google Ads Search PPC ad extensions
Ad extensions can help you provide more information about your business & extend your ad and take up more real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs). They are an important part of setting up your campaign as they can increase your visibility on SERPs and improve your ad rank. They can also increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) on your ads by providing more context to potential customers.
There are two types of ad extensions: manual and automatic. While using all types of extensions is not required, it’s a best practice to ensure that you have at least a few extensions applied to your campaign to give it the best chance of succeeding. When setting up your campaign, ensure that you have enabled & set up the extensions that are most relevant to your business. Some of the common ones include site links, structured snippets, phone calls, business name & logo, and callout extensions.
Step 5: Monitor and Optimize the PPC Campaign
Once you have your campaign, ad groups, ads, and extensions set up, it’s time to monitor and optimize your campaign!
How to optimize a Google Ads Search PPC campaign and improve ROI
It’s important to monitor your campaigns regularly to fix problems as they arise and improve campaign performance. Within the ads platform, you can track your KPIs on a weekly or monthly basis to compare performance over time. Some of the ways to optimize your campaigns include:
- Optimize keywords regularly – Look at your search term report and add high-performing keywords. Add irrelevant keywords as negative keywords.
- Monitor your website’s performance using a tool like Google Page Speed Analysis to ensure that your site is performing well.
- A/B testing – Test multiple versions of your ads & landing pages to help improve your user experience (UX), CTR, and conversion rate.
- Focus on the channels & campaigns that deliver the most conversions. Allocate more budget towards the top performers.
- Optimize geotargeting & time/date targeting – Increase bids for locations & days/times of the week that are performing well.
- Use remarketing to re-engage people who have already visited your site or performed an action on it, such as purchasing or filling out a form. These people are closer to purchase in your conversion funnel and are more likely to perform the action that you’re looking for.
If you follow these 5 steps in your PPC process, you will be on your way to creating a successful Google Ads Search PPC strategy that converts and increases your ROI.
To recap, the five steps are:
- Step 1: Identify Goals With Budget In Mind
- Step 2: Do Competitor Paid Ad Research
- Step 3: Build Out Google Ads Search PPC Keywords
- Step 4: Build the Ad Account Structure
- Step 5: Monitor and Optimize the PPC Campaign
Creating a Google Ads Search PPC campaign can have many benefits for your business. They are a cost-effective way to produce fast results, they allow you to target your ideal customers, and they can help you rank on search engines even with a low ranking in organic search.
Need help starting a campaign? Get in touch with us and we would love to help you hit the ground running, and improve your business results!