Google AdWords is intent-based advertising with something unique: your ad only shows up when someone out there is looking for you. It’s the next best thing to “always being there when you are needed.” It’s purely based on search-intent (you can choose to do regular display ads with the Google Display Network too, of course).

This officially makes Google AdWords the most powerful advertising channel as far as your business or brand showing up when your potential customers look for you.

Google AdWords

Powerful as it might be, Google AdWords is also intimidating. It may have potential, but most advertisers and businesses don’t make much use of all that power. Google AdWords is capable of delivering ROI, but you have to know how to make it happen.

Contrary to what most people seem to think, managing Google AdWords campaigns is no joke. To make Google AdWords work for your business, you have tons of work to do. But even before you roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty, there are certain rules to follow. Miss these rules and whatever you do afterward is abortive.

Here are some of those rules:

Default settings favor Google, not you

When you start with the campaign setup, Google AdWords has default settings that you’d normally just leave as is – if you didn’t know any better. Here’s the thing: Google isn’t a non-profit organization. It’s smart. Google AdWords, when you leave it on with the default settings, is designed to make Google money, not you.

Work with the default settings and make changes as you deem fit, with a few other important changes. For instance, a few settings right off the bat, could be:

  1. You should roll out one campaign per country or closely grouped countries (say United States and Canada).
  2. Don’t choose all locations. Choose specific countries (and cities are even better for each country).
  3. Change the default setting for locations to “people living here.”
  4. Set to rotate ads “indefinitely” and not “show best performing ads.”
  5. If it makes sense for your business, use “Dayparting” — setting your ads up on a schedule so you specify exactly when your ads are shown.

It’s all about keyword arrangement

With Google Adwords, you’d start with some of the most pertinent keywords that relate to your business.

Create ad groups. Create ads. Go live. Your chosen keywords are arranged in Ad Groups. Most businesses just stop at this level.

There’s a lot more to this setup than just merely arranging keywords in ad groups. To make your ad more relevant, you’d do well to arrange your keywords in ad groups in such a way that one primary keyword, and its immediate variations, are the sole focus of a single ad group (with the name also the same as the primary keyword).

In effect, this is how it should look when you do it right:

keyword arrangement

Match made in AdWords

Most businesses go out there, dig their head into Google AdWords and just drop keywords into ad groups without considering the “match type” functionality within keywords.

You have the following match types available:

  • Broad match (default)
  • Broad match modifier
  • Phrase match
  • Exact match

Unless you suffer very low search volume or if your goal is to be show up for absolutely every keyword typed in, use broad match. For all other cases, consider the other three. In fact, we won’t even suggest broad match modifier unless you have deep pockets or you really don’t care.

If you are just starting out (or even if you aren’t), using phrase match or exact match is a safer bet.

Phrase match keywords are within quotes. Like, “your keyword” and exact match keywords go with parenthesis, such as [your keyword].

Using match types enables you to control and regulate how your ads are triggered. Use them.

Negative keywords are mandatory; not optional

While it may look like using negative keywords is optional (AdWords certainly makes it look like that), not using negative keywords is a surefire recipe to blow your budget in no time. Regardless of your business and the keywords you use, there are bound to be related but non-essential or irrelevant keywords that don’t make sense for your business.

Be sure to add those irrelevant keywords or keywords that you don’t want your ads to appear for as negative keywords either at the campaign level or at the adgroup level.

Don’t launch without AdWords extensions

Google AdWords extensions are hidden gems. They allow you to expand the footprint of your ad without you having to pay extra (you’ll only pay for clicks). Extensions allow your ad to carry a lot more information and reeks of some credibility.

Adding extensions to your AdWords campaigns doesn’t take more than 10 minutes or so, and it’s incredibly easy to do. That, officially, drains you of all excuses you could ever make.

Adwords

AdWords allows extensions, such as call extensions (add your phone number), call out extensions (use a call to action), sitelink extensions (add more information with respective links on your website), review extensions (let those shining reviews on Google+ or Google My Business show up within the ad), and more.

While Google takes the call on what extensions to show when your ad is displayed, it’s a no-brainer not to use them.

Ads should point to landing pages

Is your business running a Google AdWords campaign with the ads pointing to your website (or something else, like a Facebook page)?

Stop.

If you have an ad out there, it has to (and we’ll repeat it for effect: it has to) point to a landing page. That’s the top of your sales funnel. That landing page should not try to do what it can’t (like have an ecommerce button to enable sales).

If you need help building landing pages or if you’d like to get on a call with someone on our team, schedule a call now.