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How to Create an Effective Google AdWords Campaign

by Tim Rimington | April 3, 2012

Useful pay per click campaigns should be viewed as a useful addition to a current, organic campaign rather than something that stands on its own with no support. In other words, relying solely on pay per click campaigns to drive traffic to your website has the ability to siphon your marketing budget in quick time!

But as I posed last month, what if you need customers and you need them now? Here's how to create an effective Google AdWords campaign that won't get your accountant off side. But first, a quick look at the benefits of what an AdWords campaign brings to the table:

  1. AdWords will act as a test bed for any upcoming SEO key-phrase planning. What works in your AdWords campaigns can then be used in your SEO campaign; what doesn't work in your pay per click ads can be tossed aside.
  2. Propping up your inbound traffic levels until your SEO campaign results begin to take effect.
  3. Being able to use long-tail phrases that would otherwise be off limits within a SEO campaign due to their competitive nature.
  4. Being able to qualify inbound leads via Google Analytics to show the effectiveness of pay per click campaigns.

Getting started

If you're brand new to AdWords or need a freshen-up, Google has created a series of learning videos that you can view from their online classroom:

So for the rest of this article I'll assume that you're up to speed on the technical side of things, and that you now want some advice on getting the most from your campaign.

Tightening up your campaign

In a perfect world you'd probably like enquiries to come from every corner of the globe but that's unrealistic. Of the countries and/or states/regions in your 'Campaign Settings', do you really need your ad to be served across the land or would your ad be better served to just one focussed region? If you're a bricks n mortar retailer for example, and your campaign is to help drive traffic and enquiries to your store, then placing your ad interstate will only eat up your budget unnecessarily.

Choosing a tight region selection will reduce the amount of times that your ad is served but it should increase your conversion rate because your ad will be more relevant to those viewing it. Furthermore, if a Google searcher places "Sydney" in their long-tail search phrase, and your ad is optimised for Sydney, then your ad will be served in that instance in Google's geo-targeted results.

Negative keywords

Negative keywords allow you to avoid serving your ad to users who have included a specific word in their search query. Let's say that you sell Fresh Green Apples in Sydney. You would then select negative keywords such as "Red", "Frozen", etc. - any word/s that you want to filter out as irrelevant to your campaign and product. 

Similarly, if you sell high-ticket designer sunglasses, you're likely to choose negative keywords such as "Cheap", "Bargain", "Affordable", etc. because searchers that use those words are unlikely to be hunting for expensive designer optics!

Split testing

Always have more than one ad running for the same campaign (referred to as A/B split testing). Run both ads together (with different Titles and Text) to find out which one outperforms the other with higher CTR (Click Through Rate) and also converts better through your Goal Conversion specified in your Analytics account. Watch a Google video about Goal Conversion here.

Once one ad begins to outperform the other, you create a new "B" ad and repeat the process over. This is continuous and by doing so, ensures that you have your best "game on" at all times.

Your Website's Ad Landing Page

Google says that it determines the quality of your landing page. So it's important to spend time creating a landing page that's optimised for your ad campaign. It's no good pointing your ad to your Home page because it's likely that your inbound visitor is expecting to see a specific product or service, not an overview of your business.

Create a landing page with the following elements:

  1. Create the page's URL as the ad's key phrase.
  2. Use the ad's headline phrase in your page title.
  3. Create the page's Heading 1 tag using the ad's phrase word for word.
  4. Create the page's Heading 2 tag immediately below the H1 tag that repeats the ad's description.
  5. Create short, succinct text that describes the offer (within a standard paragraph tag).
  6. Place another Heading 2 tag that repeats - and elaborates upon - the ad's second description line. This reinforces the ad's message and again reassures the visitor that the ad delivers what they're searching for. Follow this Heading 2 tag with the body text that further elaborates this section.
  7. Provide a call to action that takes users to the shop cart or contact page - this is the first step in completing your Google Analytics Goal Conversion.
  8. Update your XML sitemap to reference your landing page.

That should be enough to get you started. Remember that Google provides good resources via video that explain AdWords in great detail - it's in their best interest to do so, so take advantage of that information.

Credit: "Get to the top on Google" by David Viney

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