Pay per click advertising is often hard to crack. Therefore, it’s not surprising to find small businesses failing in their attempts to make it work for them. In fact, it has often been suggested in some quarters that Google – the biggest player in PPC- is effectively against the small business, hence the sometimes astronomically high cost per click. Question is do you have to consistently focus on Google?
How about Bing/Yahoo, 7search, Facebook (this is one tough cookie too), Plentyoffish and other PPC engines? Well, the truth is that you can get decent results from other PPC engines. But to drive more sales and get maximum exposure, Google is still the best considering that it’s still the biggest search engine in the world. The only thing is you have to learn and know what you need to do to meet and beat the competition and Google’s requirements. How do you do this?
Keyword Research is Extremely Important
In fact, it’s the basis of everything. Miss this and your ad campaign is toast. It’s not just enough to insert keywords, generate a ton of them and then start bidding. This is a sure way to throw money away. Instead, find keywords that are specifically related to your business, segment them into groups and create adgroup-specific landing pages.
Luckily the new adgroup option in Google’s new Keyword Planner makes this easier. When you enter a search term, the tool automatically groups related and similar keywords together for you. This is always a good place to start. But, avoid making the classic newbie mistake – using the adgroup suggestions as is. Instead, go a step further and drill down.
Optimize the Landing Page for Specific Keywords
Google is incredibly big on landing pages – pages people get to on your website when they click through the ad. All landing pages must be specific to your keyword group. For instance, if you’re bidding on keywords like Sacramento florist, and flower delivery in Sacramento, your landing page must cater to just those keywords.
Anything outside that and you’ll reduce your ads’ quality score which will in turn drive your bidding costs up and drop your positions – if you refuse to up your bidding costs to conform with Google’s suggestions. History is also important. But don’t worry, there’s always room for the new guy.
Improve Your Quality Score to Get Lower CPCs
To improve your quality score at first – see the points above – you may also need to bid high. Google looks at many factors when determining your quality score. Some of these are obvious, others aren’t. Whatever the case, do the needful.
If you have to bid high, make sure your ads are optimized for the keywords you’re targeting – otherwise, that’s money down the drain. Just know that the higher your quality score, the lower your cost per clicks will likely be.
Capitalize on Seasonality
Always take advantage of the seasons. For instance, you can create and roll out ads specific to Valentine’s Day or Christmas. People buy more during these periods and are looking for gifts to give to their loved ones. You might also want to create different ad campaigns for different periods of the day; one or more for the busy periods – between 8am – 4pm, another for the less busy periods – between 4-7pm.
This can effectively lower your ad costs. And make sure to split test all your ads. Test the landing pages, test the keywords, test the ad copy, test the time frame, test the headlines, the fonts, the font size, the bullet points… test everything! This is how to win the PPC war.
While these tips are by no means exhaustive, they’ll surely help give you an edge over your competition. Have any other ideas? We want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments section.