Are you looking for a step-by-step guide to paid search strategy to help ensure your PPC investment pays off? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is an important advertising method for enhancing your SEO results. Organic search engine optimization is a critical part of any online marketing strategy, but a good PPC campaign can help improve your results dramatically.
Like SEO, paid search advertising uses search engines and the people using them to generate website traffic. But SEO is about organically improving your Google search ranking by making your website more useful and appealing to search engines. And as its name implies, paid search is about paying search engines to feature your website or landing page on top of relevant search results.
Pay-per-click can be an incredible business booster if used correctly. But it can also absorb a lot of money without producing many results if it isn’t handled properly. How can you make sure your paid search investment pays off?
That’s what this guide will help you accomplish. Keep reading to discover a PPC and conversion strategy to help you find leads and maximize your advertising budget.
Define Your Goals and Budget Carefully
The first step in creating an effective advertising campaign is to realistically define your goals and budget. Although it’s a basic step, it’s often the point where ad campaigns begin to fly off the rails. It’s all too easy to make plans and budgets that are either too rigid or have unrealistic expectations built into them.
To choose an ideal goal for your PPC campaign, first look at your current goal for your marketing department as a whole. If your marketing goal for this quarter is to increase website traffic, then your advertising campaign should support this.
While you’re deciding on your goal for paid search, take care not to interfere with your current organic SEO with your PPC goals. Find out what your organic share of voice is for keywords you’d like to include in your paid search campaign. If you’re already ranking highly for certain keywords organically, it’s usually best to use different keywords you want to rank for in your paid search campaign.
The appropriate budget for your ad campaign will vary depending on the campaign itself and the users it’s targeting. But in any case, make sure you identify a break-even point where your paid marketing efforts will begin producing a return on investment. This will tell you how much you have to sell to justify your campaign.
Analyze the Competitive Landscape
No planning phase is complete without analyzing the competitive landscape around your brand. This will teach you who your primary competitors are, why they’re seeing success in paid search, and how aggressive your campaign needs to be to compete.
There are tools available online you can use to identify websites that are competing for your audience’s attention. Seeing where your target audience overlaps with someone else’s is a great way to begin optimizing your ad targeting.
One of the most important things to do at this stage is to identify the keywords your competitors are using to successfully find their audience. Once you have a list of these keywords, rank them in order of how well they’re performing for your competitors.
Google Ads has a few features built-in to help you outrank competitors. One such tool is the target impression share feature, which automatically raises your bids to the top spot on a search results page.
Do Proper Keyword Research
You’ve already done a little keyword research by looking at your competitors’ top keywords. Now you’ll want to take that a step farther by identifying the best keywords for you.
Most of the time, the best way to begin keyword research is to brainstorm keywords that you think will perform well. It may seem counterintuitive to rely on your own imagination for keywords, but it works well. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine what words and phrases they would use.
If your website has a built-in search function, looking at past searches from your visitors is another way to find keywords. Knowing what people search for once they’re on your site is a good way to guess what they’d search for to find you.
Finally, use Google Search Console to identify existing organic keywords that are seeing a high click-through rate for your site. These should have an equally high click-through rate when used in your paid search campaign.
Define Your Account Structure Thoughtfully
After completing the above steps, you have now laid the groundwork for getting started with Google Ads effectively. Next, it’s time to set up your account structure.
Your account structure is your collection of Campaigns, Ad Groups, and individual ads and how they’re organized. Most accounts will have a handful of broad campaigns with a few Ad Groups in each one. Advertising budgets are set at the campaign level, while keywords are determined at the Ad Group level.
To define your Campaigns, look through the search terms you’ve identified from your keyword research. You should also identify specific actions you want users to take on your website when they click through from one of those search terms. This will inform the goal of your overall Campaign.
To define Ad Groups, identify keywords that will fit within the broader Campaign and segment them further into separate Groups. Since you set keywords at the Ad Group level, you’ll want terms with similar search intent grouped together.
Write Powerful Ad Copy
Effective ad copy is one of the most important parts of any advertising campaign. Even if your targeting, budget, and landing pages are all set up perfectly, with ineffective copy, your campaign is sure to fall flat.
Of course, entire books have been written about writing advertisements, and you could read several and still have more to learn. So it would be impossible to explain everything that goes into a good ad right here.
That said, one thing you should do to start with is familiarize yourself with the search engine’s ad text policies. While you can get away with imperfect copy, violating Google’s rules for ad text may get your ad removed.
Another good rule of thumb is to use the target keyword for your ad at least once in both the headline and the body text. Action terms, like “sign up” or “buy now,” are good to include near the beginning of the ad so users know what’s coming. Don’t forget the display URL, which should be easy to read and point to your primary domain.
Build Carefully Optimized Landing Pages
At this point in your PPC advertising journey, you’ll have paved the way for searchers to see your ads and find your website. From there, it’s just a matter of using good web copy and design to get them to take the desired action.
Much like ad writing, optimizing web design for conversions is an art unto itself. However, there are a few simple guidelines that can help direct your campaign toward success.
One of the most important things to get right is congruency between the landing page and the ad that came before it. The visitor has already read the ad, so they have an idea of what to expect from your website. But if your landing page deviates too far from what they were expecting, it may make them uncomfortable and cause them to click off.
Make sure your landing page is easy to navigate, with clear indications of what the visitor should do. There should only be one call-to-action, and it should be the most obvious feature on the page, with as few distractions as possible. This way, your website visitor will be most likely to convert into a lead or customer.
Keep Track of Negative Keywords
One pitfall that people new to PPC sometimes stumble into is setting their strategy to autopilot and forgetting it. In order to maximize your advertising investment, you need to be constantly monitoring your paid search campaign.
One thing you’ll need to check on occasionally is your list of negative keywords. You already know that SEO and paid search is all about optimizing for certain keywords. But did you know that it’s also important to select keywords that you don’t want your website to rank for?
This is because some keywords that are technically relevant to your ads may not be used with the right search intent. If searchers run into your website while trying to find something totally different, it will reflect badly on your campaign. For that reason, you should watch out for keywords that are directing people to your site that you don’t want to have associated with your ads.
Optimize for ROI
Just as you should be monitoring your paid search campaigns for unwanted keywords, you should be analyzing and optimizing your ads to improve ROI.
For paid search, return on investment is defined by the goals of your campaign, whether that be cost-per-click or cost-per-conversion. When you optimize paid search for ROI, it means paying less for ads while getting the same (or better) results.
In the short term, you can improve your campaign’s ROI by distributing your budget more effectively. You do this by abandoning poor-performing keywords and redirecting funds to better-performing Ad Groups.
Over the long term, one of the best things you can do for your ROI is to improve your Quality Score. A high Quality Score tells Google that your ad and landing page are relevant and satisfying to searchers. You can improve your score by improving everything about your website and ads over time.
Measure and Report Everything
As we mentioned earlier, a common mistake among beginner advertisers is taking a “set it and forget it” approach to ads. Instead, you need to be measuring everything about your campaigns and running analyses and reports regularly.
This means keeping track of your costs, monitoring the effectiveness of your keywords, and watching how people behave on your website, among other things.
The way you report on ad performance should depend on the goal of your overall PPC strategy. However, you’ll find most of the information you’ll need in Google Ads reports. There you’ll find reports on auction insights, search terms, campaign and ad performance, and more.
When you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to report your paid search results every month. Make sure to place an emphasis on increases and decreases month over month, in addition to the context around those changes.
Remember: what gets measured gets managed. Keeping careful track of your campaign will make it that much easier to produce results.
Let Riserr Handle Your Paid Search Strategy for You
By now you understand how a paid search strategy works. You’ve probably also noticed that Google search algorithms and advertising are complex and often confusing.
However, you shouldn’t let that complexity scare you. Like search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising is incredibly useful once you figure out how it works. But what if you simply don’t have time to figure it all out yourself?
That’s where Riserr comes in. With 11 years of experience getting results, our agency knows how to make sure your business succeeds on Google for you. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today.