Appearing in the number one spot on Google by simply shelling out some cash may sound like a no-brainer, but there are a few items to consider before you start re-allocating your marketing dollars. Just like any campaign, Google AdWords requires (you guessed it) strategy–and lots of it.
Should I Start a Google AdWords Campaign? The Good, Bad & Ugly of This SEO Tool
AdWords allows for rapid visibility. Unlike organic search, you don’t have to rely on slow increases in search rankings after months of accumulating links to your site, crafting valuable content, utilizing proper title tags, etc. This type of campaign allows you to bid on keywords, target specific locations to reach your audience and show up as one of the top results in the search listings. Alternatively, display ads and retargeting can be used on specific websites to meet your audience where they are.
These quick results come with a price tag, however. It can be costly to ensure you outbid the competitors and actually show up in position one to three on the search listings. In addition, it is time consuming to maintain ads the proper way. After the initial setup, someone with sufficient AdWords experience should be dedicated to reviewing and making tweaks to the campaigns nearly every day. Rather than a slow-cooker-esque, “set it and forget it” strategy, proper planning is recommended for an ad campaign to work effectively, including putting thought into the ad copy and imagery (if applicable), keywords and landing page that the user is sent to.
So You Want to Start an AdWords Campaign
Your End Goal
Because there’s an entire painter’s palette of ads to choose from, it’s important to identify the goal of the specific campaign. Whether your goal is to increase leads, sign-ups, or brand awareness, the type of ad used, as well as the landing page, should reflect and service the given goal.
Search vs. Display Ads
- Search Ads: These are the ads that appear at the top or side of the search listings, which are typically the ads people are most familiar with when they hear the term “Google AdWords.” This type of ad is best for the “active searcher.” Namely, someone who is on a mission to find a particular thing (think: plumbers, locksmiths, etc).
- Display Ads: These ads display on a particular website, typically on the sidebar, header or footer of the site. These work best to familiarize people with your brand or if your product requires a lengthy sales process or has major visual appeal that you want to showcase.
- Retargeting: Have you ever abandoned your cart on a particular website, only to be “followed” by an ad for that same product when you visit Facebook? A little creepy, right? This form of modern-day, digital haunting is also known as retargeting, and it’s an effective sales tool for companies with longer sales cycles.
It’s important to include specific keywords, ad copy and landing pages that all come together like the pieces of some kind of sales-driving jigsaw puzzle to complete your campaign’s goals. Create a landing page with a call-to-action and content that is specific to the targeted keyword rather than sending a user from an AdWords listing to your homepage with no action step. Negative keywords can also be targeted to steer an unwanted audience away from your ads. For example, if you are creating a campaign around VIP ticket sales to an event, you may want to target “cheap” as a negative keyword so that your ads are not served to those whose search query includes that word.
Understand that every new campaign includes a test period–we’ve all had to work through our awkward phases, after all. It’s best to target an array of keywords, use different sets of ad copy and/or imagery, as well as landing pages to see what resonates best with your audience and adjust your campaign in response.
Depending on your goals, AdWords can be an effective tool when you utilize the right ad type and create a specific and well-monitored campaign. For the greatest chance at success, we recommend this simply as a tool in your toolbox of an overall strategy that includes other tactics to support it, such as organic SEO, content marketing, email marketing, public relations and social media. There’s no quick solution for long-lasting SEO success, but taking the time to adopt the best practices and learn tools of the trade can go a long way toward getting your site seen.