Generating Quality Web Traffic with Google AdWords
Setting Up Ad Groups in AdWords
As we discussed here in Getting Started With Google AdWords, Ad Groups are a way of organising a bunch of individual pay per click ads, usually by keyword theme. Each Ad Group is then added to a Campaign which will have a broader theme tying together all of the ads within the groups of that Campaign. Each Ad Group should therefore focus on one of your main keyword groups.
Using Google Quality Score to Your Advantage
Google has developed and uses an ad ranking system called Quality Score. Understanding Quality Score can be a key factor in helping you be successful in AdWords and allow you to compete against advertisers with much deeper pockets than you.
How does it work? Google rewards relevance and therefore looks at the accuracy of the ad copy versus the search terms used, and the landing page to which you are sending traffic; low perceived relevance will hurt your quality score, but landing pages with many similar keywords to your ads will help your score improve.
Google also looks at each ad’s historical Click-Through Rate (CTR), and this is apparently the most important factor. In effect, Google is using its customers to rank the quality of each ad. Opinion varies as to how much each of these factors influences your Quality Score, but it pays to make sure each is addressed well.
Why care about Quality Score? Because your Quality Score combined with your ad maximum bid will determine how high your ad will be ranked; achieve great quality scores and you won’t have to spend as much for your ads to be ranked highly.
Getting The Right Match
You can choose how you would like Google to match your keywords with search terms typed in by your prospective customers, and there are four types:
1) Broad Match – for example if your keyword is “fashion dress”, Google will match this with searches for “fashion dress”, “dress fashion”, “black fashion dress” and many other broad uses of this keyword.
2) Phrase Match – the exact keyword must be included in the keyword search, so “dress fashion” would not be included in the above example, but “black fashion dress” would.
3) Exact Match – the keyword must be exactly typed in for your ad results to show up, making this the narrowest of keyword matches.
4) Negative Match – any search containing this keyword will not be shown your ad.
What are Negative Keywords?
Negative keywords are a list of words that you will not show your ads for. For example, if you are selling Cute Kitten Calendars online, you might want to exclude keywords such as “free” or “mayan” or “doomsday” which all may be combined with the keyword “calendar” and produce unwanted clicks from people who may come but never buy your particular Cute Kittens Calendar. It’s all about narrowing down the number of people who see your ad to those it is truly relevant to, thus increasing your ROI.
Getting Your Copy Optimised
Your primary goal is to get the best CTR of profitable traffic. Don’t confuse this with simply attracting large quantities of traffic, as attracting people who click but don’t buy is a waste of your money. The object of well-written ads is to laser-focus in on your exact target customer, thus increasing your chances of conversion once they click and enter your site.
The secondary goal is to keep Google happy by increasing the ad relevance; using your keywords in both the title and the body of the ad text will help your Quality Score, and these words will stand out in bold making your CPC ad more attractive.
Setting Up An Ad Group
In the steps above you created a new campaign with one ad (which should be currently paused). It’s now time to set up some Ad Groups and get your ads up and running. Follow the steps below:
1) On your AdWords Campaign, click the Ads tab. This is where your first ad is located.
2) In the Keywords tab, enter your keywords one per line. Negative keywords can be added here too by including a minus sign before the keyword, for example: “-keyword”
3) Click on the pencil icon to open the editor and change the ad headline, body, display URL, and destination URL. Why might these be different? Because this can have an effect on your CTR; for example you might display the URL without the “www”, and capitalise each of the words in your URL, such as “BuyDressesOnline.com”.
4) Click Save. You can create a second ad by clicking the check box next to the existing ad and choose Edit/Copy and Edit/Paste. Here you can make variations of your copy, allowing you to test which text is the most effective. Try not to change everything, or you won’t know what worked and what didn’t! Over time you will narrow down which phrases and combinations of words work best, and your split tests will become more and more subtle.
How to Test and What to Test
Keep it simple at the beginning; there’s no need to create hundreds of ads with every variation of copy and URL (though you can if you want to). Start with your primary keywords and try four ad versions of each: two variations of copy and two variations of landing pages (for example: your home page and a custom landing page).
This way you can run two tests simultaneously, to see which ad copy works best and to gauge the performance of your two landing pages. Once you have a clear winner of each, delete the other ads and test again with new variables. Don’t forget to turn your ad rotation to “Rotate Evenly” in Campaign Settings -> Change Campaign Settings.
Preparing Your Landing Pages
You have set up your ads on AdWords and now want to start directing hundreds of new potential customers to your site. Should you send this traffic to your home page? Probably not, as customers who clicked on an ad for, say, Cute Kittens Calendars will expect to land on a page selling Cute Kittens Calendars, not a general website homepage that sells all sorts of stationery and calendar items. This is where custom landing pages are essential to maximising results from your CPC campaigns.
How Landing Pages Help Your Customers and Your Google Quality Score
Landing pages are a great way to focus your potential customers’ attention on that one product they are looking for, without distracting them or losing them within the many other offerings your site may have on display. A good landing page will help sell the benefits of the product or service, include a strong call-to-action, and funnel the visitor towards adding the item to their cart and checking out.
Getting your landing pages right will also help your Quality Score with Google. For example, if you placed an ad that said “Buy Cute Kittens Calendars”, it would make sense to have this keyword phrase within the headline of that ad’s landing page. You may also choose to use the phrase within the body text, name, and alt text of images. Google will then see that this landing page has a great deal of relevance to the Ad for “Buy Cute Kittens Calendars” and reward your Quality Score for that ad accordingly.
On the other hand, if your ad text and landing page have very little in common, expect a less favourable Quality Score (and therefore you will have to pay more for your Google AdWords positions).
The good news is you can get this right for both your customers and for Google. Both interests are aligned, as more relevant and focused landing pages will mean happier customers, and a higher Quality Score will help you reach more traffic by bringing you further up the paid search results.
How to Set Up Your Landing Page: 5 Key Elements
Make sure your headline closely resembles (or even exactly matches) your ad headline text. Make sure your keywords are all included here, showing your visitors immediately that they have landed in the right place after clicking your ad.
Make the headline inviting and interesting to the visitor to keep reading; this is crucial to make sure the visitor doesn’t click the Back button, but continues on with their browsing of your page. Make sure it’s immediately relevant and hooks them to keep reading.
2. Body Text
This is where you flesh out the detail of your offer. How much copy do you need? That will depend on your product or service, but do put a good amount of detail in here, making sure it’s structured in a way that’s easy to read and navigate. You might put the key points in bold or bullet points, rather than using large paragraphs of text.
This method will give those visitors with short attention spans an easy way to skim the information, and those who want to read a lot can stay and be satisfied with the level of detail provided. Within the text you might also want to include some testimonials, giving confidence to your new potential customers.
3. Navigation Options
Should your landing page be a simple “squeeze page” where the visitor has no option but to click on the link you give them to move forward? This used to be common practice, but it may lead to poor results with your ROI and Quality Score.
Instead, write the landing page well, and give the visitor options to learn more about you through links to About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Details, and other helpful information. If customers don’t see this information, they may well click Back and you’ll have wasted money on that CPC. If they do stay and browse your site, you’ll have a better chance of converting them into a paying customer.
Again, you can split test different landing pages to see which links and which locations for these works best for your site’s optimum ROI.
4. Sell the Benefits
Place yourself in the customer’s position and ask why you would be buying this particular product or service. In most cases the customer is buying the perceived benefits of the product, not just the product itself.
Writing in a voice that the customer can relate to, try to sell them on the key benefits and you’ll be speaking to their hearts, not just their heads. This is a powerful marketing technique, when we learn “why” customers want something rather than just “what” we think they want. Sell the core benefits and you’ll find customers “just know” that they need to buy from you.
5. Keep Split Testing!
Each of the above examples requires testing and fine-tuning. You may find, for example, that your particular audience responds very strongly to certain testimonials, so you include them on every landing page.
Certain keywords may attract a different, unexpected crowd of potential customers who respond to a different voice in your copywriting. Less distraction might equal more ROI. Follow the above steps and keep testing to see what your customers respond best to, and you’ll maximise your landing page effectiveness.
Running Your AdWords Campaign
If you’ve followed the previous steps, you’ll have new campaigns and landing pages ready to go live. Is it time to change your campaign’s status from “Paused” to “Enabled”? Not just yet. There are a few things to keep in mind before you go live with your ad campaign.
Running campaigns without conversion tracking is a bit like playing the lottery; you have no control on the outcome and little chance of winning. The good news is conversion tracking is easy to set up, and you can monitor every dollar spent for ROI; this results in better campaigns and a profitable business (so don’t skip this step!).
1) Give your conversion a name. In the AdWords control panel, select Reporting and Tools, and then Conversions. Give your action a new name (like “New Signup” or “Sales Conversion”) and click Save and Continue.
The next page will ask for the security level of the page (either HTTP or HTTPS), and select the page language as English, or your preferred language.
3) Wait and see. There’s no easy way to test if you have correctly placed the code on your pages, other than waiting for some traffic and data to appear. After a few days you should start to see some results of your conversion tracking in AdWords.
Understanding AdWords Metrics
There are seven key metrics within AdWords and they include: impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), conversion number, conversion rate, and cost per conversion. You will have the first four metrics already set up in AdWords, and as per the above section have to set up the conversion metrics yourself by adding the code to your site. What should you be aware of in each of the metrics? We’ll discuss this below.
Every time your ad is shown it counts as an impression. No action needs to be taken, simply that your ad shows up within a search result on Google. You are not charged by the number of impressions received.
As you might have guessed, this is the number of clicks that you have received on your ads. Your Click-Through Rate is the number (expressed as a percentage) of impressions that resulted in a click during that time period.
These are important measures, but not the most important. You are charged per click, but what you want to focus on is the quality of those clicks and the resulting cost of conversions.
When a customer takes a certain action, such as signing up to a newsletter or making a purchase, this is called a conversion. Using conversion tracking and Google’s “roundtrip” tracking, it is possible to keep a close watch on exactly how much it costs you in ad spend for each conversion made. Get these metrics to become a positive equation and you’re making money, or ignore them to your peril.
Conversion metrics also help you to monitor your business results over time; your goal should be to continually improve both the number or conversions, as well as the percentage conversion rate, by testing and modifying each of the elements on your landing pages and sales funnels.
What is a Good Conversion Rate?
This will depend a lot on your industry and product sold; a site selling inexpensive hair accessories may have a much higher conversion rate (percentage of conversions over visitors), compared to a luxury site selling expensive yachts where the conversion rate may be extremely low.
Conversion rates of successful e-commerce websites seem to vary between 0.75% to 2% of the total visitors; it is important to keep these figures in mind when estimating the potential marketing spend, traffic, and expected revenues of your website.
Test it with A/B Split Testing
Once you have your site up and running you can then run A/B split tests with different variations of your pages shown to new traffic. By observing the results of these pages, and the behaviours of your customers, you can determine which changes to your pages are bringing the best conversion results.
You can literally do this over and over again until you have refined each of your pages, found the optimal location of content and calls to action, and identified the many other features important to (or hindering) your site’s performance. All of this effort will result in your site getting the best conversion rates for your marketing money spent.
Combining A/B split testing with heat mapping software can really help you understand your customers’ journeys, misunderstandings, and pain points, and subsequently build a better site for them to use. Happy customers equals better conversion rates equals higher profits!
How to Conduct Simple A/B Split Testing
Perhaps not surprisingly we are heading back to Google to use one of their Google Analytics tools to run our landing page tests. The idea is you can run an advertising campaign and drive traffic to your site, which then sends an equal split of that traffic to up to 10 versions of the same page.
After a reasonable amount of time or traffic, you can then directly observe the results of each page, and narrow down which page you use for each particular ad set, traffic source, or product offered.
1) Open Google Analytics and go to Behaviour -> Experiments in the main menu on the left hand side. Create a new experiment and give it a name to easily identify it by. Here is where you will set your objective, which will usually be an e-commerce transaction, but may include an email signup or another result depending the outcome you are looking for from this page.
2) Configure your experiment by inputting your original page and a variation page. Keeping it to two options rather than multiple variables may be a wise idea in the beginning to avoid confusion and get meaningful results.
3) Add the code to the pages you wish to test. Google will generate the experiment code to add to each of your pages to be tested, which you can then copy and paste into the HTML of each page, just below the head tag at the top of the page. An Experiment ID and Experiment Key will also be generated for your reference later on.
4.) Launch the Experiment. You will now see your Experiment name under Behaviours -> Experiments and can track the report results here. Leave this Experiment running for a couple of days and you should already have some interesting results to analyse.
Good statistical analysis usually depends on a large sample size, and therefore the more traffic you allow through this experiment, the more precise your results will be. Having said that, you should be able to see within 50-100 visits which page is getting better traction with your users; what we are looking for here is the winning page that gets the best results, so determine yourself how much testing is needed, and then move on to using the winning page only and testing out other variables.
A Practical Example
Say you are selling Organic Doggy Treats and advertising on Google AdWords with these and similar keywords. You will probably be sending your CPC traffic directly to your Organic Doggy Treats landing page, which will display the product, key benefits, and a large invitation to buy this product with a “Buy Now” button somewhere prominent. When the customer adds the item to their shopping cart and makes a purchase, this counts as a successful conversion from our CPC campaign.
You might be wondering what the optimal messaging, layout, and structure of the page should be. That’s where your Google Experiment comes in.
Rather than simply having one landing page for your Organic Doggy Treats, why not create a few different versions where you test out the headline of the page, images used, product descriptions, testimonials, and location of the “Buy Now” button? What might be your best guess in terms of page layout may actually not get great results with your customers.
Even if you are getting good results already, there are always ways to improve. A/B split testing will give you real-time customer feedback on what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to adjust your pages and your conversion rates accordingly.
Successful Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns
You might have read all of this post (congratulations!) and now be thinking that it’s a lot of work to run PPC campaigns. It can be. But you don’t have to start off with hundreds of campaigns from the beginning; simply start with a small list of keywords and copy ideas and see what works. Use the A/B split testing to your advantage and expect to make a few mistakes along the way.
Sooner or later, you’ll find your PPC niche and unlock quality PPC traffic sources for your website, resulting in hundreds (perhaps thousands) of profitable new customers. Good luck!