Google processed 11.8 billion search queries in January 2012 and is projected to receive nearly 80% of all online search advertising revenue in 2012. Paid clicks on Google increased over 30% from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011. Certainly advertising on Google is a smart choice for many companies, and while it is easy to set up a campaign, maintaining a successful campaign requires a great deal of time and patience (and a bit of trial and error). Here are a few AdWords best practices to follow:
1. Think like a customer.
Ask yourself, “If I was looking for this product, what terms would I search for?” After you’ve created an ad, think “Would I click on this ad if I was searching for this term?” Remember that those searching on Google may not know anything else about your brand besides what they see in your ad and that most ads are only looked at for about a quarter of a second.
2. Be specific, but not too specific.
Especially when beginning an AdWords campaign, be sure to select keywords that are specific enough so that you aren’t spending a large amount of money competing with several other companies. However, don’t be so specific that only a few people will ever search for that term. Using the various match types in AdWords can help.
Google provides several tools that help make this process easier. The Traffic Estimator Tool shows the amount of traffic you can expect to receive with a specific keyword. The Keyword Tool is also very useful. Simply type in a few of your keywords and it will produce ideas for related terms as well as the approximate cost per click you would pay. Export this list to Excel for an easy way to select terms that you want to add to your campaign.
3. Don’t create it and leave it.
AdWords accounts require continuous monitoring in order to be successful as things can change daily. While you can set up custom alerts that can email you if that action occurs, you should still log in to your account at least once each day (even if it’s for a few minutes) to make sure your campaign is performing correctly. Be on the lookout for anything that seems out of the ordinary and fix it as soon as possible.
4. If it’s not working, change it.
Don’t get so attached to your work that you refuse to change it if it isn’t working. Also, don’t wait for an ad to suddenly start getting a higher click through rate. If people aren’t clicking on it, find out why and change it. Possible solutions could include changing the copy or finding a better keyword.
Be sure that you are testing several variations of your ads. This way you aren’t spending all of your money on an ad that may not be very successful. Track the metrics and stop any ads that aren’t performing up to par in order to concentrate your resources on those that are performing well.
What other AdWords best practices do you think should be added to our list?