It’s always great when you can rank for that super keyword, but let’s face it: Only 10 websites will make it to the first page of Google, and only three websites will make it to the top three. Considering that the top three search results get 70 percent of the search traffic, it can be quite depressing if you’re not ranking for the keyword that will bring in the most sales and customers.
However, there’s no need to worry — if you can’t rank organically, you can always pay for rankings. This is also known as Google Adwords PPC, or Pay Per Click. You’ll pay only when people click on your ad, so you have nothing to lose (well, other than customers to your competition). I am sharing some clutch PPC tips below, so pay attention and take notes. This is how we make smaller businesses competitive in very tight markets.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords you can bid on. You should look for three things in your keywords: Their monthly search volume, their average CPC (cost-per-click), and how relevant they are to your landing page and your message.
You want to find keywords that get reasonable numbers of monthly searches but are still affordable. In addition, your keyword needs to be super relevant to your landing page. Remember, you’re paying for each click. If the people clicking on your ad aren’t interested in your landing page, you’re paying for absolutely nothing. Search intent is very important with PPC ads, and the way to get it right is by choosing the right keywords.
For this reason, you may want to consider using only phrase or exact match keywords. When you target broad keywords, your ads will be shown to people who may not be that interested in your landing page at all. For example, if your keyword is “how to get started with Google Adwords,” your ad might get shown to people searching for “Google” or even “how to get started.” If you choose exact matches, your ad will be shown only to people who search for your keyword word-for-word, while phrase matches include keywords that have your target keyword within them in the same order.
Set a maximum bid for your keywords. Your CPC may be lower, but it won’t be higher. You may want to opt out of display network ads — they have a lower relevancy.
Relevance is what makes PPC campaigns successful. Your ad has to be relevant to your target keyword. Ideally, it should contain your keyword or a variation of it in the title (or at least in the ad text). This will lead to higher click-through-rates, which will lead to lower costs. The more people clicking on your ad, the more money Google makes, which is why they will give you a higher position over another ad that has a higher bid but fewer clicks.
Your landing page has to be relevant to your ad. If people are clicking on your ad and landing on a page that has a slightly different message, you’ll get more traffic but fewer conversions. Your landing page also needs to be optimized so that you get maximum conversions, so tweak its design and call-to-actions.
The purpose of your ads is to make a profit, and you can only do that if you track conversions. You can do that from under Tools in your Adwords Menu. You’ll get a code snippet that you’ll be able to insert into your website (or have your developer do it for you).
Let’s say your desired conversion is for people to sign up for a free trial. Once they sign up, they are taken to a thank-you page. You should install your code in that thank-you page. You’ll then be able to see how many people who clicked on your ad actually signed up for your trial. You can also assign a value to each conversion so that you get a better idea of your return on investment.
No PPC campaign is successful from the get-go. It takes time until the perfect formula is reached, from the keyword to the bid to the ad text to the landing page. How long? Maybe 6 days, sometimes 6 weeks. Set a small daily budget at first, until you start seeing success. Be patient. Run multiple split-tests to see how different variations convert. Keep tweaking your keyword, ad text, landing page, and bid until you’re making a profit. Aim for lower CPCs, higher click-through rates, higher relevancy scores, and higher conversion rates.
Also published on Medium.