Your pay-per-click (PPC) ads can do magic when it comes to driving new customers to your business. After all, who could say no to high-quality leads for just a few coins per click?
Issue is, a lot of business owners (and let’s face it, marketers) don’t know how to effectively optimize their Google Ad campaigns. A “beginner’s guide to PPC” doesn’t seem to cut it.
In order to get the best cost per click and results from your PPC ads, you need to implement some higher-level tactics.
The good news is, you don’t have to be an ads pro to hack your way to PPC success.
In this post, we are breaking down 5 ways that you can improve your campaigns on your own in order to save money and drive more leads to your business.
But First, a Brief Intro to Search Engine Marketing
PPC is a form of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) that involves generating traffic from search engines through paid ads. By contrast, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relates to optimizing your website for organic, unpaid traffic.
The most common method of PPC is running Google Ads.
These are the ads that display above (and sometimes in other places) the organic search results after a user searches for something in Google Search or Maps. Businesses run Google Ads to get a chance at capturing some of that traffic ahead of the organic results.
Let’s chat about why PPC may be used instead of or in addition to SEO…
Benefits of SEM for Building Material Manufacturers
SEM is great for building material manufacturers because users are already actively looking for products and services like yours online. All you have to do is get your content in front of their eyes.
With SEO, you do this through website optimizations like increasing page load speed, creating high-quality content, and optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and images.
With PPC, you do this through targeting your ideal audience and convincing them to click on your website link through engaging ad copy.
Overall the benefits of SEM include:
- Generation of highly-targeted, interested leads
- Affordable marketing through SEO
- Fast clicks and leads through PPC
- Increase of brand awareness in search engines
- Can attract authoritative backlinks from other websites
- SEM is sustainable for the long term compared to other marketing methods
Getting Started with Google Ads
If you’re sold on SEM, it’s time to try your hand at it yourself. Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) has some great tutorials on how to get started creating your first ad campaign.
Like we said before, this post isn’t about the basics. We want to dive into 5 tactics to help you make your existing ads even better.
5 PPC Optimization Hacks to Improve Your Google Ads
Got your Google Ad campaigns up and running?
Here’s how to optimize them for the best clickthrough rate (CTR), cost-per-click, and top-quality leads.
Hack 1: Use The “Peel & Stick Method”
The “Peel & Stick Method”, first coined by renowned marketer Perry Marshall, is a “keyword finessing” technique that involves determining the best keywords for what you are trying to sell and separating them into separate ad campaigns. Then, you test them to see which keywords come out on top.
Here’s how it works:
- Write a Google ad that uses your main keyword and relates to a specific service or product that you are promoting
- Next, add keyword variations to use for bidding to display your ad
- Wait a week to see how certain keywords perform
- Take the keywords with the highest CTR and move them into their own ad groups
- Write an ad that incorporates the keyword in both the headline and the ad copy text
Your new groups may have only a few keywords in them. As long as they are high performing, one or two keywords per ad is enough [Source]
PPC best practices include testing your keywords and ads to see what performs the best. This is not an area where you want to “set it and forget it”. This could result in you wasting your ad budget.
Your ads won’t be perfect every time. The important thing is that you take a data-driven approach to PPC rather than simply guess-and-check. Monitor your ads and optimize those that are low-performing.
Hack 2: Add Negative Keywords.
Just as important as finding the right keywords to use is identifying those that you don’t want to use. In other words, those terms that you don’t want your ads to be displayed for,
In Google Ads, these are called “negative keywords” – and excluding them from your targeting can save you money.
Google defines negative keywords as “A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase. This is also known as a negative match.”
If you are targeting terms that aren’t relevant to your product/service/site – and people are clicking on your ads for these terms – then you are wasting ad budget.
How to Create a Negative Keywords List
To identify these terms, review the “search term” report within the Google Ads interface. Here, you will see which keywords are not a good fit for your ads and are drawing in clicks that you don’t want.
Some common negative keywords are conditions such as “free” or “cheap” that draw in users that are looking for low-cost services. If you offer high-quality building supplies, these likely wouldn’t be viable leads for your business.
Once you have created a list of negative keywords (that can be added to and edited over time), you will add these to your Negative Keywords List in your Google Ads account.
Hack 3: Split Test Your Ads
Test, test, and test again. When it comes to PPC, split testing is your best friend.
Before you make changes to an existing ads campaigns, you may want to A/B test (aka split test) those changes by running it as a campaign experiment.
This involves making a minor edit (preferably only one) and splitting your traffic to be displayed one of two versions of the ad.
Then, you track the success in terms of conversions (typically CTR or conversions on the landing page).
Example of Split Testing
For example, say you want to test the headline “Budget Remodeling Materials in Los Angeles” against “Affordable Remodeling Materials in Los Angeles”.
You can set up an experiment with two versions of the ad; one including “budget” and the other with “affordable”. You can then split your traffic 50/50 and see which headline performs the best. The “winning” version can then be set as the go-to version of the campaign.
Here are some other components that you can test:
- Ad Copy
- Bidding Strategy
- Landing Page
- Ad Schedule
- Keywords and Negative keywords
- Geographical Targeting
One thing to remember here is to run the test long enough to get statistically significant results. It’s recommended that you run your ads for at least a week in order to get solid evidence that one version performed better than the other.
This data will tell you what components you may want to incorporate into your ads going forward.
Hack 4: Your Account Structure Is Key
One thing that those new to Google Ads struggle with a lot is how to effectively set up their Ads account. While the campaign structure doesn’t matter as much, how you organize your ad Groups can play a huge role in the success of your ads.
Here’s the hack: You need to align your Ad Groups with corresponding keywords.
This means that each ad group focuses on one primary keyword and then contain a list of related keyword variations.
You can think of Ad Groups as individual silos that contain tightly associated keywords with slight variations and match types.
Below is an example of what your ad campaign + ad group setup should look like:
Having similar keywords grouped together within Ad Group silos will improve your quality score because all of the ads that you create within your Ad Group will be relevant to each keyword.
An added benefit of doing this is that it helps you keep your Ad Groups and ads organized.
You’ll be able to easily identify which keywords you are targeting, what new Groups you may want to add, and how many ads you are running for each.
Hack 5: Utilize Keyword Match Types
Within your Ad Group settings, you will see the option to set the Match Type for your keywords. These are conditions that are set on your keywords to determine what kinds of searches trigger your ad to appear.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make here is setting the match type to “broad match”, meaning that there are no parameters set on the keyword. T
his is literally throwing money away because it means that any loosely related term could trigger your ad to show.
Your best bet is to use “broad match modifier”, “phrase match”, or “exact match keywords”.
Below is a handy chart that gives an example of each keyword match type:
As you can see, these match types allow you to show more discretion in what searches trigger your ads to show.
Does displaying your ad to users that are searching for “order brown vintage leather children’s boots” make sense if you are selling brown boots? Probably not.
Those looking for “work boots” or “new brown boots” are probably a better bet. They are more likely to convert.
Setting these parameters helps you control what users see your ads, ensuring that you aren’t wasting money on people that aren’t interested in your products or services.
Google has its own resource on how to choose the right keyword match type.
SEM is one of the best, most affordable ways to drive traffic and leads to your website.
As a growing building materials manufacturing business, you don’t have time or money to waste on Google Ads that aren’t converting. While the basics will get you started, you need some data-supported tactics to help you level up.
Try the 5 PPC optimization hacks above to improve your Google Ad campaigns and generate more leads for your business.
Got questions about SEM or Google Ads? Ask them in the comments below!