Are you spending way too much money on AdWords? Chances are a handful of common, and silly, AdWords mistakes are to blame. They’re doubling, or even quadrupling, your customer acquisition costs. How can you make money with Google AdWords with these kinds of costs? And unfortunately, a lot of business leaders just think these rising costs are par for the course.
Here’s the truth. You can’t make money with Google AdWords if you’re paying too much for ads, plain and simple. Your ROI won’t justify the time and money invested.
But the great news is that these mistakes, while common, are easy to fix once you learn that you’re making them.
Let’s explore the best ways to make money with Google AdWords while maximizing your ROI.
Get That Quality Score Up
The absolute best way to make money with Google AdWords is to focus on getting your Quality Score as high as possible. Throughout this article, we’ll look at actionable steps to do that.
But first, what is a Quality Score. What does it mean for your budget?
What Is the Quality Score
Quality Score is Google’s way of ensuring that the ads they show in searches enhance customer experience rather than distract.
Who are Google’s customers? They’re the people searching for answers. If the pages that appear when they search aren’t relevant, Google loses money in two big ways:
1) People don’t click on the ads. AdWords misses out on a CPC (cost per click) payment the business showing the ad would pay.
2) People eventually choose another search engine. If Bing, Yahoo or another search engine can provide more relevant content, people will go there.
Google doesn’t like to lose money any more than you do. Quality Score protects them from this loss.
Quality Score = How relevant your ad is to the searches in which it appears
This score appears in the “status” column for your keywords in an easy to interpret 1-10 scale. 10 is fantastic. 1 means you should reevaluate your ad copy to make sure it aligns with your keywords, landing page, and end goal.
What Makes Up the Quality Score
Google doesn’t leave you to imagine how they calculate your score. The more relevant your ads are to the search, the higher your score will be.
But how does AdWords measure relevance? Again they are very explicit. They look at your:
- CTR (click through rate). What percentage of the time do people click your ad when it appears? If people aren’t clicking either your keywords OR ad copy aren’t relevant.
- Your bounce rate. Once a person clicks the ad, what do they do on your website? If they leave quickly or without clicking on anything, AdWords determines that the landing page is irrelevant. OR your website experience is bad (slow, not mobile friendly, confusing, etc.)
- Campaign history. They are gathering data over time. If you fix something, it will take a little time to get the score back up because of this. That’s yet another reason. If your quality is slipping and you don’t know why, consult an AdWords management agency.
In order to have a high Quality Score, ads must be relevant to the searches. And your website experience should demonstrate that the person found what they were looking for. This takes quality on-page SEO.
How Does the Quality Score Impact Your Budget?
The higher your Quality Score the less you pay for a click.
A competitor bids more than you did for a keyword. But your score is higher. You win that spot anyway.
It could be a few pennies less. It could be a dollar or more. Multiply this by the number of clicks you pay for ads. This is significant money.
The Quality Score not only works for you. It can work against you. If you have a 6 or below, AdWords ads a premium to how much you have to pay compared to others with a higher score. Google’s hope is that if you have to pay more, you’ll do one of two things:
1) Get your Quality Score up
2) Stop running ads because it’s too expensive to do so
Unfortunately, some don’t get the message and continue to pay too much for ads, thinking this is normal.
Check out the scatter plot chart from the software company WordStream.
Through extensive research, they found the following increases and decreases in how much you pay based on your score:
- 1 = 400% increase
- 2 = 150% increase
- 3 = 67.3% increase
- 4 = 25% increase
- 5 = 16.7% decrease
- 7 = 28.2 decrease
- 8 = 37.5 decrease
- 9 = 44.2 decrease
- 10 = 50% decrease
A common mistake many people who use AdWords make is assuming that a 5 is okay. Based on these figures you need a 6 or higher to start saving money on AdWords. Google AdWords considers a person with a 5 to be in good standing. But you’re still paying more.
Pay less for ads to make money with Google AdWords.
Realize Every Industry Is Different
When you’re doing research on the Internet, it’s easy to think broad generalizations apply to your business. Often generalizations are all you have to work with. You do what you can. But being over-confident in generalized data isn’t how to make money with Google AdWords.
For example, you may see that the average cost per click (CPC) is under $3. You might set a mental expectation that is what a click costs.
Then you find out that because of the competition level, the average CPC is twice that. Breaking things down by industry helps you get a better idea about what to expect. What is “normal” for your industry?
You could be paying too much. You could be expecting to pay too little. It could be hurting your campaigns.
Let’s start by looking at some cost per click data.
Ecomm’s average CPC is as low as $1.16. When planning your campaigns, look for keywords in this range with some variance to be expected depending on the type of ecommerce. Are you selling electronics or kitchen utensils? Costs will vary.
On the other side of the spectrum, legal services may cost closer to $7 per click. This increased cost reflects not only the competition. It reflects the cost of services. Sometimes a cost per one click can cost upwards of $75-$100, so it’s important to know the value your business places on one conversion.
Click through rates (CTR) are another industry difference to consider. How are you faring?
The average CTR is around 3%. But if your business is dating and personals, you should have a much higher CTR. If you’re in technology then having around a 2% CTR is on par with the industry. When AdWords is determining your quality score, they’re very likely comparing your ads to your industry average.
It’s worth making note of these industry differences. Know if you’re on track or way off course.
Keyword Research Isn’t a Weekend Task
To keep a high Quality Score, your keywords should reflect well the goals of the searcher. This not only takes initial keyword research. It takes ongoing research. In other words, you won’t be doing it all over a long weekend and then leaving your campaign on auto-pilot.
That’s how not to make money with Google AdWords.
Once you launch your campaign, watch how people who enter a specific query respond to your ads. If they aren’t responding favorably, either that keyword may not be a good match for what you do. Or your ad copy isn’t compelling them to click.
If people are clicking and then leaving your site, there’s something wrong with your site. But it can also tell you that when they clicked on your ad, they thought it was something else because of what they entered in the search box.
You can monitor what people are searching for and how they are reacting by looking into the search terms under keywords in your AdWords account.
Both initial and ongoing keyword research will include the following.
Take a look at what the competition is doing. What keywords are they targeting? How are they designing their landing pages? What does their ad copy look like?
Are they succeeding?
In order to compete, know what you’re up against. How will you distinguish yourself from the competition to earn those clicks and conversions? If a certain keyword is too competitive, might you want to target something else?
Figure out what the competition is doing well. Do it better.
This may change after you launch campaigns. Stay on your toes as the competitive landscape changes. If you start to see you CTR dropping or cost per click going up after weeks or months of solid performance, there may be a new competitor in town.
Choosing the Best Words
The best keywords are phrases that people will actually use when looking for something you offer. They tend to be longer (3-6 words). The average number of words a person enters in a search is 4.
Longer phrases not only have less competition on them, costing you less per click. They are also more likely to be relevant to your ad.
If you’re a home inspector advertising your services, start by typing something like “home inspector services” into the AdWords keyword planner.
The keyword planner will give you information you need to know to determine if that’s a good word to target. This includes:
- High/Medium/Low – How competitive is the keyword. The lower the competition the less you’ll pay as a general rule.
- Avg Monthly searches – Is the phrase getting enough traffic to be worth your while? This is generally a judgment call. If the phrase perfectly describes what you do, is low competition, has a low CPC but also has below average traffic, it may still be worth targeting the little traffic it gets.
- Similar Options – You may start out by entering a certain phrase. But you find that other keyword phrases may get you better results. Start building your list based on this information.
You are not only concerned with the keyword’s stats. In order to choose the right keywords, you need to understand how they will align with your branding, copy, objectives and target audience. This requires developing an understanding of the different types of keywords people use.
Types of Keywords
To make money with Google AdWords you have to be in the right place at the right time with the message for the right person. To do this, choose the right keywords.
A keyword doesn’t just represent what someone is looking for. It represents their intentions. What are they looking for when they entered that in a search. If you deliver it in your ad, they’ll click on yours versus another.
There are 4 basic categories of keywords and the intention they represent:
People are looking for your brand. They are already aware of it and ready to buy. Ad copy should reflect this intention. It’s worth your while to place ads on your own brand names and trademarks. If you don’t, competitors may snatch away a click that would have been yours.
Branded terms could also be branded items you sell that people ask for by name.
Generic terms contain the common nouns and verbs that represent the products or services you sell. Keywords in this category suggest that someone is considering their best options. They may not know exactly what they want.
Reflect this in your copy.
This kind of keyword must be monitored closely. It’s related to what you sell, but may not be exactly what you sell. These are particularly effective if you have a product or service that people don’t typically ask for by name. Maybe they don’t even know it exists. But when they look up a related term, you make them aware of it.
You can also use this to capture someone looking for something related that is likely to click on your ad.
If someone is looking for “Karate Classes in Atlanta”, they may really just be looking for self-defense tips. Put this ad in front of them and they may click it instead.
You may also find it beneficial to target your competition’s customers by using their brand name as a keyword. Like related terms, it’s a bit of a gamble. The campaign must be monitored. Make sure it’s not lowering your quality score.
Wayfair the online home goods store uses just such a strategy by targeting the keyword “Home Depot Near Me”
Target does the same thing.
Home Depot does the smart thing and outbids both of them to appear at the top of the ads with this branded ad. If Home Depot hadn’t been paying attention and bid on a branded term, Wayfair and Target may have been at the advantage.
Knowing what you don’t want is as important and knowing what you do. Negative keywords are about identifying which searches you don’t want to appear in.
Appearing in the wrong searches not only makes your ad seem irrelevant to Google. It can also cause people to click on your ad thinking it’s something else (costing you more money for that irrelevant click).
A negative keyword is entered in a separate section in AdWords. These are words that suggest that someone isn’t really looking for what you offer.
For example, if you’re a landscaper, chances are you don’t want to appear in this search “FREE Lawn care services”. That is unless you’re running a special promotion.
You would enter “Free” as a negative keyword. If someone uses “free” with any of your keywords, you won’t show up in that search. And thus you don’t waste a paid click on someone who won’t be a customer.
As you run your campaign, you’ll become aware of new words that people use with your keywords that don’t represent your business. Watch for them. Add them to the list in AdWords.
When you do, you make money with Google AdWords without paying for as many accidental clicks.
Revisit That Copy
Know when your copy isn’t working. If you’re not getting clicks on keywords that you should, then the copy may not be compelling enough to get a click.
The best way to make money with Google AdWords is to have copy that applies the following best practices:
- Align well with the keywords. Think about why someone would enter a certain query. Your copy should directly represent the goal of that person.
- Speak directly to your target audience. You can’t make money with Google AdWords by being vague about what you offer. If you have multiple targets, you need multiple ad groups and different copy.
- Use “you” and “your” when possible. Remember that sometimes “You” is implied. That’s okay. “Want to get fit fast?” instead of “Do you…”
- Talk about their goals. What you do to help them meet them is secondary.
- Incorporate an emotional trigger. “Feeling tired?” “Frustrated by AdWords?” “Got nothing to wear?”
- Use numbers and symbols. Don’t overdo it. But people’s eyes are drawn to numbers and symbols. We instinctively assume they’re important.
- Head off objections. “Waiting to buy because you don’t have a down payment?”
- Don’t leave blank space. Brevity is normally a virtue in copywriting. But to make money in AdWords, you need to get attention and give them enough information to be worth the click.
- Differentiate. Here’s why you must do a competitive analysis. If you’re not standing out, people won’t click.
- Let your local show. Being a local small business isn’t a liability. People prefer to buy local. They’re typically willing to pay a little more to do so. Even if you’re in ecommerce, stating you’re in the USA will give you an advantage with a US-based audience.
- Avoid wimpy calls to action (CTA). “Click here” is very weak. Instead, opt for CTA’s that include strong action verbs like “Grow”, “Build”, “Get”, “Join”.
- A/B Test your copy. Within the same ad group, make a small change to the copy. See which performs better. Try different CTAs, Text locations, statistics, URLs (web addresses). Showcase something in a different way.
Your Home Page Isn’t a Landing Page
A landing page is a page a person uses to enter your website. In some cases, they could enter through a blog, service page or your home page.
But when you run an ad, you have precise control over what page a person first sees when entering your site. First impressions are everything. Your home page very likely includes information and services that are not directly related to the ad.
These distract from the purpose of the ad. They hinder conversions.
To make money with Google AdWords, your landing page should seamlessly continue what the search started.
Take a look at one of our landing pages to see the important elements it contains, the contact form, and multiple calls to action directing the visitor exactly what to do. Click the image to see more of this page.
A high converting landing page has:
- A primary headline. People need this to instantly know they’re in the right place.
- A secondary headline, a little smaller that goes into more detail.
- UVP – A unique value proposition. Why should the person sign up or buy now? Why from you?
- Proof — Something that shows your product or service is worth the money. This might be social proof like a review. It might be the results of a case study.
- No menu. Removing the menu doubles the conversion rate. Fewer choices mean they click what you want to be clicked.
- Primary CTA — if you have a short landing page, you should have only one CTA with strong action language.
- Secondary CTA — if you have a long landing page, have a secondary CTA. It goes to the same place as the primary. It might use different verbiage.
- Image or video — This should clearly align with the goals of the visitor and your brand. Be careful when using stock photos that don’t perfectly align.
- Lead capture form — If capturing leads on the landing page, the fewer fields the better. Studies show that 3 is the sweet spot. If you need more, be selective.
- If you’re having issues with bots that skew your numbers, include a reCaptcha (I am not a robot) widget. Make it as simple as possible to avoid losing a conversion.
Understand the Bidding Process to Make Money with Google AdWords
Google’s got this system down. It’s helped them earn $32.2 B. That’s nearly all of Google’s annual revenue. Not understanding the bidding process lines Google’s pockets with no benefit to you. But when you understand how it works, you make money with Google AdWords. And make a lot of it.
Here’s what’s happening behind the scenes within the split second that it takes a result page to load.
- Someone enters a query into a search
- Google determines if any advertisers (you) have put a bid in on that query or something very close to it.
- Any advertiser bidding on that keyword is considered relevant for this search.
- An auction begins.
- If you bid on several similar keywords, Google makes a judgment call about which is most relevant based on past results. You don’t get 2 bids if the query is “gourmet ice cream” and you bid on “Specialty ice cream” and “Designer ice cream”. But you’ll probably get to bid on one or the other as long as you didn’t choose exact match in your campaign set up.
- Google gathers the bidders and begins the auction.
- Next Google ranks all of the bidders into something called “Ad Rank”. Where you fall in this ranking is determined by your maximum bid times your quality score.
- Google ranks everyone highest ad rank to lowest. You’ll appear in search results in this order.
- Regardless of where you ranked, the final price you pay is the ad rank of the next bidder below you divided by your quality score plus a penny. So the more distance you can put between you and the person below you, the less you pay.
So if your max bid is $1 with a quality score of 7, your ad rank is 7.
Your bid will outrank someone who bid $3 but has a quality score of 2. Their bid is 3 X 2 = 6 ad rank. But if their score is 3, they will rank higher because they are spending more money.
Does this seem really unfair? Maybe.
But it allows a person who let their quality decline dig out of the hole if they’re willing to spend a lot more. In the long run, if they don’t fix their quality score, they’ll be paying too much to keep using AdWords.
Make money with Google AdWords and get the best AdWords ROI by studying this system. Look for how it can benefit you.
Take Up the Right Amount of Real Estate
You probably have more ad real estate than you realize. Not using it is a missed opportunity. Make money with Google AdWords by getting what you pay for. Here are some add-ons you may be overlooking.
Call out extensions let you showcase the added value of your brand like:
- No hassle returns
- 24-hour customer service
- Free shipping
These appear under the ad on desktops and tablets. They may not appear on some mobile devices.
To use them, click on the ad extensions tab when setting up your ads.
In the digital world, there are still many businesses where a phone call is the preferred method of communication. If this is your business, put your phone number on the ad. It’s a great way to show that someone is available to speak now.
As an added bonus, the phone number will show up as a click-to-call button on mobile devices
Don’t waste ad space for a phone number. Instead, click on the ad extensions tab and choose call extensions. Click the advance link in this screen to set up Hours of Operation. Your number will only show with ads when you’re open to take calls.
Site link extensions take people directly to certain pages on your site. This is especially effective in ecommerce or with distinct services that appeal to the same audience and challenge.
Do you sell Men’s and Women’s Tees? You can have a text link that says “Women’s Tees” next to a text link that says “Men’s tees”.
Yet again, click on the ad extensions tab to set these up.
Make Money with Google AdWords
Make money with Google AdWords and grow your business. Avoid the common mistakes and apply these best practices to maximize your budget. We can help you maximize your ad budget. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.