Google Ads are the yellow pages of today. With close to a 90% share of online searches for products and services, it’s extraordinarily difficult to be found if you aren’t on Google. SEO used to be the most profitable way to get found, but the vast majority of competitive searches now have 4 paid ads at the top of the page, followed by a map pack.
In certain service industries such as lawyers, real estate agents, electricians, plumbers, roofers, HVAC and others, Google now shows Local Services Ads at the top of the search results page. These are above the paid search results and the map pack. They look like this:
Paid advertising is almost a necessity to be found above the fold for competitive searches.
As with most advertising, it’s easy to spend a lot of money and not see the expected results.
Understanding how Google works is necessary for the advertiser to be successful, even when they are hiring someone else to manage the ads for their business.
At the top level, Google Ads are an auction based system of showing ads to people searching for a product or service.
Google attempts to discern the intent of the person conducting a search so they can display the most relevant ads and organic results.
The basis for discerning intent is the keywords used in a search. Ideally the search keywords you are bidding on should appear in your ad copy and on your landing pages. Google will give priority to those ads that are set up to most closely match the searchers intent.
Google has additional information that advertisers never get to see or measure that influences intent. Google knows where the searcher was before reaching your ad, and how long they stayed there. They know where the searcher goes after seeing your ad.
Google’s algorithm uses the data it gathers to determine if the searcher is likely to convert on your ad, or the ad next to yours. The better option will move up in search results. Google has been gathering this information for over 20 years now, so not only do they understand current behaviors, they have a history of information second to none.
Understanding what stage the searcher is in will help with the offer you should present and what action you should ask them to take.
In the research stage, a searcher is more likely to ask long-tail keyword questions. Someone considering divorce might search “dividing marital assets in divorce.” They aren’t ready to contact a lawyer yet because they are figuring out the pros and cons of divorce.
Someone ready to move forward with divorce will search “divorce lawyer.”
Each stage requires a different approach to the advertising and to the offer extended to create engagement.
Here are the primary factors that must be addressed to create an effective Google campaign:
- Campaign structure
- Ad groups
- Bid types/strategy
- Keyword match types
- Quality scores
- Ad headlines
- Ad copy/extended copy
- Landing pages
- Competitive analysis
- Lead tracking
When set up properly, the people clicking on your ads should be in the market for the services you are offering. When you give them a very good reason to choose you over a competitor, they will click your ad and be taken to the landing page. The landing page should direct them to take a specific action, such as calling you right now, or downloading an ebook.
Businesses spend money on advertising to acquire new clients and revenue. Impressions, clicks, share and the other metrics in a Google campaign have to lead to revenue, otherwise the money spent is wasted.
Because Google is a live marketplace, it requires ongoing maintenance and adjustments to get the most out of the ads. It also requires ongoing testing to see what works and what doesn’t.