Thoughts > Search

90-Day Paid Search Pilgrimage

search engine results on mobile and desktopThe Power of Paid Search

People using search engines are looking for instant answers and solutions that your company can quickly provide them.  Unlike traditional advertising, your target market is seeking you out versus you seeking them out.  The user is already active and engaged, therefore you better have a search presence, because your competition will.

A paid search program is one of the very few marketing efforts that can be accurately measured.  From the number of times a keyword has been searched, to the number of clicks on your own ads, and how many times a user has completed a form-fill, transaction, sign-up, etc.  Paid search gives you a clear-cut picture on various performance metrics which can be analyzed, measured, tracked and optimized.  At the end of the day, these metrics guide you on where and how to improve your program. So where to begin? Everyone has told you, you need to be advertising on Google, but how do you start?

Starting the Paid Pilgrimage

The first question you should be asking yourself is: What is the goal of this program? Are you trying to get people to view a demo of your product? Download a industry report? Maybe your goal is simply to raise awareness of your company and your product or service because you’re new to the space or trying to break into a new market. No matter what, it’s critical that you establish what you’re trying to accomplish so you can map out what your key performance indicators are, and establish a target to reach after your campaigns are launched.

Building A Strong Foundation

Every successful paid search program begins with a solid keyword list, and those who don’t take the keyword research phase seriously are setting themselves up for a difficult road. How do you expect users to find you? Think about the words and phrases people might use to search for your service. Think about how users will find you, and keep in mind everyone searches differently.  Be sure to think outside of the box – do some in-market research, see what your competitors are doing, ask yourself, “what would our ideal prospect be searching for to find our service?” Don’t be shy about adding in terms that are industry-specific, ‘jargon’ or long-tail keywords that only get 15 searches a month. Remember, you only pay for the clicks you receive, so it costs nothing to have a keyword list that covers specialized terms. Once you have your key strategic search terms compiled, consider close variants of those phrases and continue building from there.  

A note on ‘branded’ campaigns – we sometimes hear that clients don’t see ‘the point’ in a branded campaign because their company will usually show up 1st in organic results for any branded search. While that is generally the case, we always recommend setting up a branded campaign for two reasons: It doesn’t let your competitors take up Search Engine Result Page (SERP) space for your branded terms, and it allows you to direct branded traffic to low-funnel offers where they’re more likely to convert.

Get It Organized

An often-overlooked detail in setting up new paid search accounts is the actual campaign structure itself. PPC accounts are broken into campaigns and ad groups, with campaigns being made up of one or more ad groups, and ad groups containing the keywords & ad variations. It’s important that the keywords and ads in each ad group are thematically linked, and that the ad groups that make up a campaign all fit together thematically as well. For example, if your company makes custom sports gear, you might have a campaign for Baseball, and then an ad group for jerseys with keywords like ‘custom baseball jersey’ and ‘design a baseball jersey.’ You wouldn’t want to put other sports inside your Baseball campaign because then the ads within that ad group would have to be broad enough to cover multiple sports. Don’t worry – we’ll cover ads shortly.

PPC Campaign Structure Example

Landing Pages

You might be thinking to yourself: “Why should we make landing pages? Our website does a perfectly fine job of describing our company, our product and our offers.” While we’re sure your website is simply spectacular, the truth is that you’re paying for this traffic

Broadcast Your Message

Speaking of ads, we need to think about how we want to craft our messaging now that we have our keywords and our account structure. 

Use this space wisely, offer your user an exclusive asset, discount off a product, or free consult.  Due to the space limitations, you need to deliver a message which will push the user to click on your ad.  The search engine also crawls your messaging, so let us remind you, be sure to mention and align your ad copy with the search query in play.  You will end up paying a less cost-per-click on an ad directly responding to the user’s search query.  Here’s one of our new branded search ads we’re testing out:

Big word – TEST.   I hope we’ve all learned by now to not have all of our eggs in one basket. Test and test again.  Write out multiple ads, we’d recommend three per ad group. Rotate them evenly (see campaign settings) and collect data for a 2-3months, depending on your search traffic. Pause out messaging having poor click-through-rates, and create another. Try to aim for anything over a 2% CTR.  If you’re significantly higher than that, then you are heading in the right direction. 

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