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Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages. Today’s tech-friendly consumers are searching online for their goods and services, making it essential to put yourself where your customers are looking – at the top of search engines.

Sometimes organic SEO efforts are enough to achieve top billing for unique industries… but for more competitive keywords and phrases, consider advertising on Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising that offers page one visibility on Google. (See our companion article: Web Marketing Basics & Pay-Per-Click FAQs) Done right, AdWords generates quality traffic to your website and can yield great ROI – your ads will more than pay for themselves. However, if not properly executed, you could achieve high spend without the quality of new visitors you had hoped for.

To create a successful AdWords campaign, here are a few tips:

+ Introduce structure into campaigns.

The more structure you infuse in campaigns and ad groups, the more control you will have over messaging, relevancy and effectiveness. And, you can quickly adjust the investment for specific ads on the fly for the most efficient spend.

+ Direct visitors to targeted content.

Target the messages of your ads and direct visitors to specific content or landing pages on your site (versus the home page). Decreasing clicks for visitors increases the chances for action/conversion to sale.

+ Create/write multiple ads for each Ad Group.

Writing a handful of ads within an Ad Group will allow you to test the most effective keywords, headlines and copy. Google will automatically display the most pertinent ad to maximize your click through rate (CTR).

+ Write ads with Quality Score in mind.

Quality Score is the biggest factor in ad rank and pay per click success within AdWords. It’s determined by the relevancy of your ad message to your selected keywords and to your landing page copy. Make sure all pieces are related to increase your Quality Score.

+ Strengthen your ad copy.

There are character limits for ads, so write ad copy to amplify keyword use. For example, if your business offers education for professionals, ad copy like “Professional growth at ABC Training” will be more effective than “Learn from the best at ABC Training”. Avoid filler words when possible – strive for specific terms from your website and that your audience may search for.

+ Avoid Broad Match keywords.

Broad Match keywords give Google a lot of leeway on the relevancy of your audience’s search terms. For example, if your keyword phrase is "professional growth", Google could interpret a search of "growing your business" to be a related term. While the ad may still generate clicks to your website, it's less likely that interaction will turn into a sale or conversion.

+ Target keywords using Exact Match, Phrase Match or Broad Match Modifier.

Using a combination of Exact Match ([professional growth]), Phrase Match ("professional growth") and Broad Match Modifier (+professional +growth) keywords is the best approach for an AdWords campaign – all three formats provide increased control over search term relevance. Broad Match Modifier is the most lenient of the three, allowing flexibility in keyword position within a phrase – your ad may appear in a search for "growth for an engineering professional" but not in a search for "business growth".

+ Implement location-based targets.

Unless you have a highly specialized product/service, in many cases, a national non-targeted AdWords campaign can become very expensive, very quickly. A better approach is to limit the focus of your ads to a narrow geographic region and examine if it’s worth the ROI to reach outlying areas.

You can quickly exceed your advertising budget if you don’t know all of the ins and outs of the AdWords system. Make sure to get support as needed. A simple online search offers a plethora of information for managing an AdWords account – it’s almost overwhelming! Google representatives can sometimes offer support for larger accounts. Or, a reputable consultant can also assist with your ad setup and account maintenance.

If you are planning to work with an agency or independent consultant, make sure they are Google AdWords Certified. Certified web marketing firms like Greenleaf Media will know the best practices and strategies to apply to your AdWords advertising campaigns. They will suggest keywords, campaign structure and ad copy, as well as monitor your account, to give you the most bang for your AdWords buck.

If you’re interested in more information on Google AdWords and PPC advertising, read our companion article Web Marketing Basics and Pay-Per-Click FAQs or reach out to the Greenleaf team. We’re here to help.