Sprk Agency

Online Marketing Company

We all know that paid search remains the best channel to target lower funnel searchers and people in the market searching for your products, services or general information. Google Ads and Bing Ads specialists and even marketing directors understand healthy search marketing budgets remain vital to their company’s or enterprise’s growth despite the continued increase in Google Ads competition, which also inherently raises Cost Per Click (CPC) costs across many industry sectors.

With that said, Hiyrr Agency Media runs across countless organizations, companies and even digital agencies that neglect the traditional blocking and tackling required to produce positive ROI (Return On Investment) and ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) campaigns that are effectively measured for success. We have a list of several of our traditional best practices that extend beyond this list. But out of the many campaign audits we’ve done, the 27 best practice strategies below as a general rule of thumb have on average improved the ROI of our client’s Google Ads & Bing Ads campaigns by an average 200 – 500%. This includes reducing advertising waste or inherently increasing the leads coming into the campaign while keeping a client’s budget the same.

So we wanted to provide a guide of general strategies that you can use to hold both yourselves and your marketing teams accountable as well as to further educate you on some of the nuances required to execute successful Google Ads and Bing Ads campaigns. We’re certain some of these tactics you’re already deploying, and some you may even disagree with. But several in this list will be very useful to your Google Ads and Bing Ads campaigns.

This Search Engine Marketing (Pay Per Click) guide is perfect for:

  • Digital & Marketing Agencies With Paid Search Specialists In-House
  • Companies with Internal Paid Search Teams
  • CEO’s & Presidents of Small to Midsize Companies
  • Organizations & Non Profits With Google Ad Grant Accounts
  • Digital Marketing Directors of Enterprises
  • Public Relations & Communications Professionals

We broke the recommended strategies into three tiers including Campaign level, Ad Group level, and Keyword level best practices. Do not worry about this guide being too technical as it will provide some common sense techniques that will get you thinking more strategically about your paid search campaigns, but even more importantly working on your lead generation and conversion rates for your website and your landing pages as a whole. We also provide a quick process for each best practice where it makes sense.

Get ready because this a beast of a guide.

Campaign Level Strategies (15 Best Practices)

Focus On Landing Page & Website Experience……First 

There is a reason why we list this strategy first. And it’s not because we don’t want our clients to begin spending advertising dollars with us immediately. It’s because your landing page/website is the most important piece to this puzzle.

I can’t tell you how many clients our agency works with who are ready to spend $5,000/month, $20,000/month or even $100,000/month and their website is not effective in singularly telling a clear story of who they are and how they can solve a problem. Those same companies are not implementing traditionally effective conversion rate optimization tactics that lead to the client’s core (Key Performance Indicators) KPI’s such as phone calls, form submissions, product purchases, email sends, or chat box engagements.

We could write an entirely separate e-book on this topic, but below are some of the individual areas we traditionally recommend to companies looking to maximize conversions and engagement on a website or landing page:

  • Add a Chat Box to your website
  • Ensure your website is Mobile Responsive
  • Ensure your Phone Number is clearly seen in 3 places on the landing page and overall website
  • Develop E-books or Content Giveaways to generate more leads
  • Utilize those E-books & Content Giveaways as pop ups on the landing page for lead capture
  • Develop Case Stories and testimonials that speak to the individuals visiting your landing page
  • Have information on pricing, even if you’re not giving away exact pricing figures
  • Answer the top 10 questions you know 80% of your landing page visitors would want answered
  • Have an Email Address in 2 places on your landing page/website that can be clearly seen by your visitors (ideally your header and footer)
  • Humanize The Brand by showing the CEO or someone within the company on the landing page
  • Add Video to your landing page

This discussion around conversion rate optimization and an effective website deserve its own e-book and conversation. But these tactics above are simple strategies Hiyrr Agency Media has deployed for our own agency, translating into 500 – 600 leads per month…not just website visitors but actual leads inquiring about our services.

Less Automated Bidding…More Proactive Manual Bidding

We’ve seen many agencies and large enterprises that have paid search accounts we’ve taken over that had automated bidding and automated rules in place that took over the manual work required to run a successful campaign. Now, we do agree it’s useful to have some automated functions such as removing low quality score keywords or removing terms after 3 months with low performing Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) producing terms, but proactive ad management is absolutely critical to the success of campaigns. Be wary of trying to buy a ton of tools that will automate all of your processes. This alone helped us increase ROI by 80% for Search Engine Marketing clients.

Process For Execution

  1. Double check to ensure you do not have any automations currently lurking in your Google Ads Account.
  2. Review your keywords, Ad Groups, Ads, and overall campaign structure daily.
  3. Proactively review the campaign on a daily basis.
  4. BIG TIP: Go to your change history report or ask your SEM provider for that report. It will tell you how often people are going into the account and manually making updates and optimizations. This is a great accountability tool.

Verify Your Geographic Targeting Method (People in versus searching for)

Are you targeting “people in, or who show interest in, your targeted location” or are you only targeting people “located in” your targeted area. I cannot tell you how often we see companies have the former turned on versus the latter.

“Searching for or in your desired area” means anyone around the world can type in geographic terms related to your business even if they are not located in that area. If you’re a personal injury attorney targeting people who are in Atlanta, GA, people in New Orleans could type in “Personal Injury Attorney atl” and you could show up in New Orleans. Whereas if they are “located in” your targeting area and you’re choosing that targeting method, you will only reach people in your targeted area. This strategy alone can save you 20 – 40% of wasted ad spend.

Process For Execution

  1. Go to your settings tab
  2. Scroll down and click on “Location Options”
  3. Make sure “People in you targeted location” is checked

Have A Brand Only Campaign Running 

Some people may think that spending money on your brand name is wasted ad budget. But what we’ve noticed for some midsize and larger enterprises is having a brand only campaign allows you to control the flow of prospects who learned about you through another channel and send them to the landing page of your choice. It also helps fight against competitors who are leveraging your brand name for searches. Do not add this brand campaign as an Ad Group inside another campaign you’re currently running. Create a totally separate Google Ads Campaign for just the brand name alone.

Also, the cost per clicks are inexpensive because you traditionally should not have many people bidding on your brand name. A meager part of the budget utilizing this strategy can increase conversions and leads by 5 – 20% when implemented correctly.

Process For Execution

  1. Consider both your brand name and all of the brand variations related to your name as well as a few non-branded terms people may type in. For example, our agency is called Hiyrr Agency Media, but some people may search  Hiyrr Agency media geofencing because we do a lot of geofencing marketing for companies.
  2. Locate your best performing Ads in your non-branded campaign.
  3. Create a few Ad Groups along with a few Ads per Ad Group.
  4. Make sure your brand name is in the headline and description of your Ads.
  5. Use only Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Broad match Modifier for those branded terms.
  6. NOTE: If your brand name is somewhat general like “Bob’s HVAC Heating & Air Repair”, only use exact match and broad match modifier.

Check Geographic Locations Report

What if you’re targeting all of the United States and you can work with companies and individuals from everywhere in the USA or even in a particular state? This amazing report called Geographic Location Report shares with you exactly where the clicks, impressions, and leads/phone calls/purchases are coming from.

After you have identified the cities, zip codes, or areas that are bearing fruit, you can add them as individual targeting locations that will then allow you to bid higher or lower specific to those geographic regions. This strategy we’ve implemented has translated into 10 – 20% improvement in ROI for clients.

You can see here you can segment by region, state, DMA, Zip Code, City, and even County. By segmenting this way, you can now see which areas are producing the highest conversions or rather the areas that are not producing any conversions at all.

Process For Execution

  1. Go To Locations (can be found below Settings tab)
  2. Go to User location report
  3. If you’re targeting the USA, click on United States
  4. When you click on the USA hyperlink, you’ll have some options for region, state, city, postal code, etc.. Pick which one you want to segment to and then determine the locations that are translating into conversions, phone calls, and greater engagement.

Call Only Campaigns – Pay For Only Phone Calls

So call only campaigns are great because you can essentially pay for clicks on your Ads that only allows a person to call you, versus sending that traffic to your website. It’s the equivalent of paying for phone calls versus paying for clicks to your website.

What’s great about call only campaigns is you’re reducing the path to a conversion meaning you’re not worrying about someone getting lost on your website and not calling you if that’s a key KPI you’re focused on. The downside is call only campaigns can be challenging for longer sales cycle customers because they normally cost more on a cost per click basis than traditional Google Ads campaigns AND depending on the industry certain verticals are best served with educating your audience by sending them to a landing page versus sending them to a phone number for them to call. This strategy has translated into 30 – 140% ROI increases for clients we’ve worked with.

Process For Execution

  1. Go To Campaign Under the campaigns tab, click on the PLUS (+) sign and then click New Campaign
  2. Click On Leads
  3. Click On Search
  4. Then Check the box of Phone Calls and add in your phone number you plan to direct traffic to. We suggest a phone tracking number you can utilize from Call Rail or your call tracking too of choice.
  5. Work through the process of launching your call only campaign

Implement Call Tracking ASAP 

As a follow up to this Call Only campaign conversation, no matter what your company does, if you’re expecting phone calls, call tracking software such as Call Rail will help paint a better picture as to which keywords are translating into phone calls and also which digital channels and even offline channels are translating into phone calls.

Without going into all the detail, visit www.callrail.com to learn how it works, but we recommend this company for many of our clients who need to measure ROI more precisely. This alone usually gives us an ROI increase of 20 – 70% due to the opportunity to reduce waste from our campaigns.

Process For Execution

  1. Call www.CallRail.com or your preferred call tracking vendor.
  2. Get their pixel installed on your website
  3. Get it connected to your Google Ads account and also to your Google Analytics Account
  4. Set Up Goal Tracking along with the call tracking software via Google Analytics
  5. We know how to do this, but it would require a more process driven conversation if you’re curious. Give us a call in your curious.

For Local Companies…Build 2 Campaigns – City & No City Keyword Terms

Sometimes when consumers search for your company, they may add in the city or area your company is located and other times they may not. For this reason, there can be value in developing two separate geographically targeted campaigns.

A great example is a real estate brokerage firm targeting people in the market looking to buy a home in New York City. Some may search for “New York City Homes For Sale” while others may search for “homes for sale” and live in New York City.   “New York City Homes For Sale” allows you to target people who may live 50 miles outside of the city or even the entire country knowing that searcher is specifically searching for a home in New York City. While “Homes For Sale” is a term where geographically you would only target people who are “located in” New York City” (NOTE: Recall the geographic report conversation we had earlier).

Those two distinctions are important as they can translate into lower CPC’s, a stronger audience ready to convert, and a better well segmented campaign for your enterprise. This strategy has translated into ROI increases of 10 – 20% on average.

Process For Execution

  1. Create two campaigns (one generic keywords and city/code keywords as well as one with generic keywords and no city/zip code keywords)
  2. Make sure the campaign with city name also has the generic terms. But for geographic targeting, if your intention is to target the main city or area, focus on just that area. Just know you can go out wider than that area but your query will only show up when someone has the city name or location name in the search query.
  3. Make sure the campaign without the city terms are geographically focused on the city you primarily intend to target and focus on.

Conversion & Goal Tracking Via Google Analytics >>> Google Ads 

Goal tracking is vital to understanding how successful your campaigns are running. Bottom line, if you have Google Analytics installed, it is best to have goal tracking and event goal tracking set up in Google Analytics. See below the image in how we set up many different goals. We integrate and pull the most important goals directly into Google Ads, so then we can measure which Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Keywords are translating into conversions. This process is incredibly important and I cannot stress alone how vital this is.

Process For Execution

  1. This requires a more integrated conversation. But if you search for “how to set up event targeting in Google Analytics, you’ll find plenty of articles and videos on how to do it.
  2. Don’t forget to integrate with Google Ads.
  3. You can also call Hiyrr Agency Media on how to set up as well.

Review Auction Insights

Review auction insights to see which competitors are bidding on the same keywords. With auction insights, we’re able to see how we stack up to our competitors and what we can do to perform better than them in Google Ads Search.

This competitive analysis mainly arms our team with better intelligence on the competition such as the keywords they’re using, their landing page experience, the Ads they’re deploying and how much of the market based on keywords and geography they’re capturing versus us. Highly recommend tapping into this report.

Process For Execution

  1. Go to the auction insights tab under Campaigns
  2. See how you stack up in relation to your competition (impression share is a great indicator of that).
  3. Do some competitive research on the competitors in your competitive stack (landing page, ad copy, etc…)

Don’t Serve Ads Late At Night

We say this jokingly that not much good happens between the hours of 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM. But if you are purely relying on phone calls, it’s especially wise not to run Ads during times when people are not going to be calling you and you’re simply wasting your advertising budget on clicks. Same goes for advertising on Saturdays and Sundays. First, you should work to maximize your ROI between the hours that you expect to take advantage of leads and sales. And then consider expanding both your budget and the time frame in which you want to advertise as long as you have a system in place to help maximize those leads. This strategy usually translates into ROI increases of 10 – 30%.

Process For Execution

  1. Click on Ad Schedule under your Locations and Setting tab
  2. Create a segmented ad schedule
  3. Consider bidding up or down based on the conversions coming in and tracked via Google Analytics and Google Ads, during the various times of the days or days of the week. 

Turn Off Search Partners

Search partners network is a relationship Google has with large websites such as AOL, Yelp and others. Normally, Google is giving 51% of the ad revenue to those websites in which they’re serving Google’s search Ads on. As we’ve seen on our end, search network rarely performs better than standard search (meaning only searches on the Google Search Network). Turn this off before you begin a campaign. We’ve seen this tactic alone save a client 10 – 20% in waste just by unchecking a box.

Now, if you get to a point in which you have maxed out your budget on Google Search, then you can expand out to Google Search Partners. Or if you want to test the Google Search Partners a little bit knowing you have a relatively sizeable search budget, have at it. But if you’re spending less than $25,000/month, we recommend starting your campaigns on the Google Search network alone.

Process For Execution

  1. Under the Setting Tab, scroll down and uncheck “Include Google search partners.”
  2. Yup…that’s it.

Definitely Turn Off Display

The same goes with Google Display. These are top of the funnel individuals and they rarely produce higher ROI increases as compared to Google Search. You can easily save 30 – 40% of your ad budget by turning this off.

There is always an argument and strong data that supports the attribution you get from Google Display and other display channels. We see it all the time. But again, you only turn this on after you’ve developed a sizeable budget that can be deployed for testing purposes.

Process For Execution

  1. Under the Setting Tab, scroll down and uncheck Display Network.
  2. Yup…that’s it.

Review Device Performance At Campaign & Ad Group Levels

Not all devices are created equal. And if you have conversion tracking set up properly, you will particularly notice this when you review your campaign performance at the device level. People experience your website differently on mobile devices versus tablet devices versus desktop devices. As you can see in the image below, tablet devices have produced the highest conversion rate as well as the lowest cost per conversion. While computers and desktops have produced the most conversions, but also produced the lowest CTR and highest Cost Per Click. Finally, mobile devices have produced the high cost per conversion and also the highest CTR.

With this information, I can implement a bidding strategy knowing that cost per conversion and total number of conversions are most vital. So I may bid lower on mobile phones to help reduce our cost per conversion, and bid significantly higher on tablets because our cost per conversion is also low. Whichever you decide, this segmenting strategy can be very useful

Process For Execution

  1. Click on devices
  2. Review your previous data over the course of 30 – 90 days
  3. Consider bidding up or down based on the key metrics important to you whether it is click through rate, conversions, and cost per conversions.

Utilize Site Retargeting Always

OK OK…some of you know I said turn off Google Display. But this is the only time I require you to create a separate campaign for Google Display or any areas in which you can utilize the site retargeting tactic.

Site retargeting allows webmasters to continue serving display Ads to people who have visited your website in the past, and then left whether they did or did not convert. What’s so powerful about it is site retargeting creates a 3X higher likelihood of getting those people who didn’t convert at some point. And for all the marketing you may be doing such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, SEO, Facebook Advertising, or even offline marketing, site retargeting makes all your marketing work smarter and the cost per clicks and impressions are lower for site retargeting based on past experience. We’ve seen our site retargeting cost per conversions be up to 80% less expensive than our traditional Google Ads Search Campaigns.

Process For Execution

  1. Requires a totally separate conversation.
  2. Call Hiyrr Agency Media if you have some additional questions on how to implement across other site retargeting websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, and Programmatic Display.

Ad Group & Ad Creation Level (4 Best Practices)

Test All Ad Extensions With Different Variations As Well

Ad extensions are just that, extensions of the Ads you’re running and can be many different types including price extensions, call extensions, sitelink extensions, callout extensions, location extensions, and even text message extensions, and structure snippet extensions. Way too many to be honest. Google has a ton of information on what these extensions mean. Simply perform a Google Search and you’ll find them.

But what’s nice about ad extensions is they typically increase your click through rates, provide more ways for the user to visit your website, and evoke more trust as the user finally visits your website. Here are the key recommendations. Always test different versions of all of these.

What we’ve noticed for example with Site Link Extensions is that some actually produce higher click through rates than others. This testing methodology can increase click through rates by 30 – 40% while also increase ROI by 5 – 20%.

Process For Execution

  1. Go To Ad Groups and Ads
  2. Click On Ad Extensions
  3. Make sure to add several different ad extensions and variations so you can test and measure which ones are translating into the highest CTR’s

Benefits & Numbers Added To Ads

Stop telling people about your products or services. Instead, start thinking about what’s in it for them. If you’re a dentist, don’t simply talk about “Invisalign Braces Just For You.” Say “Save 30% Off Invisalign Braces NY.” See how we used numbers to help our ad stand out as well as discussed the benefit or impact to the patient? That type of thinking normally gets us 30 – 90% higher CTR’s than standard ad copy.

Process For Execution

  1. This one is pretty easy…add benefits and numbers to your ad copy
  2. Think about your costs promotions, case studies, impact your product/service will have, and add them in a way that fits the character limits.

3 – 4 Ads Per Ad Group

You will not know which Ads are successful unless you create enough to split test. What’s nice about Google Ads and Ad Groups is you can put 2, 5 or 100 Ads in each Ad Group. Our recommendation is to start with 3 – 4 Ads per Ad Group in order to determine which Ads are producing high CTR’s for your campaign. And remember, a high CTR will normally translate into more leads but even better a stronger (higher) Quality Score, which inherently lowers your cost per click across the campaigns you’re running.

Process For Execution

  1. Create your first Ad using the recommendations that were suggested above
  2. Create a copy/edit version and simply build a new version with varying text
  3. Repeat this a few more times
  4. IMPORTANT: Under Settings Tab, set the ad rotation to indefinite so you are ensuring all of your Ads are being given an equal chance to be seen versus allowing Google to auto-deliver the Ads to searchers based on which one they think are performing the best.

Create Tightly Themed Ad Groups

It’s one thing to add 3 – 4 Ads to an Ad Group. It’s another to make your Ad Groups tightly themes, ensuring a user is going through a unique experience from the point in which they searched for a keyword to the point in which they clicked on an ad taking them to a relevant landing page. Too many times we see paid search “specialists” create campaigns stuffing 50 keywords into their own Ad Group where as they could have easily created 45 – 50 Ad Groups with each keyword segmented to each Ad Group. This level of control allows you to create an Ad Group segmentation campaign that will inherently allow for greater control, higher quality scores, higher click through rates, and even more leads flowing through. This strategy takes time, but it produces strong dividends in the end for campaigns we’re running.

Process For Execution

  1. Using a spreadsheet and after you have utilized your keyword research tools of choice including Google Keyword Planner, segment all of your Ad Groups into individual themes.
  2. Even go as far as to segment each keyword into its own Ad Group.
  3. Write Ad copy for each Ad that is relevant specifically to that Ad Group
  4. Consider each landing page and ensure each one is relevant to the Ad Group and Ad it is in. This will help with Quality Score, Click Through Rates, lower CPC’s and ultimately hire conversions.

Keyword Level (8 Best Practices)

STOP USING Broad Match – Use Broad Match Modifier and Exact Match

To be frank, I cannot remember the last time I used a broad match keyword campaign with no modifiers in front of the keywords. For those unaware, broad match is a targeting capability that allows you to target people who have searched for a company or product via a keyword phrase that can be broadly triggered by other keywords Google decides is broadly connected to the keyword in question.  So for example, if you were targeting the keyword such as “dentists near me,” you may show up for terms such as orthodontists, college ortho jobs, teeth cleaning in Texas because I like clean teeth, and even dental videos.  All terms you may not have intended to target.

So in this case, we’ve seen the best keywords to utilize include broad match modifier as well as exact match.  Broad match modifier only requires you to put a + sign in front of the keywords that you absolutely want to show up in the search query, regardless of order. So if you used the words +dentist +near +me, those three keyword must show up in the query in any order for your ad to be triggered. Similarly, for exact match [dentist near me] must be the only keyword that triggers a search query when someone enters the word dentist near me. They produce the mostly tightly controlled keywords you effectively want to target.  The potential ROI impact is beyond 60 – 90% in wasted spend.

Process For Execution

  1. Review your existing account and ensure you have no broad keywords WITHOUT the modifiers in front of each keyword.
  2. If so, simply add the (+) modifiers to the front of the terms.
  3. In addition, review your keywords, duplicate them and turn them into exact match terms.
  4. BIG TIP: Double check to ensure they also have their own Ad Groups. Meaning the same keyword that serves as both a broad match modifier term AND an exact match term should be in their own Ad Groups respectively….2 Ad Groups. This helps with better account management and more control.

Stay Away From Keyword Insertion

Ever seen this keyword operator {KeyWord:DefaultTerm}?  This effectively allows companies to insert the actual search term the user entered into the headlines, description lines, or display url.  This effectively saves you time in creating dozens of Ads where you know the search term will show up in the ad.  There are a few cases in which keyword insertion can be effective. The problem with this approach is you wind up getting clunky ad copy that doesn’t always translate into higher click through rates.

Going back to our dentist example, would you click on an ad that simply had the word dentist knowing some people used only that search term or would you prefer a headline that says “Nearby 5-Star Rated Dentist?”

We used keyword insertion all the time but quickly realized it wasn’t better than the manual Ads we developed for ourselves and our clients.

Process For Execution

  1. Simple….stay away from keyword insertion
  2. Again, review your existing Ads to ensure it’s not implemented
  3. Be patient and take the time to redo your Ads so they’re all tightly themed and controlled

Bid Adjust Accordingly Your Keywords

Adjusting your bids on keywords really is at the heart of paid search campaign management. You’ll notice from time to time that there were certain keywords you’re not getting enough search volume on because you’re not bidding high enough. Or you may realize that you’re bidding way too high for certain keywords that you need to lower your bids. And then if you are tracking conversions and phone calls, then you realize that your cost per conversion might be low for the keyword in question and you may decide to increase your bid for the keywords so you can show up more frequently for people searching that keyword.

You may also notice that keywords in Ads that are served during certain times of the day deliver higher conversions than other times of the day and that you may decide to increase your bids for some of those particular keywords. The bottom line is there are many ways to utilize bidding for the keywords that you’re targeting. But it is absolutely vital to have some form of conversion tracking set up so you know which keywords are translating into your desired action whether it is a phone call, a form submission, or a purchase on your website. And again, stay away from the bidding tools. Be more manual and proactive with most of this process.

Process For Execution

  1. Review the conversions and cost per clicks for each of your keywords
  2. Make sure you know the ideal cost per conversion for your company or your client’s enterprise
  3. Based on those factors, bid up or down accordingly
  4. BIG TIP: Sometimes when you set bids for your keywords, you may think your bid is high enough when in fact it’s not. It’s best to go as high as it makes sense to, and then adjust downward until you are getting enough traffic and it’s not costing you too much.

Remove/Pause Under Performing Keywords

And of course as you have been working on your bidding strategies for particular keywords, you may notice that certain keywords are just not bearing fruit at any given point. And when you do notice that after a period of 30 days or a certain number of clicks and impressions, it is then time to remove all of those underperforming keywords that are not translating into phone calls, conversions, or engagement with your brand.

Process For Execution

  1. Review the keywords that are not performing well
  2. Remove them from your campaign or even pause them so you can maintain a history of the terms that are underperforming

50 Keywords Versus 5,000 Keywords

Some digital ad agencies and pay per click specialists recommend having thousands upon thousands of keywords that you want to utilize for your Google Ads campaigns. That strategy really only makes sense when you have a relatively large ad budget and we have many different services or many different products that you want to advertise with. But when you have an ad budget that spans from $1,000 per month to $10,000 per month, the large keyword list strategy does not make as much sense because at some point you are trying to fit way too many keywords with a very small ad budget or you have too little keywords for very large advertising budget.

Our team has noticed this for a number of campaigns we’ve launched where the client wanted to target thousands of keywords but they only had a $3,000 – $5,000 per month paid media budget to start with. Once we decided to really focus on the keywords we felt would bare more fruit faster for them, this allowed us to make faster investments into other testing grounds related to keywords we then believed would become great candidates for bringing in new conversions to the company. This will allow you to save even more in wasted ad budget and really focus on the keywords bringing in new opportunities.

Process For Execution

  1. Take a more patient tact and focus on maybe 50 – 200 keywords you know will get cover 80% of your search traffic.
  2. Utilize the Google Keyword Planner tool to understand the search volume of the keywords you want to focus on.
  3. If you see other terms that you think are connected to your product or service, but really are not directly connected, push them to the side for future consideration.

Check Search Term (Query) Reports…Daily!!!

This is probably one of the best strategies that you can deploy as a digital agency for any of your paid search campaigns. You should at the very least be going to your search query report on a daily basis over the first month to two months of the campaign and look to see which keywords you are not intending to show up for in Google Search and Google Ads. And conversely, you may find new keywords that you should be bidding directly for and bidding higher for because they’re bringing in greater conversions or leads.

You may already have an initial list of keywords you intended not to show up for, but sometimes you never really know the keywords that consumers and people are searching for until you actually see them in your search query report. This daily process can easily save you 60 to 90% in your ad spend by not targeting people based on particular search terms you initially didn’t intend to target.

Process For Execution

  1. Go to the search query report
  2. Review the terms that are performing well and not performing well
  3. Take notes on the top performers and low performers so you can determine which additional terms to add to your campaigns and which terms to add to your negative keyword list.

Add New Negative Keywords – Everyday

As part of the process and looking over that Search Terms Query Report is then taking those same underperforming or unintended search terms and adding them to your negative keyword list. And you can add those keywords as negative phrase match keywords or negative exact match keywords. But this too should be a daily process over the first month of a campaign and then you can start to do this every 2 to 3 days as you’re managing a Google Ads campaign. Again, this is as important as the search terms query report and can save 30 – 90% in wasted ad spend.

Process For Execution

  1. Remember when we said to go to the search query report?
  2. Locate those terms that you’re showing up for but you don’t intend to advertise on
  3. Add them as negative phrase match terms at the Account Level, Campaign level, or Ad Group level, whichever makes the most sense for you.

Get That Quality Score Up

There are guides out there on just this process alone. But as a quick summary with some insights, Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC Ads. The score ranges from 1 to 10, 10 being an awesome score and 1 being a terrible score. It is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. Your Quality Score depends on multiple factors, including:

  • The relevance of your ad text.
  • Your click-through rate (CTR).
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group.
  • Landing page quality and relevance.
  • Your historical Google Ads account performance.

No one outside of Google knows exactly how much each factor “weighs” in the Quality Score algorithm, but we do know that click-through rate is the most important component. When more people who see your ad click it, that’s a strong indication to Google that your Ads are relevant. Just note the higher your Quality Score, the lower your potential Cost Per Click can be. So quality score is very important.

Process For Execution

  1. Continue to have a healthy rotation of Ads so you’re constantly working to improve CTR
  2. Ensure your keywords in your “tightly themed Ad Groups” are in the Ads in two (2) places (i.e. headline and description)
  3. Make sure the landing page you’re sending traffic to has the keywords in H1 and H2 tags and within the text of the landing page
  4. Make sure you are bidding high enough across your keywords
  5. Continue to review that search terms report so you’re focusing on top performing terms as well as low performers and keywords that need to be added to your negative keyword list.

Final Thoughts On Pay Per Click Advertising Strategies

I know this was a relatively large paid search (pay per click advertising) guide, but all of these are strategies you can either hold your director of marketing accountable to or share with your paid search media specialist within your team or even if you are someone that runs paid search campaigns you can implement the strategies yourself so you’re sure that you are getting the most out of their advertising budgets.

Paid search remains the best lower funnel digital advertising channel for the majority of non profits, service, and product based companies. It’s vital to implement these best practices so you’re getting the most out of your Google Ad budgets.

If you are an organization in need of paid search (Pay Per Click Advertising) management, or would like our team to conduct an in depth analysis of your existing paid search campaigns through Google Ads or Bing Ads, please contact us below. Thanks so much.