Google Ads (FKA as Google Adwords) is the US-based tech giant’s leading advertising platform and currently dominates the pay per click industry. Google Ads are one of the best ways to get more traffic to your landing pages, generate leads and sales. It’s currently used by over 4 million advertisers and in the last year alone advertising revenue was over $116 billion. With multiple objectives, ad formats and tools available within the platform it can be overwhelming to navigate, a steep learning curve and difficult for many businesses to maximise their return on ad spend. 

The thing is, if you don’t set up Google Ads correctly, and then monitor and optimise your ads consistently, you may see lacklustre results. With this in mind, we’ve consolidated our top 5 essential Google Ads tips for 2020 to assist your business to maintain a positive return on ad spend and get ahead of the competition:

1. Ad Copy Refinement

Your ad text is crucial, as the main element of your campaigns this needs to be continually refined and optimised. The trick here is to consistently be running A/B tests with multiple variations. You can use Google’s built-in ad variations tool or simply set up multiple ads yourself and monitor click-through rates (CTR) and conversions over a defined length of time.

We recommend having at least 3 ads running per ad group at any given time (2 static, 1 responsive) with the CTR evaluated on a monthly basis. This outlines how many times your ads were displayed divided by how many clicks they gained and is a good measure of the quality of your headlines. Each month the CTRs should be evaluated and the ads with the lowest CTR(s) paused, then a new ad launched with the text updated to reflect a variation of the two winners. This method of continual testing has the goal of generating more conversions over time by hitting great ad text that resonates with your audience.

2. Explore Your Competitors’ Keywords

It’s important to know which organic and paid keywords your competitors are targeting and the traffic they generate from these so you may incorporate any relevant terms into your own paid advertising strategy. 

You can do this with third party SEO software such as SEMRush which has an ‘advertising research’ feature built for this purpose. The process here is to first identify top-performing direct competitors to your business, those with a high impression share and overlap rate with your business. This can be found in the auction insights tab within Google Ads. 

From here, run your competitor’s website through the SEMRush advertising research feature and filter by traffic % and keyword volume. This displays the search terms driving the majority of your competitors Google Ads traffic. From this list, you can identify any keywords that you aren’t currently targeting and incorporate them into your relevant campaigns to start driving more traffic. 

We recommend testing these new keywords for at least 30 days, evaluating their effectiveness at driving conversions and monitoring their CTRs then determining whether they should be paused or remain active.

3. Use Ad Extensions (all of them if possible!)

A lot of Google Ads accounts focus predominantly on the headlines and description of the main ad. Whilst this is important, be careful not to overlook ad extensions as a core component of your ad creative. Ad extensions can help tell your brand’s story and unique selling point while offering valuable information to your customers. 

On top of allowing you to display additional information to your prospective customers, using ad extensions can send a positive signal to Google and increase your overall account health and keyword quality scores. 

It’s best practice to try and use every single ad extension for each campaign and personalise these for each ad group. But, as a bare minimum, we recommend setting up the most popular extensions to increase your account quality, these are:

Sitelink extensions 

These are additional links your customers might find valuable that direct to unique landing pages on your website. Be sure to include your contact us page and any related service/product pages to your main landing page for each ad group. 

Callout extensions 

These are short lines of text that allow you to highlight your business offerings. Be as specific as possible in these and you can use these to highlight any current offers, unique selling points or promotions your business may have.

Structured snippets 

This extension type allows you to highlight specific aspects of your products and services. Each snippet has a header and a list of features and benefits. These are based on specific categories, so be sure to choose a relevant category as you build out your ad extensions. 

Call extensions 

This will allow you to put your business phone number right into the listing with click-to-call capabilities. For advanced call tracking and increased insight into your conversions, and conversations link a third party tool such as CallRail to this extension which will generate a unique number for your campaign. 

Location extensions 

This allows you to get more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP) by linking your Google My Business account and displaying your address and phone number with your ads.

4. Improve Your Landing Page Experience

Landing page experience is Google Ads’ measure of how well your website gives people what they’re looking for when they click your ad. It looks at the URL destination people arrive at after clicking your ad, and the design, content and user experience (UX) of this webpage play a major part in determining your keyword quality score. 

Tips for improving your landing page experience are to make the content more useful for prospective customers related to the search terms they are using to get there. For example if you’re a digital marketing agency and your ‘pay per click advertising’ service page is driving the majority of traffic from ‘Google Ads agency’ the landing page should be optimised accordingly to include relevant, useful information on this term. 

Another great way to improve this experience is to work on your conversion rate optimisation (CRO, the process of enhancing your website and content to boost conversions) for your landing pages, as this is the end goal to get the customers to contact you, it is important to make this as simple as possible. 

A simple way to improve this is by embedding contact us forms on your website pages to minimise the touch points needed to make an enquiry.

Google Optimize is also an excellent free tool to run A/B tests on your landing pages to see how changing the layout or text impacts your bounce rate and conversion rate in an easy to use no-code interface. Ask a developer to help set up the initial tracking tags on your website for this to work.

5. Optimise Negative Keywords

By telling Google what your product or service is not, you prevent your ads from showing on keyword searches that don’t align with potential customers. Negative keywords can be added to the campaign level, but you can also hone in by adding unique keywords to specific ad groups.

In order to save budget, remove irrelevant search terms and increase overall conversions we recommend sifting through the search term report daily for large accounts (weekly for smaller) and adding any relevant negative keywords. 

A great tool to assist in automating this process is the PPC management software Opteo, through machine learning and Google Ads integration it identifies potential irrelevant terms and allows for one-click addition of these into your account. By letting the software do the heavy lifting this saves you time and money on your ads management to focus on higher-level strategic thinking. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it –  our top 5 essential Google ads tips for 2020.  If you follow each of these steps you’ll be well on your way to having an optimised account to keep the leads flowing in. If you would like to discuss any of these points in more detail or need assistance with your PPC management, get in touch with our Google Ads expert team today.