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Google AdWords for Beginners

By Townes Haas   |    November 24, 2014   |    1:53 PM

How to Use Google AdWords to Run Your Paid Search Campaigns

Google AdWords offers an efficient and relatively simple way for small to medium-sized businesses to manage paid search campaigns. Setting up the first campaign, however, can be a bit confusing. Knowing the basics of how AdWords works will help overcome any initial obstacles.

Before Setting Up an Account

Before launching an AdWords campaign, verify that your company is ready for this step. A paid search campaign needs a strategy, and your website should be able to handle the additional traffic. Is the site on a reliable server? If you’re trying to capture leads, does your site have a form or landing page to capture information? Review your website, and make sure that it’s visually appealing to potential customers.

Create an initial keyword list. Look at current material, including collateral and your website content, and pull out important industry or product keywords. If no real material exists, read competitor websites, and pay attention to the words that they use to describe the business, product and features.

Set up goals. How many sales or leads are required to have positive ROI? If these goals are being met or exceeded, then the campaign is a success. If not, the campaign may need to be adjusted.

Also, ensure that enough resources are available to manage the campaign. Someone needs to monitor the campaign, watch the budget, and tweak ads or keywords as necessary.

Create an AdWords Account

Businesses can use their existing Google account to setup an AdWords account, or they can set up a separate Gmail address for it. Once logged in, the Google tools can be accessed.

Using the Keyword Planner Tool

Once a keyword list is created, plug those keywords into the Keyword Planner Tool. This tool compares the entered keywords to words currently being used in the SERPs. It will provide suggestions for keywords that may have better search volume. Review the list, and pull out the ones that best match the messaging and brand.

If your business has a direct competitor, it may want to also add the competitor’s name to the list. This way, if people search for the competitor, the business ad will potentially come up next to the competitor’s organic listing.

Setting up the Campaign

Setting up the AdWords campaign is generally straightforward, except for a few key pieces.

  • Campaign types: Google lets businesses run different types of campaigns. The main ones are Search Network Only (ads show next to search results), Display Network Only (ads show in different placements, including websites, apps, email, YouTube, etc.) and Search Network with Display Select (combination of both previous types). For most advertisers, the last option is best.
  • Bid strategy: Your bid strategy relates back to your goals. Businesses can focus on getting clicks to a landing page or website, impressions (which ensures that ads are seen by as many people as possible) or conversions (getting people to take an action).
  • Budget: The daily budget restricts spending to a maximum daily limit. For example, if the total monthly budget is $500, then the daily budget should be about $16 per day (based on a 30 day cycle).
  • Schedule: If the campaign needs to start and end at certain times, based on your business hours or high-search volume times, go into the Advanced settings to add daily start/end times to your campaign (called dayparting), as well as start and end dates.

Writing the Ads

Your paid search ads need to be succinct since only about 70 words are allowed in text ads. Be targeted and succinct, and be sure to use keywords within ads. What makes your business unique? Is there a promotion? Why is your product better than your competitors’?

Ads that address one of these issues often have better click-thru rates. If the ads aren’t working, try changing up the language.

Remember, most businesses won’t see major results within a week or two. Typically, the campaign has to run for a month or two to really see results. 

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