When someone new to paid search, or PPC (Pay Per Click) asks us for some tips to “get started”, we say there is one thing that is really, really, really important: relevancy.
The most common mistake that businesses new to paid search make is failing to look at relevancy across their entire PPC campaign. To be more precise, they fail to think of the whole process through the eyes of the most important person: the potential customer seeking your business.
Relevancy Starts with the Right Keywords
To be relevant, a paid search campaign needs the right key words. In fact, it’s about getting a few things “right”:
- The right keywords
- The right ad
- The right landing page
- The right offer
Here is a typical “newbie” scenario:
Joe Baker owns a bakery in Oakville. In addition to having a great retail location, Joe runs a website where his customers can order their baked goods online and have them delivered to their homes within 20 km of his store. Great idea, Joe really is a forward thinking baker!
Joe hears from a friend that Google Adwords is a great way to attract more business to his bakery website, so Joe sets out to start a campaign. Joe thinks up a list of keywords that he believes will attract people to his website like “bread”, “muffins”, “cookies”, “croissants”, “bakery” and the names of many other products that he sells, puts them in an ad group and sets them all as broad matches. Then Joe creates an ad:
Fresh Bread to your door
In Oakville since 1990
Joe’s landing page? His homepage.
Joe then sets his campaign to run in all locations within 80km of his store.
OK. So, while we can all appreciate Joe’s effort, and his desire to market his store online, he really hasn’t thought his campaign through in the eyes of the potential customer.
Here are some key components to ensuring relevancy throughout your campaign(s). After you read them, you’ll understand why the campaign described above can certainly be improved on to ensure that Joe see’s a return for his advertising dollars.
Relevancy Means Multiple Ad Groups
In Joe’s current campaign, he has one ad group set up for all his keywords, along with one ad. The problem with this approach is lack of relevancy. For example, if I’m searching for “Cookies”, I’m still presented with Joe’s ad for “Fresh Bread”. This makes it far less likely that I’ll actually click on Joe’s ad.
Joe should be grouping related keywords together and creating an ad group for each. For example, all “muffin” related keywords should go into one ad group, with an ad that speaks specifically about muffins – even if it is a small variation of the original:
Fresh Muffins to your door
In Oakville since 1990
Joe should also consider placing a few different versions of his ad in each ad group, to test the performance of his ads. Joe might consider testing an ad with a stronger call to action:
Fresh Muffins to your door
Sign Up Today – Delivery Tomorrow!
or one with a more relevant headline:
Joe’s Fresh Muffins
Muffins delivered to your door!
Fresh muffin service on sale now
Further to this, Joe may want to create ad groups specific to people searching for delivery of the baked goods, vs. those who use keywords that signify they may just want to find a local store and pop in.
The bottom line is, Joe needs to make sure that the ad he presents to his potential customer matches closely with the search query that they entered. If it is completely mismatched, or even too generic, the likelihood of Joe getting that click, and the opportunity to turn that visitor into a customer is gone.
Get Specific with Landing Pages
Joe, like most rookie paid-search advertisers, has made the common mistake of sending all of his paid-search traffic to his homepage. Let’s think about this for a second. A homepage is typically pretty generic in nature, giving visitors a glimpse of all you have to offer. On your homepage, you are trying to present something that appeals to everyone visiting your site. With a paid search campaign however, you know exactly what the person wants – so why would you send them to your “Catch all” page?
Send your visitors to a page on your site that relates specifically to the search term that they entered, and the ad that they clicked on.
In Joe’s case, if a person is searching for muffins, that person is now going to get an ad that specifically talks about muffins (thanks to Joe’s flashy new ad groups). We don’t want to send them to a homepage that highlights his sale on bread delivery. Joe is going to send his visitor to his muffin category page, or his muffin delivery service page. You want to make sure that the visitor recognizes immediately upon hitting your page that the content you’re presenting them is relevant to what they are looking for.
Be Geographically Relevant
Another common mistake is not closely targeting the geographic area in which your ads will appear, and ensuring that those ads speak to the audience in that location.
In Joe’s case, his advertising is all about his delivery service which services the 20 km radius around his physical location in downtown Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Joe also knows that because he makes the finest bread in Southern Ontario, he also gets a lot of walk in customers from the surrounding communities of Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills, Mississauga, Brampton, and others. This is why when setting up his campaigns, Joe chose to target an 80km radius. Immediately, we see a disconnect between what Joe is trying to sell, and where Joe is trying to sell it.
Since Joe is only providing his delivery service to a 20km radius, he should not be messaging this service to visitors outside of this radius. This is not to say that Joe cannot advertise to these potential customers, but rather to create separate campaigns with ads & landing pages in line with with what you can provide to these customers.
In Joe’s situation, you would want to run two campaigns.
- Targeting people within the 20km radius that communicates his fantastic delivery service outlined in the examples above
- Targeting people outside of that 20km radius that provides messaging more relevant to the searcher. For example:
Joe’s Fresh Muffins
Voted Best Muffins in GTA!
Worth the drive Oakville.
In this scenario, Joe would send the visitor to a landing page that shows his muffin offerings, but does not discuss his delivery service. Joe may also want to provide a special offer relevant to out-of-town visitors. Perhaps 10% discount on all baked goods if you’re visiting from out of town!
Obvious & not-so-obvious benefits
Paid search is all about matching the needs of the searcher with relevant offerings from your business. If you make sure that you’re meeting the searcher’s needs throughout the entire process, you’ll be rewarded with the obvious: stronger click-through rates (more traffic) and stronger conversion rates (more sales). There is also a not-so-obvious benefit to ensuring a high level of relevancy throughout your paid search campaigns – higher quality score.
What is quality score?
Quality score is a rating given to each of your targeted keywords by Google Adwords. Quality score measures how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query.
Since Google’s business relies heavily on presenting the most relevant results to a searcher, this means that they have a vested interest in ensuring that the most relevant ads to a search query are shown – even if that means making less money on each click. What this means for you is, a higher quality score will reduce your per-click cost, and increase your position on the search engine results page.
How do I increase my quality score?
Simple – RELEVANCY! Using the best practices described above will go a long way to ensuring a high quality score on your account. Remember:
- Ensure your ad groups are highly specific and your ads are relevant to all keywords in your ad group – this increases your click through rate. The higher your click-through rate is, the more obvious it is to Google that you are relevant to the user’s search.
- Make sure your landing pages engage the user immediately and give them exactly what they are looking for. If a user leaves your landing page immediately, it’s a good indicator to Google that you are not relevant.
- Make sure you are geographically relevant! Only show ads that are relevant in the areas you are targeting. If it makes sense, reference the location in the ad.
Always be testing. Continue to test ad copy & landing page copy to improve results. In future posts we’ll discuss A/B & multivariate testing of landing pages.
The more relevancy you work into your paid-search campaign, the more likely it is that a user is going to click on your ad, and ultimately purchase your product or service. Maintaining relevancy also decreases your overall advertising costs, so you’ll be getting more traffic for less money.
Of course, you can always let the Google Certified Professionals over here at Op Ed help you build highly relevant & high performing paid-search campaigns and strategies as well 🙂