Google Ads: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting

Google Ads is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal; it puts the sole trader next to the global players, and if done correctly, the sole trader can actually come out on top. With Google going from a mere 3.5 million searches per day back in 2000, to what is now believed to be 3.5 billion a day, the platform is a haven for advertisers and consumers alike.

Google Adwords launched in 2000, with only 60 advertisers. Today, there are more than a million advertisers on the now Google Ads, earning Google in excess of $116 billion in 2018… Let that sink in for a second.

If your business isn’t visible on Google, you’re missing out on valuable advertising real estate.

We all have to start somewhere, from the humble business owner taking the next step into their digital journey, to the Digital Marketing Apprentice trying to find their feet in this ever-evolving industry. PPC is a tricky game, even for the best of us. Google is introducing new updates to the platform at a rapid rate, and knowing these 5 steps from the off can help you save hours during the initial stages of your Google Ads journey.

Expectations & Goals

So, you’re ready to start making millions on the internet, or so you think. First things first, you need to have realistic expectations. Steve Jobs didn’t make his fortune overnight, but with persistence and hard work (and the occasional edit here and there) you can start to make money with Google Ads.

Before you begin to create your campaigns, it is best practice to sit down with your team/client and set yourself some achievable goals. These need to be measurable and achievable within your budget and relevant to your brand’s bigger picture.

Build Awareness

The main aim of this goal is to increase the number of people seeing your ad, even if they don’t actually decide to click. This is usually the first goal that any new business uses to build brand familiarity and get their name in front of potential consumers. It can help more established companies break into new areas of services/products, or it can help much larger companies drown out their competition.

Direct Action

When we refer to direct action, we are describing a consumer’s action on your website or app. They are actively engaging, be it via a download or a purchase, and if this is your aim then the advert will need to be either informative or a sales lead. Direct Action could even be subscribing to your newsletter. For people to visit your site from this type of advert, they are actively looking for the product or service that you provide. This is where advanced features like Remarketing will come into play further on down the line.

It is important to set yourself specific goals, i.e. 30 purchases, 10 newsletter subscribers or even 100 website visits per month. This will help you measure the benefit of using Google Ads. You can then optimise your campaign to meet your goals if you aren’t already achieving them. Otherwise, it will be like getting blood out of a stone. You will waste your time and more importantly, drain your own or your client’s budget.

Planning Adverts in Google Sheets

When I first began using Google Ads (then, Adwords), I found myself spending hours writing Adverts on the platform, going in and out of campaigns and spending more time than was needed.

Creating a simple spreadsheet with the most basic level of automation, (even my technologically illiterate grandad could implement), I dramatically improved the speed I could write ads and also draft ads for testing.

Here’s a few useful articles that can speed up your process:

Counting Characters
Colour Coding Your Cells

Keywords – Knowing Your Match Types

One of the main reasons why people fail at Google Ads is because they’re not utilising the keywords they have at their disposal. They are the building blocks of the Google we have grown to know and love and even depend on for the majority of our information.

Assuming you know the basic fundamentals of the Google Ads bidding process, you will know that you build keyword lists and then bid on these words against your competitors. Understanding these keywords and knowing how to implement them effectively into your campaign is one of the most important aspects of your approach to Google Ads.

Broad Match

Broad Match lets you reach the widest audience possible based on a single keyword. It is useful for brand awareness campaigns and to gather large amounts of data, but if you aren’t working with a huge budget then avoid using them as much as possible.

Don’t fall victim to the Broad Match as many have done before. Broad Match Keywords end advertising careers before they have even begun.

An example of a Broad Match would be: ‘water damage insurance claim’; this keyword will get you a broad range of results from water damaged house claims to water damaged phones.

Broad Match Modifier

My personal favourite, highly targeted, but also achieves a great reach based on the keywords you target; it gives you a healthy amount of data to analyse as well.

An example of a Broad Match Modifier could be +solicitors +lancashire. The search query needs to include all of the keywords to show your adverts. As you can see, this is great for targeting as it can include multiple words and only triggers if they are searched.

Each Keyword must have a + before it with no spaces.

Phrase Match

As you learn more about what your customers are searching for, you can begin to utilise a more targeted approach to keywords. By using Phrase Match, you can target a certain phrase of your choice and Google will show close variations of that phrase including words before and after.

An example of a Phrase Match could be “funeral directors”, this keyword could show results for the search terms ‘traditional funeral directors’ or ‘funeral directors near me’. It must include all of the keywords and in the order specified.  

It is important to note these must be in quotation marks.

Exact Match

The building blocks of every successful Google Ads campaign; this approach is the most targeted and will result in utilising your budget much more effectively, compared with other Keyword Match Types. Just like Phrase Matches, Exact Match requires you to know what your audience is searching for.

When you begin to analyse the data from the other Match Types, you can start to create ‘long-tail’ keyword lists. These are the most effective approach to Google Ads, and once you build a solid list of these, conversions should start flying in.

An example of an Exact Match could be [flights to London from Manchester] or [men’s light up Christmas jumper]. As you can see, these are highly relevant and the user searching for these keywords knows exactly what they are looking for.

Negative Keywords

As you begin to build your search term reports, it is important you track the redundant search terms daily. Adding anything that isn’t relevant to your industry or service as a negative keyword. This is the best way of whittling down the keywords that trigger your Ads, helping you manage your budget efficiently and also help increase your click-through rate.

A strong Google Ads account will have a large list of negative keywords, this prequalifies the users searching for your product/service and will also result in a higher conversion rate as the Ads won’t show to the wrong target audience.  

Linking Analytics & Google Tag Manager

There are a range of effective tools that you can use to control your campaigns and analyse the data available. Analytics is the first that you need to integrate; this can help you track important metrics such as ‘Bounce Rate’, ‘Time Spent on Site’ and ‘Pages Per Session’. These give you a detailed breakdown of not only how users are interacting with your adverts, but also how they are interacting with your website once they land.

You can set up conversions and also analyse a large amount of data for the more analytically-minded out there.

For more information about linking the platform, click HERE.

For those who are looking at tracking a specific button, tracking items on an e-commerce store, or a whole range of other tracking options, then Google Tag Manager (GTM), is for you. It can take a while to get to grips with the platform, but it integrates seamlessly with Google Ads. We will cover GTM in more detail on an upcoming blog post.

The Landing Page is Key

The trick to a high conversion rate is all down to the page that the user lands on (aka, the landing page). A landing page can make or break any PPC campaign and even the strongest of campaigns can fall victim to a below-average landing page.

A solid landing page must consist of all of the following:

10 Point Landing Page Checklist

  1. Headlines are goal driven.
  2. The tone of voice of the copy is consistent throughout the ads and landing page.
  3. Headlines are sharp and clearly indicate the benefits.
  4. The reader knows what’s on offer before they begin to read the copy.
  5. Contact form is clear and instantly visible.
  6. Clear call to actions that funnel the user.
  7. The top navigation has been removed to stop the user wandering.
  8. The landing page is also mobile responsive (this will affect your quality score if not).
  9. The page is optimised (Page title, Slug, Meta description and Copy).
  10. Page speed is high. Again, this is vital for quality score.

A traditional landing page converts roughly between 1% and 4%. From our experience, with simple optimisation and relevant CTAs, the results can more than double. Driving new customers down your funnel can help your business achieve its desired goals.

Google is constantly analysing your landing page to see how effective the experience is for the user. The above points are all factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking your landing page. A good landing page can boost your quality score, which will, in turn, help you reach a larger audience, drive down your average CPC and help smaller businesses compete with national and global players.

If you have any questions in relation to your PPC, or would like a free review that could help you get your account to the level you know it should be, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Drop me an email at and I’ll arrange a call to discuss your specific needs.

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