Well, it’s no secret that using Google Ads is a very effective tool in your marketing arsenal. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could be spending a lot of money and getting very little results.
If you’ve hired an agency to do the work for you and you haven’t seen any ROI after 3 months, STOP NOW.
Google Ads is what I like to call an acceleration method of getting leads for your business. In other words, you can get a lot of leads in a very short period of time, but it costs more money the picking up the phone or using email, for example.
Google Ads is also Google’s primary revenue stream so they want you to spend the most money within your budget using their recommendations within the Google Ads platform. So, in principle, you can still get leads and get new customers without help from an agency whatsoever, just make sure you know how to create a successful campaign.
The main point of the article is to try to get you to first understand the basic concepts of keywords and how you can strategically use short or long-tail keywords to effectively show your ad to the right person. The only people you want your ad to show to are the ones most likely to call you or fill out your lead form on the website to get a quote from you. There are many occasions that people don’t fill out the form or call you right away, but that’s another topic altogether.
So how do you know if you are targeting the right people?
If you are a business owner and you are attempting to do the Google Ads thing yourself, or if you are in charge of marketing and need to dig deeper into learning Google Ads, then this article is for you, however, it may be a bit technical. We won’t be diving to deep into the nitty-gritty and technicalities of Google Ads that much, but more of an overview of how to prevent getting the wrong people clicking on your ad and wasting all of your ads spend quickly.
One of the most important aspects of a successful campaign is using the proper keywords and doing the right type of research first before you even look at setting up an account.
You can use free tools like Ubersuggest and the Google Keywords Planner (built inside Google Ads) to give you a really good head start to help you identify commonly used search terms what their monthly search volume might be. Once you’ve established common keywords and search terms, you need to categorize them into match types.
There are 4 types of keyword match types you can use in any Google Ads search campaign. Depending on the match type will determine how broad your audience will be.
We won’t be going to deep into the keyword match types in this article but you can go to this article here: What Are the Keyword Match Types?
to get more insight into how they work inside Google Ads. You definitely want to read this article first if you haven’t learned this part yet.
BROAD MATCH KEYWORDS – You never want to use Broad Match keywords, because the search query includes any word in your key phrase, in any order. So if you have ‘lawn mowing’ as a broad keyword you can expect your ad to show up to people who are searching for lawn mower repairs, or parts for lawn mowers, or even lawn mower brands, as an example. So my recommendation to you is to just stay away from those all together. They will trigger your ad for searches that aren’t even relevant to your service.
BROAD MATCH MODIFIED – These match types can be useful for trying to gather more information from users who may be searching for your service online but you don’t have the keywords for it. This can happen, so in the beginning, we like to have them added to the campaign just to ensure we are collecting as much data as we can so we can optimize later. An example would be +lawn +care +service – if someone searched “I need someone to service my lawn”, this would trigger your ad. Phrase match type will not do this as they are more specific but still offer some versatility.
PHRASE MATCH – These are our go to’s most of the time. They are only triggered when the search query is typed in the same order as the keyword, but with some acceptance to variations. There can still be words before and after the keyword for the ad to show to them. An example would be “landscaping Seattle” – The searcher would either type ‘landscaping in Seattle’, ‘Seattle Landscaping’, or ‘I need new landscaping near Seattle’. Your ad will show all three variations of the search query.
Do you see a pattern here?
With Phrase Match types, you have much more control over who is going to trigger your ad. As you can see in the above example, all 3 searches are buying intent searches. Therefore, you can include buying intent keywords to your campaign instead of research intent keywords. Buying intent keywords mean the user is searching in such a way that would deem them more likely to buy from you. We search that way all the time and might not even realize it.
To clarify, a buying intent search usually is more to the point, like they know what they want already – like ‘lawn care service Boize ID’ or ‘landscaping company near me’ or ‘lawn mowing service south okc’ or ‘Houston landscapers’.
Research intent keywords signify many forms of search behaviors like ‘how to…’, ‘how do I…’, ‘how can I…’, ‘what does…’, ‘how does…’, and so on.
EXACT MATCH – these keywords are the most narrow and as specific as you can get. The searcher has to type the keyword exactly as you have it or it won’t show your ad. An example would be [landscape design Houston] and the searcher types ‘landscape design Houston’. There are still some variations that Google accepts like acronyms and spelling errors and plural. Provided this keyword is bidding higher than say your “landscape design Houston” phrase match keyword, it would show up. These keywords are great to use but this strategy can backfire if you don’t know how to use them. If you used only Exact Match you find very quickly that your ad may not even show any clicks or conversion data often enough to justify even using Google Ads.
What’s the moral of this lesson?
It’s good to have a nice healthy mix of different match types in your campaign so that you can collect data and search terms, as well as really see what working and what’s not.
The final and most important step is to try to come up with at the very least 3x as many negative keywords as there are keywords in your campaigns. Negative keywords prevent words that are in your negative keyword list from triggering your ad. They give you the ability to have even more control when using every other Match Type except Exact Match.
There many ways to get negative keywords but here are 2:
- Using Ubersuggest free keyword tool you can type in any keyword in there that you want and it will give you a list of keyword ideas that are closely related to the keyword you provided. From there you can export the entire list of suggestions into a CSV. Then you go one by and look for keywords that you think are research intent and add them to your list.
- Using the Search Term Report in Google Ads. As you go through the campaign you can find the tab that says Keywords. From there, you can tab over to Search Terms. You will now see all the searches the people are typing that have triggered your keyword, and therefore ad. Cool right? The only issue with this method is time, you need to spend the time logging into your account daily to make sure that you’re adding new keywords and add new negative keywords. Remember, every time you add a new keyword you should try to figure out negative keywords to add as well.
In summary, keyword research and building a large negative keyword list is the most important part of building out a search campaign and will take the longest to figure out. It’s worth the effort so my recommendation is don’t try to cut corners, but just get into it and you will benefit in the long run.
As you do this and stay active in the Search Term area in Google Ads, you will start to learn trends in your market and see how people are searching for your service. Once you master that skill you can spend time on leveraging those search terms to create great ad copy that people will click on before they click your competitors, even if you’re not in the #1 position.