6 Principles You MUST Know when Optimizing Google Ads

If you want to succeed in PPC marketing you must first have a strong understanding of the fundamentals. One pitfall many new paid ad specialists face is optimizing their accounts based solely on the recommendations they see in the Google Ads platform. This can be detrimental to your marketing campaign since Google is mostly interested in squeezing as much money out of you as possible. Therefore, as a PPC newbie, it’s in your best interest to make informed decisions when optimizing your campaigns. To point you in the right direction, I’ve made this summary of the top 6 fundamental principles every Pay Per Click (PPC) advertiser should know.

Quality Score

You will come across the term Quality Score quite often in PPC marketing. Quality score refers to the measurement tool Google employs to evaluate the user experience of your ad. It’s determined the relevance of your ad text to searches, the likelihood of people clicking on your ad, and the quality of their experience once they click through to your landing page. A high-quality score usually translates to better results, such as higher ad positions and reduced cost per click. However, all the details on how exactly how Google calculates your ad quality is unknown.

Negative Keywords

To maximize your ROI and campaign, you’ll need a list of negative keywords. This improves the performance of your search campaigns while also saving you money. A key feature in Google Ads is the ability to bid on specific keywords. To run profitable campaigns, you must do keyword research and target the right users with your keywords. Keywords that are irrelevant to your target audience should be avoided. For example, if you sell office chairs you would bid on keywords that target users searching for office chairs, such as red office chairs, ergonomic office chairs, etc. However, Google may trigger your ad for office furniture. In this case, you would add a negative keyword ‘furniture’ so that your ads only appear to users who are specifically searching for office chairs.

Conversions

Conversions are the holy grail of your account (next to keywords). To optimize your ad campaigns effectively, you must track conversions. A conversion is defined as any valuable action a user takes on your website or landing page. For example, if a user visits your landing page and downloads your e-book, this could be counted as a conversion, purchases are also conversions. I have a detailed video on conversion tracking so be sure to check it out. Remember, clicks aren’t as important as conversions (sign-ups, downloads, etc). Google Ads would recommend that you make changes to your campaigns to gain more clicks when you really should be focused on attracting more leads, more converted users who want what you are advertising.

Ad Group Structure

Structuring your ad groups deserves its article. Many newbies don’t realize how important it is to structure ads based on themes. But first, what is an ad group? An ad group is a collection of ads that share similar themes and targets. You set a bid, or price, to be actioned when the keywords in an ad group trigger an ad to appear on the search engine results page (Google, Bing, etc.). Every time a user clicks your ad you pay. This is what is called a cost-per-click (CPC) bid. Within the ad group, you can also define bids for individual keywords. Google rewards advertisers who organize their ad groups in a logical structure, so it is imperative to group your keywords in ad groups before launching your campaign.

 Long-Tail Keywords

Have a small budget? Then utilize long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords, as the name implies are keywords that have multiple words. The conversion rate is substantially greater than a highly general term, despite the low volume of these keywords. This is because the long-tail keywords are more focused and specialized. Whereas short-tail keywords are usually broad and not as targeted. For example, if a user types office chairs, is he/she interested in purchasing an office chair or researching the best office chairs? Do you know? Neither do I. However, if a user searches for Buy Mesh Office Chairs Online, he/she is more likely to be ready to purchase an office chair. Long-tail keywords, in my experience, are often cheaper and less competitive than short-tail keywords so consider them.

One caveat with long-tailed keywords is that they often have lower search volume than their broad counterparts. For example, more people search for ‘office chairs’ than ‘executive mesh office chairs.

If your ads are not showing I recommend the following:

  • Raise your bids.

You may be bidding too low. For starters, I recommend looking at the Top of page bid range and increase your bid to fall somewhere in the middle. For example, if the Top of page bid (low range) is $0.43 and the Top of page (high range) is $3.43, then bid $2. See the example below.

  • Rewrite your ads to include keywords or tighten your ad groups. Try Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs).
  • Reduce your location targeting
  • Improve your quality score by updating your copy or landing page to be relevant to your keyword.

Competitive Metrics

Competitive metrics are often overlooked by those new to PPC marketing. What are competitive metrics? Competitive metrics allow you to gauge the market dominance of existing keywords, ad groups, and campaigns in relation to the competitive set. Essentially, these metrics signal how well your ads are ranking, and how often they are being served in comparison to other competitors bidding on the same keywords. The most important of these competitor metrics is Search Impression Share. This metric shows you what percentage of time your ad was served on Google Search. The calculation is as follows:

Impression share = impressions / total eligible impressions

A Search Impression Share of 100% means that your ad was shown each time it was eligible to appear on Google Search. However, 100% is an unrealistic target because even in a niche market, you can expect some competition; therefore, your slice of the pie will be reduced.

Most advertisers aim to reach a Search Impression Share of 80% to 85%. Depending on how fierce the competition is, 80% may or may not be achievable in the short-term so many times you may have to settle for a 60% impression share.

Pro tip: If you are working with a small budget, try narrowing your geotargeting. This way you can attain a Search Impressions Share of over 80%. Google penalizes accounts that run erratically, so I highly recommend you try to maximize this metric.

Conclusion

I hope this article was helpful. Of course, this information is just the tip of the iceberg. Your campaign performance is dependent on this how well you understand these and many other ad principles. Remember, ad optimization doesn’t end after the campaign launch, you have to consistently find ways to improve your campaigns. Spend time strengthening your foundational knowledge of Google Ads to better analyze and optimize your ads is essential for your success.