If you’ve ever dabbled in pay-per-click (PPC) or took a peek inside the Google Ads interface, it can be a very daunting place. Even if you’re an expert, the responsibility of managing a client’s budget is never something to be taken lightly.
In order to have the optimal chance at high performing Google Ads campaigns, here’s a simple checklist of best practice tips to follow.
Match keywords, ad copy and relevant landing pages
In order to pay a lower cost-per-click (CPC) and have a higher quality score (QS), the keywords in each ad group need to match the ad copy so that Google finds your ads relevant. In turn, those keywords also should live on the landing page where you are taking the users. If you keep this in mind, it will help you also not bloat your ad groups with too many keywords. Separate out ad groups and campaigns when applicable and send users to relevant landing pages, not just the homepage.
Utilize expanded text ads (ETAs)
In 2016, Google announced the rollout of ETAs in place of standard text ads. The initial rollout included the allowance of two 30-character headlines and one 80-character description line, instead of the 25-character headline and two 35-character description lines. In August of 2018, Google made changes again to expanded text ads to allow up to three headline fields of 30-characters each and two description fields of up to 90 characters each. You’ll want to use all of the allowable characters if possible to both take up more space on the page and to have more room to explain the product/service to compel users to click through.
Make sure when taking over a client’s existing account and performing restructuring that you keep an eye out for any legacy ads that haven’t been updated to take advantage of ETAs. We recommend creating new ETAs and then pausing the older ads instead of editing them. Responsive search ads (RSAs) are also now in beta. We also recommend checking those out and testing them with your clients as well.
Add all applicable extensions
There are many types of extensions available and we recommend using all that are applicable. For example, if the business has a physical location, attach it to the ad via a location extension. A Google My Business (GMB) page will first need to be set up and whichever email is managing the Google Ads campaigns will also need to be associated with the GMB page.
Additionally, site link extensions are an effective way to have your ad take up more real estate in the search results, convey additional messaging and direct users to various other pages of the website.
Call extensions are highly utilized and an effective way to have the user contact you directly from the ad to get the information they need, set up an appointment, etc. Our service-related clients especially benefit from call extensions.
Another form of extensions, callout extensions, can be an effective way to communicate additional messaging. The same goes for structured snippet extensions to easily communicate amenities, brands, types of products, etc.
Test your ad copy
How will you know what’s working if you don’t test? You should have at least three ads per ad group to learn which perform the best and make changes to optimize, pause, etc., as needed.
Don’t let Google optimize for you
When you are starting a new campaign, ensure your ad rotation settings are set to “Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely.” Don’t let Google tell you which ads they believe will be the best performing. Let the users tell you by giving all ads equal rotation for at least the first three months or until you have enough data to make the decision.
Don’t auto-apply ad suggestions
Just like you shouldn’t let Google decide which ads to show before you can even have enough data to make that decision, you absolutely should not let Google automatically apply their suggestions to your ads.
Retain control over your account by turning this setting off. If you’re a good marketer and you care about your clients, you’ll already be paying close attention to their campaign performance and making optimizations as needed. Despite how helpful some of the ad suggestions from Google may appear, they are a for-profit business that wants to make as much money as possible. Don’t let it be at your client’s expense.
Following those simple best practice tips and staying on top of new Google Ads features can help ensure you are maximizing your Google Ads budget and give you an edge over the competition.