Google AdWords campaign management and optimization
Today we’re going to talk about how to maintain and optimize your Google ads campaigns.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve noticed some changes to the keywords our clients’ ad campaigns are decreasing their potential to get displayed for.
So I thought it would be a good time to talk about the daily Google ads maintenance everyone should be doing to avoid wasting money on clicks that will never convert into leads.
First, let’s talk about what two problems we’ve been seeing lately and then we’ll get into some regular maintenance tips and best practices you should deploy to avoid wasting money on your account.
We’ve seen lately across all of our clients’ campaigns that their ads started showing up for search terms that included all of their local competitors’ names.
Now, this is a hotly debated topic on whether or not you should bid on your competitor’s names.
The PRO’s are the cost per click is usually low and so too is the competition.
You’ll also be branding your name to those people searching for your competitors.
Another PRO is that those searchers are seeking the services that you offer.
The CONS are you may start a war with your competitors where they may start clicking on all of your ads, and even if you have click fraud protection software integrated, you’ll still get charged for the clicks before your triggers put them on a blocked IP address list.
They may also get down and dirty and start sending bad reviews to your Google My Business listing.
They’re also very likely to start bidding on your business name and siphoning off some of your customers.
And lastly, the click-thru rate of ads showing for competitor’s names is very low, which can hurt your quality score for your ad, decreasing its potential to get clicks on the keywords that truly matter to you.
In addition, if your competitors are clicking on your ads and then bounce off your landing page quickly, which is exactly what they’ll do, you’re hurting your campaign there because that will affect your quality score, which increases your cost per click rates.
And if the ad directs users to a service page and not an orphaned landing page, you’re also affecting the ranking ability of that page with high bounce rates.
So are the low number of clicks you may get worth the wars you may start and the damage it may do to your campaigns and organic rankings?
Only you can decide.
Our policy and practice are not to do that.
So the cure for this is to add your competitor’s names to the negative keyword list for those campaigns.
If you notice competitors are bidding on your business name, you may wish to add your name to the keywords for your campaigns.
A better solution is to trademark your business name, which you should probably have done already. We are not lawyers and don’t provide legal advice, but we sought that legal advice ourselves and have trademarked our business name.
If your business name is trademarked, you can petition Google Ads through their trademark infringement complaint form.
You’ll need to collect data, details, and screenshots of the offenders for that complaint.
This doesn’t completely stop competitors from bidding on your name, but it does prevent them from using your name in any of their ad copies.
Okay, so that’s problem number one we’ve been seeing.
The way you identify that by the way is to go into your Google ads account every day, click on each campaign, then each ad group, click on the keywords menu, and then click on “search terms.”
There, you will see all the search terms your ad group is showing up for in the date range you set.
If you haven’t ever done this, you should expand the date range out for several months, go through all of those search terms, and add all keywords with competitor’s names to your negative keyword list by checking the box and decreasing its potential next to each.
Then using the menu above them to “add to negative keywords.”
Okay, the second thing we’ve noticed across all of our client’s accounts is their ads are showing up for search terms that include the name of a city that we have already listed in the ”excluded locations” section.
We see search terms that include cities in these excluded locations and cities that are far away in the same state and cities that are in other states.
I’m not sure if this is from people in our service areas who own rental properties in these cities and states or a glitch in Google ads or what has happened, but once again, our solution is two-fold.
First, we add the name of that city to our negative keyword lists, and we make a list of them and then add them to the negative keyword list of every ad campaign, not just the one where we saw it pop up.
Then we also exclude that city and the entire state in the excluded locations section for every campaign.
Okay, that takes care of the two strange happenings we’ve seen lately in our ad accounts. Now let’s look at a ____ more things you should be doing to optimize your Google ads campaigns and maximize your return on ad spend.
I recently saw the results of a three-year study in Search Engine Journal that audited more than 2,000 Google Ads accounts and showed only 29% of all accounts are using conversion tracking.
71% of all accounts are NOT tracking conversions.
I have to tell you that nearly floored me.
I simply don’t understand that.
How could you spend money on ad campaigns and NOT want to know which ones are working or not?
It makes no sense.
It’s so easy to do.
You need to know which ads to stop and which ones to pour more money into and step on the gas for.
Tip #3 is to get call tracking from a company like Call Rail, which we use for our client accounts. You can either apply a dedicated tracking number for each landing page or add a little code to your website and it replaces your listed phone number with a trackable phone number. Either way works.
The system will tell you where the call came from, their name and phone number, what ad campaign they responded to, and what keyword they used to find your ad.
Its costs are very minimal.
They also have a call and form tracking option to track all form conversions on your landing pages.
You can also dedicate a unique number for each of your direct mail campaigns, radio ads, and other advertising you have going.
Why spend money on ads if you’re not going to track whether they’re working or not?
You should also have a separate landing page for each ad campaign or ad group.
That page should speak to the same specific topic as the ads.
It can be an orphan landing page with nowhere else to go or a service page on your site that does allow them to travel around. Test each one to see what works best.
Either way, those pages should have call tracking numbers and include a contact form for people to submit and request you contact them.
And that form should then take them to a unique thank you page so you can set up that page as a conversion in Google Analytics or Tag Manager.
Now you have both call and form tracking and know-how that the ad and landing page is performing.
You should also use that thank you page to promote your email newsletter and get them to join it. Perhaps offer a one-time-only special offer on it.
What’s a good conversion rate for your search ads and landing pages?
WordStream ran an analysis on the hundreds of Google ad accounts that ARE using conversion tracking were:
The median conversion rate was 3.16%
The bottom fifteen percent of accounts had conversion rates of less than 1%.
The top quarter of all accounts had conversion rates of 7.82% or better.
The top two percent of all accounts had a conversion rate of 14% or better. – This is where you should be.
Tip #4 is to make sure the landing page URLs for each ad are live URLs and not producing 404 errors because you’ve moved the page. According to studies, this happens quite often, which is a 100% waste of your ad monies.
Go into your ads and ensure the landing URL is a live page and the appropriate page for that ad.
That one is pretty easy and takes just a short time with each ad.
In a future episode, we’ll talk more in-depth about properly using keywords, filtering keywords to identify non-performers and search terms for new opportunities, and how to use automated rules to stay on top of performance and reduce costs.
And we’ll include a ton of screenshots on our blog post for that one also because that can get complicated and seeing how to do these things can help a whole bunch.
Hopefully, with the content we shared today, you can see why it’s important to review every one of your ad campaigns every day.
It’s your money, of course, and you can spend it as you see fit, but why waste it when you don’t have to?
Knowing how to identify and cut out the waste and when to step on the gas for the winners can make all the difference in your business’s success.