Getting Started with Google Adwords: The Basics

4 03 2009
651.gif If you’re a small business who can’t afford to have a professional PPC management company run your Adwords campaign, then use this simple guide to get started on the do-it-yourself plan:

  • First and foremost, make sure you can track conversions so you know how your Adwords campaign is performing. Start by getting a cheap 1-800 number from and forward it to your regular number. Replace your phone number on your website or Adwords landing pages with this one so you can check your call detail to see which calls came from your Adwords campaign.

    Then make sure you set up conversion tracking in Adwords, this usually only requires putting a small bit of code on your “thank you” page.

    It also helps to have Google Analytics installed on your website, with “Goals” setup properly. With “goals” in Google Analytics, you can easily track conversions whether it be a lead submitted through a contact form or purchase through an online shopping cart, and Analytics allows you to see quite a bit of information about the different types of traffic your website receives, much more than what you will get form the Adwords interface.

  • Second, make sure that your site is conversion-friendly. Internet users have short attention spans, and some may not visit more than one page of your website. Since you are spending your hard-earned money to get these people to your site, it’s of utmost importance that you can turn a visitor into a conversion on that first page.

    This may mean setting up landing pages that are targeted for each type of ad you’re running in Google. For shopping carts, the ads should send the visitor to the specific product page or category that they are targeting. For lead generation sites, the ads should send the visitor to a page that deals specifically with the ad and keywords you’re targeting. Most importantly, web pages should have your 1-800 number displayed prominently on the website, and if it’s a lead generation site, there should be a contact form on every page.
  • Next, create specific ads that match up with the keywords you’re targeting. For example, if your company sells red, white, and blue widgets, make a separate ad group for each type of widget. You can always test out a general “widgets” ad group, but your success will more likely come from specific keywords targeted to highly relevant searches, that send the user to a highly relevant landing page. This also helps out your Adwords “quality score” and reduces click prices.


    So the ad above should target “blue widgets” keywords and send visitors to the best possible landing page for “blue widgets” on your website.

  • Last but not least, use different match types of each keyword to help find what converts best for you. Google has 3 different match types: broad, “phrase,” and [exact]. In order to use different match types you will have to add your keywords, once by themselves (ex. blue widgets), once in parenthesis (ex. “blue widgets”), and once in brackets (ex. [blue widgets]). This controls which searches Google will show your ad for.

    By using [exact match] your ad will get shown only to people who type in the exact keywords as you have them in the brackets. This usually brings in the least amount of traffic, but can be some of the most well-targeted keywords in a campaign.

    By using “phrase match” your ad will get shown when someone types in the keywords you specified, in that order, but with other keywords in the search as well. For example, the phrase match “blue widgets” can trigger your ad when someone types in Google “buy blue widgets,” or “sell blue widgets.” The fact that you will get unintended searches triggering your ads can be good and bad. Good because some will bring in conversions, and bad because some will cost you money and not convert. You can run a “search query report” or set an Analytics filter to show you what searches are resulting in your ad being clicked. This will help you to exclude certain searches by adding “negative keywords” into your Adwords campaign.

    By using broad match you really put your faith in Google by letting Google pick which keywords to trigger your ad for. My experience has been that a broad matched “blue widgets” keyword (without the quotes of course), can trigger your blue widgets ad for searches like “red widgets,” “widgets that are blue,” “buy widgets,” and even searches that have synonyms or related words that aren’t your actual keyword. This can be a double-edged sword. Broad matched keywords can bring in the most traffic. They can also help you find new keywords you hadn’t thought of before that convert well for you. But the downside is that they can wind up costing you a lot of money if you’re showing up for keyword phrases that aren’t relevant enough to produce conversions on your website.

If you’re learning to run your own Adwords campaign for the first time, be prepared to encounter success and failure. Make sure to read plenty of information on the subject, and be open to trying what experienced professionals suggest. If this is all too much information to take in, and you want to focus your efforts on managing your business – look into hiring a professional pay-per-click management company like Reciprocal Consulting (the one I work for).



One response to “Getting Started with Google Adwords: The Basics”

7 05 2009
Ace (05:34:25) :

Very good post!

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