Burlington Free Press Features Bibi’s Article: “Creative Corner: Getting Google right in 7 easy steps”

Posted on January 10, 2013 by in News

Small businesses in particular have to be smart about searches.

With more than 90 percent of U.S. consumers initiating their searches online, small business owners are increasingly shifting their marketing dollars to digital platforms.

Paid search marketing on Google Adwords happens to be the most effective of them all, given Google’s robust reach. However, it has an uncanny reputation of derailing small business advertising goals if not implemented correctly. Here are a few tips to kickstart your Google Adwords campaign without having to file bankruptcy.

1. BUILD CAMPAIGNS SEPARATELY ON SEARCH AND DISPLAY NETWORKS —For Google Search, your ad will show on Google search sites, as well as sites that partner with Google, such as AOL. For Display Network, your ad will show on Google’s network of partner websites. Each of these networks is designed to serve audiences with different behaviors at different levels of decision making. So keeping them separate helps you save money, monitor your results better and focus on elements that perform optimally with each network.

2. BIDDING AND BUDGET —Once you have set your monthly budget, get the automatic bidding going. With automatic bidding, AdWords adjusts your bids to whatever amount will earn you the most clicks.

3. LOCATION TARGETING —Getting granular is critical, especially for small businesses with limited budgets and with only local or regional presence. Google allows you to target a single zip code, or group together a combination of various countries, states, territories, and cities. Select only your strongest areas in terms of customers or ability to provide service.

4. AD EXTENSIONS —Build Ad Extensions to your campaigns to allow potential customers more reasons to click on your ad by including additional business information upfront. It also allows to upsell or cross-sell your products and services.

5. NEGATIVE KEYWORDS AND CATEGORY EXCLUSIONS —Adding negative keywords into your campaigns can help eliminate non-qualified clicks from visitors looking for something other than what you have to offer. For example, if you are a high-end domestic tour operator, you want to exclude terms such as European vacation, Tour India, Paris, London and Italy Trips or terms such as free, cheap or budget travel. For Display Network, you want to make sure your ads do not show on categories such as parked domains or on error, sexually suggestive, profanity, crime, death and bizarre content pages.

6. GENERAL GUIDANCE TO KEYWORD RESEARCH —Use Google’s free and extremely powerful keyword tool to research keywords. Start with the most common non-branded search term that you see on your Analytics. Look at match types and keyword variations offered by Google. Pick the low competitive, long tailed keywords with a decent local search volume. Sometimes it’s a good idea to bid on your own brand terms. However, build a separate campaign for that.

7. TRACKING CONVERSIONS —If you have an e-commerce platform and can track sales, make sure to plug in Google Adwords conversion codes on your sale completion page. Adwords with pull conversions against campaigns. Calculating ROI will be a breeze from there. For non-e-commerce businesses, I strongly recommend identifying a meaningful metric that helps to drive the business and using it as a conversion on the Adwords campaign. It could be an email sign up, catalog request, request for more information or just a product demo page.

As always, do not set it and forget it. Set aside some time every week to monitor what’s working. Hopefully, utilizing these tips will help stretch your PPC dollars by not only growing the number of clicks you earn each week, but also by serving your ads to the visitors most likely to convert.

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