Google AdWords For Dummies
Google AdWords is an advertising revolution. Your ads can be seen by thousands of people searching specifically for what you have, and you pay nothing until a searcher clicks your ad to visit your website. Boost business by knowing which website elements to test to optimize your ad campaigns; become familiar with AdWords jargon; and know where to look for the best free online resources.
Google AdWords: Terms to Know
Google AdWords is rich in jargon and insider language. You may find that it's helpful to have a ready list of common AdWords terms at your fingertips.
ad position: The placement of an ad on the Google search results pages. Position #1 is at the top of the first page.
bid price: The maximum amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click from a given keyword.
call to action: Directions within an ad or a web page for the reader to take an action.
Campaign cloning: A process we developed for the purpose of testing under controlled circumstances that yield the highest odds of success before cloning those testing efforts into more speculative areas of AdWords.
conversion: A desirable action by a website visitor, including joining a mailing list, buying a product, calling a phone number, or downloading a file.
CPC (cost per click): The amount an advertiser is charged for a single click. Different keywords cost different amounts, depending on competition.
CTR (click-through rate): The number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of impressions. The higher the CTR, the more effective Google considers the ad.
Display network: Websites, forums, or blogs that aren't owned by Google, but have Google AdWords ads (also known as Adsense ads) on them.
impression: The display of an ad on a web page.
Interruption Marketing: A term we refer to when discussing the Display network and the fact that someone wasn't actually looking for a solution to a problem, but might be reading about something related to the problem or solution that is being advertised.
landing page: The first webpage shown after an ad is clicked. The page is constructed to appeal to the same desire as the ad.
Permission Marketing: A term we regularly refer to when discussing the Search network, and the fact that someone is actively searching for a solution to a problem.
PPC (pay per click): The advertising model that charges advertisers only when their specific ads are clicked.
split test: Test that divides online traffic randomly between two or more creative approaches (ad, website, e-mail, and so on) and measures which one generates more conversions.
Search network: The online network people go to when searching for a solution to a problem they're having.
traffic: The number of visitors to your website.
visitor value: How much money, on average, a single visitor to your website is worth.
Google AdWords Campaign-Optimization Tips
Creating a Google AdWords campaign — successful or not — can be a complex endeavor. The following list details several helpful hints that can save you time and headaches when you're creating an AdWords campaign:
Separate Google, search partners, and Display network traffic into different campaigns. Keep your traffic streams separate so you can track the visitor value from each stream individually; optimize your sales funnel for each group.
Separate broad, phrase, and exact match types into separate campaigns (or if volume doesn't allow, separate ad groups) in order to monitor how differently those match types perform.
Create tightly focused ad groups with closely related keywords. Avoid sloppy ad groups with thousands of words all pointing to some loosely related ad. Group common desires and mindsets, write targeted ads, and send each to a targeted landing page.
Place underperforming keywords in new ad groups and optimize the ads for those keywords. If one of your top traffic keywords in an ad group is getting a significantly lower CTR than the rest, move it to its own ad group and write an ad with that keyword in the headline (and perhaps in the URL).
Build ad groups with enough traffic to split-test in a timely fashion. Don't take too long to declare split-test winners.
Add long-tail keywords to decrease CPC and increase traffic. Three- and four-word phrases tend to have less competition and represent buyers rather than lookers.
Focus your energy on the changes that will make the biggest difference. Before managing and optimizing your account, sort campaigns, ad groups, and keyword lists by impressions. Start where the most traffic is so your improvements lead to increased or more qualified visitor flow.
Landing Page Elements to Test in Google AdWords
Your most important AdWords job is to test and identify keywords and other elements of your site to make sure you're getting the best response possible from your online traffic. Here are a few suggestions about the best landing page elements to test for these purposes:
Headline: Use the results from your ad split tests to inform different headlines. Proclaim a big benefit, ask a question, start telling a story, make a scary prediction, and so on.
Offer: Do your visitors prefer an e-book, a newsletter, a mini-course, a sales quote, a CD, a return phone call, a cheat sheet, or a suitcase filled with unmarked $100 bills? (Just kidding about the suitcase.)
Location of opt-in form: Try the opt-in form on the right or the left, above the scroll, every four paragraphs, and so on.
Graphics: Test different photos of the product. Add shadow. Make the pictures bigger or smaller. Experiment with removing the header graphic. Try different colors and fonts for text and hyperlinks.
Background color: Try lighter or darker colors, warmer or cooler, with or without repeating background graphics.
Multimedia: Test adding audio or video to your page to orient, instruct, and win over your visitor.
Free Google AdWords Resources
As you explore Google AdWords, fine-tune your Web site, and gain knowledge about maximizing your Web presence, it never hurts to have a helping hand. The following list offers some suggestions for some free resources to help you out:
AdWords home page: To sign up for AdWords and to log in to your account.
AdWords Help Center: For answers to frequently (and not-so-frequently) asked questions.
AdWords Learning Center: For text and multimedia AdWords lessons. You can watch short videos, take quizzes, and even become a Qualified Google Advertising Professional.
AdWords Editorial Guidelines: Reminds you what not to put in your ads.
Google Group for AdWords Help: To connect with more than 11,000 AdWords users to ask questions and receive answers from Google-approved experts (free registration required).
Companion website for AdWords For Dummies: Includes videos, and updated information.
Vitruvian ongoing support: Offers free articles, forums, and teleseminars and video tutorials, as well as information on all the stuff we do for money.