Google AdWords – How to Make the Most of Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Whilst organic search engine optimisation will get you so far, it does have its limits. This is mainly due to the fact that when it comes to organic SEO, it is not possible to optimise for every keyword you want to generate results for. Attempting to optimise for ridiculous numbers of keywords is more than likely going to get you blacklisted from Google, and once this happens you really are in a whole world of pain.

So the best option for increasing your reach through search engines is to plunge into the world of search engine marketing through pay-per-click programs such as Google AdWords. Pay-per-click programs allow you to design the four-lined ads you see above and to the right of search results.

But designing your ads is not as simple as it seems. It’s not just a matter of slapping together a promotional piece and waiting for the sales to come rolling in. Google have strict editorial guidelines that govern the use of punctuation, superlatives and displayed URLs. Plus there’s also the trick of using the right kinds of messages that are going to work in a search engine environment. The word chains that you use for your search engine advertisements are vastly different to the messages you would use in more traditional marketing mediums. This is where it becomes important to ensure that your ads are:

  1. In line with Google’s editorial policy;
  2. Utilising the kinds of messages that search engine users are looking for;
  3. Pulling the right kinds of users to your site; and most importantly
  4. Generating you sales.

But designing the ads is just the first step. Once your ad designs have been created, you need to specify how much per click you are willing to pay as well as listing the keywords you wish to target.

You might be thinking that this is a straightforward budgeting exercise, but unfortunately, AdWords is not as simple as just listing a whole heap of keywords and setting a per-click budget. This is because Google does not simply see who has the highest bid for a given keyword and display their ads first. If this was the case, one cashed-up company could theoretically dominate every keyword search in Google.

Google consider what they call their Quality Score, which takes into account a whole range of factors to determine how relevant your ad is to a given search query. This often means that a small-targeted business can out-perform a large broad corporation despite the larger company outbidding the smaller one quite considerably.

Like most of their algorithms, Google do release part of what goes into into their Quality Score calculation, but how it all comes together is kept secret. An experienced SEM company, such as Reload Consulting, learns from experience how to improve a campaign’s quality score, and this is why investing in an AdWords campaign manager is a wise move.

The quality score is calculated by taking into account a number of factors including landing page load time, landing page relevancy, ad content relevancy; and a combination of how all these factors relate to the keywords. The trick then becomes knowing how to use each of these variables to maximise one’s quality score, and hence, placement in paid search results.

So to achieve the best results from your search strategy, use a combination of both organic SEO and paid SEM. And be prepared to spend a lot of time tinkering if you intend to go it alone.

Craig Somerville is a Director at Reload Media, having worked extensively on the digital and online strategies of leading companies within Australia and around the world. With a background in marketing and economics, Craig's unique experience offers great insight into how the world of search and online marketing is changing in today's rapid marketplace. He is also a Google AdWords Qualified Professional and regularly consults on all aspects of digital marketing including search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media.