I just don’t get it.

I have a ton of friends who are business owners. So, when they start making some money, they start talking to me about different kinds of investments.

People say that real estate is supposed to be good.

“I would like to become an angel investor. Any tips?”

What is my usual response?

I say Adwords, dude!

They operate these big companies, and they sell very good products. So, what are they doing?

So, run away and try to put their money in anything, even their own business.

Why not just try to sell more of their products?

Double down on what is already working, and do not start playing in a field that you do not know much about.

Using Google Adwords is usually the easiest way to get your traffic.

When my friend wants to spend 10x the amount that he invested, say $50,000, he can do that.

  • Spend 1000 hours trying to become a good angel investor. Learn everything about it, in the hope that you can get the next Facebook to invest in you. Which is almost impossible.
  • Do the same thing for real estate. Try to snag a cheap apartment or condo and then flip it. It is easier, but it is still hard work.
  • Spend 100 hours learning how to use Google Adwords (or hire someone who knows it) and invest $50,000 in Google Adwords campaigns. When you do that, you will make $500,000 in sales.

Which one of them do you think is the most likely to work out?

Option 3, that is a no brainer.

Today, I want to open the black box that Google AdWords is to most people and show you what it is, how to get started and how to reverse engineer your way to success.

If you know exactly what costs and margins you are selling, you can use Google Adwords. Some of them boast of having a good ROI, often in the hundreds of percentage points.

(Image source: Sponsored Linx)

When you do not know what roi stands for, it means that it stands for return on investment. So, if you spend $100 to buy ads, you will get back $330.40.

So you can transform $100 into $430.30 and therefore quadruple your money.

A ROI like this is not uncommon with AdWords. If you do that right, you may be able to have 900% roi, like my friend wants to 10x his money.

So let’s begin at the beginning.

A quick tutorial on Google Adwords.

Look:

For me, my bread and butter is in SEO. One of the first things I do when I start to build a new site is to create content and links. It is my #1, go-to strategy that I strongly recommend most of the time.

Except when you need results right now.

SEO + content is very powerful. That’s the best and most profitable way to grow a website over the long-term. But it will take some time. It takes a little patience.

Adwords is something like the opposite.

You can get up-and-running in less than an hour (and you can also edit ads easily). You need to do what is right (read the rest of this guide) so that you can get new sales every hour.

What is the best part? It’s performance-based.

So here’s what I am referring to.

We’ve talked about pay per click (PPC) advertising before. This is different from other advertising methods (like banner ads and CPM or Cost per Thousand Impressions) because you aren’t paying for eyeballs. Instead, you are paying for the results.

So far there are no results! No clicks, no leads, and no sales. You do not pay for it. It is as simple as that.

That is not the only benefit.

On the other hand, when people go to Google, they are searching for something that is specific. That means they have intent. They are actively looking for something to buy. By typing out the information that they want to buy, they’re essentially telling you what products and services you are selling.

That’s why Google AdWords is so powerful (and profitable). There is no better method of SEM (search engine marketing) than that.

From each $3 that we spend on online advertising, Google gets $1. Advertising is their best source of income.

Over 95% of their $60 billion in annual revenue comes from Google AdWords. Combine that with the fact that over 1 million businesses use it and you know that companies are seriously spending money on this.

(Image source: Youtube)

Google Adwords is a marketplace where companies pay to have their website ranked high on search results pages. The top spot is determined by the keywords that people are searching for.

Allow us to be honest with each other for a second.

Google loves big brands in their organic search rankings. So unless you’re a big brand, you may find it hard to put Papa John’s or Domino’s at the top of the lists — no matter how much better your pizza is — and I will be honest, it probably is better.

Adwords allows you to cheat.

You have the chance to quickly build up a list of content and links over the course of a few months. Instead of waiting, you can jump right into the #1 position on the page!

Check out the video!

Grubhub is now able to take over #1 place from domino’s for one of the best keywords in their industry. So Racca’s Pizzeria (someplace that is not named) is able to breath down Domino’s neck, too.

So even smaller companies can compete at the top of a search engine results page, and it took only a few minutes to win (as opposed to months or years with seo).

AdWords also offers you a small extra bonus. It can help you reveal the ‘money making’ keywords in your industry. By investing a few bucks, you will learn which keywords convert the best, and you can use that information to boost your content and your SEO strategy.

The Adwords marketplace is like an auction. People are bidding money to get clicks. In certain situations, the highest bidders won’t always win. Google has put together the money factor and the quality factor (which we’ll dive into shortly) in order to create the best experience for their users.

Quality ads + good bids = Win!

It is an immense industry and if you have not reached out to get the most profit out of it, I bet you would love to. However, you should be warned: Using Google Adwords is straightforward, but it is not easy.

It takes time to learn the proper use of pay-per-click advertising. Most companies lose money on it because they don’t stay patient long enough to see what the results are. In this guide, I want to help you start by making it simple.

Before we get started, promise me that you will do three things:

  1. Do not spend a lot of money. Set a budget that is fixed. Your payment may be as small as $50 or even $25. All right, that’s enough to get started.
  2. Do not overcomplicate things. The interface of Google Adwords is very complex, so it’s easy to get lost. And then you can create dozens of variations of your ads. Don’t. It is important to keep things simple. What you should do is as small as the platform allows you to begin.
  3. You should be patient. All the people who lose money on ads simply quit too early — or they spend too much money too quickly. It is necessary to have patience. It will take some time.

Is it possible for you to promise me that it will be like that?

Raise your hand and show that you are proud!

Okay, that sounds good.

So lets get started with some basics.

How can I use Google Adwords (which replaces Overview)?

First, let’s start with some fundamentals. That way, everyone is on the same page.

Below are some of the basic terms that you should know.

A keyword is a term or phrase that an end-user searches for before seeing your ad. It is possible for your ads to appear for the keywords that you have selected.

The dashboard is quite complex, but we’ll get to it.

Google counts the people who click on your ads, and charges you for each click. They also count impressions, which is simply the number of times your ads have been shown to people when they search for that keyword.

You can divide the clicks by the number of impressions and get the click-through rate. That is the percentage of users who arrive on the page that you advertise because they clicked on your ad. You should always look for click-through rates, because they tell you which ads are performing well and which ones are not.

Google Adwords is like a place where people are auctioned. Set a budget and bid for the work. The amount that you are willing to pay for each click is determined by your bid. If your maximum bid for an ad is $2, Google will only show those ads to people if they are not bidding more (on average).

(Auctions have changed)

Google wants to maximize their revenues and, therefore, they choose the ad from the company whose bid the highest amount for that keyword. That is, assuming that all bidders have the same quality score.

If people are bidding less for a keyword that you want to show up for, then Google will not spend your maximum bid. You should optimize the impressions and the bids. Because of this, you might end up paying less than $2 per click.

You may get a cost per click or CPC, which is a lower number than the maximum bid, especially if your ads produce a good quality score. This is a measurement based on the interaction that the user has on your landing page, the relevance of your website and the content of your ad.

Google doesn’t just want to show people ads that people bid on – it could be horrible ads. They really care about their users. So much that they would like to show them more relevant and better ads by people who pay less, because that keeps users coming back to Google.

None of those things really matter, if you are not getting conversions. Conversions are not necessarily a new lead or a sale. Instead, they mean that the user has taken the action that you want them to take.

Sometimes that act of buying something is something other than a purchase. It is possible to sign up to be on an email list or enter personal information for the purposes of these other actions.

In most cases, it really is about the dough (ha, I am so gangster!). And you are rightly so.

Companies spend thousands of dollars on Adwords pay-per-click advertising, because their budgets are set every day, and the process runs endlessly.

Imagine that you have 10 different campaigns for various keywords. Each campaign should have a $10 daily budget. If you let the power run for only a month and never pay attention, you’ll have paid a $3,000 bill.

That’s the reason that conversions must be successful – they must be successful in order to quickly regain the money that you spent on ads.

In order to earn money by displaying ads, you must sell something.

That makes good sense, doesn’t it?

That’s why we’re going to start with conversions. I’ll show you the right way to setup your account, make sure to track your click-through rate and conversions, and then we can get the ball rolling.

Before we get started, let’s take a deeper dive into how Google Adwords actually works. What I am talking about is the math and the factors that determine which of the two things you should care about most:

  1. How much is the fee that you will have to pay?
  2. There are many places where you can rank.

What it does: Here’s what it means.

What is the purpose of Google Adwords?

Back in the old days, you could also bid on virtually any keyword that you wanted.

So it was a straight auction that didn’t factor in the relevance between what someone was searching for and what you were advertising.

The Quality Score changed all that, though.

What you are offering for a search is a very complex metric. It involves several factors. So, in order to effectively decide whether what you are offering is very valuable for that person’s search,.

Buckle up, ‘cause I am about to become kinda nerdy! It’s critical to understand the basic fundamentals if you’re going to start spending into the thousands each month.

So here it goes!

Each keyword that you add to your account will get its own quality score. There are instances when even two keywords that are in the same ad group (which we’ll get to in a sec) can have different quality scores. That depends on how relevant they are to the search that they are making.

So that’s the first factor they’re looking for: relevancy.

A good example is this: Someone might search for “snowboard rentals.” Which of the key points do you think will have a higher ‘relevance’ score?

  1. Snowboard rental Tahoe.
  2. Ski rental.

It should be easy, right? Even if the two people are related, one is clearly a better match. In a campaign, when you use key phrases.

  1. Snowboard rental.
  2. Snowboard rental prices.
  3. “snowboard rentals on Tahoe Lake”

It seems that these people are all pretty relevant to us now. On the basis of the popularity of each, it is ideally important that you list as many of each type as possible. That would involve creating one or more ads or even new campaigns for each of those specific keywords.

Because the second factor taken into account is the click-through rate (both expected and historical).

Your ads will be seen (or, viewed) by people and they will get ‘clicks’. Your click-through rate (CTR) is calculated using clicks that come from views. With a higher CTR, you should know that your ad and keyword relevancy is better than those that have a lower CTR, and you should make sure that your copy is also good.

It will look at your older ads and predict future ones, to see if your ads are a good match for people’s search.

Next, your account history is considered. It’s a small part of the pie (compared to the other two metrics) but still plays a role in helping Google determine if you’re a trusted brand, if you’ve made good products and services.

All of these aspects pertain to your actual Adwords account. On the other side of that coin, you may have a landing page, the place where people go once they click on your ad.

It needs to be relevant to what someone just searched. When you search for “snowboard rentals”, you should get a page describing those rentals.

Similarly, the landing page itself must be user friendly. For example, if it’s tough to navigate or seems sketchy in anyway, people will bounce (or leave your site immediately).

That was a negative sign for Google. That means that your page, for whatever reason, is sucking. So, your ‘score’ will be lowered, and either you’ll fall below competitors who have better landing pages, or you will pay more for it.

Because that’s the one thing that is funny about Adwords.

It’s an auction, truly. But sometimes, if you do it right, you can actually rank at the top while also paying the least (out of the other advertisers).

It often comes back to your Quality Score and your Ad Rank.

Ad Rank is your Quality Score times the maximum bid you’ve selected. It is simple math, really. You know, and in theory, that is the reason why you should choose which position you are going to take. Of course, it’s not always that simple, because Google Adwords is such a huge area.

So the cost per click that you pay for ads is often determined by how many points you score vs. your competitors.

When Google compares your max bid and your quality scores and your ad rank, they compare them to your competitors. That is all in fractions of a second so you can decide what you will be paying for that advert.

Here’s a brilliant image from Wordstream that shows exactly how it all works.

The cost per click in your own industry can vary widely depending on two factors, (1) the amount of people that are searching, and (2) how much the competition is spending.

One example: The auto industry might only pay you a few dollars for each click. When it comes to industries that are competitive, such as insurance and law, I have seen cost per clicks that range from $50-100 a piece.

You might be asking yourself, “How can you afford to pay $50 for a click?”?

That sounds very expensive!

You can use Adwords but surprisingly, it’s actually pretty cheap. If you know what you are doing, you can still make back 10 times your money.

How?

First, you must read this guide.

I’m going to show you how to get an Adwords account setup for the first time.

That is Step 0. Adwords 101 – Getting set up for your first campaign.

This is a very straightforward concept.

Go to Google AdWords and hit ‘Start now.’

Enter your email (it is best to use a gmail account) and your homepage URL in order to open your Adwords account. So you should set up your first Adwords campaign.

What the heck is Google?

I am not even starting to learn any of these things.

What’s the purpose of this guide? It is possible to leave the browser tab open in the background. First, we need to talk about all the different types of campaigns that you can run on Adwords.

When I say ‘ppc advertising’, technically, I mean the search network. That’s what we’ve been talking about so far—the text-based results that appear on Google.com immediately after you perform a search.

There is a ‘network’ option which lets you extend where your ads appear. Some of you may see ads on the sites of Google’s partners, like AOL.

We’ll spend most of this guide focusing on the search network because of the benefits we’ve already discussed (like searcher intent and pay-for-performance). That means that you can expect better results than you would get from the display networks. So that is why I would strongly recommend starting from here first.

Google Display Network typically shows up on other websites. This is a list of banner ads that are placed across the AdSense network on blogs of literally every size. Google themselves claim that the two million websites on their Display Network can help you reach about 90% of the internet’s visitors!

You can also target blogs and websites that are within certain categories, such as ‘home improvement’ for example. If you’re not doing that, you will not have that killer search intent to drive conversions.

It is important for you to use the display network to promote your business. By reaching out to that many people, you can improve your branding and improve your visibility within your industry.

That way, when people do start searching and looking for a product to buy, they already recognize your name. Some examples of ideals include high priced services. However, some people will not feel comfortable spending more than $10k+ on their very first visit to your site.

But after seeing your name around the Display Network and after visiting your site a few times, they’ll finally do a search when ready to buy.

So let’s get started there.

First, let’s discuss how to calculate a Google Adwords budget that will profitably bring in more than you spend. Then we will dive deeper into advanced bidding strategies.

Let’s do that.

Step 1: Calculate a budget for Adwords.

You can do this with fourth-grade math, really.

In order to see how much you can comfortably spend, you simply need to calculate the sum by working backward.

So lets say that you are selling bricks. It is necessary that you calculate the profit per sale and the conversion rate.

A box containing 500 bricks costs $200, and you are making a profit of $100 on each pack. That is your profit per sale.

You know the conversion rate of the people who come to your bricks sales page.

Assuming that for every 1,000 views, 10 people purchase something, that’s a 1% conversion rate.

Because Google pays for all the ads that they show, they also get a cut of the revenue.

From the proceeds of each sale, how much would you be willing to give to them?

If you think that making $70 per sale is still acceptable, and if you pay Google a 30% commission on every successful conversion through Adwords, that’s okay.

By putting all of it together, you will be able to calculate your CPC.

Max. CPC = your profit x the commission you receive from Google x your conversion rate.

Then, in this case, the result would be $100 x 0.3 x 1% = $0.30.

So, if you spend $0.30 on Google AdWords for each click, and you still make $70 per sale, assuming that your conversion rate stays the same.

That wasn’t really difficult, was it?

If we do that, then we will scale our daily budget to include our maximum CPC. A common mistake people make is that you need many clicks to be able to evaluate anything.

That is not true!

You only need to click a few buttons in order to get started.

As for statistics, the more data that you have, the more statistically significant they will be. There is a lot of data, but that is something that you will get over time.

You should allow your average person to receive 20 clicks per day at the start. That’s okay.

If we had an inflated CPC, it would cost us $6 per day, tops. You are able to run a campaign for 10 days and spend just $60 on it.

Perfect!

So it is easy, right?

Now you can improve your performance by using bidding strategies.

When you use Adwords, you have a few different ways to manage your bids. These are all ways that you can use to keep track of all the campaigns that you have and how they are changing.

For example, you can keep it on Manual CPC to keep the most control over your campaigns. Then it seems that every keyword and every ad group will have the same bid (unless you manually change the bid).

Is this the first time you have tried it? Is it possible to do a lot of things on a shoestring budget? You should always set your bids at manual cpc to make sure that they do not automatically go up or down without you realizing it.

Automatic CPC is an advanced bidding strategy to decrease the amount of time it takes for you to manage each campaign. So bids on eBay can be increased or decreased on their own depending on different factors.

What if you were trying to reach out to the most people possible? As soon as your impressions start to drop like a rock, you can bid a little more to ensure that your ads will continue to show up and be seen.

So what is the downside?

You cannot set a maximum bid for each keyword. End up trading some of your budget control for some other control.

Enhanced CPC relies on Google’s own historical data to help you predict where and when to adjust bids in order to drive the best results.

For example, if a campaign’s performance looks promising it will automatically raise bids to ‘capture’ more results (for less money). If it begins to perform poorly, it will also drop bids if necessary in order that you can save money on wasted ads.

You know that CPC stands for cost per click. CPA Bidding is another variation on that, so you pay a Cost Per Action (or conversion) instead.

It is possible that Google will adjust the bids in order that you get the lowest cost per conversion possible on every campaign, even if it means raising the price in some cases.

CPM bidding applies only to the Display Network (along with remarketing campaigns, too). You will pay for a thousand impressions. That cost is usually a few cents or dollars.

In this case, you are paying for eyeballs rather than clicking on the buttons or converting your traffic. So also make sure that your goals are a little different.

You should never use CPM bidding to maximize leads or convert more people. Is it necessary to increase brand awareness first, with a separate campaign? Then, later on, bidding in different campaigns, in order to ‘capture’ or convert that new attention to your brand?

These are the most commonly used bidding strategies. But then each one can be further optimized based on bid modifiers.

There are three common modifiers: geographical locations, device, and dayparting.

Geographic locations is exactly what it sounds like. You can also define ‘rules’ that allow you to raise or lower bids based on where the person is searching from.

In your example, people from California may spend more money than they normally spend. Some people in Ohio also tend to make conversions more expensive (as to cost per lead).

That will allow you to ‘handicap’ those differences, so that you will not overpay in one area (like Ohio). Also, you should not leave easily earned money on the table in another country, like California.

Same idea applies to the device someone is using.

More people are accessing the internet on their mobile devices than on Desktop. That means more people are searching on their mobile, too.

The point is, however, that conversions don’t follow that trend.

Historically, conversion rates on desktop still tend to be higher than mobile.

What do these numbers tell us?

You might also want to optimize mobile campaigns in order to increase awareness or visibility. However, when people return to the office, you should focus on conversion-driven methods.

So, if you assign modifiers to certain devices, it will enable you to control how much of that money you spend and how much you pull back.

One of the final most popular techniques is called dayparting. That simply means that you must decide on the days and times each week when your ads will appear.

If you want leads to call your office, you might use bid modifiers in order to ensure that your campaigns are most aggressive during the normal business hours. That is the exact time when you want your phone to ring.

But when it’s 11pm and nobody is manning the phones, you can set a bit of a time limit on those bids, and allow your competition to overspend while you’re waiting for them to finish.

All those are advanced techniques that you can use to improve things once you have a little experience. So let’s leave it there for now and start establishing your account.

Have you got your budget in order? At least have a rough idea of how much money you are willing to spend. Good. Here’s how you can find profitable keywords at that price.

Step 2: Choose a keyword.

In order that you know that your highest price per keyword should be in the $3 range, it’s now time for you to decide on some keywords.

Head over to the Google keyword planner and start searching.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

In the hypothetical situation that you are looking to buy bricks online, what should you enter into Google’s search bar?

You should type exactly that.

By the way, you can even set your category, if you can find it. You should also set the country and the language under ‘targeting.’

In Google, it is important that you only select Google. Exclude the sites that show banners, etc. Hit ‘Get Some Ideas’.

Click on the Keyword Ideas tab. There you’ll see the monthly volume of searches for your keywords in that region, and the average CPC for each one.

There are 10 people per month who search for the keyword ‘buy bricks cheaply’. It costs almost $3.00 per click to advertise for that keyword.

It is not such a great deal!

With regard to cheap bricks, there are 260 searches per month, but it costs only $0.78 per month.

That’s a solid starting point.

So how can we keep them coming?

Always start with branded searches.

What are the easy, low hanging fruit terms that you should be using already with your company? It could be the name of your product or your service. It could also be a term you come up with to describe what you do (think: Hubspot coined the term ‘inbound marketing’).

By using these terms, you can easily convert people who are already searching for you by name.

As for the downside, the thing that we’re dealing with is that it is a small market in the grand scheme of things. You should also go after people who have not heard of you yet.

It is these bottom of the funnel keywords that convert at a higher rate. But they are fewer. When you add key words, you also need to add them from the middle and from the top of the funnel.

These should be the same topics that you’ve already identified in your content strategy.

Some people might not think that the market for “marketing automation consultants” is small. You can go upstream a little bit and find some keywords that are already having a big search demand.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer (technically, a paid tool for SEO) helps make this discovery process a little easier. Then, if you start with one search term, you’ll see a list of suggested search terms, in which you can sort them by relevancy and search volume.

SEMrush is another great tool for keyword research. And it is also good for you to have an added bonus.

Using a tool like semrush, you can check out what the competition is doing. You can see which other people are bidding on the exact same keywords that you’re researching, and what ad copy they are using to target that keyword.

So for example, you could type in “buy car insurance online” and export their ad copy so that you can think ahead about what other relevant terms you might want to include.

We are just scratching the surface of keyword research.

That means you can look at key figures based on:

  1. What’s trending – Hop over to Google Trends to see if specific people, places, or locations are gaining steam in the mainstream media
  2. Seasonality – Typically, it is based on big events that will happen in the next few weeks (for example, the Super Bowl).
  3. Site search – You can use Google Analytics to determine what people are searching for on your site. You will just need to find it and take it to them.

The keywords that you decide on are important. But you also need to consider their match types, too.

That’s the reason.

Assume that you are hiring some “engineers.” You set up a new landing page and created a new Adwords campaign, to start attracting new engineering candidates to join your system.

There is only one problem, which is…

When you start to sift through your early results, you notice that many of these engineers are not the right kind.

You want people who are software engineers. What you actually get are “electrical engineers,” “civil engineers,” and more.

The problem that you were having was not just about the word you chose. I would say, specifically, what match type were you using?

Google Adwords has three primary match types:

  1. Broad: means anything that is related to what you selected.
  2. Phrase is a verb that is used to make a sentence.
  3. It is only when the exact word choice is used that it can be picked up.

A wide match will draw the maximum number of people. Exact is able to pull in even the most small things.

Generally speaking, you want a good balance of all three in order to get the best bang for your buck. If you have too few people, you will never scale your business. You have too many, and you’re paying too much for junk clicks.

So here’s what you should write instead of each other (pay attention to the punctuation).

  1. Broad: +software +engineer
  2. Phrase: software engineer
  3. Exact: [software engineer]

Using a blend of the three match types will make sure that you get a good cross-section of search terms.

That’s critical, because while you’re bidding on keywords, what you’re actually paying for is search terms.

These are the words that people are typing into Google and seeing your ads.

That’s why, if you were not using the correct match types previously, you were getting random, but kinda related, results for civil and electrical engineers.

So under the Keywords tab, you can look for the Search Terms report and see all of the terms you’re currently paying for (even though you haven’t added those to any campaigns necessarily).

So what if you do not like what the search terms are showing up?

What if the actual content of the clicks is completely irrelevant and you’re just paying a lot of money for those bad clicks, like the ones about ‘civil’ and ‘electric’ previously?

You’ll want to exclude them by adding them as negative keywords.

Later in this guide we will outline a routine that you should run through on a regular basis, in order to catch all of these bad keywords before they ruin your budget.

But for now, just realize that you can ‘flag’ certain keywords inside your campaigns that basically tell Google never to show your ads for those again.

All of these negative keywords are placed on a list that grows over time. So in a few weeks you’ll start to filter out all of that junk. And you’ll catch it before it wrecks your town.

So your ads should only show up when people want to buy good stuff. The ROI on your campaigns should actually increase over time.

It is only half of the battle to select your own budget and key items. The other half of what you need to pay, is the competition you’re going up against.

Here’s how you can dominate them.

Step 3: Check out the other people who have entered a competition.

By looking at what other businesses your competitors are doing, you will discover whether it’s easy or not to outrank them.

Did you remember that Google Adwords also considers quality? You want to know how good your ads are so that they can win.

This is also known as competitor intelligence.

Here’s how you can get started.

Go to Spyfu.com and enter your keyword. In this case, it was “cheap bricks.”

It also shows you what the average CTR (cost to acquire) is for this keyword and the number of companies that have advertised for this keyword in the past 3 months.

In the above example, there are only 41 companies that are advertising on AdWords. That’s nothing, considering that over 1 million companies are advertising there.

It will show you other keywords that have performed well in Adwords in this niche.

You can find out which ads your competitors are using.

Pro tip: One of the best ways to determine whether your keyword is relevant for Google’s quality score is by looking at whether it appears in your actual ad.

Brickit does not even mention bricks in its ad. So, that doesn’t mean that they should be too hard to defeat.

Do you remember SEMrush? So let’s pull that up again, and do another competitive analysis. You can use this tool to find out what the average and estimated cost for specific keywords is.

But there’s a better tip.

You can also look up a competitor. So let’s start with the 800lb gorilla, the one who is dominating the serps.

You can go into that search engine and look up all the keywords that they’re currently bidding on, and the estimated volume and cost of those bids.

So, by combining these approaches, you can uncover all the ppc playbooks that your competitors have.

It is possible to reverse engineer it in order to outperform them.

That would be sneaky, right?

Do not compete. Dominate.

It is now clear how Adwords works. You understand how the advertising-based auction works.

We’ve also covered other nerdy things, like bidding strategies. Select keywords and the match types for them. Filtering out the things that you need to find out based on the search terms that you get, and excluding the bad stuff with negative key words.

That is how you can spy on your competitors and use their own strategies to defeat them.

We have covered a ton of ground. So, it’s time to turn those campaigns into a living reality, right?

No, not yet. That’s the reason.

Step 4: Be sure your landing page rocks!

You are about to spend money to get traffic.

So I want to make sure that you understand that.

You will pay people for visiting your website, which is all that you ask.

It is still your job to convert them, and to convince them to pay you money.

So if your landing page falls down, you will certainly lose all your money. I was shocked to find out that businesses will only spend $1 converting their traffic for every $92 they spend acquiring it.

When people arrive at your landing page, would you spend another $92 on them if the result is that they end up buying your $300 product? You certainly would.

Before you start advertising, be sure that you have done everything possible to convert visitors to buyers. That’s what happens if you send 1000 people to your landing page on AdWords and they convert at 1%. If you make $1000 with a $100 product. Imagine increasing that to 2%.

So now you will double your money, and you will be able to spend more on ads.

If you are doing it right, Google Adwords will have a positive reinforcement effect on your website, but your landing page should be converted.

After spending a quarter of a million dollars on conversion rate optimization (CRO), it breaks my heart to see generic, boring offers, like this one from Citibank:

They are offering some kind of bank account. However, the account has no obvious benefit over, well, any other bank account.

Even worse, they insist that I enter a ton of details.

Wordstream has come up with a good article on improving your landing page.

Four main points you should take into consideration.

  • Just keep the design simple. Do not cram your pages with tons of videos, animations, and fancy design that takes forever to load.
  • Make the headlines powerful and make them stand out. It is the first thing that people read. It should be good.
  • Write down one copy that is clear. Do not try to sound smart by using complicated words that no one understands. Write this as you speak. It is necessary to be clear about what you have to offer.
  • Use bullet points, pictures and other visual elements to help others understand your work. Do not overdo it. Things like those above are intended to help readers understand your message, not to be the sole reason to catch their eye.

Want to see an example of a job well done? Check out Lyft.

Simple designs, clear headlines, simple instructions.

Another good example is Codecademy. On their homepage, they instantly announce what they are going to give you. I promise you will receive it quickly.

Both Lyft and Codecademy are perfect examples of conversion-centered design. It causes the readers to stick to your pages like glue. It also entices them, so they click on the link to find out more.

For example, Hiten teamed up with ProfitWell to analyze the difference between a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ pricing page.

I have found that pages that combine “more information” and “more action” help users feel most confident. It is because they feel the most comfortable moving forward with you.

If you get the mix wrong, that will result in people being intimidated, discouraged, and distracted by others. None of those will buy anything.

Their study pointed to the fact that Zendesk was one of the worst examples of bad customer service. It is evident how cluttered and confusing all the information on this page is.

Now compare this simplified version from Campaign Monitor with the one above.

On the surface, you can see that the pricing page layout is also relatively similar.

The big difference between them is in the way they present the information. What really matters is the page design.

The next key difference is that the copy is different.

Copywriting is another complex, challenging topic on its own. The information that I want to share with you in a post on AdWords would be way too much.

So instead, keep this simple framework in mind: PAS.

What it does: Here’s what it means.

  • Problem is, Adwords can cause you to make tons of money. Sometimes it is hard and complex to get started.
  • If you agitate and if you make a mistake, you will not only waste tons of time, but you will also waste tons of money.
  • Solution: Fortunately, you can read this thorough guide in order to avoid making those mistakes.

With this formula, focus on addressing people’s pain points when they interact with you. You’ll also be able to make the landing page ‘relevant’ to the keywords that you are targeting + the search term that the searcher used. That is the best source, and you are also getting the best ROI.

That sounds great, right? It is easy enough.

There is only one problem, which is…

How are you supposed to get all those pages up?

It is Adwords’ quality score that will determine the relevance of your landing page. That means the key you’re targeting must match the key you’re trying to capture.

Multiple keys mean multiple landing pages.

If you are already working with designers and developers, there is no problem. If it’s not, then you’re going to need some extra tricks or tools.

Unbounce solves a lot of these problem areas, like creating, hosting, and testing new pages. They also have a library of templates, with designs that you can pull off the shelf.

Their website builder is a simple drag-and-drop page builder that allows you to modify almost any page of your website without touching a line of code.

They also have an advanced featured called Dynamic Keyword Replacement. If you do this, you can create just one landing page, and it will automatically pull in the keywords that people search for.

There were times when you had to create dedicated landing pages for all of your major Adwords campaigns. That was incredibly time consuming.

We do not have that tool anymore.

Instapage and LeadPages are two other options. Both of these sites have beautiful templates that you can select with a click. Both of these plugins allow you to make limited customizations, so you can have a new landing page up within minutes.

In some cases, getting your landing page live is only half of the battle. It is possible to see how common things play out.

Pick a beautiful template that is visually pleasing. Push it into the air! Flip the switch on your ad campaigns, and everything will be fine.

Visitors are coming in, but leads and sales are not happening.

What is going on?

One way to find out is to use CrazyEgg. This tool will help you uncover user behavior — like what people are actually doing on the page.

So you can see what people are clicking on, how much they are scrolling, and how visitors from Facebook browse around your pages, and how different they are from those who browse through Adwords.

Is it really a step closer to figuring out what’s going well and what needs to be improved?

What usually happens is that it is just a simple drag-and-drop fix with one of those older landing page tools.

You should now be able to fix the page. Leads are now rolling in. One final thing that you should do until your Adwords strategy is finished.

Google Analytics is a very valuable tool. However, it will only give you a raw number of conversions. That’s why you need something extra like Kissmetrics.

If you’re already spending thousands each month on AdWords, you need to know which of those campaigns are driving the most buyers (not just opt-ins).

A campaign which delivers 10 leads. Only 5 candidates in Campaign B. But those numbers don’t matter.

What matters is how many of those people will ultimately pay you.

So that would mean there would be only 2 of those for campaign a. Then, 3 for campaign b.

Perhaps Campaign B’s average order value is higher. In order to really know which campaigns are really driving revenue, you have to go all the way to the finish line. Those that look good on the surface, but the reality is that they are not delivering any good results.

Your landing page should be designed to convert people. The Internet gives people the information they need. However, he presents it simply in order that it is easy for people to understand.

Copywriting on your page uses the common pas formula. After you see how users are behaving and how many customers you are getting, you are able to change your landing pages on the fly.

Now it is time to go back to the setup of your ads.

One of the easiest things is to set up your first Google Adwords campaign.

It is necessary to set a daily budget. We start with $6.00 just to give you an idea of what it all looks like.

Next, it is important to consider where your customers are. Physically.

If your business is not based in the US, but that is for worldwide business, enter the United States.

Under Networks, uncheck the network that displays it. It is necessary for your ads to show up in the Google desktop search results, not on other websites in your industry.

Enter the keywords you want to buy (do not worry about Google’s suggestions, you can always add more) and set your bid at $3.00.

It is important that you understand what is happening here.

We’re creating a Campaign that will ‘house’ everything. Underneath that, there’s Ad Groups. Then under that, Keywords and Ads. Here’s how it looks:

It is possible that you may decide to run only one campaign for now. If you become good at it, you will have many campaigns. There are a ton of ad groups for each campaign. A few keywords and ads.

On the next page, there are a few ways to structure your Adwords account.

Many professionals who are in PPC have their own favourites. In this regard, there is no consensus. There is no perfect setup. So, for this example, I’ll cover a few of the popular apps, along with their pros and cons, so that you can make your own decision.

The first setup is by match type. Do you remember those words?

You are basically creating one campaign for a wide match. So another phrase match! This time there is another exact match.

The advantage of using this setup is that it allows you to quickly highlight performance in those exact terms. So, based on your results, you can quickly adjust the budget to make it smaller.

A disadvantage is that it often becomes very large and complex over time. If you’re a big advertiser with a huge product catalog and you are about to drop some money on something, you may want to avoid this one.

Instead, you might want to setup campaigns around your own product, brands, etc.

On the plus side, it makes everything easy, so you can spend as much time and money as you need to on whatever business you are trying to push into the market.

Even if it makes it easier to organize your products and to accomplish your objectives, it can be difficult to improve on a keyword level with individual performance.

Last but certainly not least, there are single keyword ads groups (SKAG). These are a little unique, because you’re literally creating independent ad groups for each keyword.

If you’re going to have a ton of keywords… that means a ton of work to organize and manage. But it also has a few benefits down the road.

KlientBoost founder Johnathan Dane (self proclaimed SKAG lover) highlights a few of those benefits:

  • It solves for the quality score and message match as it goes.
  • When your ads are laser-focused on a particular keyword.
  • You can also have better ‘control’ over the search terms that you are paying for.

That’s a big disadvantage, aside from the fact that it is very time-consuming, because you must know the keywords that you are targeting before you set up your campaigns. So there isn’t that much room for experimentation.

Each of these methods works. It just depends on what you want it to be.

No matter which one you choose, though, it’s important to understand how it’s going to fit into your customer’s journey.

Three search queries that you can use to get the best results:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada.
  2. Las Vegas Restaurants – What Do You Think?
  3. Hotel in Las Vegas.

All of them are connected. It is certain that each person is searching for something different. The intent changes.

So if someone is searching for the first phrase, he might be interested in the city. You might be comparing it to other places, such as New Orleans, for a vacation.

As for the people who stay in hotels, that does not mean that they are ready to buy something or to put down a credit card at a hotel.

The second one is also appropriate for those who are planning to travel, but are still considering all their options. It looks like they will definitely be going to Las Vegas, but that does not mean that they have picked out any hotels yet. They are still looking around.

The third and final person is a person who is ready to buy. They compare dates for travel and see what hotel prices are.

Each of these three concepts is important. So the keywords that you pick to attract different people will vary. Same thing applies to ads that you plan to show on TV.

Everything is about your business. Some of you might have a limited budget and you may decide to aggressively pursue paying customers.

You might also be looking to reach people earlier in the decision making process in order to lower the cost per lead.

The point is that you must think carefully about how these adwords campaigns are going to be setup and what part of the funnel they are going to target. That’s before you dive into the specifics of creating an ad.

So, that brings us to our next step.

And now, all that we are lacking is the advertisement.

Step 6: Write the first ad that you plan to post.

What is it really required to write a good Google Ad? There are a few things that I want to tell you.

Be very precise. There isn’t a lot of room in the house for you to express yourself. So, keep it short and sweet.

Having a unique value proposition (UVP) helps. It’s a one-sentence description of the benefits that you can provide to your customers.

Do you remember the old slogan of Domino’s?

In under 30 minutes, you get fresh, hot pizza, delivered to your home. Or, you can get it for free.

(Image source: ConversionXL)

What more do you want from a pizza? Quick shipping. When you get it, it’s still hot.

Spend some time thinking about what makes you unique. What is it that you bring to the table that your competitors do not?

You should capitalize on that.

There is also good news.

You do not have to be original or clever. You just need to mirror the things that already work.

For example, MarketingExperiments.com ran a study that showed using the same headline copy (more or less) on both your ad and landing page generated 2.5X more leads.

Another test showed that incorporating a number into the headline resulted in a 217% increase in CTR and 23% improvement in conversion rates.

In other words, there are patterns that you should follow. Formulas that you should emulate. When someone types in “Los Angeles Tax Attorney,” it means that they are really wanting to find a tax attorney in Los Angeles.

So it is important to create a strong ‘hook’ in your ad copy that catches their attention. Make sure your value proposition is compelling.

In any case, you should not reinvent the wheel. Do not be overly complex or clever in converting things.

It is also very important that you include a call-to-action. The easiest way to get people to click your ad is to ask them to do so. If you do not have a clear call-to-action, you will experience a decreased click-through rate.

One technique to give your CTA an extra boost is by using power words. These trigger words almost force prospects to click. They are constantly playing on our psychology (whether we want it or not).

Sometimes it is better to have fear. And sometimes it backfires. It is important to know when to use it correctly.

Outbrain found that negative-based headlines (ones that focus on threats and mistakes) got 69% higher click-through rates than positive ones (while also outperforming them 50%, too).

So, when you write your ads, changing the tone from talking about saving money to talking about wasting money can make all the difference. Instead of, “Get these 5 money saving tips now,” we should instead say, “Stop these five brain-dead money making mistakes now!”

Sometimes, the less that someone says, the better.

Curiosity is one of the most powerful levers of motivation we have. When you pique people’s interest, by teasing them or by asking a question that does not reveal the answer, it causes a little gap in their minds.

One of those they absolutely must fill.

Curiosity is even a go-to technique from Copyhackers, who once used it to increase clicks by 927%.

Here’s a terrible example that you can learn from.

Look at this ad that shows up when we search for the keyword “cheap bricks”.

They not only do not include the keyword in its true form, which is very useful, but there is also no step that they are encouraging me to take.

Different kinds of stones, and 12 years of experience.

And?

What is that going to mean for me? Nothing.

They are not telling me to do anything, so I do not.

Another important factor is your display URL. That is the green link that is displayed underneath the title. It is possible to have any domain that you want, but it should match the domain of your landing page.

You should always include the keyword in this section, in order to provide additional highlighting.

Keep those factors in mind while you create your ad.

So how about this?

If our page is: wesellcheapbricks.com, then we must set that URL as the display URL.

Pro tip: For more space, remove the http:// in your URL to ensure that there is more space for your keyword.

So lets break down this ad real quick:

Headline:

The headline “buy cheap bricks fast” is not only a headline that relies on the keywords, but it is also a headline that people can take, which makes it clickable.

Display the URL.

We also removed the http and added a second “cheap-bricks” at the end, so that it will be seen in the results and make our ad more relevant to people who search for that keyword.

It is an advertisement copy.

On the smallest scale, you only have two lines, so it isn’t very hard to get the message across. Our bricks are very cheap and they are delivered within 2 days. I think that’s as clear as it gets. When you say something about being cheap, it is usually relative, but it sure seems good enough to people who are searching for things.

The store also delivered items within 2 days, which is something that most brick stores do not offer and which they don’t even mention in their ads.

What are the call-to-actions?

“Order this item today!” What more do I need to say? There is no exclamation mark, because Google isn’t big on those, but it’s definitely a good prompt to take action.

Have you tried everything? Hit save, and then continue.

Next, fix the details.

When you land on your dashboard for the first time. First, stop the Adwords campaign, so that it does not start running just yet.

If you click on the banner, you’ll see that the campaign was automatically set up. That is how Google started this campaign. In our example of a single ad, the ad group does not matter. When you start running large ads on Adwords, and you are integrating lots of keywords into your ads, dividing them into Ad Groups makes managing your ads much simpler.

By clicking on that button, you’ll land on the Ad Level, where you can see the words that you have chosen.

Click on the keyword that you want to use and set it to phrase match.

Initial, Google set this match to be a broad match. So that’s not something that is very targeted. By doing that, people can type your keywords anywhere in the query.

In the same way, if someone searches for “how can I make bricks at home cheaply”, they are not looking for cheap bricks, and that’s not what you want.

The exact match feature might be too narrow. It only allows one phrase, “cheap bricks.”

When it comes to keyword matching, phrase matching is a good option. It must contain your keyword as a fixed phrase, but other terms can be put around it.

Some users may search for “where to buy cheap bricks” but your ad will still show up.

There is only one last thing that you should do.

8. Set up conversion tracking.

Do you remember that I said that all this information is useless without conversions?

That is why you must track each and every one of them.

How does Google do that?

Using a snippet of code.

Put this little code on the page that users reach when they have purchased something from you. It will allow you to see the pages that your customers have accessed after the purchase.

Google Adwords knows that each time that someone clicks on an advertisement, they will make a purchase.

When you set it up, go to “tools” and “conversions.”

Click on “+ conversion.”

So, click on “website.”

Add a name to it, and the value of the currency that you converted.

Click “save and continue” at the bottom of the page. You’ll go to that page with the code snippet.

Copy and paste this code into the HTML code of your thank you page, the one that people see immediately after making a purchase.

That is it!

From your dashboard, it will say unverified at first, but later on it will change a few hours or days later.

After you’ve set everything up, go to the campaigns tab and allow the campaign to run.

But what if you were a company that uses lead?

According to Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index, 70% of 30 million phone calls started with a digital channel. When people call you, you can also send calls that are better.

Average conversion rates might hover around 1-2% online. On mobile devices, if you are using Invoca’s data, that percentage may be as high as 30-50%.

So there are two things you may try.

The first is setting up the AdWords call extension. In this case, if you do this, you can add a phone number and call button to the advertisement.

So, when someone calls, the ADS database records that person’s number. That way, when someone rings the ADS database, you can see what campaign or ad delivered that call.

However, not all of you will call the number on the ad. They might go through the website and look around a little before calling.

So you’re going to lose the digital trail that’s been sent from when that ad arrived. Unless you use a tool like CallRail to help you keep track.

All you have to do is copy and paste this script onto your website, similar to the script shown in the photo above.

You can also set the phone number that you are going to use on your site as the ‘swap target’.

It is important that a new number is assigned to each visitor, so that they can be followed from page to page.

So when someone calls, you instantly know that it was an advertising campaign that sent them to you in the first place.

Congratulations, you just launched your first Google Adwords campaign.

Now it is time to keep it.

What is going on now?

So, not much.

Before you start to display your ads, Google will review your ads, before they start showing them to people. That’s the reason why it does not make sense to create lots of ads right away.

You should log into your account the next day to see that your ad has been approved. You should also receive an email from Google. Once you do that, you can start creating more ads by copying your original ad.

That way, you will not have to go through the entire approval process all over again. Go to the tab on the left that has ads.

Select the ad and check the box to let you edit it. Then click on “copy” and “edit.”

After you do that, click on “paste” (or, just press cmd/ctrl+v).

Paste your ad in both boxes, and make sure that they are checked.

By clicking on that ad, you can change it. It is possible to change the headline and/or the copy.

In order to get the best results on Adwords, it is necessary for you to test different ads against each other.

If you only run one ad and the results are crappy, you cannot possibly know what would have been better had it been run on another day. You can’t compare it to any other campaign.

That’s why you should put at least one more ad on that second day, after the first ad has been approved.

Credit to the account: Regular account maintenance.

Your account is now up and running. (Finally!)

Over the next few days and weeks, the results will start to come in.

There is not much else to do until then.

That is the last thing that you can put on your radar, before you are able to start counting all those new sales.

In the long run, you’ll want to constantly maintain, prune, and improve your bank account. Smaller accounts can wait for the bill every month or so. Some of the bigger ones that I’ve worked on go through the kind of thing that happens with this every week.

The goal is to check whether your campaigns are healthy. Find out what is not working in order to minimize the amount of wasted ad time.

So first, you should pull up the search term report.

You will be able to read through this report regularly, and you will do one of two things:

  1. Identify new key people to add to existing campaigns.
  2. Identify the words that are off-topic and add them to your negative keyword list so that they do not pop up again.

You aim here to change from bad spending to good. What I mean is, restricting any money that is wasted and putting it behind the things that you already have that are performing well.

This will enable you to compare the profitability of each keyword.

Next, check the ads for their positions.

So, if your company always ranks at the top, you might be able to reduce your budget a little bit at a time in order to reduce your cost per lead while you still rank at the top.

Is it possible that you’re showing up at positions 3-4? If so, you probably are not getting very many clicks. So, this time, increase your bids gradually, in order to climb up to positions 1-2 (within reason, so that you don’t overspend).

Next, you should create more ads. In your ideal world, you would like to see your ads performing with a click-through rate (CTR) of at least 8%.

That means you’ll need to try a few variations of each keyword or ad group, depending on how yours is configured. Then you may find one very successful ad.

At the same time, feel free to drop or pause the underperformers. Generally, ads will be rotated indefinitely in order to test out multiple versions. So be quick to stop losing money from the winnings, and so that your budgets won’t become dependent on those who lost money.

You are also permitted to test out new ad extensions during this time, too. Sometimes, adding just a few extensions to an existing ad (whether that is by adding a phone number or by including a few little yellow stars from product ratings), can really help your ad.

After optimizing your ads, go to your locations and times of the day under Dimensions.

This part is very simple.

Which locations are under-performing? Take the budget out of the box and put it behind those who are producing.

Same thing applies to days and times.

Which days of the week or times of day are under performing?

So there are no fancy graphs and stats to be required. When you know what you should look for, just use common sense.

So, congrats! So what about now?

So sit back and wait. I am serious.

Turn on your second ad, and then, when all is running, do something else.

Do not wait at the computer waiting for things to happen.

What is the third promise that you made before we started? Adwords takes some patience.

Check back later in the day. So, make more ads and start building your first ads groups. Start tweaking the system. Read it.

And, remember: Nothing matters without conversions.

It is good to know which ads get a higher CTR, but if they don’t convert, that also doesn’t help you make money.

It might take you a month to get results (here’s a good infographic on what to do during that month).

As soon as the ads start coming in, keep watching them. And analyze them over the next 10 days.

Then you should look at your ads and turn off the ads that do not work. Add more keywords to your ad, and double down on what is performing very well.

What do you want Google ads to be used for? Give me a headline for your first ad in the comments.