Google AdWords is a powerful way to spread the word about your online business or website, with the opportunity to get yourself listed not only at the top of Google’s results pages, but also on relevant websites that are part of the AdSense advertising network.
It’s like a shortcut to SEO, letting you simply buy some prime results-page real estate on competitive terms where you could never expect to achieve a front-page ranking in the natural search results.
However, like many other marketing methods, there are ways to do it right – and ways to do it wrong. So what do you need to take into account when setting up your Google AdWords campaign?
Manage your budget
It’s important enough to be the first consideration – if Google AdWords is about promoting your website, then you need to make sure you make a positive return on your investment.
That means carefully controlling your keyword bids and your total budget to keep within what you can afford to lose, particularly at first.
Once you’ve found the right keywords for your customer base, you can increase your budget and start to cash in on that positive ROI by scaling up your marketing efforts.
Know your targets
Your definition of ‘positive ROI’ might be about more than money, so don’t be afraid to adapt your approach to Google AdWords in line with your business plan.
If you’re confident of your funding, and have planned a phase of simply raising awareness about your website or service, then positive ROI from your AdWords campaign could be defined simply as increasing your number of site visitors.
For conventional businesses, however, you’re likely to be looking for increased sales and revenue – so be sure your website is able to convert those extra visitors into paying customers, and that you have analytics software in place to track AdWords clicks from their arrival on to your site, until they make a purchase.
Modify your campaign
Over time, you’ll want to strip out the least well-performing keywords from your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) bids, and possibly introduce new variations on your best-performing terms.
In many industries, it may be worth adding seasonal terms to your list, and you might also want to bid on new product names or competitors’ brands, so that you appear in the search results when people search for those.
Just be aware of the terms and conditions of AdWords, and don’t bid on any terms that Google have expressly forbidden, or you might find your account frozen or your ads removed from the results.
What is Google AdSense?
AdWords ads do not only appear on Google’s own search results pages; they can also appear on websites that are part of the Google AdSense advertisers’ network.
These are third-party websites whose owners receive a percentage of the cost per click (the amount you have bid to have your ad appear for a particular term) if somebody clicks on your ad when it appears on their website.
While AdWords ads on Google’s own pages are based on the word or phrase the individual searched for, AdSense sites show ads based on the words on the page where the ads are displayed.
It should still mean the ads are relevant to the page content, generally speaking – and it can provide a useful extra place for your ads to appear, away from Google’s search engine itself.
To access the service, visit Google’s AdWords site.