This guest post is by Kole McRae of Chilled Soda.
Many of you probably have AdSense on your blog. It’s a great system for monetization, especially for those with smaller blogs but how many of you have been on the other side?
AdWords is the system Google uses for advertising. It’s how you place ads on it’s search engine and on the huge network of sites that use AdSense.
Right now Google is offering $75 free to anyone that wants to try out AdWords. That’s a good chunk of change but it can easily disappear in a day on AdWords and give you nothing to show for it.
So I’ve written this little guide to help you out a bit. I wrote this with a few assumptions in mind: that you know how AdWords works in terms of buying clicks and that you have full control over your site. If you have never heard of AdWords you should probably start here.
I have also assumed you have made an AdWords account. If not, use the link above and make one.
Step 1: Keyword research
The first step to a successful AdWords campaign is research. I know what I’m about to recommend sounds really boring, but not only will it help your AdWords campaign but will also help you understand your niche better.
I want you to take ten minutes and write down every combination of keywords you can think of for your blog. What words do you want people to type in to find your blog. For example:
- cool tech blog
- tech news
- technology news
- Canadian technology news.
Write them all down and keep going until you just can’t go anymore. You should be able to put together a pretty sizeable list. Next sign into your AdWords account and click on Keyword tool, which is under the Tools and analysis tab. Paste your list into that tool and hit Search. Next, click the Keyword ideas tab.
This will give you a much larger list of keywords (usually in the hundreds or thousands). It also tells you about how many people a month search for those terms and how much competition there is. This can be invaluable data.
Take this new list and download an Excel copy of it. Then take the time to divide the keywords into different groups, or “themes,” and choose which ones to focus on. I’d go over just how to do that but it would take far too long. So I’ll simply suggest using common sense and your own judgement.
Try to find keywords that have low competition, low CPC cost, but high monthly searches. These are called low-hanging fruit. They tend to be the juiciest! Remove any words that are too generic. Single-word keywords that have millions of searches will not be helpful to you.
Another quick tip is to look up your competitors and go to their pages. Then right-click and select View source. Though Google has said they no longer use the Keywords meta tag, some people still fill it up, which might give you even more keyword ideas.
There are many other ways to get even more keyword ideas, so get creative and see what you can find.
You should also look for keywords in your lists that are not relevant at all. These you will want to add to your negative terms list so that people who search those terms don’t see your ad or cost you any money.
The most important thing I can teach you about AdWords is that it is not about getting as many people as possible to your site. It is about getting the right kind of people to your site. So make sure you remove any and all keywords that are not relevant. People searching for Python programming tutorials do not want to learn more about snakes and will only cost you money with no added benefit.
Step 2: Ad copy
Once you have put together your keyword lists and organized them into categories (or “adgroups,” as Google calls them) you need to write ads for each one. I say ads, not ad, because the most important thing you can do with AdWords is rotate and test ads.
I suggest writing two ads for each category or adgroup. Google will automatically rotate these ads and give you stats for both so that you can choose the one that works best for you and test it against an even better one. This means your ads will get steadily better as you test them against each other.
Your ad copy needs to be simple and to the point. Tell people exactly what to expect when they land on your site. Some best practices: Start Each Word With a Capital Letter. It looks weird in an article but in an AdWords ad, it stands out and looks professional. End each line with a period. Don’t cut sentences off halfway through because of character limits.
I’m going to reiterate a point from above. AdWords is about getting quality traffic to your blog, not just getting as many people there as possible. You want people that will become part of your community. This means your ad should be written in a way that will build a community and invite people to join it.
Step 3: Landing page
The final thing I want to talk about is your landing page—the page people land on after they click your ad. The first instinct for a lot of people is to land folks on your home page. This can be a bad idea for two main reasons.
The first is that it can be confusing, especially if your home page is just a bunch of blog posts. People may not know where to begin or what to do.
Secondly, it’s very possible that Google’s AdWords quality algorithm may not understand that your site is relevant based on the page it lands on. It may be searching for instances of “Canadian Tech News” but only find it once on the main blog page, so it will lower your quality score and may not show your ad as many times.
The best practice is to send people to relevant posts and guiding pages for each adgroup. If you have an adgroup for Microsoft technology news, send people to a page specifically about Microsoft that has a bunch of news for it. Or maybe to an About page or a category page. The more specific, the better.
This is only the beginning
I’ve written over 1000 words here and it hardly scratches the surface of AdWords advertising. It fails to mention local searches, conversion tracking, match types and a million other things that go into a proper campaign. The best part? This is all for Google search, I didn’t even bring up the content network.
Which reminds me: I suggest going to your Campaign settings and setting it to Google search only, as this will give you a bit more control over where your site shows up. The content network requires an article all on its own and has a habit of eating up all your advertising money without giving you nearly the quality of traffic the search network gives you. That is, of course, unless you do a lot of research and use it correctly.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you get more out of that $75—and maybe even inspired you to start learning more about advertising on Google in general so you can fully leverage any money you spend on it.