Before we go any further, there is something you should keep in mind. Depending on the size of your website, your marketing budget, and the types of products and services you are offering, getting traffic through AdWords may not be optimal in terms of return on investment. For example, your site may belong to a very expensive pay-per-click niche in which doing a PPC campaign has lower returns when compared to getting organic traffic from SEO. Some marketing experts say combining both organic SEO traffic and pay per click traffic is often the best approach, though some small businesses cannot afford this.
Small businesses, particularly those that are just starting out, often need immediate, targeted traffic to get the ball rolling. Of course, any website can get organic traffic with SEO, but it takes some patience and time. By using Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising, small businesses can get targeted traffic from Google’s search engine and partner websites at the earliest stages.
The success of Google AdWords largely depends on your choice of keywords. Poorly selected keywords not only waste the traffic earned by your website but cost you a lot — remember, you need to pay Google for every advertising click.
This two-part tutorial series focuses on selecting the best keywords for your Google AdWords campaign. The first part teaches the fundamentals and background of a Google AdWords campaign, which is essential knowledge for any website business owner. The second part implements the steps any Google AdWords user needs to take to select keywords which will attain the objectives set in the first part.
To have a profitable campaign you need to formulate clear objectives. Below are the most important objectives for a pay-per-click campaign:
- Maximum click through rate by ad relevance and content relevance.
- Maximum return on investment.
- Best conversion rate for selected keywords
Okay, you probably noticed that maximizing traffic or using keywords that send massive traffic to your website are not among the objectives. Instead, you should be concerned with the keyword conversion rate and its direct relevance to the campaign URL content and services.
The first objective is to ensure that the formulated text in the ads (ad titles and description, over which you have control) exactly matches your page content and services. Any mismatch increases the bounce rate and is costly for your campaign. Of course, you can write a copy with your best keywords in it to make sure Google finds it relevant to the search query.
The second objective ensures that you are selecting keywords that could offer the best return on investment. In this way, you should be able to turn your business profitable, which will increases the cash flow of your website.
The third objective ensures that, since you are aiming for keywords that return the highest ROI, you should also make sure that they give the best conversion rate. The conversion rate is defined as the total number of unique visitors making purchases or availing themselves of your services, divided by the total number of unique visitors to the website.
Let’s walk through a sample computation of conversion rate. If you have a website with 300 monthly unique visitors, according to Google Analytics, then in one month, if 5 persons purchase your product or use your services, the conversion rate is around:
Conversion rate = 5/300 = 1.67%
Of course, if you have a new website, then you do not any conversion rate data. However, you can estimate the conversion rate based on how relevant or related the keyword is to your services and products.
Google AdWords’s conversion process (the process of turning visitors into customers) is lengthy. In the flow chart below:
When you make your ads for Google AdWords, Google places the ad in search engine results and partner websites (visitors can see those advertisements in the form of Google AdSense). Now your targeted keywords play an important role in the ad’s search engine placements, as well as their placement on partner websites.
When visitors see those ads, this is called an “impression.” You can see this data in your Google AdWords account. This is the number of times your ad has been viewed by visitors. If targeted keywords were properly selected, and the ad appears exactly in the right place at the right time, then a viewer will most likely be convinced to click your ad. This is called “click through.”
For an example of this scenario, say you are targeting “Affordable WordPress website development.” And Google displays the ad in the search engine results for someone searching for “Affordable WordPress development” (you control the wide variety of keywords for which you would like your ad to appear; you can do this in your Google AdWords account). It appears to be an exact match, and this has high click through rate.
For partner websites, say they have a certain page optimized for “Use our WordPress website development package.” So when visitors go to that page, Google will display your ads because it is directly related to their services; hence, it attracts a higher clickthrough rate from the readers on that page, because it is relevant.
What happens when visitors click on the ad? They will land on your website. You can control the landing URL in your Google AdWords account. The next thing that will happen is that they will read your content, services, check the prices, verify that you are a valid business, check your background, view your samples, check your address, and in general do all the cautious things you would expect from someone who is thinking about spending money to buy your product or use your services.
You have control over your content and optimizing the landing page, which is beyond the scope of this tutorial series. You can read some important information about landing page optimization. I’ll provide links to even more information later in this article.
If your content is directly related to the keywords you are targeting for you Google AdWords campaign, then those who click through your ads are not wasting their time. Instead, they will become more interested in staying in that landing page. This is where complete information about products and services is extremely important. Remember, visitors will make a purchase or use the services you’re offering only if they understand and trust you.
Sometimes, when your page is not good enough or not complete at the very moment a visitor reads the page, he or she will navigate away from your page. The website fails to convert. These visits are reflected in the “bounce rate.”
No exact science or formula can predict the most profitable keyword combination, although the best financial decisions (selecting keywords and bidding on Google AdWords is a financial decision) are those that are done with numbers and factoring the most important variables into the decision making. These variables include keyword conversion rate, cost per click , geographical location, estimated number of clicks, and more.
Below are the major steps:
Details will not be discussed in this series. A common mistake for website owners is to research keywords first, and then write content. Instead, the most effective result is obtained by writing your best content first, outlining and describing your services very carefully, and then brainstorming those keywords that perfectly describe your services. This is a more user-friendly approach, which makes it very easy for visitors to understand from the moment they land on your page. Also, the completeness and accuracy of your content contributes to an increase in your conversion rate.
Step 2: Brainstorm targeted keywords. In that campaign URL you are planning, try writing words on a piece of paper (no online tools yet) that best describe your content. The more specific those keywords, the better their expected performance.
Step 3: Determine the budget that you would like to invest in your campaign.
Step 4: Profile your targeted visitors. In what country are you planning to offer your services or sell your product online?
Step 5: Using Google Traffic Estimator, gather financially-related data for all of the targeted keywords in the specific location for which you are aiming.
Step 6: Conduct an ROI analysis of those keywords. This is where you factor in and assign the conversion rate of those keywords, estimate average sales per conversion, estimate sales per month from conversion, estimate monthly cost in AdWords, etc.
Step 7: After analysis, draw conclusions and recommendations as to which keywords offer the best return on investment.
Step 8: Proceed to your AdWords account and make a campaign for the keywords you have finally selected. You can find some AdWords help from another SEO Chat article.
Step 9: Monitor your ad’s performance and track conversions, customer inquiries, etc.
Step 10. For continuous improvement, you can use the existing performance data of your AdWords campaign to spot weak keywords, and redo some analysis in order to optimize the campaign further.
A detailed example and an actual case study will be included in the second part.