Google AdWords: Keywords, Ad Writing and Landing Pages

In the last article we covered the basics of Google AdWords. In this one we’ll touch on keyword research, writing ads, ad elements and landing pages. This is the second part of a four-part series.

Targeting the Right Prospects with Keyword Research

The best prospects to target on AdWords and other pay-per-click platforms are people who are one step away from the purchase. These people have already made up their minds and are ready to give out their credit card numbers. Those searchers use long, targeted, and very specific keyword phrases, in many cases with low search volume. The trick is finding those keywords and positioning your ad on the top spot for the click.

Keyword Research

In this section we’ll discuss the creation of focused keyword lists to target on AdWords. I personally like two tools for my keyword research:

  • https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

  • http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/

Tool from Google is effective at finding core and subtopic terms, but pretty weak when it comes to terms with low search volume. WordTracker, on the other hand, is ideal for spotting targeted search terms with low search volume (long tail, in other words). Also, check out Google’s search-based keyword tool.

Finding Core Terms – Our example, “digital camera,” is a core term. It’s very broad and has 30 million searches per month. We need to drill down and find less expensive terms, with a higher conversion rate.

Enter the core term (in our case “digital camera”) into Google Tool and select ALL phrases that reflect your offers. Sometimes you’ll spot over 50 keywords. Copy them all to a spread sheet. To keep things simple (in this article), we’ll use five keywords (five is not enough for a real PPC campaign, however). The keywords I chose are:

  • buy digital camera

  • mini digital camera

  • digital slr camera

  • nikon digital camera

  • canon digital camera

Those keywords show a subtopic of our target market. Instead of targeting “digital cameras,” we now target people who want to: buy digital cameras; buy mini cameras; get slr cameras; and get Nikon and Canon cameras. Depending on inventory (real or digital), you will usually have at least 10 subtopics similar to the ones above (usually more).

Take the keywords we just found and plug them into Google Tool one by one to segment further. At this point you can start using WordTracker.

buy digital camera

mini digital camera

digital slr camera

nikon digital camera

canon digital camera

buy cheap digital camera

innovage mini digital camera

buy digital slr camera

buy nikon digital camera

buy canon digital camera

buy panasonic digital camera

precision mini digital camera

best digital slr camera

cheap nikon digital camera

cheap canon digital camera

buy digital video camera

smart mini digital camera

digital slr camera canon

nikon d70 digital camera

refurbished canon digital camera

buy digital cameras online

dual mode mini digital camera

nikon digital slr camera

new nikon digital camera

canon digital slr camera

During PPC campaigns you will end up with long keyword lists, several hundred/thousand in size, but we’re keeping it simple in this article.

Once you have a secondary keyword list, go ahead and do more searches with Google Tool and WordTracker. You won’t get many more, but you will spot several highly-targeted, low search volume keywords. Put them into your spreadsheet.

Keep in mind that WordTracker gets data from Dogpile and Metacrawler that hold around one percent of the search engine market share. Whenever WordTracker’s tracker gives 1 as the search count, multiply it by 60 to get the Google estimate.

People who’ve done their research sometimes search with the model number of the product. Use model numbers in your keyword bids as a phrase match to target prospects in the latest stages of their buying process. In most cases you won’t even be able to find model numbers in any keyword research tools. Don’t worry about it; just set your bids and wait. Most likely you’ll get very few clicks, but several conversions for mere pennies.

Writing Your Ads

Remember that your ads must perform (convert clicks into money); otherwise, they will cost you money. Each advertisement must persuade prospects to click on the ad (answer the question, help cure the pain, etc), while the landing page must deliver what the advertisement promised.

Once people arrive on your landing page, a persuasive design, along with a persuasive sales letter, should meet them. Don’t direct people to the home or a generic page; it will be waste of money. Set up separate pages for each ad group or for specific keywords (I’ll talk more about landing pages later).

You also want to make sure that only people who are interested in your product/service click on the ad. To avoid “curiosity” clicks, put qualification cues into the ad, such as the price or a clear call to action.

Ad Elements

Ad Headline – The main purpose of the headline is to attract the attention of your prospects. Try using keywords in the headline whenever you can. Google bolds keywords on both pay-per-click ads and search results, and ads with bold keywords get more clicks (research was done in this area by several agencies). You can also put in code for dynamic keyword insertion {keyword: } and Google will automatically put in matched keywords.

  • {keyword:} will make the title small

  • {KeyWord:} will capitalize all the words in Google AdWords ad title.

First and Second Lines – There are two lines, each with a 35-character limit. Use this space wisely, as there’s very little of it. In the first line you can put the biggest benefits, while in the second line the biggest features that support the benefit. There are no rules on how to write effective AdWords ads.

Imitate, test and improvise yourself to get the results.

Some advertisers put a phone number or other factual information in the ad (interest rate for a credit card, credit rating etc) along with the call to action.

Display URL – This line shows the website URL. Ads work well with www. and without it, so don’t stress over this issue. If you’re motivated enough you can buy separate domains for ads to supplement the ad message.

Destination URL – This line is the actual address where the visitor will be directed when they land on the page. Don’t send your visitors to the home page. Each keyword targets different segments of the market, so make sure to send visitors to specifically targeted pages.

CTR (click through rate) is one of the most important measurements in Google AdWords. CTR affects your quality score, which in turn affects the position of your ads on search results. Higher quality score will get you better positions, sometimes at lower prices. It’s also possible to hold the top ad spot with a high quality score, while bidding lower than your competitors.

Click Through Rate – CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).

To raise your CTR you must constantly improve your ads. Tweak text, call to action and keyword lists. One way to achieve improvement is to test two ads at the same time and compare those ads against one another. In each ad group set two advertisements with slight differences and let them run 20 – 50 times each. Check statistics for each ad and select the one with best click through rate. Leave the best performing ad running and set another one with slight modifications. Let them run 20 – 50 times and compare stats again. Keep repeating this cycle endlessly.

Make sure that each ad modification is insignificant. This way you will know for sure what works and what doesn’t. After a few months you will start “feeling” the ads and will be able to create very effective ad groups from the start. Also, keep in mind that keywords play an important role in CTR. If you have a good ad, but bad keyword lists, you will be wasting your time.

Landing Page

In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is optimized to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines. – Wikipedia

An effective landing page can double, triple and quadruple your pay-per-click conversion rates, while a bad one can hurt your bottom line. In this section we’ll touch on the mere basics of landing page optimization, as this topic has inspired entire websites and books.

Contingency – The landing page must contain targeted keywords (from the ad) and must be a logical extension of the ad. If the ad said “get free report,” then landing page must offer that report in the most visible spot. Also, repeat ad sentences to create a feeling a flow.

Copywriting - Internet copywriting can quadruple conversion rates, so make sure to craft effective copy or hire a professional Internet copywriter.

Design – Clean, professional design instills trust, while sloppy “ghetto” layouts turn off customers. Generally, keep the website and landing page design similar.

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