I had a question come in today about some best practices for Google Adwords so here’s some basics that I follow, I’d be interested in anything that people have to add.
For those who have no knowledge of this you should swing over to the official google adwords blog and check out their learning center.
For selecting keywords start with the logs for the client’s website, you should have a nice assortment of keyphrases there to begin working with. The key is to have as many variations as possible, without any duplicates. In all of my testing google gets angry at duplicates and leaves you out in the dust.
The real gold lies is phrases of 3 words or more, you should be able to get these at much cheaper prices than single or two word phrases. Don’t be afraid to go 6 words or more, the more specific and relevant you get, the better your odds at highly qualified traffic at very low prices.
Adwords has its own keyword generator to help you find related phrases. You should leverage that. There are some other paid services I’ve used but keep in mind that the algorithms used by google’s keyword generator are probably very close to the same logic used in the engine. Or to put it a better way – all other keyword generators want you to pay for the service they provide, google is giving you the service so you will do more business with them – who’s got the inside track?
I think this will be one of the critical value-adds you can give to your client. You should even interview the client’s customers to try and get the language as accurate as possible. You have 2 options – spend 100 hours uploading every variation of keyword to find the 3 good ones, or spend 10 hours with the client and try a shorter, more accurate list of 50 and maybe get twice that in good phrases. The days of shotgun phrases are numbered, you need to become an intelligent sniper.
The single most important tip I can give you is to use the Adwords Editor tool for all the heavy lifting rather than messing around with the web interface. Make all your changes in one shot and upload them as a batch.
Bidding is another tough area – some key principles. Odds are your conversion rate is going to be less than half a percent so multiply the bid by 20 and ask your client if they are willing to pay that per lead. If they don’t choke on their own tongue then proceed. You probably want to bid to come in on page 1 so price accordingly.
You pay less if your ad quality is good so work hard to keep your click through rates above half a percent.
Test at least three versions of ads for both clicks and conversions and keep promoting the champions, this keeps the overall program price down.
Test out the content network, especially now that you can select the individual sites you advertise on. I’ve found these to not be effective as the search results pages but they do get your name out there for whatever that’s worth.
If you are lucky enough to be working in a fixed geographic area, adjust your campaigns accordingly. Controlling day of week and time can also help weed out some of the click-crap.