Fear of the unknown can often keep us out of the game. Such is the case for many companies when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. Businesses big and small are unfamiliar with the capabilities of PPC advertising and the many benefits it can bring.
PPC is one of the best ROI channels for our healthcare marketing agency and many of our clients. Running paid search campaigns can also increase brand visibility and recognition, improve search engine click-through rates, and assist in keyword research and content ideation.
Follow these seven steps to set up a basic Google Ads account and Search Network campaign in less than two hours and start achieving your online marketing goals.
Step 1: Sign up for an account.
Why do it: You can’t advertise without an account!
What you need: Gmail account, credit card
How to do it: Visit ads.google.com to get started. As part of the sign-up process, you will need to set the time zone and the currency type of your choice. You cannot change these settings, so it’s important to choose the right options the first time.
Step 2: Decide which keywords you want to advertise.
Why do it: Keyword research is the most crucial step in setting up a Google Ads account that attracts the right kind of website visitors.
What you need: Your website, Google Keyword Planner, other keyword research tools such as Moz, SEMrush or KeywordTool.io
How to do it: A good first step in deciding which keywords to use in your account is to scan your website and content for existing keywords. Look for words and phrases you commonly use to describe your business, products, and services. Think like a searcher here. What would a potential customer search for in Google when looking for the products or services you provide?
Once you have a Google Ads account, you can access the Google Keyword Planner under the Tools tab. The Keyword Planner will help you expand your initial keyword list and discover new opportunities. Type in your initial keyword ideas or website address and Google will provide related keyword ideas along with approximate search volumes and estimated costs per click.
Choose a variety of keywords that match what you offer with the intent of the searcher.
Step 3: Decide on the keyword match types.
Why do it: There are several different keyword match types from which to choose. Using the right match types will help your ads serve only to searchers most likely to click on your ads.
What you need: Your keyword list
How to do it: Start by understanding the keyword match options. See the chart below for an explanation.
Go through your keyword list and decide which match type makes the most sense for each word or phrase. If you’re sticking to a limited budget, stay away from broad match keywords.
Developing a strong negative keyword list can also help you avoid wasting money on searchers who aren’t looking to become your customers.
Step 4: Break your keyword list into several ad groups containing similar keywords.
Why do it: Account structure is key to earning a high Quality Score, which helps to lower your cost per click.
What you need: Your expanded keyword list
How to do it: Your Google Ads account has a specific hierarchy as seen in this chart.
The key to earning a high Quality Score from Google is to tightly align your ad groups. It’s much better to have several ad groups each containing similar keywords than it is to have one large ad group.
Because ads live within a specific ad group, you can tailor your ads to match the intent of the searcher. If someone searches for Blue Widgets, for example, you want to show them an ad describing your Blue Widgets that sends them to your Blue Widgets landing page.
Step 5: Setup your first campaign in Google Ads.
Why do it: The settings configured in this step are integral to the success of your campaign. Take extra care in selecting your campaign options.
What you need: A good idea of where your target audience is and your approximate daily budget for Google Ads
How to do it: Google Ads will prompt you to set up your first campaign. The first thing you need to decide is what type of campaign to create. In this example, we are setting up a Search Network Only campaign. Setting up a Display Network campaign to serve ads on Google’s collection of more than 2 million websites requires its own set of instructions.
Give your Search Network campaign a descriptive name and choose All Features. You have the option to advertise on Google’s partner websites to expand your reach, but we recommend beginners stick with the Google Search Network only to simplify things.
Next, choose the geographic locations in which you want your ads to serve. You can target broad locations like countries and states, or get very granular by targeting specific counties, cities, postal codes, or radiuses around a city. Be sure only to serve ads in locations where you can ship products or provide services.
Select the Manual CPC bidding strategy. This gives you the most control over bids because you set the maximum cost you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. Insert a default cost-per-click bid that will be used in your campaign’s first ad group. You can use the bid estimates from your Google Keyword Planner research to come up with a starting bid. Don’t worry too much about this step as you can change your bids at any time.
You will also set your overall campaign budget in this step. Google Ads works on a daily budget system. If you have $300/month to spend on Google Ads and are only running one campaign, you should set a $10/day budget for that campaign. If you reach your budget limit at any point in the day, Google Ads will stop serving your ads for the remainder of the day.
The last action in this step is to setup Ad Extensions. You can choose to add your address, phone number, and additional website links to your ads. Ad Extensions are a great way to provide additional information and increase engagement. You will also have additional Ad Extension options once your campaign is fully set up.
Click Save and Continue to move on to the next step.
Step 6: Create your first ad group.
Why do it: Tightly aligned ad groups are key to earning high Quality Scores and lowering costs per click.
What you need: Your keyword list broken out into ad groups
How to do it: The setup you did in steps 2-4 will come in handy here. You already have your keyword list separated into ad groups of closely related keywords. Simply copy the keywords for your first ad group and paste them into the Keywords box. Give the ad group a descriptive name, then click Continue to Ads.
Step 7: Craft your first advertisement.
Why do it: This is where you use your creativity to entice searchers to click on your ad instead of the many competitor ads and organic listings.
What you need: Landing pages that are topically relevant to your keywords
How to do it: Traditional Google Ads text ads are comprised of four components: up to 3 headlines, up to 2 description lines, a display URL and a final URL.
The headlines can be up to 30 characters each and should describe what you’re offering. Use the two description lines of 90 characters each to explain your offering and provide a strong call to action. The display URL can be a simple version of your landing page URL, with two 15-character URL paths available after your domain name. Your final URL is the address of the specific landing page that’s relevant to your ad copy and can include a tracking code.
Create a few ad variations for each ad group using different headlines and descriptions so you can test which ad copy works best.
Google Ads also offers an advanced Responsive Search Ads feature that enables automatic A/B testing of several headlines and description lines. You can input up to 15 headlines of 30 characters each and 4 description lines of 90 characters each, along with a display URL and final URL.
Click Save and Finish to complete the setup of your first ad group. From here, you can create additional ad groups, keywords, ads, and extensions until your first campaign is complete.
Setting up your Google Ads campaign is just the first step in a successful online marketing strategy. Success with Google Ads requires a deep understanding of and experience with the Google Ads platform, a search engine marketing strategy tied to overall marketing and business goals, and daily surveillance and maintenance to continually improve the effectiveness of the account. If you need assistance with next steps to creating a successful Google Ads campaign, let us know!