Learn Some Pro PPC Techniques To Give You An Edge On The Competition
Some of the advice you’ll get about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is fairly standard. You may, for instance, know about the importance of doing your keyword research. And you might be aware of the need to perform A/B tests to make sure you’re on the right track with your selected keywords. While such efforts are often recommended to plan a PPC campaign, there are other lesser-known tips, tricks, and strategies equally worthy of your consideration. After all, the more prepared you are for a campaign, the more likely it is you’ll see results good for your business and budget.
Check Up On Your Competitors
Use Google’s keyword planner tool to go beyond analyzing your own possible keywords after you’ve come up with an initial list. Also, use the free tool to analyze your competitors’ websites for keywords. Especially the landing pages that most closely relate to your business. If you do business in-person and online, don’t automatically assume your real-world competitors are the same ones you have online.
Look at the domains linked to the keyword sets you’re planning to bid on. If they offer similar products and service to you, these are your competitors. If they don’t, you’re probably not bidding on the right keywords. Metrics to consider include how often competitors’ ads:
- Received impressions when your ad also did (overlap rate)
- Were shown in a higher position than your ads (top of page rate)
- Ranked lower than your ads or failed to appear when your ad showed up (outranking share)
Get into Searchers’ Heads with Long-Tail Keywords
If you were seeking advice from a PPC management company, which isn’t a bad idea if you really want to have a good balance of keywords that aren’t always competitive and expensive, you’d likely be advised to consider long-tail keywords. This is because searchers tend to use certain phrases or word combinations to look for products and services.
While not as likely to place as high as single keywords, long-tail keywords can work because they are terms most searchers type when looking for certain products and services online. By focusing on multiple keyword groups, you may see results similar to what you’d get with single keywords. But, keep in mind it does not have to be an either/or scenario: effective PPC campaigns typically combine both single and long-tail keywords.
Bid On Common Misspellings/Variations
PPC experts often recommend thinking like a typical searcher when determining what words you will bid on for your campaigns. Account for common misspellings and close variations of keywords to boost your conversion rates. For instance, you may use “license” with “license.” Variations of keywords may include “pizza in New York City” and “pizza in NYC.” Also consider varying your PPC keywords based on:
- Singular and plural forms of words
- Abbreviations searchers may use in relation to your business
- Common ways of searching for the same product/service (“getting a customized t-shirt” and “get a custom tee”)
Use Negative Keywords
You want keywords that searchers are actually searching for in relation to your business most of the time. But there are times when you want to exclude some terms often linked to your business. For instance, your business may be a seafood restaurant that doesn’t offer shrimp on the menu. So you’d want to use “shrimp” as a negative keyword to avoid placing your ad in front of searchers looking for something you don’t offer.
Reference Local Landmarks and Driving Times
Go beyond using geo-specific keywords to target local customers, since this is likely what most of your competitors are already doing. Make your ad content even more local by referencing local landmarks in relation to your business (“across the street from the Manhattan subway station” or “right next to the Downtown Cleveland American history museum”). Working in drive times can add even more local flavor. For instance, you could say, “We’re just a 15-minute drive from Miami University’s main campus on High Street.”
This strategy can be effective because people searching for local landmarks or for “restaurants within 20 minutes of Miami University” may come across your ad or business listing. If you’re not sure how to naturally work phrasing like this into your ad copy, PPC advertising services may come in handy since such companies often have experience with the creation of ad content. Streamline your local PPC efforts even more by:
- Using a zip code in your display ad
- Incorporating references to locally-known terms (common local nicknames for a city, neighborhood, or sports team)
- Launching multiple campaigns targeting different neighborhoods if you have more than one location within a specific geographic area
- Using ad extensions to add contact/location info such as NAP data and hours
Set Automatic Adjustments
If you don’t have a PPC management company constantly monitoring your paid campaigns, take advantage of Google and Bing’s automated rules. Let’s say you have campaigns that are going to be running or starting during a weekend. If your weekends are normally for family stuff and not business obligations, automatic adjustments can make your life easier while helping to control your PPC budget. Google and Bing allow you to create rules ahead of time to:
- Pause low-performing ads
- Adjust bids and manage your costs
- Stop ads with keywords that aren’t performing
Don’t Always Aim for the Top Position
Don’t automatically plan a PPC campaign with a “my business absolutely must be in the top position” mentality. The end goal isn’t to automatically be first on search engine results pages, it’s leads and conversions. A slightly lower position may allow you to use some more competitive keywords without spending a small fortune. Plus you may still be seeing results that matter to you even if you’re not in the top spot.
Play with your bids and see what positions work best for you. On a related note, you may see positive results by using a larger number of keywords that have a lower search volume (meaning such words are less competitive and not as expensive) as long they are words relevant to your target audience.
Appeal to Mobile Ad Viewers by Encouraging ‘Taps’
For the past few years now, mobile device use has exceeded desktop viewing and use. Since this trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon, PPC experts routinely advise clients to make ad content as appealing to mobile users as possible. An easy way to do this is by using the term “tap” within your ads. Google doesn’t allow the word “click” for PPC keywords, but they don’t have any objections to “tap” yet. Further, make your PPC ads mobile-friendly by:
- Launching some “call only” campaigns to target users able to instantly call with their smartphone after viewing your ad
- Using search terms such as “near me” to attract mobile users looking for ads from businesses in their local or immediate area
- Creating and testing landing pages that are mobile-friendly to increase your odds of seeing conversions from mobile PPC ads
Many of these strategies can be incorporated into your PPC efforts when you’re in the planning phase of a campaign or looking to make adjustments to existing campaigns. Google AdWords, the most popular PPC system on the planet, gives you plenty of helpful tools to manage campaigns. Yet, there’s something to be said for getting additional insights from a company with a solid understanding of such things. And if you priorities other than managing your PPC campaigns, like running your business, it could be a smart investment to turn to PPC experts for some assistance.