Introduction to Paid Search Advertising for Local Businesses

Bryan Rutt | March 28, 2018
Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Looking for a boost of traffic to your company’s website? Consider paid advertising. Learn more about how paid traffic can help you find more leads online.

You’ve built a shiny new attention-grabbing website for your local small business. You’ve set up a Google My Business Page and submitted your information to every directory you can think of. You’ve worked hard to optimize every page of your site by every SEO best practice you’ve ever heard or read about, and now you’re sitting back and waiting for the web traffic to roll in.

Instead, crickets.

Sure, your Organic Search traffic has bumped up a bit, and you may be seeing a bit more volume from Facebook posts and referrals, but these gains are painfully slow in building your audience. You want results now – yesterday if possible! The best way to expedite your traffic increase and get that fancy new site in front of not only more people, but more interested people who are most likely to convert from visitors to customers, is to start generating Paid Traffic.

Why You Should Consider Paid Advertising

Done correctly, Paid Traffic channels will pay off many times your initial investment, generating a high volume of quality traffic, and get your products or services in front your potential audience. The best and most reliable Paid Traffic generation tools, especially for those taking their first tentative steps into the Pay-Per-Click world, remain Google AdWords Search Campaigns.

Building a strategy in AdWords is straightforward, thanks to AdWords’ logical, hierarchical approach to the physical construction of your account. There are three tiers to be considered: Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Keywords.

Tier 1: Campaigns

Search Campaigns in AdWords can be thought of as the broad categories into which you sort your products and services. Do you tend to group products and services by category? Do you have different products or services available in different geographic areas you serve? Does what your business offer change with the seasons? Each of these creates a natural set of campaigns.

You may have several campaigns that run constantly throughout the year, and perhaps a few campaigns that run only for a few months or a few weeks (such as a campaign promoting a sale). If you provide a service that sees greatly increased demand during inclement weather, you might set up a special campaign that runs just a few days during and after a storm.

The thing to keep in mind is that each campaign runs on its own daily budget, and each should be a logical grouping for your business model. Within each campaign, you will set up a number of Ad Groups.

Tier 2: Ad Groups

An Ad Group is more narrowly focused than a campaign. It is a collection of similar keywords built around a specific topic or theme. You may have a Campaign set up for, let’s say, Shoes. Within that category you’d likely have such Ad Groups as Casual Shoes, Walking Shoes, Running Shoes, Leather Shoes – there are hundreds of possibilities.

Each Ad Group has one or several Ads, which is shown whenever someone searches for a target keyword. This way, your Ad speaks specifically to the search terms used, bettering your chances at being clicked and converting that searcher. After all, if you were searching for a new pair of workboots, would you be more likely to click on an Ad that says a shoe store sells footwear of all kinds, or one that says they sell the finest workboots in town?

Tier 3: Keywords

The keywords that make each Ad Group are the driving force behind your success or failure in AdWords. You want your Ad to be shown to people who are searching specifically for your product or service. In our shoe store example, we want our Ads to be seen by people searching for footwear – it does no good to be seen by someone searching for shortwave radios, right?

To build a list of keywords, put yourself in the shoes (so to speak) of your potential customer. What words and phrases would someone searching for your products or services naturally use? Listen to the questions your existing customers ask and note the words that they use. Do a few searches of your own and pay attention to the results you see as well as the suggestions provided in the related searches section at the bottom of the page.

Most importantly, avoid the trap of thinking that the average person searching on the internet is going to use any of the internal industry lingo you use among your colleagues. Basing your keywords on common language will provide the highest likelihood for success.

Once you have accumulated a list of keywords, you should be able to easily divide them into logical Ad Groups and those Ad Groups into logical Campaigns. Now, you need compelling Ads that will entice people searching for your keywords to click through to your website.

Ads and Ad Copy

The actual Ads you create for your AdWords campaigns have a big job to do. In a fairly limited space they must reflect the search term for which they were shown, communicate the things that set your product or service apart from your competitors, and compel the user to click through the Ad to your landing page. The ability to write concise yet potent copy is an immensely valuable skill.

However, to paraphrase McLuhan, the medium is as important as the message. You should determine which of these ads (or in what ratio of combination) to use in order to best reach your intended audience:

 

  1. Expanded Text Ads are the most common Ad Type. These are the ads you find at the top and bottom of the search results page.  They are comprised of a two-part headline, the website URL, and a brief description:
    adwords text ad

    These ads will also often include extensions, which are the blue links seen at the bottom of the ad touting other services, location, or other information. Expanded text ads are a good way to reach folks who are searching on desktop or laptop computers, although they can be effective on mobile devices as well.

  2. Call-Only Ads are your best bet for interaction from a mobile audience. Also known as Click-to-Call Ads, the purpose here is less geared toward having the user click through to the website and more focused on having the user click the phone number at the top of the ad and calling your business directly:

    adwords call ad

 

Getting Your Ad Seen

You’ve got your Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords and Ads all set up, and you’re ready for the leads to come pouring in. One piece of the puzzle yet remains: in order for the people searching for your carefully chosen keywords to click on your ad through to your website, your ad needs to be showing up where it is easily seen and can stand out from your competitors. Ideally, you want to have your ad showing on the first page of Google’s search results, in one of the top three positions.

Why? Roughly 75% of Google searchers never look beyond the first page of search results. Even more to the point, CTR (Click-Through Rate, or the number of times an Ad is clicked divided by the number of times it is shown) for Ads in positions 1, 2, or 3 is historically in the range of 4% – 6%. Position 4, which usually falls to the bottom of page one, sees CTRs of 1% – 2%, and those rates get even worse in positions 5 and 6 – and that’s still on the first page!

Where your ad appears depends on two major factors: Quality Score and Bid Amount.

  • Quality Score is determined largely by how well the searched keyword matches up with your Ad Copy, and even more so how relevant the keyword is to the landing page to which the Ad is linked. This is why designing your Ad Groups, Keyword sets, and associated Ads is so important.
  • For each Keyword that you select, you determine a Bid Amount – the most you are willing to spend each time someone clicks on the Ad associated with that Keyword.

These two factors combine to determine your Ad Rank; the ad with highest Ad Rank score for a given search wins position 1, with the other ads competing for spots following behind in Ad Rank order. An ad with a very high Quality Score but a lower Bid might still beat out an ad with a higher Bid but a poor Quality Score, again stressing the importance of a well-designed campaign.

Find a Google Partner for AdWords Help

If you are new to AdWords, this may seem like a lot of variables to consider. Honestly, this overview just barely scratches the surface when it comes to considerations in building a successful AdWords campaign. To get the most from AdWords takes time and know-how, and it is often more effective and efficient to partner with someone with AdWords expertise. If you are looking for such a partner, contact the skilled, knowledgeable team here at YDOP.