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Google AdWords is a brilliant tool.

Briefly, here’s why:

  • Your website can start to receive traffic from visitors who are likely to be interested in your services or products
  • It’s all measurable — AdWords gives you a lot of useful information you can use to improve your campaigns
  • It’s quick — if you set it up correctly you could start receiving traffic within the hour

Anyone who is considering AdWords for the first time should be aware that there are vouchers available, usually £30, £50 or £75.

I’ve spoken with many newcomers to AdWords who seem to echo the same sentiments on first setting up a campaign:

  • They think they’ve set it up properly, but they’re not quite sure
  • They don’t really know what to do with the data in the account, unless visitors sending enquiries or buying products
  • If “nothing happens” (no calls or sales), they’ll turn it off and never want to look back
Google continue to introduce useful features to AdWords, which means it’s now easier than ever to setup a decent campaign quickly and easily.
Here’s my list of things you should do when using Google AdWords for the very first time.

Set Some Objectives & Always Bear Them In Mind

Some simple objectives could include:
— Getting more traffic to the website
— Having visitors call you
To give you the best chance at achieving those objectives, potential visitors therefore need
  1. An incentive to visit your website (specify what you offer them, where you offer it and tell them to act)
  2. Your phone number

Only use Phrase Match keywords

You need some keywords that match your services, location (if you provide localised services) or products, for example “Car MOT in Bristol”.

If you’re using Google’s suggested keyword list or keywords from the AdWords Keyword Tool then that’s good, but you need to know this.

Broad Match

This is the sentence  as it appears if you type without quotes or brackets — car MOT in bristol

Google may show your ad for words and phrases not really related to the keywords you’re bidding on. This is because they interpret other queries as being related, in some way, to your keywords.

There are some crazy examples of this. You might find your ad appearing for different service terms, different location terms and phrases aren’t likely to produce enquiries e.g. car repairs at home

Phrase Match

This is the sentence as it appears within quotation marks — “car MOT in bristol”

Phrase Match offers a better use of your budget.

Your ads will only show for phrases that include the phrase you’ve bid on in the order it appears. Importantly, if a searcher misspells the words your ad will still appear.

This means that you’ll need to add more keywords, and keyword combinations to your ad groups, but that’s better than receiving clicks for words that don’t have anything to do with your business.

If you bid on “bristol MOT” and “MOT bristol” you’ll be well covered for many phrases that include those terms.

Exact Match

This is the sentence as it appears within quotation marks — [car MOT in bristol]

If you use Exact Match, your ads will only appear for the exact phrase in the same order it appears. This also includes misspellings, but it does limit the scope of your campaign – you’d have to think of all the possible combinations of words and phrases that people may use. That’s a hard task for a professional as well as a newcomer.

By using Phrase Match only you are likely to receive more of the clicks you want, rather than those you don’t.

Use MergeWords To Speed Things Up

AdWords can be confusing, especially when starting off.

By using some free tools you can really speed up the process of setting things up.

If you work locally then bidding on local terms is a good way of targeting the right customers. If you bid on Service + County, then Google won’t show the ad for all locations within that county, but only for the phrase itself.

Therefore each location will have to be added to the phrase, which could mean a lot of phrases.

MergeWords.com is tailor-made for this, and actually quite fun to use (or maybe that’s just me).

Add your service/product keywords in one box, locations in the next, select quotation marks and then you’re away!

Use Every Ad Extension You Can

The difference between receiving clicks and not can come down to subtle differences between ads and advertisers. By using Ad Extensions you can really set your ad apart from others.

For local advertisers, the Call Extension is valuable for encourage clicks from mobile searchers, and the Location Extension also makes people aware of where you are based.

Sitelinks should be enabled in addition to these other extensions as they take up more space on the search results page.

Other extensions are available for Ecommerce, Mobile App and companies looking to show off their Google+ popularity.

Make Sure Google Analytics Is Setup

AdWords data is good, but when combined with Google Analytics it’s even better. You get to see useful information about how long people stay on pages of your site, which pages they visit and whereabouts they click on each page.

Setup At Least Two Ads Per Ad Group

AdWords does a few things automatically that are in your interest. Showing the ad that’s likely to get more clicks is one of them. By having at least two ads within an ad group, you’re able to “split test” them against each other. Google will decide on the “winner” of the test and show one ad more than others.

That’s usually the ad that more closely matches what people are searching for and responding to.

Finally, Be Organised

A well-organised AdWords account is one that will be easier to make changes or additions to in the future.

Here’s one organised way of structuring an account for the example I’ve been using, with a separate campaign for each service/product and a separate ad group for each location within a campaign.

Google do offer good support for new advertisers themselves. If you have an issue you can contact them directly using the ‘Help’ link in the top-right corner of the AdWords dashboard.