Talking to almost any group of small business people who are trying to do better in generating leads and sales from their websites, and the consensus about PPC is that it isn’t worth the money. You’ll hear stories of expensive failures, tons of money spent on clicks that didn’t yield any business. Unfortunately, they’re real stories, but they didn’t need to be that way.
If your site isn’t ready, don’t start any PPC campaigns. The majority of those failures to generate business didn’t come from poor PPC performance. Instead, they came from poor website performance in dealing with the visitors that the pay-per-click paid for.
Pay attention to your Ad Quality Score. This isn’t just about the content of the ad, though that is part of it. The quality score is primarily made up from the scoring of expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. That “landing page experience” piece related back to Rule No. 1, because you must construct your landing pages properly for Google as well as for your needs.
Step 1 — Construct Great Landing Pages
Sit down and write down your keyword phrases that should bring visitors to your website, meaning phrases that they are searching with on Google. The more the merrier, as you don’t pay for the number of phrases or ads. You pay for the number of clicks, so the more key phrase ads you have, the better.
Now you take those phrases, the top ten or so at least, and create a landing page for each or for small groups of highly similar phrases. What is a quality landing page? If you’re thinking only about yourself and results, it would be a page with calls to action that get the visitor to do something you want that leads to a sale or quality prospecting lead.
The great news is that these are precisely the same criteria used by Google to compute your Quality Score. In checking the visitor’s landing page experience, what indicates they had a good experience? They clicked on a link for more information. Or, they clicked on a link to buy something or to get a report or some other offering. Or, they filled out a form and submitted it. In other words, when the searcher clicks to your landing page, they found something they want and value.
Step 2 — Create Ads That Get Clicks to RELEVANT Landing Pages
Now that you have a set of landing pages created or explicitly edited to get a visitor to take an action you want, you need to create an ad that gets attention in a long list of ads, and it is very relevant to the page they’re going to see when they click to your site.
Have all or a part of your key phrase in the ad title, and if possible in the ad text under the title. Make it very clear what the searcher is going to get with their click. If you’ve chosen your key phrases for search popularity, you’re going to get more clicks. That’s the “click-through” ratio Google uses to score your ad. Your ad, when adequately constructed with a key phrase that gets attention and more clicks than your competitors’ ads, will see a rise in its quality score.
The Takeaway: Do it Right and You’ll Rise in Paid Ads Displays and Save Money
Why worry about the ad quality score? Google uses this score to determine two things: 1) Where in the list of paid ads your ad will display, and 2) What you’re going to pay per click. Did you think that it’s all about what you bid that you’re willing to pay for a click? That is only true when you first start your campaigns.
Based on your score, Google would rather see the high scoring ads higher in the paid search results because Google makes more money from ads that get clicked. There is also a concern about the searcher’s experience when they do click on an ad. That is where your site’s landing pages and user experience come into play.
So, how does it change what you pay? The higher your ad score, with an excellent CTR (click-through-ratio), relevant landing page content and a good experience for your visitor, the more Google will like your ad. When your ad does well, Google moves you up in the display at the same time your cost per click drops! Your initial bid merely gets you into the game. After that, your ads’ performance determines how you place in results and how much you pay.
Follow these rules and steps and you’ll not be one of those failure stories. You’ll be sitting there quietly when your competitors are bashing PPC. After all, why let them know how to do it right?