Google Ads - previously known as Google AdWords - is a method of advertising to users in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Ads will appear in the first 1 to 4 positions, followed by “organic” results. You can tell which results are ads as they have a small “Ad” symbol within the text.
The ads that appear will be dependant on what the user has typed into the Google search bar, so should (in theory) be relevant to the search.
Google Ads are a fast way to get more leads for your business, but you need to know how to properly navigate Google Ads and its features, as well as how to set up quality campaigns to have success.
Firstly, here is a quick rundown of the order of setting up a Google Ad:
But today we’re not going into detail about how to set up a campaign or ads. Instead, we’re going to talk about methods you can use to make sure your ads get the best results they can.
So without further delay, here’s how you can generate more leads with Google Ads.
Your quality score has a massive impact on your ads and how much they will cost you. It is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. The better all three of these things are, the higher your score will be, and you’ll have a better chance of paying less for some of the top ad positions. It is a score from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
Here’s an example of why your quality score is important.
This chart shows the vast difference in cost per click (CPC) between the advertisers with different quality scores. Advertiser 1 has a quality score of 10, and is paying around $1.61 per click. However, Advertiser 2 has a quality score of 4 and is paying almost double that for their clicks. Advertiser 3 has a score of 2, and is paying even more.
So you can see that having a higher quality score is ideal, and you especially want to have a higher quality score than your competitors. It will allow you to appear higher up in the Google Ads results for a cheaper cost, meaning you’ll get more clicks and more leads for less.
However, before you can work towards improving your quality score, you’ll need to find out what your quality score is.
Log in to your Google Ads account, go to campaigns, select a campaign, then an ad group, then go to keywords. Hover over the status of a keyword and it will tell you the quality score.
Now that we know your quality score is important, and how you can find out your score, we can now work on improving it.
All the following methods will help in increasing your quality score and getting more leads at a cheaper cost.
When setting up ads in Google Ads, it will ask you to enter a list of keywords you want to target with that ad. You don’t want to enter a list of words that you think are keywords, because there is a chance you’ll end up targeting keywords that no one is searching for.
Instead, you should do keyword research to find the keywords you should be targeting. Google has its own keyword research tool called Keyword Planner. You can find it in the tools section of your Google Ads account.
Choose the “find new keywords” option and type a few ideas into the search bar, then “get started”.
Keyword Planner will show you information about the keyword you entered, as well as suggestions based on that keyword. This information includes:
From these suggested keywords you can choose ones relevant to the ad you’ll be running. At first, you’ll be looking for general ideas, and then you can start getting specific. For example, if you’re a location-based service, you’ll want to start looking for location-based keywords.
Using these more targeted keywords means you can match the search intent closely. A skip hire company in Chelmsford would want to target “skip hire chelmsford” as they are a skip hire provider in Chelmsford, so their ad will perfectly match the search term. Therefore, people searching for “skip hire chelmsford” will be more likely to click on their ad thus increasing the ad’s click through rate (CTR). A higher CTR will also lead to a higher quality score.
When choosing keywords to target, many businesses fall into the trap of targeting research keywords. Some examples of research keywords:
Some research keywords are easy to spot, and others not so much. The difference between research keywords and buying keywords is the intent. Someone searching for a research keyword is looking for information on a product or service, but they’re not ready to or looking to buy yet.
A user will search for a buying keyword when they are actively looking to buy.
Don’t waste your ad budget targeting research keywords as these people likely won’t turn into leads when they click on your ads.
Once you’ve got your list of keywords to target, you’ll want to sort them into broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match.
These all sound complicated, but they are very useful and worth understanding.
This image illustrates the difference between each type of keyword.
Google has also made an effort to define the differences since its latest update.
It is good practice to mainly make use of modified broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords. If your whole keyword list is full of broad match keywords, you’ll likely end up spending a lot of money on your ads showing up for unrelated terms. This can also majorly harm your quality score.
Just as you want to build a keyword list to target, you also want to build a negative keyword list of keywords to exclude. Adding keywords to your negative keyword list will prevent your ads from showing for searches with those keywords.
For example, businesses offering a service will usually want to add words like “job”, “salary”, and “cheap” to their negative keyword list. This will stop their ads showing in searches for jobs in their industry, information about salaries, and people looking for the cheapest possible deal.
Obviously, if you are the cheapest in your area, then you won’t want to add “cheap” to your negative keyword list.
Modifiers like phrase and exact match also work in the negative keyword list, so don’t forget to use them there too.
Once your ads are running, you can see the kind of search terms that are triggering your ads. If any keywords appear that you don’t want to show for, you can add them to your negative keyword list.
It’s advised that you check your account every day so you don’t end up spending lots on clicks for terms you don’t want. Of course, many small business owners don’t have the time for daily Google Ads account management, so you can always outsource the work instead.
Location targeting is another key factor in making sure your ads are relevant to the user searching. This is especially the case if your service or product is only available in a particular area.
You can choose the locations to target at the campaign level. You can target by:
Setting up accurate targeting is crucial for successful ads, maintaining a good quality score, and getting the right kind of leads. If your service is only available in Chelmsford, you don’t want to be paying for clicks from people who live in Manchester.
Yes, using single keyword ad groups does mean you’ll potentially end up with a lot of ad groups. However, there is a massive benefit to splitting out your Google Ads account this way.
The idea is that you dedicate a whole ad group to a single keyword, it’s very close variations and all their type variations. Doing it this way means that the ads within your ad groups aren’t trying to target lots of different types of keywords. Instead, you only need to write ad copy that caters to one keyword and it’s very close variants, meaning your ad will be highly targeted and relevant to the user when it appears.
This, in turn, will result in a higher CTR, and a higher quality score as a result of that. It can even potentially increase the rate at which these clicks convert into leads.
When it comes to analysing the data in your Google Ads account, having single keyword ad groups means you can easily tell which ads are converting the best for which keywords. You can also easily spot when ads are underperforming. You can then make informed decisions about budget changes.
Ad text can be surprisingly easy to get wrong. In fact, you can miss some key elements out of ad text without even realising.
Firstly, your ad text should always contain your target keyword. If you’ve followed the last step, this should be straightforward as there’s only one keyword you’ll need to include.
Having the keyword in the ad text adds relevance to your ad. It also matches what the user has searched in Google. For example, if a user searches for “grab hire essex”, do you think they are more likely to click on:
B will have a higher CTR as there’s nothing in A that confirms it’s offering a grab hire service in Essex. The user has searched for “grab hire essex”, so they want to find grab hire in Essex, not anywhere else.
What’s more, if your ad description uses the same words as the search term, these words will appear in bold. These bolded words draw attention to your ad, and also solidify that your ad is about what the user is searching for.
You can create more than one ad within an ad group, and this has various benefits. Multiple ads allow you to gather data on which ad text is the most effective and drives a higher CTR.
The ads you create don’t need to be completely different. You still want to keep your keyword in there, but sometimes changing the focus of the ad text can have a massive impact.
For example, ad 1 could focus on price, ad 2 could focus on how you’re qualified to provide what you’re advertising, and ad 3 could focus on your amazing customer service.
Google will then choose which ad it delivers to searchers, and as one ad starts to perform better than the others, Google will serve this ad more often.
Split testing ad text like this allows you to gather data on the kind of language that drives clicks from your audience. If you find text about your service being a cut above the rest resonates with people and performs well, you’ll know what kind of language to use in the future.
Just make sure that you allow the ads to run for long enough to gather a sufficient amount of data. How long this is will depend on your budget. A bigger budget will allow you to collect data quickly as it will allow more clicks within a timeframe. A smaller budget will require more patience.
Ad extensions are bits of extra information about your business that can be used in Google Ads text ads. They can be used to add more persuasive power to your ads.
You have 10 different ad extensions to choose from:
If you don’t use ad extensions, you’re missing out. Google has reported that ad extensions can result in a 10-15% increase in CTR on your ads - a welcome free boost. They can also be used to increase your quality score when relevant.
And like split testing ad text, you can apply all the ad extensions you want (that are relevant) and Google will choose the best performing combinations to display.
Finally, ad extensions help your ad take up more space on the SERP. And when your ad takes up more (free) real estate, it can result in more clicks.
Here’s a short explanation of what each ad extension has to offer.
Sitelink extensions are additional links under your ad text pointing to other pages on your website. You can use them for your contact page, about page, or any other page that may be relevant to their needs.
Location extensions display your brick and mortar address and opening hours under your ad. If you’re looking to get more footfall into a shop, using this extension is essential. You can only use it if you have connected a Google My Business account to your Google Ads account.
Affiliate location extensions are mainly used by larger brands who sell products through various outlets nationwide. It shows where customers might be able to find your products.
Structured snippet extensions give you an extra three lines of text under your ad to highlight key areas of your business. There are many ways you can use this, but some examples would be detailing services offered, models, brands, courses, shows, etc.
Call extensions, or click to call extensions show your phone number next to the ad text. Users searching on mobile can click this number to start calling you.
The app extension lets you add a download button for your mobile app to your ad. Obviously if you don’t have an app for customers to download, it’s best to skip over this extension.
Callout extensions (different to call extensions) are the most similar to site link extensions; however they don’t link to anywhere on your website. They allow you to give short and snappy extra information on your business like “free delivery” or “fully insured”.
Price extensions quite simply show your products or services with their price under the ad. You can use this extension if you are extremely competitive on price.
Promotion extensions allow you to showcase any deals, discount codes, or sales you have on. This is especially useful if you have a discount code with all capital letters, as Google Ads won’t allow all capitals in most ad text.
If you’re serious about generating new leads through Google Ads, you need to know that having amazing ads isn’t the only factor to getting the leads. Your ads are your foot in the door, but it’s what happens after a person has clicked on your ad that determines if they turn into a lead or not.
Amazing ads will mean nothing if they lead to a poor landing page.
A landing page is a page on your website that the user lands on when they click on your ad. It’s also where you’re going to gain a majority of your leads. Ideally you’ll be creating specific landing pages for your Google Ads. However, this may not be necessary depending on your business and the ad.
This is where the user will come to find out about their search query. With this in mind, your landing page needs to be super relevant to your ad. If the user clicks on an ad about grab hire in Essex, and they land on a page about grab hire in Essex, Hertfordshire, and Suffolk, it could lead to confusion and the user clicking back, then clicking on a competitor’s ad.
You don’t want to pay for the click, then lose the lead to a competitor anyway because your landing page didn’t correctly match the user’s search query.
A good landing page will also include clear call to actions (CTAs). A CTA is something that tells the user what you want them to do, e.g. “Call now”, “Contact us”, “Fill out the form”. Don’t assume the user will know exactly what to do when they land on your page, because if it’s not obvious, they probably won't end up doing it. And that’s a potential lead lost.
A landing page also needs to make it easy for the user to get in contact with you, so contact information must be clear and obvious. Take this landing page we created for our client COS Sales as an example:
You can see that both their phone number and contact form are obvious and easy to spot. If the user wants to contact them, there is no question in how they can do so. Their phone number is also clickable for mobile users, making it even easier.
The point is, you want your landing pages to make converting easy for the user. Why would you want to make acquiring a new lead more difficult for yourself?
Setting up conversion tracking allows you to track the success of your Google Ads. When setting up conversion tracking, you have four different categories to choose from.
The different types of conversions you can choose to track are endless. This can be anything from someone filling out your contact form, to someone spending 5 seconds on your website. In the end, it comes down to what you class as a conversion.
If you’re looking to track lead conversions, you’ll probably be more interested in phone calls, contact forms being filled out and sent, completed purchases, app installs, and so on. In this case, you’ll want to avoid setting up conversion tracking for things like dwell time, or the number of pages visited.
Tracking conversions you’re not interested in can contaminate the data Google reports. It could tell you that you’ve had 50 conversions even though you’ve only had 2 contact forms filled out, but 50 people spent more than 5 seconds on your page.
And if you’re tracking the wrong kind of conversions, you’ll have no clue if your ads or landing pages are actually working.
You now have all the tools to go ahead and create Google Ads that generate more leads for your business. When you first start out you’ll want to test things and find out what drives the best results for your business.
As you keep testing and refining, you’ll end up with a powerful Google Ads account with a high quality score, earning you more leads for the best price.
Sound like a lot of work? Find out how we can manage your Google Ads account for you so you have more time to do all the other things running a business involves.