Keywords are a major part of modern digital marketing. Spending your marketing budget on the wrong ones can seriously damage your ROI. PPC advertising is a quickly launched and potentially profitable marketing strategy that can simultaneously boost traffic, promote brand awareness, and increase sales. Learn how keyword bidding works, then discover ways to maximize bid effectiveness for your firm.
An Introduction to Bidding with Google Ads
When it comes to paid search, think of keyword bidding as an auction. You’re funneling advertising spend into cost-per-click, which is the maximum amount you are willing to pay when a searcher clicks your ad and goes to your site. But your paid advertising budget doesn’t have to end there. Google offers a variety of bidding options to help you align keyword bidding with specific business goals:
- Manual CPC bidding. This form of bidding is where you set your bid, or maximum cost per click, for a given keyword. Manual CPC bidding can be tricky as you may overspend on an underproducing keyword if you’re not careful.
- Conversion tracking. A valuable tool in Google Ads, conversion tracking provides keyword insights that help inform your paid advertising strategy. It divulges which keywords lead to higher conversions, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. Instead of paying for a specific keyword, you’re giving Google the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an action. This is called CPA (cost per action) bidding.
- Impression targeting. If your goal is to get your name and logo in front of as many people as possible without too much concern about conversions (think newer brands), targeting impressions is a good option. Since clicks are not required, cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) uses bids to define the cost associated with displaying your ad to 1,000 searchers.
Before moving on, it’s important to note that Google offers recommendations if you turn this feature on in your Google Ads account. As you begin to evaluate your keyword performance, the recommendations tool helps determine which keywords you might be overspending on while identifying keywords that may produce more positive results if your bid is raised.
Keyword Bidding & Your Local Search Strategy: What You Should Know
There are certainly best practices when it comes to keyword bidding, but it would be pointless to discuss without reviewing how your bids are (or should be) tied to your local search strategy. If you have a brick and mortar business or are targeting specific areas, the keywords you bid on should be influenced by these business goals. Take a look at the following considerations when choosing keywords to bid on in Google Ads.
- City and state add-ons. Want to show your ads to searchers looking for companies in a certain neighborhood or region? Combine your top keywords with city or state names to further refine who sees your ad (and possibly lower the CPC due to less competition).
- Related terms. If your business serves pizza, try expanding upon your current keyword list with the use of related terms. For example, consider adding best weekend take-out in (your city) or casual Italian food in (your city) to your list of keywords.
- Competitor keywords. Do you represent John’s Car Dealership and competing against Big Town Motor? Consider targeting keywords that contain Big Town Motor’s name to divert some of their traffic to your establishment instead. If using this strategy, you’ll want to make sure your landing page content clearly outlines the difference between you and your local competitors.
Bidding on a Budget: Considerations for Keyword Bidding
As with any budget, you want to get the most out of your investment. Google Ads offers a few tools designed to help you maximize your budget and achieve a better ROI. Combined with solid keyword research, the following tips will stretch your marketing dollar.
- Use the Bid Simulator. Instead of wondering to yourself, “What would happen if I spent more on my keyword bids?,” Google Ads’ Bid Simulator does the work for you. You can model different scenarios, such as potential increases in impressions for incremental increases in PPC spend. This tool can estimate the number of clicks, approximate cost, and impression data to better inform your strategy.
- Set your account to Maximize Conversions. Another Google Ads tool, Maximize Conversions puts some of the heavy lifting associated with paid search campaigns on autopilot. This tool finds the optimal bid based on available data and adjusts your bids accordingly. Any time you set an automated process in motion, check your parameters. Maximize Conversions (or Google Ads’ similar tool Maximize Clicks) will attempt to spend the full budget you set up. Consider lowering your budget to prevent overspending.
- Be creative with keyword research. It’s no surprise that thorough keyword research is foundational for a PPC campaign. In addition to using Google’s Keyword Planner, check out which keywords your competitors are ranking for as they may be lower in cost or more profitable for your brand.
- Leverage Google’s Smart Bidding simulator. If you wanted to learn to fly a plane, would you start in a real cockpit or check out a simulator first? The smart choice is to simulate the experience. With Smart Bidding, you can do just that by modeling PPC campaign possibilities and potential outcomes before you invest real money and time into changing your strategy.
Whether you’re using Smart Bidding to model potential results or targeting long-tail keywords, take advantage of features within Google Analytics to enhance the type of data available. The most successful PPC campaigns leverage Google’s powerful segmentation tools and auto-tagging to augment available data with relevant insights.
Need Help with Your Paid Search Campaign?
Paid search can become a costly endeavor if you’re bidding on the wrong keywords or not bidding on the right ones. As a busy brand, thoroughly planning, executing, and analyzing a PPC strategy can take up too many valuable internal resources. At RizeUp Media, we assist brands in every industry in the creation and execution of PPC campaigns that produce positive results and ROI. Contact us today to review your current strategy and discuss how we can help.