A Google Ads Starter Guide for Small Businesses
Google Ads are a mystery for many small business owners. They've heard it can benefit their business, but they also think the tools are too complex to master or too expensive to use.
But the truth is you don’t need a massive budget to drive traffic using Google Ads. Even if you only have $10/day, you can make a difference in your website traffic and sales. And, the tools aren't too difficult or confusing to use. Many small businesses thrive with the help of Google ad promotions. They just need to know how.
Keep reading to learn how you can easily set up a Google Ads account for your business.
(It's worth noting that Google Ads recently changed their name from Google Adwords. So Google Adwords and Google Ads are the same thing.)
What Are Google Ads?
Google Ads is a part of search marketing. They are the search results you see at the top and bottom of the search results page.
They also come in the form of display ads around the web and YouTube video ads. For ease of discussion and understanding, this guide will primarily focus on text ads.
Understanding The Google Ad Campaign Structure
Before you can start bidding and sharing your ads with customers, you have to understand the structure of your account.
You are likely to start out with a handful of keywords and then expand to multiple campaigns and thousands of terms. To start, there are three main elements in your Google Ads account:
- Campaigns: the parent figures of the account that fit a specific theme around your business
- Ad Groups: the subsets of campaigns (Most campaigns have a handful of ad groups with different themes in each group.)
- Keywords: the actual terms that you bid on and customers search for
For example, a local vintage boutique might create campaigns for shoes, dresses, and skirts. The shoe campaign could have three ad groups: heels, flats, and sandals. The heels ad group would have keywords like “red high heels” or “vintage black dance heels,” which are the terms people would search for in Google.
Understanding this structure is crucial for building out your Google Ads account and driving quality traffic to your website.
Choosing the Right Keywords for your Campaigns.
You can bid on an unlimited number of terms in Google Ads, but you want to choose terms that are likely to convert and match your budget.
Google uses an auction system for its ads. Terms with higher demand cost more, while terms that are searched less often cost less.
Keywords like “Nike running shoes” and “Disney vacation” will cost significantly more than “Tampa vintage boutique” or “cute thrift shop near me.” Some keywords can cost more than $50, but the terms your bidding on will likely cost $1-5 per click.
As you start to create your Google Ads campaigns, you will find keywords that are too expensive to bid on, and also terms that aren’t effective. You don’t want to bid on ineffective or expensive keywords. For example, a car dealership might not be able to afford the term “BMW” or want to bid on the term if they don’t sell that type of car.
A significant part of managing a Google Ads campaign is making sure you’re bidding on the best keywords possible.
Pro Tip: Try to bid on local terms to drive traffic to your business. Add keywords like “plumbing in Tampa” instead of just “plumbing” to reduce your competition and keyword costs. These are also high-converting keywords as customers are looking for something specific. This tactic is a great addition to your local business marketing strategies.
Adding Search Terms and Setting Negative Keywords
The keywords you bid on in Google Ads won’t always be the terms that show on the results page. Google does this to account for similar terms, misspellings, and opportunities to increase your search volume.
For example, a dentist bidding on the keyword “invisible braces in Orlando” might get traffic from search terms like “Invisalign Orlando” or “braces Orlando.” It’s important to review your search terms and add relevant terms to your ad groups and campaigns. This increases the number of terms you’re bidding on and your account’s overall effectiveness.
However, there’s another reason you want to regularly check your keywords: not all search terms are relevant.
In the example above, a dentist wouldn’t want to waste their budget getting clicks from the phrase “leg braces in Orlando” or “horse races Orlando.”
When you see keywords that aren’t relevant to your brand, set them as negative terms. Negative keywords block your ads from showing on irrelevant content. This allows you to eliminate waste and make sure your budget goes to clicks that turn into customers.
Setting Your Bid Type and Budget
Once you have your campaigns created and in place, it’s time to determine your bid strategy and budget. There are multiple strategies you can choose to spend your budget with depending on your digital marketing goals. A few of these include:
- Maximize Clicks: Google will drive as much traffic possible to your website
- Maximize Conversions: Google will try to get the most relevant traffic possible
- Target Search Page Location: Google will make sure your ads show at the top of the first page
- Target Ranking Share: Google will make sure your domain outbids another competing for similar terms
There are different reasons for choosing each bid strategy. For example, you might maximize clicks if you have a lead generation site that needs traffic. Or, you might target Ranking Share if someone is trying to bid on your brand.
Google Ads operates on a per-day budget. You can also opt to spend your budget throughout the day to maximize traffic. Knowing what you are willing to spend on a per-day basis can help you choose the right bid strategy for your marketing goals.
Adding Extensions and Other Extras
The final steps of your Google Ads creation process is the addition of extensions, call-outs, and other extras. These take up more real estate on the results page while providing more information to your customers.
A few common extensions are:
- Click-to-call buttons for your business
- Seller rankings and customer reviews
- Additional sitelinks to other pages on your website
- Call-outs for specific products, services, or sales
- Location extensions with directions to your store
Adding these make it easier for customers to get the information they need (like your phone number) making your ads more effective.
Launch Successful Google Ad Campaigns
Google ads can be a powerful tool for improving your web presence and driving more traffic to grow your business. Don't let the fear of not understanding this platform hold you back from using it.
If after reading this guide, you still think that Google Ads sounds a bit too confusing for you to set up on your own, contact MyArea Network. We have an expert team of Google Ads consultants who can help you set up your campaigns and start seeing results immediately.
Contact us today to see how we can help you launch your first Google Ads marketing plan.