Google AdWords Secrets & Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some Google AdWords secrets:

Mistake #1

Don’t throw in ‘everything but the kitchen sink.’ The siren-song temptation is to insert every keyword that could possibly apply to the business so that anyone who might ever be possibly interested will enter in one of the numerous keywords and discover it. Doesn’t a dry cleaner want people to know it is “eco friendly” and “uses green products” but is also “same day?” Oh yeah, and it’s a “discount dry cleaner” that happens to be “organic.” The problem is that by being everything to everybody, you appeal to no one. Instead, package a campaign with keywords that target a particular type of customers, and then send them to a page on your website that is suited to serve their needs.

Mistake #2

Don’t be in-your-face. People searching on Google don’t respond a lot to over-the-top advertisements. Nor do they respond to ads that are boring. What is most important is to use the Google AdWords keywords tool or Wordtracker to figure out the terms prospective customers are likely to use to find your business, and then include them in the ad headline. The headlines might look boring to many people, but they will be exactly what you’re customers are looking for. Then show them the benefit and payoff of your product or service right away, and you’re on your way to having an ad with a higher click-through-rate.

Mistake #3

High click-through isn’t always the best goal. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of click-through-rate. After all, you save money if it is higher. But what is the point if the large net you cast doesn’t reel in any customers? Better to write an ad that calls out to precisely the type of customer you are looking for. If you’re selling “sheepskin covers for Ford pickup trucks” that are “custom made,” make that your ad, even if the amount of people looking for that might be low. That way, you avoid click-throughs from people looking for something more general.

Mistake #4

Don’t let Google help you. I often hear from a business owner who was contacted by a Google representative offering to “optimize” his or her ad campaigns. In fact, the most popular Facebook post I’ve ever put out was when I said, “Have you ever allowed Google to ‘help’ you by editing your AdWords campaigns? How’d it turn out?” You can see the fury of responses that I got here. I have rarely heard from a client who did not report that this was an unmitigated disaster. Google AdWords is an amazing creation. But Google’s reps simply don’t know how to build a great Google AdWords campaign because they’ve never had their own money on the line.

Avoid these mistakes and learn through some trial and error, and you will be on your way to an Goolge AdWords campaign that produces results.,072d9641bb5a9310VgnVCM20000099cceb0aRCRD.html

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Google Adwords Quality Score, The Art And Science

During our last weekly Monday marketing meeting, we were discussing the performance of our Google Adwords campaign and how we could better increase our Google Quality Score to achieve higher web rankings and visibility for a lower cost. Rather than reaching any conclusions on the best way to move forward, our discussion went back to the basics.

What is Google Adwords Quality Score? What components impact your overall Google rating? What can you do to minimize your spending and maximize your placement on Google?

Upon realizing that the answers to these questions weren’t so black and white, I was assigned the task to research the algorithm and determining factors Google uses for their Ad Quality Score in an effort to help build a solid understanding of the subject prior to making changes to our Google Adwords campaigns.

Although this is not a typical blog topic that I choose to write about, it is an opportunity to share my findings and be a resource for those who perhaps use Google Adwords, but lack a basic understanding of how it works.

Let’s begin with how Google calculates your Ad Rank and your actual CPC.

(Max CPC bid) (Quality Score) = Ad Rank

Actual CPC = (Ad rank of the next highest bidder beneath you)/(Your quality score)

Based on these equations, you realize how much your quality score impacts both your Google ranking and how much you pay per click.

So, is quality score just some number that Google pulls out of the air? Or is it strategically calculated based on a number of different variables?

After performing initial research on the subject, there are three different components that determine your quality score: your CTR (Click-through rate), your ad relevancy, and your landing page. Keep in mind that these three factors do not all carry the same weight. Your CTR is the most important factor, contributing about 60% to your overall Google Adwords quality score. Your Ad relevancy comes in a close second, at 30%, while your landing page comes in last, at 10%.

Let’s dissect each of these factors individually in an effort to help capitalize on your Google Adwords strategy.

CTR (Click-Through Rate)

CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of impressions. We all know that users vote with their clicks. Google uses CTR to determine which ads are best based on the user’s search query. Since CTR is largely dependent on the popularity of your keywords, a below average CTR could be a strong indicator that you are bidding on the wrong keywords.

Ad Relevance

Your ad relevance is the relevancy of a keyword to the ad, and the relevancy of the keyword to the user’s search query. Your ad relevancy gauges how your ad fares against your competitors. If your ad relevancy score is low, you may benefit from seeing how your competitors’ ads are different from yours and make changes accordingly. A “below average” status means that your ad or keyword may not be specific enough or that your ad group may cover too many topics.

Landing Page Experience

Although your landing page experience is least important to your overall quality score, it should not be overlooked. It has potential to put you slightly ahead of all your competitors, which can make all of the difference. A high landing page rating is achieved through original content, an easily navigable website, quick loading times, minimal popups, and how well site interacts with visitor’s computer. If this score is low, it means that there is dissonance between what you say you do and what you really do.

So, now the question is, what can you take from all of this? What can you do to improve your Ad Quality Score?

  1. Make sure each ad group focuses on a single product or service.
  2. Use keywords that are two to three words long rather than a single word. For example, “cupcakes” is a very general and popular keyword that will generate many impressions, but it becomes very difficult to get clicks on your particular ad. Choosing a more targeted keyword, like “vegan chocolate cupcakes” will result in a higher CTR. This is because, although you will get fewer impressions and fewer clicks, you will get a much better click through rate. Bottom line: Avoid using general keywords.
  3. Include your keywords in your ad text (especially in your ad’s headline)
  4. Use a strong call to action in your ad text.
  5. Include prices, promotions, and exclusives in your ad text
  6. Create tightly-themed ad groups by makings sure that your ads are closely related to a smaller group of keywords

Make sure to only make small adjustments to your ads or keywords at one time and allow enough time to judge the results of your changes. If the change(s) you made impacted your results positively, move on to another small change and see how it works. If your results had a negative impact on your traffic or cost, change it back and try something else. Making a continuous number of small changes, one at a time,  will tell you if you are moving in the right direction or not. Keep track of all of your changes, so you can go back if things don’t go as planned.


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Mobile Campaign – Google Best Practices

Just because you can see your desktop website on a mobile phone doesn’t mean that it’s mobile-friendly. People who use high-end mobile devices, like iPhones or Android phones, can see standard AdWords ads and standard websites. But other possible customers use WAP mobile phones, which can only view specially designed mobile websites.

To reach the most mobile customers, it helps to create a mobile website that’s tailored to the small screen and makes it easy for people to make a purchase or take other action on your site.

When designing your site, keep in mind mobile best practices, like simple navigation and highlighting local options of your business. If you’d like to reach customers with WAP phones, you’ll also need to use mobile-friendly code to create your site.

Reaching mobile customers using a normal (HTML) website

Regardless of whether you have a mobile website, AdWords will let you show text ads to customers using Google Search on a high-end mobile device, like an iPhone or Android phone. These “smart phones” have a full Internet browser (like a desktop computer), so a customer who clicks your standard-sized text ad from the search results page can visit your standard website written with HTML.

By default, AdWords opts your new campaigns into “all available devices,” which includes these “mobile devices with full browsers.” You can opt in or out of showing ads on “Mobile devices with full browsers” from each campaign’s Settings tab.

Keep in mind…

If you opt in, make sure that your landing page doesn’t contain Flash content. Flash is currently not supported on iPhones or iPads, and has only limited support on Android and other high-end mobile devices. If our system detects that your landing page has lots of Flash content, we’ll automatically limit your ads from running on high-end mobile devices.

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Target a device

Nowadays, many mobile devices have standard browsers, but some feature phones lack a full browser and can only view mobile-specific webpages. To reach customers on these devices, you’ll need to create a WAP [mobile ad] and a WAP-friendly mobile website, which we’ll talk about more below.

Best practices for designing a mobile site

When creating a mobile website, you’ll want to keep in mind a few strategies that best take advantage of the small size of mobile screens and the behavior of mobile users. These strategies can help make sure your mobile site is a great experience for customers and direct them to take the desired actions on your site.

Keep it quick

  1. Reduce large blocks of text and use bullet points.
  2. Compress images to keep them small for faster site loading.

Make it easy to buy something or contact you.

  1. Reduce the number of steps needed to complete a transaction.
  2. Keep forms short, with the fewest number of fields possible.
  3. Use check boxes, lists, and scroll menus to make data entry easier.
  4. Use click-to-call functionality for all phone numbers.

Simplify navigation

  1. Minimize scrolling and keep it vertical only.
  2. Use a clear hierarchy in menus and avoid rollovers.
  3. Help customers navigate between levels with clear back and home buttons.
  4. Use seven links or fewer per page of navigation.

Help people find and get to your local sites

  1. Have your address or store locator on the landing page.
  2. Include maps and directions. Use GPS to personalize when possible.
  3. Allow customers to check stock at nearby stores.

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Adwords Ad Rotation

AdWords: Product Update Round-up QueryClick (blog) – May 1, 2012 Google have gone a bit David Bowie of late and made a whole series of ‘ch-ch-ch-changes’ to the AdWords product this month. Here’s a round-up of the key ones and how they will affect pay-per-click campaigns moving forward.

RIP Ad Rotation In AdWords Business 2 Community – May 1, 2012 By Larry Kim, Published May 1, 2012 Using the “rotate” setting for Ad Rotation is helpful for A/B testing of – especially because the automated “optimize for clicks” and “optimize for conversions” ad delivery options have a tendency to declare a winner …

Google to alter its ‘rotate evenly’ setting on PPC ads Vertical Leap News (press release) – May 1, 2012 Hello there!  Google is set to alter its ‘rotate evenly’ setting on PPC ads over the coming week, reports. Currently, Google offers pay per …

AdWords “Rotate Evenly” Setting To Stop Rotating After 30 Days Search Engine Land – Apr 30, 2012 The “rotate evenly” setting on an AdWords campaign has been a long-time best friend to habitual ad testers testers and landing page tweakers everywhere. Next week, the “rotate evenly” setting will stop rotating after 30 days and default to a different …

How to Handle the AdWords Ad Rotation Changes Search Engine Watch – May 1, 2012 by Greg Habermann, May 1, 2012 Comments A collective slapping sound could be heard all across the PPC industry yesterday. You might have heard it.. It was quite loud. It was the sound of thousands of AdWords account managers doing a massive *facepalm* …

Google To Stop Allowing AdWords Ad Rotation Search Engine Roundtable – May 1, 2012 Google announced on the AdWords blog that they will be changing how their ad rotation works, essentially preventing you from continuing to leave your ads on rotation after 30-days. Starting next week, the “rotate” setting for ad rotation will change.

AdWords Limits New Ad Rotation to 30 Days Search Engine Watch – May 1, 2012 by John Rampton, May 1, 2012 Comments Google has announced that the “rotate” feature in AdWords will change starting next week. The change limits ad rotation to 30 days. After the 30 days, AdWords will optimize and show the ads that are converting the …

Google Changes Ad Rotation In AdWords WebProNews – Apr 30, 2012 By Zach Walton · April 30, 2012 · Leave a Comment If you are a user of Google’s AdWords service, then you are probably familiar with the Ad Rotation feature. The Ad Rotation feature currently offers three settings – “optimize for clicks,” “optimize for …

Google modifies comparison ads to look like organic results Vertical Leap News (press release) – May 1, 2012 Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. Google is modifying some of its PPC ads to look more like organic search results. report that many comparison ads, which help users …

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Google Billions – Adwords Zillions – Search Gazillion

The rapid adoption of smart mobile devices, such as the iPhone and the iPad, is changing how consumers interact with search engines, and advertisers are paying attention.

Marin Software has released a white paper titled “The State of Mobile Search Advertising.” It outlines the key mobile trends, projections and optimization strategies for advertisers seeking to get the most from their mobile paid-search campaigns.

It also provides more evidence of how the search and paid-search markets are being profoundly affected by mobile devices. In almost every category there’s triple-digit growth according to the report, which projects that smartphones and tablets will combine to generate 25 percent of all Google’s paid search clicks in the US by the end of this year.

Marin also estimates that nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of “Google’s US paid-search spends [by December 2012] will come from mobile campaigns.” These are remarkable statements, and it means that Google will be seeing billions in mobile revenue accordingly.





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Quality Score Google’s X Factor

Google calculates Quality Score every time a search is performed for one of your keywords. Google says the score can affect your ad auction eligibility, your keyword’s cost-per-click, your keyword’s first page bid estimate, your keyword’s top of page bid estimate and your ad position.

Google’s Tanmay Arora posted a big explanation of Google’s “Quality Score sauce” in the AdWords Community forum, offering a bit more perspective (hat tip to Barry Schwartz).

“First, the relevance of a keyword is not entirely determined by its presence on the landing page or the number of times it’s been mentioned on the landing page,” says Arora. “It’s not about how appropriate we find the keyword to the product/landing page but how appropriate the users find it. In other words, the number of users clicking on your ad when they search for that keyword.”

“Second, when we add fresh keywords, initially, they’re awarded a historical Quality Score based on their previous performance on,” says Arora. “And only once the keyword starts accruing statistics, the system then evaluates its Quality Score based on its recent performance. This doesn’t happen dynamically but is a gradual process.”

Arora talks about one more key ingredient: “We take into account the exact match CTR of the keyword, as it’s a better indicator of the effectiveness of the keyword. (The exact match CTR refers to the number of times the keyword has triggered an ad when the search term exactly matched the keyword.) For example, if our keyword ‘red shoes’ is in broad match, it triggers our ad even for search terms like ‘red shoe’, ‘formal shoes’, ‘horse shoe,’ etc. However, the exact match statistics point out exactly when the keyword ‘red shoes’ triggered our ad and was clicked on by the user when he searched for the exact search term ‘red shoes’.”

There’s plenty more to be said…

“Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad,” Google explains in its AdWords help center. “Having a high Quality Score means that our systems think your ad, keyword, and landing page are all relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad. Having a low Quality Score, on the other hand, means that your ads, keywords, and landing page probably aren’t as relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.”

“Suppose Sam is looking for a pair of striped socks,” Google says. “And let’s say you own a website that specializes in socks. Wouldn’t it be great if Sam types ‘striped socks’ into Google search, sees your ad about striped socks, clicks your ad, and then lands on your web page where he buys some spiffy new striped socks? In this example, Sam searches and finds exactly what he’s looking for. That’s what we consider a great user experience, and that’s what can earn you a high Quality Score.”

Google says it calculates quality score by looking at your keyword’s past clickthrough rate, your display URL’s past clickthrough rate, your account history (the overall CTR of all ads and keywords in your account), the quality of your landing page, your keyword/ad relevance, geographic performance and your ad’s performance on a site.

Google Chief Economist Hal Varian gives a good explanation of quality score in this video from 2 years ago:

In another help center article, Google discusses how to improve your ad quality by creating “very specific” ad groups, choosing your keywords carefully, including keywords in your ad text, creating simple, “enticing” ads, using strong calls-to-action, testing multiple ads, and regularly reviewing campaign performance.

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What Is In A Zipcode? Everything! Google’s AdWords Targeting Can Spin Ads

Google has announced new features in AdWords that aim to help advertisers create ads that are more relevant to local customers and help more local businesses get people to take action on local offers. This is a key area for advertisers, considering more than 20 percent of all searches on Google are related to a location.

ZIP Code Targeting


Google will allow you to tag specific ZIP codes within the U.S… with AdWords Location Targeting. Advertisers can target up to 1,000 ZIP codes within the U.S… at a time.

Eighty-eight percent of smartphone users who search for local information take action within one day, according to Google. Google feels that this will help with customers using direct mail, outdoor ads, and newspapers to be able to target the exact ZIP code areas that you would like to target.

You can drill into the data and measure the performance for your local campaigns by viewing the performance statistics at the ZIP code level.

Location Insertion for Location Extensions

To help easily create a custom ad title, text, display URL, and/or destination URL for all of your locations at scale, Google came out with location insertion for local extensions. You no longer have to create multiple ads for multiple locations. The new feature will automatically insert the city, number, or ZIP code of your local business into the ad.


For example, if your ad text says: “Find a {} Store or Shop Online,” a user viewing your ad in Chicago would see: “Find a Chicago Store or Shop Online.” This new feature cuts out all the work to building out ad text featuring local information for all your locations.

Google requires you to have location extensions set up and running in order to enable this feature. These new locations will be detected based on the physical location or geographical locations of interest to those viewing your ad.

4 Advanced Location Targeting Changes

Google has also announced four enhancements to advanced location targeting, which launched in March 2011.

  1. Rewording: Language of options has been changed to make them easier to understand.
  2. Show ads to people in a physical location without exception: Now you can select “People in my targeted location.” Previously when you selected “Target using physical location”, ads would show to people in your targeted location unless they were searching for something related to a difference location.
  3. New Display Network location targeting signals: The physical location of the person and the location extracted from the content of the page are now being used as ad targeting signals. Note: the default is to show to people “in” or “viewing pages about” your targeted location.
  4. Avoid getting impressions using exclusion options: To help advertisers avoid getting impressions for excluded locations, “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my excluded location,” is now the default setting, replacing “Exclude by physical location only.”

Do you like all these features? If you’ve been using these features for a while, leave a comment and tell us how they’re working out and if the advanced targeting options are helping you out!

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Misspellings, Singular/Plural, Stemmings, Accents Or Abbreviations – Google Knows Them All

Google announced that in about 30 days from now, the way they handle AdWords match types for exact and phrase based matching will change. Going forward, Google will auto-match for phrase and exact match even for variants including misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents and abbreviations.

Why? Google has said that over 7% of all queries contain misspellings. Google also explained that Google’s organic results already do this and they want to make sure the AdWords results do the same. Google added that in early tests it has led to an increase in clicks by 3%.

Here is an example:

Don’t like that Google is doing this? Don’t worry, you can turn it off. Once Google activates this log in to AdWords and select the campaign settings tab. Under “Advanced settings” select Keyword matching options. There will be an option to turn it off there, here is a picture:

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Google Mobile Campaign: 1,2,3

  • Mobile Search is on the rise.
  • Target campaign clearly optimized for mobile.
  • Track with conversions and Google Analytics.
  • Design Ads and Landing Pages optimized for mobile.

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