last Updated 13 July 2020

The Simplest Way to Improve Your Google Ads Campaigns

If you want to improve your Google Ads campaigns one of the key things you should focus on is the content of your ads.

The whole point of having an ad is so that it gets clicked. And you can greatly increase the chances of a searcher clicking on your ad instead of someone else’s by making sure that your ad copy highlights the benefits of your product or service. You should also ensure it contains unique selling points which differentiate you from your competitors.

Improve your Google Ads relevance

But, above all, your ad has to be relevant to the user’s search term. In other words, the keyword that you are bidding on should appear prominently in the ad. As a general rule of thumb, you should include it once in the headline and once in the description.

The reason that this kind of relevance is so important is two-fold. Firstly, an ad that is relevant to what the searcher is looking for will result in a higher click through rate (CTR).

The CTR is a measure of how often your ad gets clicked. It is calculated by dividing the number of ad clicks by the number of impressions (how often the ad is shown). So an ad which appears 200 times over a given period and gets 20 clicks will have a CTR of 10%.

Clearly, if an ad is highly relevant then it is likely to have a better CTR. For example, if someone searches for “fixed rate mortgages” and sees one ad specifically about fixed-rate mortgages alongside two ads which are about mortgages in general, then they are more likely to click the fixed-rate mortgages ad because it is offering the precise thing they searched for and is therefore more relevant to them.

Improve your Google Ads quality score

The second reason that ad relevance is important is because it improves your quality score.

Google gives every keyword in your Google Ads account a quality score. The score ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

There are three main things that affect your quality score:

  1. the click through rate on that keyword
  2. how relevant the keyword is to the advert
  3. the relevance of the landing page

Google wants to deliver a good user experience. So, if your keyword is “life insurance for pilots”, then they want both your ad and your landing page to be about life insurance for pilots, and they want the ad to get a good click through rate (because that confirms the ad is giving people what they are looking for). If you do all those things, you will get a higher quality score.

The reason why having a good quality score is important is because it helps determine how often your ad appears and where it ranks within the search results.

Back in the very early days of pay-per-click advertising (i.e. pre-Google), it was all about the money. Whoever bid the highest amount per click would get the highest position. So if two IFAs were both bidding on the keyword “pension transfers” and the first was bidding £1 per click and the other was bidding £2, then the second advertiser would rank higher in the paid search results because of his larger bid.

As explained in this article about how the Google Ads auction works, Google changed all that by creating a system whereby the position of your ad is based on a combination of what you're bidding and what your quality score is. So now those two IFAs might find that, if the one bidding £1 per click had a high quality score, he might appear at the top of the page even though his is not the highest bid.

As I said earlier, the best way to increase the relevance of an ad is to make sure it includes your keyword in the headline and description. That obviously means you are going to need different ads for different keywords, and you will need to use ad groups to associate the correct keywords with the correct ads.

How ad relevance improves Google Ads results

The screenshot below is a few years old but it still illustrates very nicely why this is important.

The search term used in this example is “Porsche Boxster hire”, which means the searcher has been pretty specific on what they want.

But look at the ads that are displayed:

Google paid search results showing three AdWords advertisers that were shown for the search term 'porsche boxster hire'

If you were looking to hire a Porsche Boxster for the weekend, is there one of these ads that would be more likely to get your click than the others?

When I’ve asked this question on training courses, most people say they’d pick the middle one.

Even though that ad is not at number one, it stands out more because it is about the specific car that has been searched for. By contrast, the top advert is about Porsches in general and doesn’t mention a specific model – so it is less relevant.  And then the third ad has much less relevance. I'm sure the advertiser at number three does have Porsche Boxsters in their range, but the advert is just a fairly generic ad for supercar hire.

So, even though Signature Car Hire is not at number one, they're potentially going to get more clicks than the people who are at number one. This is because they've taken the trouble to write a specific ad that is tailored to their Porsche Boxster keywords. And they would presumably have created others ads for Ferrari hire, Lamborghini hire, Aston Martin hire, etc.

This means that, over time, Signature Car Hire will potentially develop a better click through rate than their competitors, and hence will achieve a better quality score. This could lead to them moving up to the number one position without actually spending any more money.

Google Ads: a David and Goliath ad platform

And this is one of the reasons why small businesses can actually succeed do well on Google Ads even when they are up against much larger companies with big advertising budgets - because success on Google Ads is not all about who's got the deepest pockets. If you invest some time and imagination into coming up with highly relevant and compelling ad copy, you can actually compete with (or even beat!) the big boys.

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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