PPC Advertising: The Ultimate Guide – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

Wondering what is foundational to building a successful paid search campaign? Let’s look at these four aspects to get you on the right track.

Keyword Research

Paid search platforms, such as Google Ads and Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) depend on keywords. These keywords serve as triggers to display relevant ads. For example, if someone goes to Google and searches for bicycle rentals in San Diego, it will display ads from businesses that input keywords such as “bike rentals in San Diego” or “bicycles for rent in La Jolla.”

Keywords are the main building blocks of paid search campaigns, so it’s worth taking the time to create a keyword list closely related to your products and services. Besides the basic search terms, it’s important to note that long-tail keywords make up 70% of all search traffic. Broaden your list with specific and lengthy search terms because these are often more affordable and less competitive.

Choose keywords with a high click-through rate (CTR), cost-effective cost-per-click (CPC) and many conversions to see positive results.

Over time, you’ll have data on cost-effective and profitable keywords for your campaigns. Based on the data, you can grow and refine your keyword list (e.g., with negative keywords) so your campaigns will continue to display ads to the right users and thus be effective.

Ad Groups

A PPC ad won’t always be an excellent match for the keyword you’re targeting. Therefore, advertisers must make ad groups that house related keywords, landing pages and text ads.

For the best results, ads within the group must have a consistent message. Ensure that the copy aligns with users’ search intent to improve your click-through rate.

For example, a customer searched for “sushi new york” and saw a PPC ad linked to a landing page of your sushi restaurant in the area. You’re more likely to convert searchers because your campaign has integrated keywords and landing pages.

Ad Auctions

Each time Google Search has to decide which ads will appear on the search results, an ad auction occurs. This is how Google determines which of the relevant ads to display. In addition to those that are the highest bidder, Google also considers factors such as ad quality to determine whether an ad will lend to Google’s user experience.

The three main factors that will determine whether your ad will be displayed and its position include:

  • Bid – This is the maximum price you’re willing to spend for a click on your ad. Bids are flexible and adjustable at any time, but the amount you end up paying per click is usually cheaper.
  • Ad Quality – Google evaluates the Quality Score (QS) of your ad based on its relevance and usefulness to searchers. Advertisers with higher Quality Scores can get a lower cost-per-click at better positions. You can view the Quality Score on your Google Ads account.
  • Impact of ad extensions and ad formats – Having additional extensions can increase your click-through rate and ad rank once you create an ad. Some examples of extensions are your location, contact number, app and promotions.

Quality Score

Quality Score refers to Google’s rating of the relevance and quality of your PPC, ad copy and landing page.

This metric is measured on a scale of one to ten, with eight to ten considered very good. A good score will increase your ad rank and decrease your cost-per-click.

The Quality Score is dependent on your click-through rate, ad relevance, landing page experience and your historical Google Ads account performance. Overall, what Google is looking to determine is whether or not your ad provides its users with a good user experience.

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