Getting on top with paid Google advertising
A great website can be an amazing sales tool if you get your potential customers onto it. The early dilemma for any new business though is how to get those eyeballs onto the website.
When you put your new website live, it's unlikely that you'll appear high in natural search results for a number of months. We've covered this off in our Basics of Search Engine Optimisation article earlier, but Google needs to find your site, crawl it and then decide it's worth putting ahead of every other site in your topic area when it first goes live. That leaves a period where the quickest way to get clicks through Google is going to be through Google advertising, so it's important to get a basic overview of what Google Ads are, and how they may work for you and your website.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads are advertising slots that let you 'pay-per-click' through to your website. Google Ads are seen within search results (typically at the very top of the page and the very bottom of the page), as well as through the "Google Display Network". This Display Network includes YouTube and other sites that have signed up with Google to allow ads to be shown on their site. This means that depending how you set your ad up, you can have it shown right across the internet to a range of users.
How do Google Ads work?
The simplest way to think about the Google Ads system is to think about it as an auction. Every time someone searches for a particular keyword (or goes to a particularly themed site in the case of Display Network Ads), every company that is paying for Google Ads in that topic area automatically "asks" for it's ad to be shown. Google then looks at the text of the ad, the website the ad links to, the term being searched and the budget, then accepts a 'bid' to show the advert in the ad slot. In theory, this means that the most relevant ad with the highest bid is shown - meaning it's a really great way to get in front of the exact audience you want to be advertising to.
Can I run Google Ads myself?
In short - absolutely - but with anything 'DIY" you may not get the most out of your ad spend if you don't know what you are doing. Some of Google Ads' tools can be very technical, so if you are pushed for time and aren't able to delve really deep into how the system works, you run the risk of your ads being shown in irrelevant search results, or to users who ultimately aren't a great match for your products or services. Google's solution for small businesses that do want to run ads themselves is "Smart Campaigns". With a Smart Campaign you'll be able to provide Google with basic information about your business (location, general subject area etc), write up some ad text, and then press play. From here, Google's AI will automatically decide what search terms or Display Network locations to run the ads in with very little input from you. It's a good way to test the waters, but we would recommend you regularly check the keyword list the Smart Campaign is running off and exclude any irrelevant keywords. The Smart Campaigns can definitely end up running your ads in places that don't make too much sense, and you run the risk of paying for alot of Display Network ads showing (rather than the more effective ads shown directly into search results). Smart Campaigns definitely aren't the 'best' way to use Google Ads, but they are an option if you want to go for a DIY option without getting to heavily into learning the Google Ads system.
What if I want to get technical?
If you are technically minded and love to get down into the details, then there are tons of fantastic resources for learning how to run top notch Google Ads campaigns. Google itself has free Ads courses you are able to do in your own time and you'll find lots of paid courses you can hook into that will start delving into things like keyword research, ad creation and ad optimisation. The courses tend to have varying degrees of difficulty, so you are able to find something that suits how deep you want to learn the AdWords systems.
Should I use Google Ads and when should I use them?
This is one question we end up getting asked alot by our clients. It's very tempting to think of Google search as a free tool that you should be able to perform well in without paying anything to Google for. That of course is true, and a well optimised website will do well in search results, however, Google Ads offer a hugely affordable form of marketing that is really targeted to your industry, so there are a few scenarios we think they are especially useful:
The big take away
Knowledge is power when it comes to anything online, so the more you understand how a tool works, the better decisions you'll be able to make about it. For Google Ads - anyone can create and run a campaign, but how effectively that campaign runs will come down to how well it is setup, and how well it is monitored/optimised over time.
Setup and targeted well, a Google Ads campaign can be hugely beneficial - but a poorly setup campaign can mean potential sales 'left on the table'. Using Google Ads is definitely something we recommend you consider, but ultimately what works best for your company will come down to your industry, who your clients/customers are, and how your budget might most effectively be spent.
As always, if you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or if we can help you out with your Google Advertising, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.