Google’s local search ads continue to evolve, with more emphasis on “badges” designed to “earn customers trust”. These badges are designed to give users “more confidence to book your services” states Google. The two badges are “Google Guaranteed” and “Google Screened”.
The advertisers that participate in these layers of trust are displayed next to a green, check-mark badge. This designation is quickly becoming the symbol of trust for Google users.
Trust would be built on what Google calls “Advanced Verification standards”. Google states: “In order to prevent fraudulent businesses from advertising on Google using false identities, Google Ads and Local Services advertisers in certain verticals will be required to complete Advanced Verification.”
The Google Guaranteed program now covers most Home Service categories, including appliance repair, carpenter, carpet cleaner, electrician, house cleaning, interior designer, landscaper, lawn care provider, mover, pest control technician, pet care provider, pet groomer, plumber, roofer, tree service provider, water damage, window cleaner, window service provider and flooring, foundations, countertop, HVAC, and siding pros. The green checkmark for Google Guaranteed providers signifies that Google has verified the business and backs the services booked.
Google states: “If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers (that came to your business through Google) aren’t satisfied with work quality, Google may refund the amount paid for the service.”
The newer “Google Screened for Professional Services” program. This program is for lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents, photographers, event planners, and tax specialists. The Google Screened, somewhat similar to the Google Guarantee program, means that Google has verified the business’s background and backs their expertise.
Google states: All firms that have the Google Screened badge must pass a business-level background and a business-owner background check. Additionally, each professional in the business must pass a license check, and in some categories, a background check.
Only firms that provide professional services including Law, Financial Planning, and Real Estate are eligible for the Google Screened badge.
To qualify for the Google Guaranteed or Screened badge, the service pros undergo personal background checks and provide corporate documentation, proof of insurance, certifications, licenses, and other credentials, depending upon the industry. This process can take weeks, even months, as Google depends upon third parties throughout the application process.
Local Services Ads have been slowly starting to show at the top of Google search results for local search queries in key home services categories.
It can be very easy to get bogged down in tweaking bids, making sure your ad copy jumps out, and putting all of your energy into juggling the numbers of Google Ads, but one thing that is often overlooked is creating a relevant landing page.
The ultimate goal of pay-per-click marketing is for you to convert clicks into sales. If users are taken in by your ad, but your landing page is confusing, irrelevant, or unattractive, then it could undo all of your hard work.
Driving people to your landing page is only half the job; the rest of the work needs to be done at a site level.
You should optimize your landing page for pay-per-click conversion by ensuring that your ads align with the content on your landing page.
Maintaining consistency on your ads and landing page means using the same keywords, and call-to-action across both the ad copy and the landing page.
2. Pay Attention to Negative Keywords
Using negative keywords can work in your favor. On Google Ads, you can specify what your product or service is not. This will ensure your ads don’t show up on keyword searches that don’t fit with the customers that you want.
By honing down the details, you’ll ensure that you’re not wasting time and money on an ad campaign that is completely missing the mark.
An example of how you can do this would be that if you were advertising an upmarket vegan restaurant, you’d want to specify that you don’t want to receive traffic coming from people looking for search terms such as ‘fast food.’
It is essential that you let Google know what your services and products are not, just as is it is important to state what they are.
3. Use All of the Relevant Ad Extensions
Many pay-per-click accounts will focus their attention on Paths, Headlines, and a Description of the main ad. Ad Extensions, though are an essential part of the user experience and can add a lot of value to your campaign.
Ad extensions will help to tell the story of your brand in addition to providing important information to your visiting customers.
There are a number of different ad extensions available. However, these are the most popular:
Callout Extensions- Help to build trust with phrases such as ‘quick and professional service’
Sitelinks Extensions- Additional links that direct customers to your landing pages or your website
Call Extensions – This allows you to include your business phone number in your listing
Local Extensions- Add your Google My Business account to your Google Ads to include your phone number and address in the listing
Try and use as many that apply to your listing as possible.
4. Fill in Every Available Section
Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) have made a huge difference in the way that Google Ads work. By adding extra specs for content that is relevant, ETAs allow the chance to tell a complete story about the services or products that you’re trying to sell.
To make sure that your ads perform to the best of their abilities, make sure that you fill out all of the available fields in the form.
5. Perform Thorough Keyword Research
Using the right keyword is essential when it comes to paying for Google Ads; after all, you need to ensure you get a maximum return on your investment.
One thing that should be obvious is that the higher the search volume is of the keyword, the higher the cost-per-click, and subsequently- the higher the ad spend.
If you go after high volume searched keywords, you’re going to have to pay more. So do your research and look for keywords that have a high search volume and a low cost-per-click as these will be the most effective.
A lesser-used strategy for cost-effective Google Ads bidding is to use Single Keyword Ad Groups. With this strategy, you’ll improve your quality score while your cost-per-click will go down.
6. Adjust Your Bids for Geo-Targeting
All industries can benefit from focusing their marketing toward their specific location. While geo-targeting is something local businesses such as lawyers, builders, hotels, and dentists use to their advantage all of the time, it’s not just useful for this type of industry.
Even if you don’t rely on your customer’s actual location, you should still think about optimizing your pay-per-click ads with geo-targeting bids based on local seasons and the needs of the user.
For example, if you sell sunglasses but you should negative bid in areas where it is winter and focus your geo-tagged bids in areas that enjoy plenty of sunny weather. You would use weather forecasts to then increase your bids on areas that are due to have a sunny spell.
There is a lot of money that can be saved by making sure your ads are showing in the right cities.
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Google recently made several updates to their ad policies. Google continues to restrict certain businesses from advertising on Google Ads and also continues to be more stringent with certain types of businesses and headings.
It’s important for advertisers and agencies to keep abreast of these changes, as violating these polices could results in an account suspension without notice.
Some businesses are more affected than others, and we continue to see Google become more restrict regarding financial services, healthcare and medicines,
Here’s Google’s official announcement regarding ad policy changes:
On July 28, 2020, several Google Ads policies that serve to protect users were updated to better inform advertisers as to the severity of violations of these policies and if they will result in account suspension without notice. Additional clarifications were also made to the policy language to be more clear as to what falls in scope of these policies:
Google Ads has recently issued advertisers credits to help advertisers with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
This is to help businesses face the challenges of the economic downturn over this pandemic. The ad credit is automatically applied to your promotions tab in your Google Ad account and is valid until December 31, 2020. Any credits will automatically be deducted from advertisers ad spend.
The amount of credit seems to be dependent on an advertisers ad spend, so each business may get a different ad spend credit. So far, I am seeing a range of advertiser credits from $300 up to $750.
You will want to login to your Google Ads account (ads.Google.com) and should see a banner notification across the top of your account. If not, hit the drop down under the tools tab (wrench icon) and click the promotions tab to see more details.
Any credits will automatically be added to your Google Ads account, so there’s nothing you need to do. Don’t contact Google regarding this or try to request a larger credit.
“Updated on June 16th with additional information on the ad credit application to eligible Google Ads customers. By the end of this week, ad credits will be launched in Australia, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, and Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States. The ad credit automatically offsets future spend; no action needed. Check back here for further updates on which countries have launched.
We want to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. That’s why we’re giving our SMB customers worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend, until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms. This is part of a larger commitment from Google to support SMBs, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.
This page provides additional information and will be periodically updated. As an additional resource to help you manage your business through uncertainty please visit the Google for Small Business site.”
According to a recent Google report, businesses earn $8 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. The good news is that just about every business, whether small or large, can find value in the Google Ads network.
Of course, even an ideal business can have trouble getting started on Google Ads. Many marketers expect immediate results and throw in the towel before they can optimize their bidding strategy. But if you stick with Google Ads in the long run, you can enjoy some of the best marketing ROI available.
Need help getting started with your Google Ads bidding strategy? Here’s an in-depth look into finding success on the platform.
1. Determine Your Cost-Per-Action
What is an action? It’s a task you want your potential customers to undertake. It could mean signing up for the newsletter, buying your product, or visiting your website.
Your PPC advertisement will no doubt ask customers to make one of these conversion actions. Before you search for keywords or prices, it’s important that you get a handle on a targeted CPA. After all, if it costs more than you gain through conversions, your PPC campaign isn’t worth the cost.
Let’s figure out the most you are willing to spend per action. If your PPC advertisement asks visitors to purchase a pair of $60 shoes, then your conversion is worth the profit margin for that product. We will say you make $12 for every purchase of $60 shoes.
To profit or break even, your CPA cannot exceed $12. The cost per conversion depends on the success of your PPC campaign. This means you will have to set initial bids before you can optimize your CPA.
2. Start With Manual Bidding
If your business is new to the Google Ads network, you may be tempted to take advantage of automated bidding. This option allows you to target preset bid strategies that can help you reach your conversion goals. The problem is it’s easy to throw off the bidding algorithm, which can reduce the potency of your entire campaign.
For one, Google Ads requires a high volume of conversions before you can use automated bidding. If you are on the lower end of the conversion scale, the algorithm will have a limited data set to inform its decisions. Smaller businesses may not have the budget flexibility necessary to maintain an automated bidding campaign, as sudden alterations can lead to exorbitant ad spend expenses.
Manual bidding is the best bet for any new business getting started with PPC advertising. Even if you aren’t experienced with Google Ads, it’s easy to set an initial keyword bid.
First, turn to the Google Ads Keyword Planner. This tool can help you find new keywords, but its true value comes from displaying suggested bids. CPCs fluctuate due to factors such as location, competition, and industry, so this data can give you a firm foundation relevant to your business.
Once you’ve trimmed your list of potential keywords based on efficacy and price, analyze their individual metrics. For example, you can see exactly how much it will cost to land on the first page of the SERPs. Betting the bare minimum will result in your ad landing at the bottom of the page, so increase the payout to claim a spot somewhere in the middle.
These initial bids will serve as the beginning of your Google AdWords bidding strategy. PPC tools can help you get started.
3. Make the Jump to Automated Bidding Strategies
Automated bidding will become more accurate as your conversion volume increases. At a certain point, you can consider switching existing campaigns to automated bidding or testing automated bidding with new keywords and campaigns.
There are 12 ways to bid on Google Ads. What do they all mean? We’ll cover the most common.
CPA Bidding Strategy
Most businesses will use the CPA strategy. This maximizes conversions according to the cost-per-action that you select. The Google algorithm will use the CPA as an average, so some bids may cost more than your preset designations, but others will cost less to compensate.
Maximize Conversions Bidding Strategy
If you’re not worried about your return on investment or don’t have enough data to select a CPA strategy, consider maximizing your conversions. It’s an extremely simple technique so long as you know your daily marketing spend available to allocate.
Set your daily spend and Google Ads will maximize as many conversions as possible within the budget. It’s not the most effective bidding strategy, but it’s a no-fuss way to get started or try and find your footing.
ROAS Bidding Strategy
ROAS is an acronym that stands for “return on ad spend.” This option optimizes your conversions based on your desired return.
Remember that you stand to make $8 for every $1 you spend on Google ads. This would give you a ROAS of 800%.
Maximize Clicks Bidding Strategy
Most of these strategies are built around the idea of driving a sale, but you can run a Google Ads campaign simply to bring traffic to your site. If this is your goal, select the maximize clicks bidding strategy.
After selecting your daily ad spend, Google Ads will seek to maximize the number of click-throughs you receive through your ads.
Impression Share Bidding Strategy
Larger companies may seek to build a brand presence. If so, Google Ads now has a new type of bidding strategy known as impression share bidding.
Your advertisements will appear up to 100% of the time on related search engine results pages. Costs can skyrocket out of control, so reserve this strategy for inexpensive keywords.
Need Help Selecting a Bidding Strategy?
Trial and error are essential to finding success on the Google Ads network. While one bidding strategy may work for a competitor, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Test a variety of different strategies and keywords until you discover the results you’re looking for.
Many businesses find value in outsourcing Google Ads management. If you are struggling to find success or do not have the time to run a PPC campaign, turn to the professionals. Reach your goals with the help of an experienced Google Ads agency.