What are some Google AdWords Best Practices?

Following Google AdWords best practices will help you create effective campaigns that bring in impressive results. Your Search campaign health score will reach 100% and you will spend less for greater ad prominence.

Adwords Search Health Score

There are many best practices to follow and what you implement will depend on a number of factors.

I’ve listed here some best practice to implement if you are primarily running Search campaigns:

Choose the right bid strategy

There are two bid strategy types in adWords: manual and Automatic. And there are 6 automatic bid strategies and only one manual strategy. Your choice of strategy will depend on your goals.

If you are launching a campaign, maximise Clicks is likely to be the best bid option to get you as many clicks as possible for your budget. If you would like more control over keyword bids, then manual bidding will be best.

And if you want as many conversions as possible after having run the campaign for a while, then Maximise Conversions is likely the best.

Also, if you have a particular competitor you want to outbid, then Target Outranking Share is the best bid strategy to use.

Add 2 or more ads

Add at least two ads in each ad group. The ideal number is 3 and each should be slightly different to test specific features, benefits, prices, discounts etc.

This will help to boost your Click Through Rates (CTR) and Quality Scores and improve the overall performance of your campaigns. The AdWords machine learning system will then give more prominence to the ad with the best performance for the key metrics.

Start with phrase and exact match type

The match types you use are important because they determine what searches your ads appear for. Broad match types allow your ads to appear for a wide range of searches and some will not be relevant.

And this is usually because you are unlikely to have a comprehensive negative keyword list when getting started.

So, it’s important especially when launching a new campaign that you control the searches you are appearing for. Phrase and exact match keywords will do that for you and as you manage your campaigns over time and build your negative keyword list, you can then later add broad match keywords.

However, before adding broad match, you could add modified broad match versions and target more searches.

Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

Using DKI especially in the ads headline is one effective way to make your ads relevant to the searchers query. It helps to increase clicks and CTRs and will boost your ad quality.

The syntax for DKI is quite simple and follows the following pattern

{KeyWord:Default Keyword Here}

In the example above, you place your default keyword in the curly brackets and the text is updated with the keyword that triggered the ad – as long as the keyword is within the 30 character limit.

DKI can be used anywhere in the ad and that includes headline 1, headline 2, description and Path 1 and Path 2.

Add all Ad extensions 

Ad extensions help your ads gain more prominence in the search results. They also help you to appear higher in the search results.

Adding all extensions that are relevant to your business is a must and you should ensure you add them for Sitelinks, callouts, call, structured snippets, reviews, price and location extensions.

They also help make your ads relevant to searchers and you will see an improvement in CTRs and Quality Scores. This is important especially if your competitors are doing the same.

Update advanced location options

It’s not enough to just specify the location you want to target. You also have to decide where your ads should or should not appear, with the Advanced Location Options feature.

This feature is available in campaign settings and helps you decide whether people outside your targeted location should see your ad or not.

A hotel targeting Milton Keynes for example, would still be happy for its ads to be visible to people based in France looking for a hotel in Milton Keynes. So if these people use google.co.uk and search for “hotel in Milton Keynes” they will see the hotel ads if the settings are as they are below

Advanced Location Options

However, for some businesses, it is important that they only appear for people actually located in their targeted location because anything else would be a waste of budget. So the correct settings would be as follows:

Advanced Location Options

Add negative keywords

Negative keywords are a way to block irrelevant searches. You can identify negative keywords to add as you do your keyword research and also throughout the management of your campaigns.

One other place to find negative keywords to add is in the search terms report. This report is important because it shows the actual searches your ads are getting impressions and clicks for.

You are likely to find many potential negative keywords here which will help prevent budget wastage. Quickly add them in your negative keyword list.

An effective way to add negative keywords is in shared library because that allows you to assign the lists you create to all relevant campaigns – and saves you time.

Setup ad scheduling

Use ad scheduling to pick the days and hours when your target market is searching and buying. This feature is available in campaign settings and allows you to choose the days and hours you want to run your ads.

If your business targets other businesses, then you may want to run ads during working hours Mon to Fri 8am – 6pm.

If on the other hand you want to target as many searches as possible, then you should consider running ads 24/7.

This feature also allows you to bid higher on specific days or hours, if you want to gain more prominence in the search results.