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Google Ads 101: Keywords for Success

You’ve decided that Google Ads is a good option for advertising your business, and learned how to launch your first ad campaign. Way to go! Now it’s time to fine-tune your ads and ensure that they actually appear to the right audience when you want them to.

Google determines how your ads show up through an Ad Auction. It regulates where you show up on the page and whether your ad shows up at all. The Ad Auction takes a few things into account, but the most important is your Ad Rank. The higher your Ad Rank, the more likely it is that your ad will show up near the top of the search results page. If your Ad Rank is too low, then your ad may not even be eligible to show up in relevant searches. This is why it is important to optimize your ads for the best performance!

Many things affect Ad Rank, but search context and quality score play major roles. The keywords you choose and the relevancy of your ad copy directly affect your quality score, so it is essential to perfect your ads to get them in front of more people.

Figure Out Your Target Audience

Creating successful ads is all about choosing a specific target. Then, you can create a cohesive set of keywords to hit that target! Choose keywords that are relevant to your product or service and that you think your intended audience will be searching on Google. If you have a good understanding of what your intended buyers want, then you will be able to more effectively advertise to them.

Make Everything Cohesive

Everything in your ads must line up in order to be successful with Google Ads. Your keywords have to be relevant and specific in how they relate to your headlines, descriptions, and landing pages. Your quality score will suffer if you have inconsistencies in your ads, or if your keywords are too broad for the product or service you are selling. For example, if you sell auto parts, you shouldn’t use the keyword “muffler” with ad copy about “tires” that routes to a landing page that sells “windshield wipers.” Pay special attention to staying specific and consistent between your keywords, ads, and landing pages, and make sure to double check everything for errors.

Use Google’s “Keyword Planner Tool” for Suggestions

When you choose keywords for your ad group, a box appears to the right where you can enter information about your business and find Google’s suggested relevant keywords. This is a great starting point because it gives you ideas and shows you how often each term is searched on a monthly basis.

To add the suggested keywords to your list, click on the plus button next to the term and it will automatically appear in the keywords box. Play around with the tool by slightly changing your working in the “Enter your product or service” field. Each new keyword will be added on a separate line.

As a warning, I wouldn’t suggest adding all of the suggested keywords because there may be some that aren’t relevant to your ad, which will end up hurting your ad rank. Also, keep in mind that you’re more likely to make a sale through Google Ads when your ad speaks directly to exactly what the person is searching for. To reference the example above, if you want to sell windshield wipers, you don’t want someone landing on your website who was actually looking for a muffler!

Use “Match Types” to Refine Your Keywords

Learning about match types can help to define specific guidelines for what keywords apply to your ad group. This is where you can zero in on your target customers and improve your quality score. There are 5 main match types that you can use to get more specific about which keywords you most want to be associated with. Here are the match types and when to use them:

Broad Match

Every keyword is identified as a broad match by default. Typing a phrase (i.e. “windshield wipers”) into the keyword field will automatically assign it as a broad match. This means that your ad has a chance of showing up when someone searches for either precisely that keyword or something similar. Broad match will also recognize when a potential customer misspells a search term and allow your ad to show up anyway (i.e. a search for “windsheild wpers” will still bring up your “windshield wiper” ad).

+Broad Match Modifier

A keyword with a Broad Match Modifier has a “+” directly in front of it, and will expand the pool of search terms that will bring up your ad. Using this match type does limit your ad to appearing only when those exact keywords are included in the search terms, but it does not regard the order the words are entered in the search bar OR if other words are included in the search terms. Broad Match Modifiers will also include close variations or a misspelling. Related searches or synonyms of your keyword will not display your ad, so it makes the chosen keyword more specific. For example, a search for “wiper blades” will not bring up your “+windshield +wiper” ad, but a search for “wipers windshield near me” will.

“Phrase Match”

If you choose to use phrase match for a keyword but putting it in quotes (“windshield wipers”), then your ad will only have a chance to appear when that exact phrase is entered as a search term. There can be words before or after the phrase, but the exact phrase must be somewhere within the search. If the search terms are similar but don’t contain the phrase you have designated, then your ad will not show up. For example, a search for “best windshield wipers for honda civic” will bring up your “windshield wipers” ad, but a search for “best wipers for honda civic” will not.

[Exact Match]

This option is even more specific than phrase match and can be utilized by including brackets around your keyword (i.e. [windshield wipers]). With exact match, your ad will only appear if the search term is identical, or has the exact same meaning as the keyword you choose. Google will still identify when misspellings or abbreviations have occurred, but ads will not appear if the meaning of the search term is even slightly different. For example, if your exact match keyword is [toy duck], your ad will not appear on the results page for the search terms “yellow play duck” or “rubber duckie” or even “toy duck for kids.”

Negative Keywords

Terms that are entered as negative keywords for your ad group are almost as important as the keywords you do want to match! They define which search terms your ad will not appear on. Negative keywords can help to remove customers that are looking for something similar to your product or service but are not likely to actually purchase from you. This is helpful because Google only charges you for your ad when it is actually viewed, so you don’t want to pay for ads that aren’t likely to produce a sale. They are also handy to use when you don’t want your business to be associated with particular ideas, such as “cheap” or “discount.” Negative keywords can also be set for phrases and exact matches, so use these to your advantage.

Use these tricks to help narrow down your target audience and improve your Google Ads experience! Keep an eye out for the next post because it will help you improve your Ad Rank and relevance by teaching you how to use ad extensions!

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