Step 1: Google’s Recommendations
Google’s Recommendations provides custom-tailored suggestions to help increase your campaigns’ performance.
Google does this by taking a look at your account history, settings, and even internal Google trends, and turning it into a real-time strategy tip.
There are several main categories of recommendations:
- Ads and extensions
- Budget and bidding
- Automated campaigns
- Keywords and targeting
- Ad Suggestions
Taking these recommendations into consideration and applying the fixes can help you to do some initial debugging of your Google Ads campaigns. However, remember to always consider the source when implementing any recommendations.
Mitigate Your Wasted Ad Spend
Don’t think you are wasting your money on Google Ads? Think again.
A recent study of 2,000 audited Google Ads business accounts found that a staggering 61% of ad spend is wasted on average.
And that wasted ad spend will wreak havoc on your budget.
As the percentage of your wasted spend increases, so does your cost per conversion:
This easy and efficient fix is often overlooked for a few main reasons:
- People don’t know what the search terms report is or how to use it for negative keywords
- People don’t know what negative keywords are
- Negative keyword lists are tedious and ongoing, making it hard to “stick with it.”
With that said, let’s go over the basics of mitigating wasted ad spend with negative keywords.
What Are Negative Keywords?
According to Google’s definition, negative keywords are “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase.”
For example, let’s say that you are running a business where you want to get consultations from your Google ads, but they aren’t free. Consultations are $50. Putting the word “free” as a negative keyword would ensure that you don’t show your ads for the keyword “free.”
Because you don’t sell free consultations, and on Google Ads, you are paying for every single click. You can’t waste your budget on keyword searches that will never convert. Someone looking for a free consultation won’t convert on your $50 consultation.
Negative keywords serve to eliminate search terms that are showing up that aren’t converting and won’t ever convert.
While you might directly bid on a keyword, depending on the match type, you are paying for tons of related searches, opening the door for terms you might not want.
To get started with negative keywords, head to your Google Ads dashboard and locate the search terms report.
Once here, you can begin to select different search terms on your list and add them as a negative keyword:
You can customize this at the campaign or even ad group and account levels.
At the account level, add negative keywords that will apply to every campaign you run.
For instance, words like “Free” if you don’t offer free services or expletives that you don’t want your ads associated with.
This audit-style account maintenance step should be done weekly.
When checking your report, filter the results by the last seven days:
This way you can ensure that you aren’t doing duplicate work and are minimizing your time doing this task while still producing budget-saving results.
Explore The Search Terms Report
This next step can be done in the same fashion as adding negative keywords.
Thankfully, they both are consolidated into the same report. Thanks, Google!
As stated earlier, search terms are what you really pay for on Google Ads.
Confused about that?
Let me break it down for you:
Bidding on the search network requires you to select keywords. For instance, “SEO agency.”
You might bid on that term to drive some traffic for the search, but if you are using a broad match type, you will be showing up for tons of different keywords related to or mentioning SEO agency.
On Google Ads, there are a few key match types:
Depending on what match types you use (like we discussed in the SKAGs section), you will show up for different terms.
More often than not, accounts are dominated by broad match types. Meaning your search terms report will be plentiful with both good and bad keywords.
Since broad match triggers your ad for relevant searches and variations, you really are paying for all of those search terms by click, not just the keyword you bid on.
This opens the door for amazing opportunities after you’ve filtered out the junk using negative keyword lists.
For instance, you can browse the search terms report and start to find new specific keywords that are converting.
Head to your search terms report and click the download button on your toolbar. You can set it up to email you a weekly list of the search terms report instead of firing up Google Ads to check it.
From here, hit “Schedule” to setup recurring emails from Google.
Next, you can select who you want to share the report with along with how often you want the report emailed to you:
These reports can save you a lot of work.
Most of the search terms report is junk. But there are opportunities nevertheless.
Before scheduling your recurring email reports, hit the filter button on your search terms report:
Sort the search terms report data by performance, conversions and attributes:
Repeat this filtering process for key metrics like conversions and acquisition costs, and you can create smaller, condensed reports only containing your best potential keywords for new campaigns.
Use Automated Rules
Google Ads packs some amazing automation tools that any advertiser can utilize. One very useful method is utilizing rule actions. These are simple “if-then” style automation. For instance:
If CPC is greater than X, reduce budgets by Y.
To set these up, go to your dashboard, and navigate to your “Rules” section in the toolbox:
The rules action is where you can setup automated sequences based on specific metrics or actions.
For instance, let’s say your daily budget is $500, and your average cost per click is about $55.
You convert targeted leads at $55 each, so your paying a fair price for the leads.
But what happens when the average CPC drops on your keywords by $10-15 per click. Maybe a big advertiser pulls out or stops their campaign for some reason.
The likelihood of that happening while you are on your account (and you noticing) is slim.
Creating a new rule could help you adjust that budget automatically, saving you money.
If the average CPCs drop, you can increase your daily budget to ensure that you get more conversions while costs are low:
You can repeat that same train of thought by increasing your daily budget when the cost per conversion is low:
This will help you get more conversions at a low price.
Once the conversion costs rise, you can put another automated rule to lower your budget.
Automated rules are a life-saver on Google Ads, and can save you hours per day on the platform.
Try the Bid Simulator
Bidding is an important part to every paid search marketer’s daily routine. For those manually bidding on keywords, AdWords has an extremely handy tool that simulates projected performance if a bid is raised or lowered. Note that a keyword must have a certain amount of data in order for this tool to be available: