The Google AdWords program allows you to pay to advertise your website in the Sponsored Links section of the Google search results.
AdWords is a popular way to increase traffic to your website but did you know that it can also provide valuable information for optimising your website?
As a Google AdWords Qualified Professional, I’ve been speaking to a lot of clients lately about AdWords and I realised that many people aren’t aware of the wealth of information you can obtain from using the service.
1. Find out the real time search volumes for your target keywords in your target geographic area
You can use free tools, such as the Google Keyword tool, to do keyword research. But the keyword tool can only provide search volumes by country, for example, for the whole of Australia, or for the whole world.
This is valuable information but if you are targeting a local geographic area, imagine being able to find out which words people in your target area actually search for in Google, and how often they are searching for those words. AdWords can give you access to this information.
Try it yourself
To set up Local Targeting, go to Settings, edit Language and Location, then select the Custom Tab, add your address or postcode and then how far around that location you would like your ads to be shown.
Add all the keywords that you can find as phrase match (using the ” “) and then start your ads running. The number of impressions for each keyword is the search volume for that time period (make sure you’re bidding enough for your ad to be displayed on page one the whole time).
Depending upon your industry, make sure you allow for possible seasonal variations in search volumes.
2. Obtain intelligence about how specific pages of your website are performing
If you’re running AdWords, make sure you have a Google Analytics account as well. To link your AdWords and Analytics accounts, click on the green “Reporting” tab, pull down Google Analytics and follow the steps.
By linking AdWords and Analytics, you get access to a wealth of information about what people do once they arrive at your website.
It’s true that Analytics gives you this same level of information for each different traffic source, not just from AdWords, but, AdWords can bring targeted traffic to your website quickly, giving you insights that allow you to make changes to improve your results in the long term.
Try it yourself
Once your accounts are linked and you’ve been getting clicks from AdWords for at least a day or two, go to Traffic Sources in your Analytics account and then click on “Google / cpc”. Review the statistics that are shown. If your bounce rate is high and your time on site is low, then have a fresh look at your landing page (the page that your ads are directed to) because it’s not capturing your readers’ attention or encouraging them to click on anything. (Also make sure that your AdWords ad copy accurately reflects what people will expect to find on the landing page)
3. Test your headlines to find out which ones attract the most clicks
AdWords allows you to run multiple versions of your ad. Over time, the ad that gets the most clicks is shown the most frequently. This allows you to test different headlines to see which one attracts the most clicks. And because you only have 25 characters including spaces for an AdWords headline, you’re forced to be succinct and choosy with your words. Your AdWords headlines that perform the best can then be adapted for use in your web copy and online marketing.
Need help getting value out of your Google AdWords campaigns, or implementing the tips listed above?
Until next time