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Google Ads Tips For Beginners

Wednesday April 14, 2021

Reading Time: 11 minutes

How To Get Better Results From Google Ads

Google Ads can be enormously helpful for your business if done correctly. The targeting capabilities are vast, and paid search is as scalable as any advertising medium. It’s no surprise that consistently occupying above-the-fold real estate on the world’s largest search engine can be very profitable and drive tons of leads to your business.

Many business owners know this and launch Google Ads campaigns in hopes of growth, conversion, and increased profits. However, in many cases, the campaigns don’t meet expectations, leading to wasted funds and cancelled campaigns. This is something we see on a regular basis with business owners who run their PPC campaigns themselves.

One issue with Google Ads is that it is easy to get into the game but difficult to win the game.

A new advertiser may think that selecting keywords, writing some ads, and filling in their credit card information is all that’s needed to succeed. This isn’t an unreasonable thought – after all, Google advertises their services as simple and intuitive. However, the Google Ads platform hides some important settings in areas that are difficult to find if you don’t already know where they are.

We’ve provided a few Google Ads optimization tips below. These tips could be helpful for anyone, but are really geared towards someone who understands the basics of Google Ads but isn’t getting the results they want.



Account Structure – Mirror Your Website

Begin by structuring your account in a way that mirrors your website and your services. The general hierarchy of a PPC account is account > campaign > ad group > keywords. Grouping services and targeting settings into separate campaigns or ad groups is a best practice that helps isolate products or services so you can assess their performance individually. 

Assessing these services’ individual performance is the key to running a successful PPC campaign. If all keywords are stuffed into one campaign or ad group, you’ll have a tougher time assessing what is and isn’t working. In contrast, by separating products or services, you can look at each one’s individual cost per acquisition (CPA). You can then assess which services have the best CPA and ROI and adjust your budget allocation to get the best return overall. The optimal strategy is to capture the maximum amount of the lowest CPA leads, before moving on to the next group with the second lowest CPA, and so on. This helps assure you get the best ROI overall.

As an example, let’s look at how the fictitious company Joe’s Plumbing should structure their Google Ads campaign:

Google Ad structure

Analyze Your Settings

Another tip is to comb through the campaign settings, and make sure to drop down or expand every area you can within the platform. As mentioned above, Google doesn’t make all of the important settings visible from the main screen.

Real-world example: If you expand the locations settings after selecting the geographic areas you’d like to target, you’ll see options to show ads to users in the locations you chose – or show them to users in or interested in the locations you chose. The latter is the default setting. While you may think that targeting Sydney, Australia will show ads only to users who are in that city, they will actually show to anyone Google deems “shows interest” in Sydney. This means someone in New York could have behavior that makes Google believe they’re interested in something in Australia. Depending on what you’re selling, this could make a massive difference in conversion rates. It may not make a huge difference if you’re a hotel, but it would if you’re selling donuts.

Make sure you choose the correct setting by clicking the “location options” tab and selecting the appropriate option.

Google Ads location settings

Utilize Different Keyword Match Types

An additional item that could help improve performance is to understand and  utilize different keyword match types. Match types are rules that dictate when your ads can show, and are applied using symbols. There are 4 keyword match types in Google Ads – exact, phrase, broad, and negative. Negative match works in reverse, adding it to your campaigns will prevent your ad from showing for searches containing those negative match keywords.

If you aren’t aware of keyword match types, the common thing to do is to just type the keyword in, which defaults to a broad match keyword. This match type gives Google a long leash to decide what is relevant, and this may be less precise than desired.

There have been some recent changes to keyword match types in Google Ads. Currently, keyword match types work in the following way:

Google Ads keyword match types

Negative keywords can also be added to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches. In the example above, you would add the negative keyword “jobs” to prevent your ads from showing for the search query “plumbing jobs Nashville”.


Monitor Your Search Terms

The final tip is to regularly check your search terms report. Search terms are the queries users actually typed in to trigger your ads, and they’re different from keywords. Phrase and broad match keywords give some flexibility to Google to determine what searches are a “close match” to your keywords. At times, what Google considers a close match or relevant might not be what you consider relevant.

It’s very common during the discovery or onboarding phases for us to learn that our new client was wasting 50% of their budget on search terms that had nothing to do with the services they offer. Regularly audit your search terms and add negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for these irrelevant searches in the future. This should be a routine aspect of your PPC management efforts.


Looking for Other Life-Changing Google Ads Tips?

Webconsuls is a digital agency specializing in PPC management. If you would like an audit of your current ad setup, more helpful tips about maximizing your ads, or advice about improving your digital presence, feel free to contact us at any time.

Reading Time: 10 minutes

In an effort to simplify keyword match types, Google Ads will be eliminating the broad match modifier (BMM) keyword match type. The broad match modifier match type will be merged into the phrase match type, and the current phrase match rules will be altered slightly, essentially creating a new keyword match type. Google is currently rolling out this change, and plans on it being the standard by July. If you run a Google Ads campaign, it’s important to understand these changes and how they’ll affect performance moving forward.

What Are Keyword Match Types?

Match types within Google Ads are rules that dictate what search queries can trigger your ads. These rules are applied via adding symbols to keywords. It’s important that the match type you choose aligns with your goals for the campaign. We’ve provided a brief overview of match types below:

Broad Match – With broad match keywords no symbols are added to the keywords, and any search query Google determines is a close match is eligible to trigger your ad to show. 

Broad Match Modifier – Plus signs (+) are added at the beginning of keywords to establish that that particular word must be included in the search query for your ad to show.

Phrase Match – Quotation marks are added around a keyword phrase to dictate that the phrase must be included in the search query in the exact same order to trigger your ads. Additional words can come before or after the phrase within the quotation marks, but the exact phrase must be included somewhere in the search query.

Exact Match – Brackets are added around keywords or phrases that dictate that the search query must contain that exact phrase, or very close variants, to trigger your ads. This differs from phrase match because no words are allowed before or after the keyword phrase.

Negative Match – These keywords are added to eliminate irrelevant searches. If you add a negative keyword, searches containing that word will not trigger your ad in the future. Though this is technically a match type, the application is slightly different so we’ll be focusing on the above 4 for now.

google merging broad match modifier and phrase keyword match types

How Are Broad Match Modifier and Phrase Match Being Merged?

Although technically the broad match modifier is being merged into phrase match, from a strict rule standpoint what’s really happening is both match types are being removed and replaced with a new one. According to Google “we’re bringing the best of broad match modifier into phrase match. As a result, phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic, while continuing to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning”.

The new phrase match keywords will operate more like a “we know what you meant” match.  keywords. With Google’s greater understanding of search intent, this is a logical move. Though the specific rules were different, there was always a lot of overlap between the core objective of broad match modifier and phrase match keywords. Both provided a middle ground between Broad keywords and Exact keywords, and moving forward keyword matching will revolve more around the core objective of the 3 keyword match types. 

  • Broad match for reach
  • Exact match for precision
  • Phrase match for a combination of reach and precision

What To Keep An Eye On Moving Forward

Consolidating the phrase and broad match modifier match types should help free up time to focus on other aspects of campaign optimization. Establishing 3 basic objectives for keywords match types helps simplify keyword selection and assessment. Instead of analyzing implications of match type logic, you can focus your efforts on other optimization efforts. 

Though this should help simplify campaign optimization, there is one main thing to keep an eye on in the future – your search terms report. This can be found in Google Ads under the keywords tab, and differs from the regular list of keywords. The search terms are the queries users actually searched that triggered your ad to show. This section allows you to assess your keyword strategy and make adjustments like adding negative keywords to prevent irrelevant searches and wasted spend in the future. 

It is crucial to keep an eye on this because this change leans heavily on Google being able to accurately identify intent. Though Google has gotten better at identifying intent, it’s not flawless. What Google considers a close match or relevant may differ from what you or your client considers relevant. Depending on the industry, this gap can be quite large. You’ll need to watch search terms closely to learn exactly how lax Google will be with relevancy under this new match type, and make adjustments accordingly. 

The Future of Google Ads

The simplification of keyword matching is another step towards automation. Google has implemented many changes recently, and almost all of them revolve around utilization of machine learning. Automated bidding, SMART campaigns, dynamic and responsive ads, etc are all indicative of Google’s goal to provide a better search experience with machine learning. Google’s Local Service Ads give a glimpse of this. With Local Service Ads you essentially just enter your credit card, select locations, topics, and schedules – and let Google do the rest. The performance of our client’s Local Service Ads has been fantastic, so machine learning definitely has its benefits. 

As Google gets better and better at understanding user intent and utilizing machine learning, there will be less and less of a need to focus on specific Google Ads features like keywords or manual bids. The future of Google Ads management will likely shift to assuring you’re giving the algorithm the data it needs to be successful, and making adjustments to persuade the algorithm and machine learning to align with your goals and produce optimal results.