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How To WIN on Google Adwords

Search Google for the keywords you want to rank for… see all those ads?

Why are your competition always up there?

Because they work… if you do it right.

Just like any other form of advertising – do it wrong and you’ll lose money, do it right and you’ll make money.

Put the wrong ad in the wrong paper and you won’t get any leads.

Put the right ad in the right paper and you’ll get lot’s of leads.

Build spammy links to your unoptimized website and you’ll make it all the way to page 10 of Google.

Build authority links to your optimized website and you’ll get in the top 3.

Pay a cheap marketing agency to do your PPC and you might as well wipe your arse with your cash and flush it down the toilet.

PPC Meme

Let someone who knows what they’re doing and runs their own business with PPC (me) handle your campaign and you’ll make money.

Here’s a screenshot of my Adwords campaign from the last 7 months:

PPC Screenshot£3,099.04 spent, 771 clicks, around £4.02 per click (30% less than the suggested bid for my keywords), here’s a screenshot from my Freshbooks account showing how much money I’ve made in the same time period from the leads I generated through my Adwords campaigns:

PPC Freshbooks Screenshot

£50,251.50 – That’s just the payments I’ve received through Freshbooks, I’m not even counting the recurring Paypal payments and frequent bank transfers I get from existing clients wanting more content and links.

(I do other forms of marketing like outbound email and lumpy mail but the revenue generated from those counts for barely 10% of my turnover)

I’m on the first page of Google for “SEO [area]” for most towns and cities in the UK.

(when my ads are turned on)

That just wouldn’t be possible with organic SEO.

(unless I had a spare £million to spend on links and content).

Guess how many pages I had to create to be on the first page for every city in the country… three!

Three little landing pages with dynamic text and I’m at the top of Google all over the UK.

My Adwords campaign has been optimized for cheap clicks and targeted traffic, my landing pages are optimized for high conversions.

Cheap Targeted Traffic + High Conversions = Good ROI

Investing in a properly optimized Adwords campaign can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make for your business.

My campaign was optimized months ago, so now when I need more leads – I press play and in come the leads, when I’ve got enough clients – I press pause.

It’s literally an automatic lead generating, money making machine for my business, and there’s no reason it can’t be for yours too.

Here’s how I setup & optimize my campaigns, and what I can do for you too…


How to Make Adwords Work for Your Business

Your Adwords campaign should be setup with two goals in mind – cheap clicks & targeted traffic.

Your landing pages should be designed to achieve one thing – high conversions.

Here’s how to do both:


Keyword Research

First you need to find the keywords you want to bid on and use the correct match type. I always start a campaign using the +broad +match +modifier, this gives you a lot more opportunities than the other match types like “phrase match” and [exact match], let’s use a Plumber for a quick example…

Bid on the keywords:

+Plumber +London
+Plumbers +London

And your ads will appear for any searches which which contain those words, like:

“Plumbers in London”
“London Plumbers”
“Best London Plumbers”
“Top Rated London Plumbers”
“I Need a Plumber in London”
“Local London Plumbers”

Using the +broad +match +modifier allows you to show your ads for hundreds of different keyword variations without having to bid on each one individually – this increases the reach of your campaign significantly.

BUT, you need to get the next step right to make it work…


Negative Keyword Research

Negative keyword research is more important (and more time consuming) than regular keyword research.

Negative keywords are words that you don’t want your ads to appear for, if you’re bidding on +Plumbers +London you’ll want to add some negative keywords like “free”, “jobs”, “courses”, “qualifications” and “training”, otherwise your ads will be shown for irrelevant search like:

“Plumbers Jobs in London”
“Plumbers Courses in London”
“Training for Plumbers in London”
“Free Plumbers Qualifications”

Without those negative keywords added to your campaign you’ll be wasting a lot of money on irrelevant clicks.

Wasted click spend isn’t friendly to your profit margins, it increases your Cost Per Lead and can ultimately make your entire campaign a waste of time and money.

You need to do negative keyword research before you start your campaign.

You should also view your incoming keyword list in Adwords at least once per week to check for new negative keywords to add to the list for further optimization.



Optimize Your Ads for High Click Through Rates

Whatever keywords you’re bidding on, make sure you include them in your ads. Always include your keywords in the:

  • Ad Title
  • Ad Body
  • Display URL

When your keywords appear in your ads they’re bolded – this increases your Click Through Rate (CTR), this then lowers your Cost Per Click (CPC).

If you’re bidding on lots of different keywords you’ll need to create a new ad group for each closely related keyword group.

Then you’ll need to create new ads in each group.

For example, these keywords would need to be in different ad groups:

+Plumbing +London
+Plumbers +London

If you don’t put them in different ad groups this you can’t properly optimize your ads.

Here’s an example of how I optimize my ads for high Click Through Rates and low Cost Per Clicks:

PPC Ad Example

Also, to further increase your Click Through Rate – include symbols which draw attention, like:

  • Question Marks – Looking for a Plumber in London?
  • Exclamation Marks – Get a Free Quote Now!
  • Percentages – 20% Cheaper Than the Competition


And lastly, write your ad using title case, eg:

  • this is lower case – x
  • This is Title Case –



Split Test Ads to Increase CTR (Click Through Rate)

The percentage of people that click your ad from the amount of times it’s displayed (impressions) gives you your Click Through Rate.

A high CTR increases your quality score and in effect lowers your CPC (Cost Per Click).

I create at least 3 ads for each ad group and split test them against each other, there will always be one ad which gets clicked on more than the others and has a higher CTR.

The ad with the highest CTR will get the cheapest clicks, the other ads will need to be paused.

See the image below, the ad with the highest CTR got the lowest CPC… coincidence? Nah.

CTR Click Through Rate PPC Example

If you don’t split test your ads – you’re wasting money!

Note: Test one thing at a time, first find the title which gets the highest CTR.

Then use that title on several ads with different body copy and see which body copy gets the highest CTR.

This will further increase your CTR (and lower your CPC) even more!

The more testing you do the less you’ll pay for clicks – and the less you’ll pay for your leads.


Optimize Your Landing Page

Make sure your landing pages are optimized for the keywords you’re bidding on, have your keywords appear several times throughout your landing page including your:

  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • Main Heading (H1)
  • Sub Heading (H2)
  • Several times throughout the body copy
  • Image Alt Tags

Dynamic text makes this easy to optimize one page for multiple keywords.

Check out how easy it is to optimize a page for multiple keywords by clicking on the examples below

They’re all the same page (http://seo.carlreed.co.uk/ppc-example/) but with a little added code (?area=####) the content on the page is dynamically changed and the page is automatically optimized for different keywords:

When Adwords scans your page and scores it against your keywords, you’ll have high keyword to page relevance, which increases your quality score and a lowers cost per click.


Split Test Your Landing Pages

Cheap clicks and targeted traffic are great, but without conversions there’s no return on investment.

Maximizing conversions is the last piece of the Adwords puzzle, to do this you have to split test your landing pages.

I use special software to split test landing pages to ensure that your campaign is as profitable as it can be.

Here’s a few things that you should be testing:

  • Wording (there’s a million and one ways to word the same offer)
  • Headlines
  • Colours
  • Layouts
  • Call To Actions
  • Images
  • and more…

Before I start any campaign I make sure I have at least three landing pages (same design, different wording) to test which wording/angle converts the best.

Here’s an example of how I almost doubled the conversion rates for one of my clients campaigns with a simple headline change:

Landing Page Conversion Rate

When you double your conversion rate you’re essentially cutting the cost of your leads in half, which makes a huge different to your profit margins, and can turn an unprofitable campaign profitable overnight.

If you’re not split testing your landing pages you’re leaving money on the table.



Conversion Tracking

Traffic from some keywords will turn into cash.

Whilst other keywords will provide nothing but traffic.

If you’re not tracking the conversions on all of your keywords you are wasting money.

Implement the Adwords Conversion Tracking Code into your thank you page (the page that opens once a form is filled) and you’ll be able to see exactly which keywords are making you money – and which aren’t.

Once you’ve got enough data through the campaign to make accurate decisions, you’ll be able to pause all of the keywords which aren’t producing a return and only pay for clicks on keywords which make you monkey – further increasing your profit margins.



Final Note

Sorry to break the news but it’s not 2005, Adwords isn’t cheap anymore and it’s highly competitive, the more people using it the higher the bids, the higher the bids the more costly the clicks, and the more the clicks cost the less room for error.

Either do it it properly or don’t do it at all!

It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a campaign correctly, don’t be fooled by sleazy sales reps from cheap marketing agencies promising you the world – you’ll only lose your money.

If you want your Adwords campaign to be setup and optimized properly get in touch now, myself, my professional copywriter and my awesome web designer are here to help.



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3 Responses so far.

  1. Chris says:

    Hey Carl, amazing post. I have few questions, if you don’t mind answering:

    Is this http://seo.carlreed.co.uk/ppc-example and html website or you have some wordpress plugin that helps you change dynamically all of those KWs?

    Do you actually use those keywords with + + ? +Plumber +London ?

    Thanks! I’m just starting to learn how not to lose loads of money in Adwords.

    • Carl Reed says:

      Hi Chris,

      I use Unbounce to host and split test my landing pages mate, the “seo” part of my domain isn’t hosted on my server, it’s a subdomain pointing to Unbounce, and the dynamic text insertion is just one of their features

  2. Never considered adwords before but after reading your post it has got my attention, worth looking into for the future.

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