Google Adwords can be a good place to start when promoting your business website. When you create an AdWords ad to run on Google, you can choose keywords for which your ad will appear and specify the maximum amount you're willing to pay for each click. You pay only when someone clicks on your ad. It's useful because Adword campaigns can be tailored to suit your budget.
Adwords certainly shouldn't replace your website SEO (search engine optimization) but in fact, can compliment your SEO efforts. Adwords, together with Google analytics can give you valuable information that can help you to improve your SEO. When starting out with Google Adwords, give yourself time to have a look around and become familiar with how it is laid out and what you can do; use the help that Google Adwords provides to get you started. Something else to note when you get started is that Google Adwords can be time consuming; you'll need time to monitor your Adwords campaigns everyday and tweak them as necessary; the 'bids' for the keywords are constantly changing and the more popular the keyword, the higher the bids; some of your bids may change on a daily basis.
- Before you start, ensure that you're happy with your website - there's no point in paying money to get more visits to your website, unless people are going to find what they're looking for when they get there.
- Think about your budget - keep it conservative to start with, as you try things out and get familiar with the system.
- Think about creating a 'landing page' - a page in your website that has the main information that you want people to find. This page should have an obvious 'call to action' i.e. a link that allows them to contact you, sign up, purchase...or whatever it is you're promoting. Ensure that your landing page encourages further communication, like a call, email etc. Tailor a landing page specific to each Google Adwords campaign that you do, if you can.
- If appropriate, you can limit the geographical area that your ad will appear in - an important factor in making sure that clicks on your ad are relevant.
- Think carefully about your keywords and phrases; these are the words or phrases that you think people will type into Google when searching for your product/service. Adwords has a 'keywords tool' that helps you to pick effective keywords and to estimate the internet traffic that you might get from these. Using 'phrase match' is a good idea if you want to be more specific, so that people only see your ad if they search for the entire phrase. Using the keywords tool, you can type in any keyword and see how many searches people have done globally and locally for a word/phrase which can give good insights.
- We have also been using the 'negative keywords' function, whereby you can choose keywords that you don't want your website to be associated with e.g. free, cheap etc. This means that you can lessen your chances of paying for irrelevant clicks. It's a good idea to review this everyday. When you click on a campaign that you are running, and click on keywords, you'll see a tab with 'See search terms' underneath the graph. This will show you what terms people were searching for when they clicked your ad. If you realize that your site was not relevant to these searches, then you can add one or more of these keywords to your negative keywords list.
- Start off small and concentrate your efforts on one Adwords campaign to start with. Avoid choosing the very popular search terms and bidding too high initially. Otherwise your budget will have done a 'Houdini' and you'll have nothing to show for it.
- Ensure that your website's SEO is complimentary to your keywords, e.g. page titles and descriptions should ideally contain some of the keywords that you're using in your Google Adwords campaign.
'Google AdWords For Dummies', 3rd Edition by Howie Jacobson, Joel McDonald, Kristie McDonald (Dec 2011)
- Google Adwords help centre: http://support.google.com/adwords/?hl=en