• Google AdWords

    Google AdWords Hello Buyer

    "Did you know your most valuable content marketing data is hiding in your Google search terms report?"

    As content marketers, we often don’t properly leverage the opportunities that AdWords provides. Instead, we rely on keyword tools like Moz or Longtail Pro to make our decisions on what keywords we should target.

    These tools are great, but they only tell you the organic side of the story and lack conversion-based data.

    While these tools will let you know everything from search volume to keyword opportunity, they don’t highlight which keywords are driving the most conversions or revenue for your business.

    To gather that data, we need AdWords.

    With that in mind, let’s dive into how you can identify profitable keywords within AdWords to then increase market share for your most profitable queries by having multiple results on your ideal search engine result pages (SERPs). All with the power of content.

    How to Setup an AdWords Campaign for Keyword Discovery:
    Not every content marketer has an active AdWords campaign that they can use to gather data. While this might be a difficult request for some, a great way to collect data for your content strategy is to launch a campaign targeting some of your most desirable keywords.

    For us at Directive Consulting, for example, that would mean that we might set aside a $1,000 budget to test which long-tail keywords around “SEO company” converts the best.

    To test this, we would launch a single keyword match type around a broad match modified keyword: +SEO +Company.

    By doing this, AdWords will show your search ad whenever someone searches a query that contains both “SEO” and “Company.” Due to Google’s matching, it will also pull for the plural and close variations of the terms, as well.

    From the clicks you receive, you can start to see if, say, “best SEO companies orange county” is your top keyword, or if it’s “top SEO companies.”

    Using this data, you’ll be able to develop a content strategy that has a business case. You can come to management and say that: “After running a detailed ROI test on different keywords, we’ve determined that if we can attain the #1 result for “top SEO companies” (estimating a 23% click through rate and a x% conversion rate) that we will generate $y In new revenue from this project.”

    While we now know how to setup a broad match modified AdWords campaign to gather keyword data, it’s now time to mine that data for your greatest content opportunities.

    We’ve created a video documenting our process for mining AdWords for keyword opportunities based on conversion data. Based on the information presented in the video walk-through, here are some additional items to consider:

    1. Don’t worry about statistical significance too much. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get more than 100+ clicks to determine a keyword’s true value. Instead, use this method to gather intent and learn about how your users search and convert.

    2. Look for a trend that you can implement into your keyword research. For example, in the data set from the video, we learned that “adoption agencies near me” is the highest converting query that’s modified for location. We can then add this variant to our state pages. Based on this data, we can then adjust titles to: “California Adoption Agencies Near Me.”

    3. Modify by number of keywords to get your easiest wins. In the search terms report, you can find big wins and opportunities by diving into keywords with 4+ words. These are easier to rank for, and if driving significant conversions, are great for not only generating paid conversions but also, organic.

    How to Layer Your Data with Organic Keyword Research: 
    So now we’ve identified our keyword opportunities with the best cost per conversion in our AdWords account. Now, it’s important to get an understanding of the organic ranking potential of that keyword. By going one step further, you can layer your data with organic keyword research.

    With the information discussed in mind, here are some additional items to consider:

    1. Search volume isn’t as important as conversions. To get a hyper-targeted list of your greatest opportunities, filter your keywords in Excel before uploading. Only show keywords with a certain cost per conversion or a certain volume of conversions. These are your most profitable keywords and should be targeted first.

    2. Quick wins go a long way. Often times, your content marketing efforts need executive buy-in. There’s nothing worse than explaining that your results “are coming, but this stuff takes time.” While that is true, by targeting quick wins at first (meaning keywords with the lowest difficulty and most volume) you can show progress, increase budget, and go after more challenging terms.

    Conclusion: Not getting conversion data for your content marketing efforts should no longer be an option. With a small budget and the correct setup, you can now make a business case for your efforts and start to base your decisions on conversions not vanity metrics like potential traffic.

    If you enjoyed the post or have a different approach for blending paid and organic data, please feel free to leave your comments below.

    The right Google AdWords strategy can have a huge impact on your marketing ROI. But managed poorly, it can quickly turn into a gigantic sinkhole that drains your budget dry. Here's how to get the most from your SEM campaigns.

    1. Use location and call extensions to promote direct contact from mobile devices. These extensions allow for users to use their smartphones to either dial a branch, or use their map application to get directions to a branch.

    2. Use AdWords conversion tracking on your landing page’s buttons for account openings and loan applications. Make sure the conversion is placed on an action that drives ROI for your campaign. Otherwise you’ll end up optimizing towards irrelevant data. If your landing page’s conversion takes the user to a third-party site to continue a loan application or account opening, check with your vendor to see if they allow for placement of third-party tracking codes.

    3. Create remarketing lists for sections and pages on your website. Leveraging these lists within AdWords gets your products in front of an audience which is much more likely to convert. This also allows you to bid on less granular terms, and use ad copy that speaks to a more informed audience.

    4. Check the “Search Queries” report in Google Analytics to see the exact search terms that are triggering your ads. This can help you develop negative keywords, as well as gain better understanding of your customers’ or members’ online habits.

    5. Don’t bid too high on keywords that you are already ranked highly for in organic search. You don’t want to pay for a click that you could have received for free. If you notice in your reporting that the majority of your budget is being used in this way, update your keyword strategy to focus on growing areas of your business that aren’t getting the best organic traffic.

    6. Adjust your bids based on devices, times, and geographies which are driving higher conversions. While you can exclude selected times outright, it is sometimes better to just set adjusted bids for the “off-peak” times.

    7. Use the “Behavior Flow” feature in Google Analytics to understand the journey/path visitors are taking when using your site. Their behaviors could indicate confusion (can they easily find what they are looking for?), or it could indicate pages on your site that should have an AdWords campaign of their own.

    8. Monitor your daily budget to ensure that you’re not underspending. If your campaigns consistently spend less than the daily budget you may not be bidding high enough to show up for your desired keywords, or the keyword list you have may not be robust enough to get in front of your target audience.

    9. Be careful with campaigns built around your name. If you create an ad group that includes bidding on variations of your own financial institution’s name, you’ll want to set your bid much lower than the rest of your keywords. You could risk spending a good portion of your budget on search terms that would have driven organic traffic to your site anyway. If your competitors are targeting your institution by name, ensure your ads get top billing for a very small price using well-written ad copy and landing page copy.

    10. Create A/B testing variants of your landing page to determine the highest converting copy and imagery. This will give insight into which content provides a better user experience and can help inform the structure of future landing pages.

    11. Use broad match modifiers to indicate the importance of certain words in your keyword list. Certain keywords might be generating large amounts of clicks, but not for the intended purpose of the ad. Compare the search queries report against keywords to see exactly how your keywords are triggered.

    12. Monitor your competition to see who else is showing up for your keywords using Google’s Ad Preview tool. This allows you to compare ad copy and extensions without harming your campaign. Pay attention to ad placement as well, since ads that display higher on the page are more likely to be clicked.

    13. Update ads and landing pages. You can increase low quality scores on your keywords by updating ad and landing page copy to more closely reflect those keywords. The user experience from performing the search and clicking the ad, to arriving on the landing page and converting, should be as seamless as possible.

    14. Massage and refine ad groups. If your cost per conversion begins to trend upwards, look for opportunities to build new ad groups that are similar to existing groups with lower costs per conversion.

    15. Consider switching to a CPA model. If you have enough historical conversion data, you can switch to Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) bidding, which allows Google to optimize your campaign to drive higher converting clicks. This bidding strategy is ideal for campaigns using conversions with specific monetary value, like submitted loan applications. Your CPA will be higher than your previous CPC, but it’ll be worth it with more converted clicks.

    16. Bidding on competitors’ brand names can backfire. Some agencies advocate bidding on the names of competing financial institutions in the hopes your ads will display when someone searches for them. However, this can negatively impact the overall quality score of your campaign as those keywords have nothing to do with your landing page and ad copy. Instead, add competitive brand terms as negative keywords. This will also lower the bounce rate of your AdWords campaign with less abandoned visits due to misdirected clicks.

    17. Get geo-specific. With the growing focus on hyper-local results, add variations of your top performing keywords along with the cities that your branches are located in. Combine this, locations ad extensions, and increased bids in a radius around your branches to increase the number of local clicks on your ads.

    18. Focus on conversions, not clicks. If you have keywords that drive clicks but not conversions, put those non-converting keywords on pause. Don’t continue to waste your campaign budget on things that aren’t working. Those dollars will be put to better use on keywords that have proven ROI.

    19. Set aside time every month to compare performance statistics. It can be tempting to monitor data on a daily basis and make constant optimizations, but to allow for more actionable data to accumulate it’s better to make small optimizations once a week, and focus on larger campaign changes monthly.

    20. Look at historical data for periods of increased product interest, in particular loans or account opening specials. If auto loans tend to do well during certain times of the year, you can adjust your bids to be more aggressive at these times.

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