Are you interested in getting involved in paid search marketing but don’t know where to start? If so, this post is for you. Pay per click advertising can be extremely effective, but it’s very complex and you need to make sure that you have the right pieces in place or you’ll be doomed to fail before you even start.

The Prerequisites

Before you can operate a successful PPC campaign, you need to make sure that your website is appealing enough to keep people interested once they arrive. It needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. I recommend using specific landing pages for each of your ads that takes the user to the page they’d be interested in. For instance, if your ad was for dress shoes, I’d link it to your dress shoes page rather than the homepage. Once those pages are in place, you’re ready to move on.

Make sure you’re ready to commit to AdWords management for at least a few months before you decide it’s a good medium for you or not. I noticed a lot of small businesses getting frustrated that their ads aren’t converting customers within the first few weeks and giving up completely. Give it some time, Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in seven days. Three months should give you enough data to make some decisions about your campaigns, but it’s never too soon to seek professional advice on how to make your campaigns better.

Keywords 101

The first step you’ll want to take in creating your ads is getting together a solid keyword list. These are the words that searchers use to trigger your ads. The best place to start thinking about the keywords you want to use is your company website. You’ll quickly notice what words are used most often, once you’ve picked them out make sure you add variations of those words into your keyword list. By variations, I mean that if your website is for PPC services, you’ll want to make sure you use PPC, Pay-per-click, and pay per click services as keywords because they all mean the same thing.

When choosing keywords, make sure you add your brand. These clicks are generally cheaper because they’re more specific than the broad terms you’ve found on your website.

If your particular industry uses quite a bit of jargon (like the PPC world), put yourself in the customers shoes and think about keywords that they would be searching for if they weren’t as knowledgeable on the subject. Would your customer be searching for pay per click management services? maybe, but they might also be searching for help with Google ads or help with online ads.

At this point you should separate your keywords into different groups based on the services or products they represent. Not only does this make it easier to manage them, but Google scores your ads based on relevancy in your ad groups, and if you have keywords for baseballs and keywords for kitchen aprons in the same group, your quality score will be lower. The higher your quality score, the less you’ll end up paying for your clicks and vice versa.

Use Your Keywords Wisely

Now that your keywords are separated nicely into their own groups, you should create ad groups on the AdWords platforms, import those keywords and write your ads. Make sure that your ads use your keywords frequently, as that improves the quality score, resulting in more clicks at a lower price. And don’t forget that you should constantly be on the lookout for new keywords that can help convert sales, make sure to set aside time every now and again to do more keyword research and keep those clicks coming.

Trace Ronning is the social media coordinator for WordWatch PPC Management. He blogs about small business and paid search at and you can follow him on twitter @WordWatchPPC.

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