Google Ad Optimization: A Foolproof Guide for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

February 23, 2023

Learn the essential steps to optimize your Google Ads for maximum effectiveness and measurable results.

With Google AdWords, any small or medium-sized business has a huge chance to reach out to potential customers and get results that can be measured. Over the past 20 years, Google Ads have come a long way. One thing is for sure though; devoting time to Google Ad Optimization is a strong predictor of success for your business.

But if optimizing your Google AdWords account is the “red pill” that leads to greater sales growth, then I suppose that improperly optimizing or failing to use Google Ads at all is the “blue pill” that keeps your business exactly where it is.

All too often, I’ve seen businesses squander their ad budget and miss out on important opportunities that even their own competitors are snoozing on. So, after a refreshing iced Americano, I set out to write a foolproof guide to Google Ad optimization.

With my more than 10 years of experience in internet marketing and the knowledge of my team, I’ll give you a step-by-step plan for making sure that your ads are working as well as they can.

What is Google Ad Optimization?

What is Google Ad Optimization, you say? In a nutshell, it’s the process of refining and upgrading your Google Adwords campaigns with the express aim of boosting their overall efficacy and providing better results.

Even though it’s not as common as SEO, GAO is sometimes used to stand for Google Ad Optimization. But we’ll go deeper on acronyms in another post.

Google Ad Optimization usually uses a variety of methods, such as changing bids, making changes to ad copy and landing pages, and finding new keywords and audience groups to target. Optimizing your Google Ads account involves refining and upgrading your campaigns, utilizing automation tools, and analyzing performance to improve effectiveness.

There are many different products in the Google Ads suite, but we’ll be focusing primarily on Google AdWords specifically (versus display ads or Google Local Service, which we can tackle in a later post).

6 Key Steps to Google Ads Optimization Checklist

Now, if you’re trying to get the most out of your Google AdWords tools, you need to possess something vaguely resembling an understanding of how each one functions and what kinds of things can affect how well they throw sales opportunities into your lap.

It’s important to understand how Google AdWords handles ad auctions, how ad quality is judged, and the role that keywords and ad relevance play in getting people to visit your website and give you leads. Using a Google Ads Optimization Checklist can help ensure ongoing optimization by covering elements like keywords, ad copy, bid strategies, and targeting options, aligning your campaigns with your marketing goals.

Without getting too heady on the technical specifics of Google Ads, here are some of the most important actions that you should take:

1. Accurately define your advertising goals.

Before you can start to improve how well Google AdWords works, you need to make sure you know what your advertising goals are for your Google Ads campaign. Without understanding what constitutes “success,” you might as well just be throwing money into the void.

I’d start with a few self-examination questions like these:

  1. What do you hope to accomplish with the advertisements you run?
  2. By how much do you want to increase the number of visitors to your website?
  3. What is the number of leads that you wish to generate or the dollar value of the sales you need to make?

Clearly defining your goals will help you decide which metrics to track and which strategies to use so that you can reach them.

2. Articulate Who Your Target Audience Is

Google ad optimization requires a thorough understanding of your target demographic. Believe it or not, many business owners don’t come up for air long enough to really ask who their ideal customer is.

Knowing who your ideal consumers are, what they’re looking for, and what drives them to take action is critical to optimizing your Google Ads—because these are all going to directly impact how you allocate your ad spend. Ad extensions can provide additional information and improve click-through rates.

By doing research on your target audience, you can find the best keywords to use and write winning ads that speak directly to their needs and interests and bring them “running” to your door.

3. Conduct keyword research, including negative keywords.

Google Ads Optimization (GAO) and SEO have something in common, and that’s keyword research. In order for anything on your website to be considered “optimized,” you can bet your bottom dollar that keyword research will be a big part of it.

By taking the time to choose the right keywords, you can make sure that your ads show up when the right people are searching for them and that they reach the right people. Be cautious about using broad match keywords as negative keywords, as this can be very dangerous and may lead to your ads showing up on irrelevant searches.

There are lots of great tools out there to use, like Neil Patel’s UberSuggest, AHREFS, and even Google’s own in-house keyword research tool, Google’s Keyword Planner.

All of these basically accomplish the same end function, which is to find high-performing phrases that meet your target audience’s needs.

A word of advice: consider placing your focus on long-tail keywords, which are more precise to your customers’ needs and generally have a lower level of competition (which means a lower cost per click).

4. Create compelling ad copy and ad extensions.

When a potential customer comes across your Google AdWords campaign, the first thing they will notice is the ad copy you’ve written.

For your ads to work, you need to write persuasive text that speaks to your target audience and highlights the specific ways that your products or services are better than those of your competitors.

Use language that is convincing, emphasizes important features and benefits, and has a clear call to action to get more clicks and conversions.

Also, don’t forget to use a little bit of emotion in your ad copy to spark limbic interest. Let’s be honest, we mostly act on our feelings… So the cherry on top of your cake is going to be the emotion that you want your target customer to feel.

Additionally, creating and testing responsive search ads is crucial to deliver more relevant messages to customers and improve ad performance.

5. Optimize your landing pages.

Now we’re getting to the actual on-site experience that your prospective customer will have. When a user clicks on one of your Google ads, it’s best if they’re redirected to a landing page that is pertinent to the ad that they clicked on and offers a streamlined user experience. Optimizing search ads is crucial for better performance and targeting specific audiences.

For example, if I clicked on a Google ad that told me about emergency tree removal, I don’t want to go straight to your contact form or your homepage. If the ad sends the user to a landing page that is optimized for conversions with a clear call to action, attractive images, and a simplified user experience to get as many conversions as possible, the ad will work better.

There are tools that you can use to make intelligent CRO (conversion rate optimization) choices on your landing pages, like HotJar. You can also use many tools on the web to throw together a “good enough” landing page that should do the job, but you also may want to consider a website development partner with Google Ads experience to get you an optimized landing page.

6. Monitor and analyze your ad spend performance.

Like anything marketing-related, to get the most out of your Google Ads campaigns, you need to keep a close eye on how well they are doing and evaluate them frequently.

Here are some questions to ask:

  1. Which keywords are producing the best results?
  2. Which advertisements are resulting in the most clicks and conversions?
  3. Which study can help you figure out where your keywords and ads could use some improvement?

By frequently analyzing your performance and making modifications as necessary, you can make sure that your Google Ads are optimized and produce measurable results for your company.

A Word on the Search Keywords Report

The search keywords report is an essential tool for improving your Google AdWords.

This report shows you the actual search phrases that people are using that will lead them to your ads. With so much tasty information at your fingertips, you may be motivated to find new keywords to target or even a bunch of negative keywords to take out of your advertising strategy. A well-organized ad group structure is crucial for ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of your ads.

Also, you might want to look at the data about exact match impression share to see how often your ads show up in response to exact match searches and find ways to increase impression share.

Wrapping Up Your Google Ad Optimization Strategy

If small and medium-sized businesses keep the above optimization tips and best practices in mind, they will have a better chance of managing their Google Adwords campaigns well and meeting their advertising goals. It is crucial to optimize Google Ads campaigns to maximize ROI, cut costs, and ensure peak performance.

Google Ads does not have to be Greek, but there is still a lot to learn and apply successfully. While I believe that many business owners can run a moderately successful Google Ad campaign on their own, I know from personal experience that it is difficult to run if you are not paying attention to it.

My team at Equicity has 20 years of experience running killer Google Ad campaigns for businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries. Look no further if you’re looking for the right team to help you outsource your Google Ads. Click here to get us working our magic for you.

Welcome toEquicity. We are a boutique, interpersonal marketing team for small businesses. Learn more

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