The top PPC search engines are Google, Yahoo and Bing in that order with Google Ads being one of the largest advertisers online. If you’re a new business that is looking to break your way into the PPC marketing world but have no idea where to start. Then look no further as Headland Marketing has assembled a checklist for you to make sure you’re on the right path to PPC success.

Step 1: Research

Before creating your first Google Ads campaign you want to start with research. Researching into what your customers want, what they are searching for and how they are searching for it. This will save you from spending money on keywords that are not generating the right kind of traffic or keywords that are not going to bring you the conversions you want.

Your initial list of keywords should be made up of everything you think your customers would search for when looking for your product or service. Use every term you can possibly think of in your first list, as this is simply your first gathering of information and no idea is a bad idea. Once you have gathered your first list of keywords we will use a keyword tool to review the search volumes of those keywords and also find new similar keywords you didn’t think of before.

Step 2: Use Keyword Tools

Now you have your list of keywords it’s time to validate your findings with a keyword tools data to see what keywords will work for your campaign. A programme that is free for you to use is Google Ads’ own Keyword Planner. When you set up your Google Ads Account you will find the Keyword Tool within the Tools section of your Google Ads account.

Google Ads Keyword Tool allows you to validate your keywords data by showing you search volumes, cost per click and other competitive metrics. Simply paste your keyword data into the left box where the search term examples are entered above and press Get Results.

I have added an example of what keyword ideas appear when researching keywords around “men’s clothing”. Below it shows related keywords by relevance, average monthly searches, competition and top of page bid ranges for both low and high bid ranges.

You can also edit the location and language to make sure you are targeting keywords in the correct area as well as editing the time period to match your criteria. You can add all of these keywords into a list that can then be transferred to your Google Ads account or you can download the list and pick the terms you find most relevant to your product or service.

Step 3: Organise Your PPC Keywords

Now you have collated the necessary data for the keywords you want to target, as well as added new related keywords to your list you can now organise these keywords into related groups to simplify your campaign set up.

Brand Keywords Competition Keywords Generic Keywords Related Keywords
Adidas Clothing Puma Clothing Mens Tracksuits Gym Clothing
Adidas.com Reebok Clothing Mens Running Shorts Sports Apparel

The more relevant the keywords are within the ad groups the easier it is for you to then measure the performance of these keywords. As time progresses you will be able to make alterations to these ad groups and move better performing keywords into their own campaigns creating SKAG campaigns (Single Keyword Ad Group Campaigns).

Step 4: Create A Negative Keyword List

Creating a negative keyword list is vital to making sure you keep your monthly budget under control. Although broad search terms such as “men’s clothing” would be easy to include in your campaign the cost per click and competition around keywords like this may be too much for you to afford.

Some keywords may have different user intent than you wish for, for your product or service. These sorts of keywords may invite users to click and then immediately bounce from your website if they do not find what they’re looking for. By adding a negative keyword list to your campaign you are reducing the chances of budget wastage.

The more specific your keywords are to the product or service you are offering the higher the user intent will be and the more likely those users will be to convert. Below I’ve added an example of keywords that would be searched for with low to high intent.

If you are targeting keywords that are more relevant to your product or service you are more likely to receive high quality scores meaning they will be more visible to your preferred audience. So by creating a negative keyword list you will help to prevent low intent searches from wasting your advertising budget.

Step 5: Agree On Your Available Monthly Budget

You will already have an idea of how much your keywords you want to target will cost from the research you have carried out using the Keyword Tools. However, you will also need to know whether your advertising budget will allow you to afford these keywords. On average the cost per click on Google Ads is between 62p and £1.32 on the Search Network.

However, this is an average and CPC does vary depending on the industry so make sure your research is extensive and that you can afford the CPC each month. Make sure you have a maximum cost per click in mind. This should be based on the conversion rate of your product or service, meaning the amount of profit you make from each conversion.

Step 6: Research Your Competition

If you’re struggling with how best to write your ads or understand what other keywords you should be targeting then analysing your competition is a great way to help with this. You can learn a lot from how they’re running their PPC campaigns. But if you’re wondering how you can do this then worry not, there are tools out there that can make this whole process a lot easier.

Programmes like SpyFu culminate your competitor’s most profitable paid and organic ads and keyword information to give you the competitive edge in your market.

Step 7: Write Ads That Will Put You Ahead Of The Competition

Now you’ve got your keywords ready, culminated them into their relevant groups and you’ve reviewed your competition, it’s time to create some stand out ads. The idea here is to make your ad copy relate to your target audience to give them a reason to click on your ad and inevitably convert.

Ad Layout

When writing your ads you should know you have limited space available so the idea is to make the ad copy relevant to your audience and compelling enough for them to click on your ad over your competitors. The components that make up an ad are outlined below:

  1. 3 headlines with 30 characters of space available.
  2. 2 description lines each with 90 characters available.
  3. 2 Display URLs of 15 characters available each.

When writing your ad you should be offering something that appears amazing to the customer, as well as portraying your unique selling point that makes you better than your competition.

Here is an example of USwitch (a large energy comparison website) using its USP within their ad text. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a USP just yet but we highly recommend creating one before you begin advertising your business. Having a USP sets you apart from your competition and will give your potential customers more reason to click on your ads and convert.

Calls To Action

The next step is to use powerful calls to action that stand out and make customers want to click on your ad. Try sticking with CTAs that are personalised, cost conscious and value orientated. For example words like; Free, Best and Guaranteed etc.

Use Ad Extensions

There are ranges of ad extensions that will enhance your adverts making them more appealing to your potential customers. Depending on what the product or service is that you’re selling will determine which extensions you can use.

  • Callout Extensions
  • Location Extensions
  • Call Extensions
  • Sitelink Extensions
  • App Extensions
  • Structured Snippet Extensions
  • Review Extensions
  • Message Extensions
  • Affiliate Location Extensions
  • Price Extensions
  • Promotion Extensions

Step 8: Make Sure Your Landing Page Offers What You’re Advertising

It’s all well and good having ads that compel and entice your customers but if you don’t have a well laid out and informative landing page to back up what your ads have promised then you will simply be paying for clicks that won’t convert.

If you’re quality score for your ad is below 5 then you should expect to see your cost per click and your cost per conversion rise ultimately making your budget cost a lot more than you expected it would. Make sure your landing page is relevant to the keywords you are bidding on.

You also want to make sure that your landing page has been optimised to the best of your abilities by making sure the landing page loads fast and without any errors. It should also be mobile optimised so the landing page fits all the information onto their screen.

Step 9: Link Your Google Ads To Google Analytics

Now for the final step! This step is necessary if you want to have a complete overview of how your website is performing both organically and via paid search. You can also create Goals and E-commerce Goals that you can import to your Google Ads that will help you track how your ads are converting.

Here’s a handy link by Google on how to link your Google Ads to Google Analytics.

Your All Set But The Work Doesn’t Stop There

Now your Google Ads account is all set up and ready to go the work has only just begun. You should always be monitoring your progress and making sure that your ads are performing as you want them to be. You should also make sure that your keywords are spending at the budget you have forecasted them to.

As time goes on you will accumulate more data that will help you to adjust your ad text, as well as generate new search terms from your clients that you can add to your campaigns to improve your account.

Let us know how you’re getting on with your PPC campaigns, is there anything that we can do to help?