Guest post by Mark Sharron
For the second part of this guest post series on SEO for Funeral Directors I’m going to talk about Google Adwords.
Adwords is a Google’s Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising system. Adwords went live in early 2000 and has helped tens of thousands of businesses attract new clients. The system works by allowing business owners to pay to appear in the search index for desirable keywords.
Due to the nature of Adwords this article will be a little dry but I will do my best to supply you with actionable insights into how the system works and a number of useful considerations when setting up a campaign.
* The idea behind Adwords is “the person willing to pay the most for a specific keyword will secure a higher rank.” Business owners bid on keywords (see the previous article).
* Adverts are served for each keyword loaded into the system when a web user performs a search for that keyword. Each time a web user clicks on your advert, your budget is depleted based on the amount you have bid on the keyword vs your competitor’s bid.
* The amount paid per click is equal to the next highest bid. For example if you were to bid £3 per click on the keyword “funeral directors” and your competitor bids £2 for the same keyword you will pay £2.01. There are a few calculations that vary this rule such as your quality score and account history (more on this later).
* Google displays three Adwords spots at the top of the search index for the highest bidders and eight spaces in the right hand column on their first page of search results.
The main advantages (control)
* Gain instant search engine exposure / guaranteed search engine exposure without having to invest the time in an organic SEO campaign. Typically within hours of setting up a campaign you will see an increase in traffic to your website .
* Budget management. Set daily or monthly budgets that suit you. You only pay for each click. Your account is charged each time a web user clicks on one of your adverts. Keyword positions are determined by how much you bid on each keyword vs how much your competitors are prepared to pay.
* Small learning curve. The system is user friendly and easy to master.
* Track and measure performance; see how individual keywords perform. This makes adwords a great market research tool giving you a valuable understanding of what’s important to your clients. You can then configure your website to take advantage of this data.
The main disadvantages
* In competitive towns/cities certain keywords can be expensive to bid on. Larger companies can easily dominate a market space. Be careful not to get into bidding wars.
* If your campaign is poorly setup you will haemorrhage money with little or no return.
* Once your budget is exhausted your adverts disappear.
* PPC is generally less trusted than Google’s organic search by users.
* Campaigns need a lot of attention when first setup to ensure they are configured optimally.
Setting Up Adwords
Campaigns / Adgroups: Once you have completed your initial keyword research, you can load the data into Adwords.
This allows you to tailor advert text to specific groups of keywords making your text more relevant to what a user is searching for. It also gives you the control to direct users to specific landing pages on your site. This will increase the number of people who click on your advert and serve them will relevant information increasing the potential they will convert as a client.
You have three lines of text per basic advert. This doesn’t give you a lot of space to work with.
Line 1= 25 Characters
Link 2= 35 Characters
Line 3= 35 Characters
Line 4= Landing Page URL
The trick is making sure your advert stands out, the text needs to be relevant for specific search terms and the advert should direct web users to a relevant landing page. This ensures prospective clients find what they are looking for and convert. As mentioned above it will also lower your costs as your campaign matures. Have a look at how your competitors/indirect competitors have phrased their adverts and draw inspiration from there. SEMRush.com is a great competitor analysis tool and if you want to learn more about ad-copy “Cashvertising” is an excellent read.
If you are fine tuning your ad text I suggest split testing. Try different adverts and see which ones get the best response.
Adwords Keyword Types
Adwords allows you to enter a variety of keyword types. These have no relation to the types of keywords discussed in my first post. These refer to how the keywords are formatted/how Adwords uses your keyword data to serve adverts. The types of keywords you can enter into Adwords are:
* Exact match
* Broad match
* Broad match modified
* Phrase match
* Negative keywords
One of the most common mistakes business owners make when setting up an Adwords campaign is they use broad match keywords. Your campaign should be a combination of exact match and broad match modified. I will explain the differences below.
Exact match: [Brighton funeral director]
Exact match keywords are placed in square brackets. Adwords will only serve an advert when a user types the exact keyword. This gives you precision control.
Broad match: funeral director Brighton
Broad match keywords are loaded into Adwords in their natural form. Adwords will serve adverts for anything remotely related to the keyword e.g. undertakers Brighton, morticians Brighton or embalming Brighton. This means that your adverts will be served for a range of irrelevant keywords causing you to haemorrhage your budget on keywords which may not be relevant to your business and will not convert. I typically avoid using broad match keywords as it exposes my clients to the law of un-intended consequences.
Broad match modified: +funeral +directors +Brighton
Broad match modified keywords have a “+” symbol next to each word. Broad match modified keywords will serve adverts for any user search that contains each word in any order e.g. Cheap Funeral Directors in Brighton or cheap Brighton funeral directors.
Broad match modified keywords have advantages and disadvantages:
You maintain greater control than if you were to use a broad match keyword.
Your advert will be served for long–tail variants of keywords you may have missed when researching which keywords to use
Adverts will also be served for irrelevant keywords such as a competitor’s brand or general queries with no commercial value e.g. how much do Brighton funeral directors earn?
I use broad match modified keywords for discovery of new opportunities but keep a very close eye on irrelevant keywords served, adding them to my negative keyword list (more on this in a moment).
Phrase match: “funeral directors Brighton”
Phrase match keywords are wrapped in speech marks and will serve an advert if the keyword is part of a larger phrase e.g. cheap funeral directors Brighton. Unlike broad match modified a phrase match keyword will not serve an advert if the words are out of order e.g. cheap Brighton funeral directors.
I typically use phrase match keywords when building negative keyword lists.
One of the most important functions within Adwords is the ability to add a list of negative keywords. Negative keywords are individual words or phrases that prevent an advert from being served.
There is a risk when adding negative keywords you may unintentionally prevent desirable keywords from serving adverts. Always test your “money” keywords still serve adverts after adding new negative keywords to your Adwords campaign.
A good first step when setting up a campaign is to list all of your competitor’s brand names and add them to your negative keyword list. This will ensure users searching specifically for competitors do not click on your adverts/waste your budget.
When a campaign is in its infancy I suggest monitoring Google analytics every couple of days and filtering out keywords that have no commercial value / adding them to your negative keywords list. As the campaign matures and your negative keyword list grows the number of adverts served for undesirable keywords with no commercial value will diminish. Be prepared to lose “some” money at the inception of any PPC campaign until you bring your negative keyword list under control.
Each keyword will be given a quality score. This directly impacts the cost per click. The Adwords quality score is related to the content on the page your advert pointed at and text used in the advert. Click through rate is also a determining factor in cost per click. Over time as your campaign matures, if you have a high click through rate the cost per click (CPC) will be reduced. Spend some time to ensure the quality score for each keyword is as high as possible.
Other Important Settings
GEO Location: Adwords allows you to set the geographic region your adverts will be served in. As a regional funeral director located in Weybridge you don’t want your adverts served in Glasgow. Lock your GEO location down to the area you cover and exclude everything else or you will exhaust your budget quickly.
Display Network: The display network will display your advert on 3rd party websites. Again this is a huge waste of money. Make sure it’s turned off or you will exhaust your budget.
CRT data and Analytics: Make sure your Adwords account is connected to Google Analytics. Google have a guide on how to do this here. This will allow you to track the performance of individual keywords. Including bounce rates, time users spend on your website, which pages they look at and more.
Advert position: Both Adwords and Google Analytics will show you the position adverts are displayed for each keyword giving you the ability to increase or reduce your budget as required.
Bounce rate: tells you if a user has arrived on your site and left immediately. This could mean a specific keyword has no commercial value or your website landing page does not supply an internet user with the information they are looking for. It may be worth thinking about removing keywords with a sustained high bounce rate or reworking the page users first land on to better match the advert / keyword. Alternatively it may simply mean a user is landing on your page and only looking for your phone number. Exercise a little common sense and track the number of phone calls you receive if you remove a keyword as data can sometimes be a little misleading.
PPC keywords: If you are using broad match or broad match modified you can see exactly what users have typed into Google to serve an advert. I suggest turning commercially viable keywords into exact match variants and filtering commercially unviable keywords into your negative keyword list. This will ensure unviable keywords are not served a second time and will free up your budget to focus on keyword that will attract web users to your site that stand a chance of converting to a paying client.
Adwords is an excellent mechanism to drive web users to your website and can work wonders if setup correctly. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to provide an informative answer within 24 hours.