So, you’ve decided you want to start driving more qualified traffic to your website at scale – great! Search engine marketing (aka “paid search”) is a great tool, when used properly, that business owners can utilize to drive qualified, relevant traffic to their website.

Thinking About Keywords that Matter Most to You – Focus on Longtail Keywords

The first thing you’ll want to do is think about what keywords are most important to your business. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you when planning – Google Keyword Planner is a great free resource. Focus on longtail keywords whenever possible.

Longtail keywords can help less authoritative sites outrank their authoritative competitors by aligning their content to specific phrases likely to be searched by their customers. In addition, longtail keywords are also more likely to be used by voice search, as well as by individuals who are closer to making a purchase decision.

Deciding on your Paid Search Budget

The beautiful thing about search engine marketing is that it can really be used by any business, regardless of budget. A well-constructed paid search program can return qualified clicks for as little as a few dollars – just think, if you could drive qualified clicks to your site for $1. Even a $10 daily budget could result in 300 clicks to your site per month, or 3,600 per year (as an example).

If you choose to use display advertising as part of your campaign, you can expect an even lower average cost per click (though clicks are less qualified).

Setting up Your Search Engine Marketing Campaign and Ad Groups

Now that you’ve assembled your list of keywords, and determined your budget, it’s time to determine how you’ll actually structure your search campaign. I recommend thinking about your website in chunks (this will help later on when developing your ads and extensions).

A good way to structure these chunks is to think about the way you’ve laid out your site architecture. How have you structured your menus? Use this same taxonomy when developing your Google Adwords ad groups – i.e. each menu item from your website becomes an ad group. For example, if you’re a dentist who has a page on your website about dentures, then dentures would be an ad group, with ads speaking to the key words on the dentures webpage – this will help to ensure you’re keeping your ad rank as high as possible.

What is Google AdWords Ad Rank and Quality Score and Why you Should Care

Your Ad Rank is the formula used by Google to determine where and when your ads are served on the search engine results pages (SERP). Your ad rank is a combination of many factors, primarily your bid amount and quality score. Given the importance Google places on providing relevant search results, and the part it plays in determining your Ad Rank, maintaining a strong Quality Score is critical to optimizing Google’s results and minimizing your costs.

Think of your Quality Score as the relationship between your chosen keyword, ad and landing page experience. The tighter the correlation, the better the Quality Score (measured from 1-10) and the lower the cost per click for you. As an example, think of a business which sells hot tubs. This business would want to think about a general ad group which focuses on generic keywords, like “hot tub”, as well as more specific ad groups for specific manufacturers and models of hot tubs. Remember: The more granular and specific the ad, the more relevant it will be to the consumer and the more effective it is to driving a sale for you.

If you’d like to get started with search engine marketing, but aren’t sure how to get started, take a look at the services we offer and contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming post on setting paid search objectives.