If you’re considering running any sort of PPC or other outbound marketing strategy, you need to be using Google Ads. It’s one of the best digital marketing tools available to any company and when used effectively, can yield huge results for boosting website traffic, generating leads, and making sales.
Here’s the complete guide on how to use Google Ads so that you can take advantage of one of the best advertising tools on the web.
What are Google Ads?
Search ads are a form of native advertising that appears on search engine result pages. When a user makes a query, search ads that are relevant to the keywords used in the query will appear at the top of the page as a sponsored result. These search ads look very similar to the organic search results that appear below them on the page.
Google Display Network
The Google Display Network is a network of sites from Youtube to Weather.com to your local news station’s website that partner with Google and host advertisements. Unlike paid search, these advertisements appear directly on sites in the GDN, in banners, sidebars, etc. Rather than appearing as search engine listings, they appear as clickable images, which you can design.
Google Ads has a lot of great features, including comprehensive and relatively easy to understand analytics so you can gauge the success of your campaigns, optimize future efforts, and measure marketing ROI. You can target very specific audiences and appear in searches for critical keywords, as well as selectively bid on cost-effective keywords and targeting options to maximize your marketing budget and ROI.
Not to mention, Google is the internet. Nearly all online searches in the US are performed using Google, and there are thousands and thousands of sites, local and national, in the Google Display Network. Google Ads will get your ads seen, no question.
Once you’ve entered all of this information, you’ll be ready to start your first campaign.
Create a Campaign
In Google Ads, a campaign is an overarching category containing ad groups. Ad groups are sets of keywords and associated ads.
If you’re creating your first campaign immediately after entering your business information and creating your account, you’ll be taken right to creating your first campaign. If you’ve already created an account, log in to your account and click the + icon on the Campaigns page.
From there, you’ll need to select the network you want your ad to appear on (i.e., search network or display network). Note that you can have your campaign run on both the search and display networks at the same time, or just one of those networks. You’ll also need to set a goal for your campaign (sales, leads, or website traffic are the options Google provides) and name your campaign.
Then you’ll select the locations where you want your ads to be shown. This can be general, like the whole US, or more specific, like the region, state, or city. You’ll also want to select the languages your potential customers speak.
Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a bidding strategy. Since Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, each time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay for that.
Bidding allows you to limit the amount you spend on your campaign for maximum ROI. The interface offers you many different bidding strategies depending on your campaign goals, including maximize clicks, maximize conversions, target page search location, target outranking share, target CPA, target ROAS, enhanced CPC, and manual CPC.
Then enter a daily budget for your campaign, based on how much you want to spend on that campaign.
You’ll then be prompted to enter start and end dates for your campaign, as well as ad extensions.
Ad extensions are extensions of your ad: they allow you to include additional information like an additional sitelink, more business information (like hours or storefront location), or a phone number.
Keywords are the key to effective Google Ads, and effective PPC ads in general. You’ll need to select keywords that are:
The Google Ads platform has a keyword planner that can be useful in generating keywords. Under “Get keyword ideas” you can enter a related website or your product or service, and the keyword planner will suggest possible keywords.
If you’ve already been doing some digital marketing or updating your website, you may already have a keyword strategy in place and have some specific keywords, based on research, that you want to target.
Track and Review Metrics
In the Ads interface, select the tool icon in the top right corner, then select “Conversions.” Then select the + button, then select the type of conversion you want to track: website, app, phone calls, or imported from another system. From there you’ll define and categorize your goals, and add a global site tag and event tag to your landing page to track the conversions.
To review your ad performance, start at the Overview page. You can customize the line chart that appears to show you the data that is most interesting and relevant to you, such as clicks, conversions, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
The tiles below the chart display useful information and data trends, such as which devices are accessing your campaigns, or your campaign activity today compared to the average number of clicks over the course of the campaign.
Big news has hit the world of digital marketing. Google Ads officially increased the character count for paid search advertising. This unforeseen update allows users to create an additional headline and description for text ads within Search campaigns.
Before the August roll out, Google Ads previously supported only two headlines and one description. This set of updates produces a third headline and second description. When creating a text ad, users will see green text boxes to indicate the change within the platform.
What does this mean for advertisers?
The latest development to the search network’s software generates a huge opportunity for advertisers and marketers alike. A single ad can now contain 30 additional characters in Headline 3 and 90 additional characters in Description 2, totaling to a whopping 120 extra characters. (New to Google Ads? Check out our Complete Guide to Outbound Marketing for a crash course on the basics.)
The possibilities are endless!
Let’s use Evenbound as an example. Look at the difference in ad copy when we compare the old version of Google Ads to the new, extended character count version:
A noticeable difference in the size of the ad, right? For Google Ad users, the extra characters mean a greater opportunity to capture the eye of a Google searcher with creative copy. More detail, more keywords, more opportunity to sell a visitor on your brand, product or service.
However, this change will not only impact advertisers but it will always affect the search experience. With the update, Internet users will have to digest lengthier paid content than ever before. Is it reasonable to expect your targeted customer to read through 270 characters? We’ll find out over the next few months as more and more digital marketers and businesses take advantage of this new layout.
This update comes shortly after Google’s rebrand from AdWords to Google Ads in June of 2018. The rebrand goes far beyond a new name and vibrant logo. Google explains the transition from AdWords to Google Ads is a step in a broader effort to simplify its advertising options.
As stated by Google, the complete rebrand will occur in waves during the upcoming months. The additional characters are one part to a much larger process.
Now is the time to get a head start on your competition and take advantage of the 120 additional characters granted to Google Ad users. Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon of more keywords and lengthier copy, explore how the recent shift to the digital world can impact your business by vamping your own ads.
Want to get the most leads out of paid search as possible? Schedule a free consultation with us and we’ll steer you in the right direction for digital success.
The last time you wanted to know something, what did you do? There’s a pretty strong chance that you Googled it. That’s how we find out whether the actor in the show we’re watching was in that one movie and it’s how we find service providers when we need a new roof, the gutters cleaned, or an attorney. As a service provider, if you’re not taking advantage of your Google My Business Listing, you could be missing out on these opportunities.
What’s a Google My Business Listing?
When you search for something on Google and one of the top results is a business, the Google My Business Listing is what shows up on the right-hand side of the page with links for directions, website, etc. It usually contains photos of the business, the address, hours, phone number, and any reviews.
These listings are automatically created by Google based on activities like creating a website for your business, people checking in at your business, and information about your business on other sites. Because this information is being pulled from a variety of sources that may or may not be up-to-date or accurate—and because Google users can make changes to the listing without notifying you—the information there may be incorrect.
How can you take advantage of your listing?
The first step is to claim and verify your listing through Google. This allows you to have some control over the listing and ensure that the information on it is accurate. Go to https://www.google.com/business and complete the form there to claim and verify the listing.
Once you’ve done that, you can log in to Google My Business to manage the listing. There you can see if anyone has made updates to your listing and review those changes, giving you the chance to remove any info that is incorrect.
You can also add posts to your listing, which can serve as free advertisement. In the Google My Business dashboard, you can create these posts, which can include images, calls-to-action, and even links to your site. These posts are great for promoting sales, events, products, or good publicity that you’ve received.
A particularly useful feature for service-based businesses is the Booking button feature, which works with your integrated scheduling software to allow people to book appointments right from the listing. If you’ve ever booked a flight through Google, it works just like that. It’s super convenient, and it makes it so quick and easy for someone to become a customer.
Good reviews are also critical for service providers, and Google reviews are definitely influential to potential clients. You can ask satisfied clients to leave honest reviews for your business on Google, and if you’re managing your listing, you’ll be aware when false, malicious, or particularly negative reviews are made so that you can address them quickly.
Managing your business’s presence on Google is just one of the many ways you can use your online presence to reach new customers. If you’re interested in learning how digital marketing strategy can work for your service-based business, get in touch and let’s get started.
Regularly updating your B2B website is necessary to keep up with changes to the Google algorithm, as well as web design best practices. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your site for optimum performance (an issue may B2Bs have), you risk not being found by potential customers. Here are a few tips to revamping your website to maximize good traffic.
Mobile Responsive Design
If your B2B website isn’t mobile responsive (i.e., viewable on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and adaptable to any screen size), it should be. With most consumers using their smartphones for web browsing and online research, a mobile responsive site is crucial to reaching your potential customers, especially B2B customers, who may be doing their research on their phones quickly between meetings or sales calls.
If you’re using a WordPress site, you can easily find templates that are mobile responsive; entirely custom websites are trickier, and require testing to ensure that they appear and function as you intend on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Accurate metadata is critical for being indexed by search engines. Metadata, if you’re not familiar, describes the individual pages on your B2B website. Title metadata affects how titles appear in browser windows; meta descriptions are the text that shows up on search engine results pages, and keyword metadata designates a specific keyword for the page. Ensure that you have custom meta descriptions, a keyword designated, and appropriate title metadata for each page of your website, or search engines, and the potential clients using those search engines, won’t find your site.
Fix Broken Links and Redirects
Broken links annoy site visitors and can lower your search engine rankings. Luckily, they’re easy to fix. You can go through all of the links and all of the pages to ensure that they work, or you could use a tool like Check My Links. If you find broken links or 404 errors, you can resolve the issue by updating the link, if possible, or using a 301 redirect, which will help you maintain the original ranking power of the page, as well as the original keywords and metadata, while still helping visitors find the what they’re looking for.
Get Rid of Pop-Ups
Google has started penalizing certain kinds of pop-ups, called intrusive mobile interstitials, which your current site may be using. If your B2B website has a pop-up message that viewers have to dismiss before they can view the page content on a mobile device (aka a standalone interstitial), a layout where the top portion of the page looks like a standalone interstitial, or a pop-up that covers the main content of the page while they are looking through the page Google will penalize your site, as these types of pop-ups are intrusive and affect the viewer accessibility of content on mobile devices.
Completing these quick checkups on your B2B website can make all the difference in your search engine ranking and site performance, driving more qualified traffic to your site. For more on revamping your site to enhance SEO, check out our SEO Site Checkup. If you have questions on how to improve your B2B site’s SEO, get in touch. Our SEO experts can help you achieve excellent site rankings and implement SEO best practices.
Mobile traffic is any home builder’s bread and butter. Why? Well, we’re about to tell you. Suffice it to say that if your home building company has a website, it needs to be mobile responsive. The general reason is because almost everyone is searching on their mobile devices these days, but there are a ton of benefits to having a mobile responsive website, especially for homebuilders. Here are a few more reasons why you should care about mobile traffic, and why it’s in your best interest to ensure you’re optimizing your site for those mobile viewers:
Everyone is on Mobile
The most obvious reason that mobile traffic is important to home builders is the fact that mobile searches now account for more than 60% of all web traffic out there. That number is only going to grow. Studies have shown that the average web user heads to their mobile device the minute they think of something they might need. They conduct an initial search, do a bit of research on the product, and then finally switch to their desktop to make the final purchasing decision. While desktop traffic will never go out completely, most users are more likely to pick up their smartphone to gather initial information about whatever they’re searching.
What’s more, today 77% of all adults now own a smartphone, which means that more and more of those mobile searches are going to happen. Smartphones are convenient, they’re right in your pocket, and they can get you answers in under a second. Your home building company should be interested in mobile traffic simply because it is the largest portion of all traffic on the web today.
Sets You Apart From the Competition
If we keep in mind the regular web searcher’s methodology: starting a search with their phone and transferring to a computer once they’ve made a decision, it’s obvious that having a mobile responsive site can do a lot to set you apart from the competition. Sure, no one is going to buy a house on their phone. However, most people are going to start the search for a new home on their phone. And if you have a mobile responsive site and your competitor doesn’t, then you’re going to be the one that gets the first chance at those clients. A mobile responsive site gives you the leg up, ensuring your site is the first one your potential clients see.
Google, always Google
It’s very rare that we post a blog that doesn’t have something to do with Google, and this blog is no different. Because Google is the all-powerful gatekeeper to internet search results, it makes sense that they’ve weighed in on the mobile vs. desktop situation, and have come down on the side of mobile traffic. In December of 2016, Google introduced their mobile-first indexing update, which essentially told web owners that they were going to start indexing mobile sites before desktop sites.
This basically means that Google analyzes and ranks mobile sites before anything else, which gives more ranking power to mobile sites over desktop sites. So, if you only have a desktop site, or you have a desktop site and a pared-down version of that for a mobile site, you’re likely to get a bump down in rankings. If you’re looking to rank well as a home builder in your area, it’s important to have a mobile responsive site that caters to all those mobile users, as well as Google’s indexing algorithm.
Mobile Users Share
Finally, mobile traffic is any home builder’s bread and butter for the express reason that mobile users share. If you think about your own web use, are you more often looking at social media on your phone, or your computer? If you’re like most people, you look at sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter primarily on your phone. Those sites are the places people most often share content, from photos they like to articles they found interesting and useful.
So, another reason to optimize your home building site for mobile is to take advantage of those high sharing numbers that mobile traffic brings. Homebuilders are especially great for mobile traffic because you do have such shareable content. If you post before and after pictures of projects or showcase the insides of some of your model homes or recently designed projects, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of sharing. That sort of content is exactly what the average web browser loves to look at, and is likely to share with their friends. If you make that content available to them on their mobile devices, you’ll be able to capitalize on the sharing nature of mobile users, ensuring your content reaches more and more people and grows your home building company’s reach.
There’s no questioning the fact that mobile traffic can do a lot to boost a home builder’s digital presence, but where do you start? If you know you need a site that’s mobile responsive, but don’t have one or aren’t sure how to optimize the one you’ve got, don’t worry. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think to get a mobile version of your site up and running. Most web templates, especially if you’re using WordPress or SquareSpace, are already set up for mobile responsiveness. Just make sure yours supports multiple screen sizes, and you’re probably good to go.
While just making sure your site supports multiple browser sizes is the biggest concern, you’ll also want to check that your mobile pages load quickly and that you’re providing a quality user experience by eliminating large pop-ups and streamlining your site’s menu.
Optimizing your home building website for mobile traffic doesn’t have to be difficult, and once you do it, you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your site’s overall performance. If you still have questions about boosting your digital presence or qualified lead generation, be sure to get in touch. Evenbound has cracked the code to digital marketing for home builders, and we’d be happy to help you optimize your website for mobile traffic and qualified leads. To see how our unique digital marketing strategy delivers impressive results for local home builders and construction professionals, be sure to check out the case study below.
There’s always a lot of swirling opinions on the internet about what Google still uses to rank websites, and what they don’t. While only Google’s algorithm knows exactly what it’s measuring to rank your website, there are a few things SEO experts have come to agree on as key factors in search engine results page rankings. And yes, one of those things is still the number of quality links that exist to your page. While it’s great to have links to external sites within your own pages, Google still uses the number of legitimate websites who are linking to you, to determine how worthy you are of a higher page rank.
In the past, SEO experts and webmasters alike have attempted to hack this factor of page ranking with various “link building” techniques, some of which worked, and some of which really didn’t. It’s good to know that while you’re researching link building, you should really only trust blogs and content about link building that have been published in the past year. Google always updates their algorithms regularly, but the past few years especially have seen massive, internet revolutionizing updates that also affect how you should go about link building.
Because of those updates, it has become really tricky to link build in a way that doesn’t end up in a Google site penalization. Older tricks like posting links to your page in the comments section, guest blogging, and most definitely link-building schemes, will only result in the penalization of your site by Google. So, since link building still matters for page rank, how can you do it in a way that’s above-board, and will get you the links you want, without a Google penalization?
Have Something Worth Linking To
The absolute best way to get legitimate links is to first have something people want to link to. Whether you’ve got an e-commerce site with cool products, or your site has a number of interesting, informational content pages like blogs posts and how-to’s, the only way you’ll get people to link to those pages is if they like what you have to offer, and if it makes their lives easier in some way. So, if you’ve got a basic website with no blog, and nothing to make it interesting to others in your industry, it’s unlikely that anyone will organically link to you. On the other hand, if you’ve established yourself as an authority in your industry, and offer a great deal of helpful content on your website, you’re more likely to get some quality links.
Build a Community Around Your Content
The best, easiest way to build links is to have people organically link to your pages of their own free will. When you have quality content that speaks to your target audience, you’ll start to build a community of followers. Those followers will check in regularly to read any new content you’ve got, and the more they do, the greater the opportunity that someone will link or share your page.
When someone likes your website and your page content, they’re more likely to link to your page when they create their own content. That sort of linking is the best you can get: people who genuinely like what you have to offer, and want to tell their own followers about it. Unfortunately, it’s not that efficient, and it requires a great deal of relying on other people. While it’s possibly the best way to get links, there’s no guaranteeing when or if it will happen. So, if you’re not comfortable relying on just organic links, the following steps might help:
Once you’ve got content on your site that people might actually want to link to, go ahead and ask people nicely! Reach out to other website owners in your industry who hold a bit of authority to ask if they’d consider linking to a certain page or blog post on your website. The best way to go about this efficiently is to follow these three steps:
Set up Templates
It’s not wrong to have a general template that goes out to each person you ask to link to your website. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel twice, so draft a really great email that talks about your company and why the page you’re requesting they link to should mean something to them. What’s more, offer to link to their site in return. People are more likely to agree when there’s something in it for them. Be sure to include your contact information, along with a sincere thank you.
While it’s great to have a standard template, it’s important that you’re still personalizing each email according to who you’re sending it to. At the very least, each email should be addressed to one specific person in the company, and ideally, your email’s intro paragraph should mention something specific about them that drew you to their website. The more general your address, the less likely you are to get a response. People get millions of emails a day, and if it doesn’t seem like your email was meant specifically for them, they’ll probably delete it.
Don’t Mass Email
Finally, once you’re ready to send out your request emails, be sure you don’t mass email. There’s nothing worse than getting an email asking you to do someone a personal favor, only to see that 25 other people also got the same exact email. It often comes across as rude, and most people won’t respond when they realize your email wasn’t meant just for them. What’s more, try to send your requests to just one person in the company, especially if you’re using a template. People in the same office do actually talk, and if multiple employees get the same exact email, they’re likely to think it’s some sort of scam.
Never Buy Links
As a final, cautionary note, we’d just like to remind you that it’s always, always bad practice to buy links. No matter how legitimate the company seems, if you buy links your site will face penalties. Google constantly updates their algorithm to sniff out link-buying activity and will flag your site almost immediately if you do buy links. The best way to build links is to do it organically, either by building a community around your site’s content or by asking others in your industry to link to your site.
We get it, link building is a tricky subject. It always has been, and it probably will continue to be, so long as Google uses it as a ranking factor. That said, there are good, white hat methods to go about link building, that can work to get you those links you’re looking for without danger of penalization. If you’re feeling wary of link building, or you’d like a little advice on how you could boost your site’s search engine rankings, get in touch. Search engine optimization is kind of our job, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how best to boost your rankings.