Google Ads: Best Practices and Tips For 2023
Trying to reach an online audience for your business? As the world’s most popular search engine, Google is one of the best places to get started advertising online. In this article, you’ll learn Google Ads best practices and tips for making your campaigns a success.
Table of Contents
- What is Google Ads?
- How Does Google Ads Work?
- How Effective are Google Ads?
- How Google Ads Evolved in 2023
- Google Display Ads Best Practices
- Google Search Ads Best Practices
- Google Ads Best Practices for Copy
- Google Ads Best Practices for Keywords
- Google Ads Best Practices for Landing Pages
- Using Google Ads Extensions
- Google Ads Tips
- Final Thoughts on Google Ads in 2023
Google contains its own huge advertising platform, Google Ads. One of its greatest benefits is its ability to target people who are already looking for the kind of product you’re selling, so you are not bothering them with irrelevant marketing.
In today’s digital landscape, Google Ads remains a cornerstone of online advertising. With its ability to precisely target audiences actively seeking products or services like yours, Google Ads is more relevant than ever before.
There are two ways in which businesses use Google for marketing and advertising. One is SEO (search engine optimization), the practice of providing relevant and engaging content while strategically inserting keywords. This is usually done with the help of professional, paid-for tools, however, it is a free option that is less direct than paid ads.
Google Ads is the paid advertising service offered by Google. Simply put, businesses pay Google to have an ad page placed in an advertising slot on users’ browsers. How does Google decide which ads will get priority? Through a process in which advertisers place bids. Depending on the ad type, the winner’s ad will appear either on the search engine results page (known as a SERP), as a banner on the display network, or as a video ad on YouTube. However, to achieve any meaningful success with your ad budget, it’s important to implement a good Google Ads strategy.
Google Ads targets users searching for specific search phrases. Businesses can then fine-tune ads according to factors such as geographic location. Ad spend will affect the reach of ads and the amount of time they’ll be shown. The quality of the ads is a huge determining factor as to the success in attracting paying customers.
When implemented thoughtfully and professionally, Google ads are a highly-effective tool. There are a few reasons Google Ads is such a critical medium for online advertising.
First of all, Google is a behemoth. It is the most-used search engine, and First Site Guide reported that 3.5 billion google searches were performed daily as of October 2021. Google consistently receives 85% to 90% of desktop searches.
Since Google Ads is based on what people are searching for, it can help businesses better understand their customers and what they want. There is massive potential for businesses to profit thanks to the use of Google Ads since they can better understand exactly what their customers want.
Advertising influences purchasing decisions and in the case of Google, it provides customers with information. On average, 35% of users buy a product within 5 days of searching for it on Google, though this varies depending on the industry and can range from 1 to 30 days. 63% of people have clicked on a Google ad, and half of all users cannot differentiate between an ad and an organic search result.
To reiterate, Google Ads simply works because users who end up making purchases are already looking for what is being sold. There is no forced sale and the interest already exists, so it’s up to businesses and their marketing teams to come up with the Google Ads campaign strategy that will best bring those potential customers to a business. It’s also incredibly important to understand the target audience beforehand — every click costs money, so it’s not recommended to advertise to everyone.
Google Ads has evolved significantly in recent years, adapting to changing consumer behaviors and technological advancements. While the core principles remain the same, staying competitive now requires a more comprehensive approach. Let’s explore the latest updates and strategies for success.
Understanding Google Ads in the Current Landscape Google Ads, often referred to as Google Adsense, is Google’s paid advertising platform. It enables businesses to showcase their offerings to users who are already in search of similar products or services, making it a non-intrusive and highly effective marketing tool.
The Modern Google Ads Ecosystem In 2023, the Google Ads ecosystem comprises two primary components: Paid Search Advertising and Display Advertising.
1. Paid Search Advertising: This encompasses sponsored search results that appear at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Winning these coveted spots requires businesses to participate in keyword auctions, where the highest bidder gets their ad displayed. However, it’s crucial to optimize your strategy for maximum ROI.
2. Display Advertising: The Google Display Network reaches an impressive 90% of all internet users across over 2 million websites. While Display Ads may not directly target individuals searching for your products, they offer the opportunity to engage with specific audiences. Careful audience selection and captivating ad creatives are key in this space.
Google Display ads are featured in the articles, videos, or website content that users are clicking through. By setting up a Display ad, you get it shown on the Google Display Network. The network covers over 2 million sites and reaches 90% of all users.
Unlike Google search ads, display ads may not always reach the people who are already searching for what you’re offering. However, they are presented to a specified audience and advertisers have the choice of which audiences they want to reach, through the use of custom audiences and lists for retargeting. This means businesses have to do some research to find out where their ads will be most effective.
One can target based on age, gender, and specific interests. This way, users who have demonstrated an interest in certain industries will fall into your typical customer’s profile. Choosing the right audience is the first step to successful Google Display ads.
Once you’ve determined your target audience, your Display ads need to capture their attention. When doing this, remember to:
- Include the most important message in a headline.
- Make sure mobile and desktop users alike can see the ad properly.
- Create the Display ad in both landscape and square formats (the campaign will use one of them based on the placement).
- Choose the most effective types of banners.
At the moment, the most common Display ads on Google are:
- Leaderboard: 728 x 90
- Skyscraper: 120 x 600
- Square: 250 x 250
Please note: even though it’s still an option to use these specs, as Google increasingly moves toward automation, these sizes could soon change.
It’s much easier to create the ideal Display ads by starting with the right template size and working from there. There are dozens of banner sizes for Google Display ads, but those mentioned above are a good starting point.
Effectiveness of Google Ads in 2023
When executed with precision, Google Ads continues to be a highly effective tool for businesses. Several factors contribute to its enduring success:
Google remains the world’s most popular search engine, with billions of daily searches. This vast user base provides ample opportunities to reach potential customers actively seeking solutions.
Influence on Purchase Decisions:
Approximately 35% of users make a purchase within five days of searching on Google. Effective ads provide valuable information and guide users toward their desired outcome.
Research shows that 63% of people have clicked on a Google ad, highlighting the platform’s ability to capture user attention effectively.
Blending with Organic Results:
While marked as “Ads,” search ads are seamlessly integrated with organic results, making it challenging for users to distinguish between the two.
Google Search ads are paid search results displayed with the regular search results. When a user performs a search on Google, the results are a mix of the top-performing pages (based on SEO) and several spots for paid results. Search ads are displayed at the top of the search engine results page. They are listed alongside an “Ad” label. Even though these results are clearly marked as an ad, they’re still effective for a number of reasons:
- Paid search results are shown immediately in the first spots, as soon as the auction is won. It would take months or even years to achieve this naturally through SEO.
- Search ads appear above the natural results as well as at the bottom of the SERP.
- The ad label is quite subtle, so half of people don’t even recognize them as ads.
- They are pages that are relevant to the search terms people typed in.
- They are the first things a user sees after they click “search”.
To make the most out of Google Search ads, start with an effective headline. People are guaranteed to see your page on the Google search results, but their response to seeing it depends on the chosen headline.
Good headlines are attractive to users while also including the relevant keywords. After that, there are several practices that are proven to produce greater success with your headline:
- Speak to your intended audience in their language. Use any industry-specific language that is common among customers.
- Use a CTA (call to action).
- Solve a problem for the user. You could answer a question and/or provide useful information to spark interest in the advertised page.
- Ask a question. This is done to leverage user intent, which increases Google Ads conversion rates. For example, if you’re advertising a real estate agency, ask users if they’re looking to buy a house in the headline.
- Be empathetic. Users don’t respond well to negativity. Avoid any language that can be perceived as insulting. Make your headline empathetic to whatever problem a customer is trying to solve.
- Use simple language. Even if your target market is comprised of industry professionals, natural language still converts better than technical jargon. When deciding on specific wording, always choose the simpler option. Simple wording makes headlines more welcoming and ensures potential customers won’t feel intimidated.
- Keep up with trends. For any given industry, there are usually trending headline styles. Keep up with the common searches relevant to your business.
- Be genuine. Even if the offer in the headline is great, it will prove useless if it’s untrue.
- Make realistic promises. When they are realistic, promises work. People are trying to buy results, so offer the result they’re looking for.
After the headline, users will also see a description underneath. There is more space to use here, so follow headlines up with some more information. Here, it’s normally best to provide more specified information. For example, follow up the headline’s promise with a specific product and its main benefits.
Google Search Ads Tips for 2023:
- Compelling Headlines: Craft headlines that resonate with your target audience while incorporating relevant keywords.
- User-Centric Approach: Solve problems, answer questions, and provide valuable information in your ad copy.
- Leverage User Intent: Use questions in headlines to align with user intent, e.g., “Looking to Buy a House?”
- Simplicity Wins: Use straightforward, customer-friendly language, avoiding jargon.
- Keep Up with Trends: Stay informed about trending headline styles in your industry.
Google Display Ads Tips for 2023:
- Audience Targeting: Select your target audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
- Creative Formats: Create visually appealing ads in various formats to cater to different placements.
- Responsive Design: Ensure ads are optimized for both mobile and desktop users.
- Message Consistency: Maintain consistency from ad to landing page for a seamless user experience.
Your ad copy is the text in any Google ad you pay for. It includes the heading, description, and text on the target page.
Ad copy should follow the same rules as those for headlines. It’s important to remember to:
- Keep the copy easy to understand.
- Focus on the customer’s desires, not your business.
- Write about benefits.
- Don’t use negative or overly-technical language.
The copy on landing pages should be short and clear; otherwise, users could get confused and leave.
Ad copy is essentially sales in writing. Everything written is meant to lead the reader closer to a sale (or other desired action). Therefore, ad copy follows different rules than those of a blog or any other kind of informational text. The point is to sell outcomes and make the customer feel excited about the idea of buying a product.
Google Ads Keywords are essential to Google Ads’ success. Knowing what searches lead to customers who buy your product or service is key. To get there, remember to do the following when drafting a list of keywords.
- Use specific keywords meant to target specific customers.
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
- Use professional keyword tools for research.
- Split test different keywords to optimize over time.
Keyword Strategy in 2023:
Keyword research remains paramount for Google Ads success. In the current landscape:
- Specific Keywords: Target precise keywords to reach specific customers.
- User-Centric Approach: Understand your customers’ language and preferences.
- Professional Tools: Utilize professional keyword research tools for in-depth analysis.
- A/B Testing: Continuously optimize by split-testing different keywords.
Landing pages are the pages that online advertisements lead toward. They are essentially sales letters.
While it’s possible for ads to take readers to a homepage (if it’s a brand campaign, for example), landing pages are ideal for users that are looking for something specific.
A landing page is not meant to be like a typical web page. The main distinguishing factor is that a landing page is a single-purpose page. You are trying to lead readers to take one specific action. That action could be:
- To make a purchase.
- To sign up to your email list.
- To make a new account.
- Any other action that is sensible for your business’s sales process.
For a landing page to be successful, the copy needs to be written with a single desired action in mind. Readers should be informed and feel engaged while being coaxed to take the desired action.
Remember the important factors that go into an effective landing page:
- Make the offer and value very clear. Don’t make the user work for it.
- Make sure all text is important to the reader.
- Remove any fluff (unnecessary text).
- Emphasize value provided to the customer.
- Encourage sharing the page with others.
- Keep the call to action simple.
- Provide positive proof of your offer.
- Keep your offer consistent.
Landing Pages in 2023
Landing pages are critical in converting ad clicks into actions. In 2023, consider:
- Clarity and Value: Clearly communicate the offer and its value.
- Conciseness: Keep landing page content focused and avoid unnecessary information.
- CTAs: Implement clear and compelling calls to action.
- Social Sharing: Encourage users to share your landing page.
- Simplicity: Ensure a straightforward and user-friendly layout.
Google offers several extensions that enhance Google Ads. Ad extensions can be used for several purposes, helping to make it more visible (and if all goes well, more trustworthy). There are many types of ad extensions used for Google Ads, but the most common ones include:
- Sitelink extensions
- Callout extensions
- Image extensions
- Phone call extensions
- Price extensions
- Promotion extensions
- Location extensions
Many Google Ad extensions are automated, but there may be many opportunities for manual implementation too. Using extensions creates new responsibilities, but they can offer you competitive advantages for any combination of the factors listed above.
Google Ads Best Practices for Sitelinks
Google Ads sitelinks are used to take users deeper into your website. Sitelinks appear right below the text on your ads. They are used to help potential customers find what they’re looking for on your site. It’s best to avoid sitelinks that lead to the About page or other generic site pages.
The key to using sitelinks successfully is testing. When creating a campaign, you can edit your sitelinks’ text and URLs. Then, you can test their performance with the Ad Extensions Tab inside Google Ads.
Sitelink extensions are versatile and can be used on any device. They offer a convenient and useful overview of each sitelink’s performance.
- Testing is everything. You can always tweak your Google Ads campaigns and improve your results. Small changes to targeting, keywords, headlines, and copy can make huge differences. But you can’t find out what works best without testing. While you can wait and see how an ad performs, it’s best to use the experiments tool on Google Ads to statistically test different ads, landing pages, and more.
- Maintain relevance everywhere. From your headline through to the landing page, you need to keep your message consistent.
- Fill out all ad options. Try filling out all information fields when launching a campaign. They are placed there for a reason, so utilize them and try not to leave the extra headline fields empty.
- Use different keyword match types. This point takes longer to figure out, but user intent is an important part of Google Ads, as they are based on the information you provide. There are many different tactics for when and why to use certain keywords, whether to use an exact keyword or a broad match.
In conclusion, Google Ads continues to be a dynamic and effective advertising platform. Adapting to the evolving digital landscape is crucial for sustained success. Keep testing, stay relevant, and consistently deliver value to your audience to make the most of Google Ads in 2023 and beyond.
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