When it comes to piecing together a strong Google search ad strategy, sometimes the most difficult thought that you will face is where do you begin? I’ve been saying this since creating my very first PPC campaign… trying to piece together a PPC strategy is like putting together a puzzle, except that you start with none of the pieces. In this article, I’m going to teach you how to create and connect the pieces of a strong Google search ad strategy.
Save yourself some time and use my PPC Strategy Template!
A proper search ad strategy has a million different pieces moving at once and it’s impossible to say precisely where you should begin. Assuming that you are no rookie to digital marketing, I know that you already have a strong feel for the brand you are managing, their tone of messaging, and the value of their offer. Perfect. Here are the pieces you need to gather before you start putting the puzzle together.
A Google search ad strategy is going to rely heavily on the keywords that you choose to target. Duh. When I am in the keyword mindset, I’m not thinking of what campaigns, ad groups, or ads that I will be running. I think solely in the mind of a customer who is in need of any of the products or services that I offer. Create a spreadsheet that you will use to formulate your search ad strategy or download the template above. Compile an overly-comfortable list of keywords, their search volume, and their competition level using your favorite keyword tool. There are better tools out there at the paid level, but I don’t mind going free and staying close to the source. I use Google Keyword Planner.
I always take a shotgun approach to keyword research. Punch all of your products or services into the search bar, pull all the results until you don’t like what you see, and then punch some similar searches in and see what comes up. Go until you can’t possibly think of anything else that people might try to search to find you online.
You should now have a pretty deep list of keywords that you can pick and choose from when you structure your campaigns and ad groups. At this point, prepare for later and choose which match types you will be using with each keyword. Make a column in your keyword spreadsheet labeled ‘Match Type’. Go through and label each keyword with what kind of match type you will be using for them. If you don’t know anything about keyword match types, check out this video. Google also just rolled out a new update on match types (February, 2021). You can learn more about this here.
Now you have an extensive list of keywords that you can use in your Google search ad strategy along with match types for each keyword. Give yourself a high five, we are moving on to the next piece of the puzzle.
Create a new tab on your spreadsheet and label it ‘ad copy’. Based on your offerings, start listing possible headlines for your ads. Headlines have to be 30 characters or less. Again, don’t think of these with any campaign, group, or ad structure in mind. Just start listing. List headlines that relate to each individual product, service, or location, as well as headlines that are generally overarching to your brand. If you are running short on ideas, punch a couple of your keywords into a Google search and see what headlines your competitors are serving. If they have anything good, copy and improve it. Again, keep working until you run out of ideas, but don’t force anything
Next to the headline column on the ad copy tab of your spreadsheet, label a column ‘descriptions’. When writing your descriptions, you want to provide as much info for your audience as possible on your offerings. Create a few descriptions for every offering that you have. Descriptions cannot exceed 90 characters. If you need inspiration, pull up your website and peek through some of your pages. Find the snippets of copy that speak the best of your different offerings. You can also punch your keywords into a Google search to see what your competitors are doing… never a bad idea. Once you feel like you’ve covered all your bases and you have a comfortably long list of possible headlines and descriptions, you will be ready to start fitting the pieces together
Piecing it Together
If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. We started with nothing, and now we have all the pieces needed to put together a great Google search ad strategy. But the easy part is over. Now we need to get strategic and start thinking about how these pieces fit together.
Create a new tab on your spreadsheet and label it ‘Campaign Structure’. Label the columns as follows from left to right: Campaign, Ad Groups, Keywords, Match Types, Headlines, Descriptions.
It’s time to give some serious consideration to how your offerings translate into different campaigns and ad groups. When you are trying to formulate campaigns, keep this in mind – budget and location targeting are set at a campaign level. If you have multiple locations that you are trying to attract customers to, you need different campaigns for the different locations. If you want to spend a higher budget on certain offerings and a lower budget on others, those need to be different campaigns. Let me give you a couple of examples.
A pizza restaurant with two different locations is using Google search ads to increase online orders for pickup and delivery. They also want to create ads to target dine in at a lower budget. They will need four campaigns – one for pickup/delivery and one for dine in – for each location.
A pool company offers cleaning and repairs and wants to advertise them both at an equal budget. They will only need two campaigns. From there, they can build out various ad groups that speak to the different types of repair and cleaning services they offer.
List all of the campaigns that you will be running in the first column of the campaign structure spreadsheet. From there, figure out your ad groups. Keywords are set at an ad group level, so think about how some of the keywords fit together and what type of ad copy you want to serve to those specific keywords. Here are some examples continued from above.
The pizza restaurant will create different ad groups in the pickup/delivery campaign for pizza, pasta, and wings. The keywords for the pizza ad group will include terms like ‘pizza near me’, ‘best pizza in (city)’, and ‘pizza delivery’. The pasta ad group will use keywords like ‘pasta near me’ and so on.
The pool company will break the repair campaign down into ad groups for filter repair, heater repair, and pump repair. They will group related keywords and feed them into the proper ad groups that they belong in.
Fill your ad groups, keywords, and match types out in the spreadsheet. Once you have all of your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and match types in the spreadsheet, our job gets a little bit easier. Now all we have to do is pull in the headlines and descriptions that fit in each ad group. Remember that you want to run at least 3 ads in each ad group. I prefer 4 or 5. If you don’t have enough headlines or descriptions to fill out ads in your ad groups, create some new ones on the spot.
At this point, your spreadsheet should be complete and you should be more comfortable with the structure of your search ad strategy. The only thing left to do from here is go into your Google Ads account and plug it all in. Create all your campaigns and set their budget and location targeting. Then, plug in your keywords for the ad groups that you decided on and create all of your ads. Once everything is set up, make sure you poke around to configure all of the additional settings hiding throughout Google Ads like schedule and demographics. After that, your campaigns will be ready to go live.
That’s all I have for you. If you have any questions on the process or need help with it, send us a message. We are happy to help!