When you think about Google Ads’ Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns and their key components, keywords might be one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s true that keywords, along with your ad copy, are just a couple of the most important factors in how well your campaign performs. Impressions, clicks, or click-through rates (CTR) will all be affected by the keywords you choose. Secondarily, Quality Scores will determine how often your ads appear, how much you pay for them, and the potential CTR.

Generally speaking, Quality Scores are fairly unknown, and many people don’t understand how they relate to keywords and the overall success of a campaign, which is why we are breaking down the importance of keywords and Quality Scores in PPC Campaigns.

What is a keyword?

A keyword or phrase is a search term that will trigger your ad, making it appear alongside Google, and its search partners’,m searches. Keywords build the foundation of all campaigns should will shape your ad copy.

How do keywords work?

Keywords trigger ads and can be used in a variety of ways. You can set keywords to trigger on certain variations or matches of your chosen keywords, depending on how you set them up. For example:

Keyword Matching Options

  • Broad match: Misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.
  • Broad match modifier: All the terms designated with a + sign (or close variations of those terms) in any order. Additional words may appear before, after, or between the terms.
  • Phrase match: Matches of the phrase (or close variations of the phrase) with additional words before or after.
  • Exact match: Exact matches of the term or close variations of that exact term, with the same meaning.

These variants, known as keyword match types, will determine the reach, frequency and relevancy of your ads based on the beaches of users.

How should I use keyword match types?

As previously mentioned, match types affect when your ad will appear. Using broad match or the broad match modifier, your ads will appear on a variety of keywords and variations of that keyword – it’s great for reach but sometimes you’ll find your ads placed on irrelevant search terms and phrases.

Phrase match is better for ensuring ads are placed in more relevant search results, however it still needs to be closely monitored as words are still placed before and after the keyword.

Finally, an exact match is perfect if you have a great knowledge of exactly what people are searching for and the volume of those searches. With this, you’ll guarantee that your ads are placed in those exact searches for your product and/or service.

Where should I start with keywords?

Use the Keyword Planner, as it will give you similar search terms used by actual people, as well as the volume of searches, competition, and average lowest and highest bids. To learn more about how to use the Keyword Planner for PPC and SEO read our article ‘Building a Website for SEO Success’. This should give you some inspiration that you can add directly into your ad group.

“An ad group contains one or more ads which target a shared set of keywords. You set a bid, or price, to be used when an ad group’s keywords trigger an ad to appear.”

Google, How ad groups work

What match types should I use at the start of a campaign?

It might be tempting to use exact match from the get go – and you can do this – but we suggest a testing phase where you go a little broader and collect data around what search terms your audience are actually using. Where possible, use phrase match to ensure your ads are appearing in relevant searches, particularly when you are paying for clicks. You might want to use a combination of phrase match and exact match to help improve your relevancy.

What is a Quality Score?

Quality Scores define what position your ad places at in search engine rankings, and how much you’ll pay for a bid. It assesses three criteria:

  1. Expected click-through rate
  2. Ad relevance
  3. Landing page experience

To increase your Quality Score you want to write ads that incorporate your keywords and the search results you want your ads to show up in, as well as ensuring your keywords are present on your landing page. If your ads have a lot of ‘fluff’ – messaging that’s more branding than product/service/offering related – you’ll be wasting your limited characters. Of course, you can include calls to action, e.g. sign up now, get the offer etc, and some brand messaging, but ultimately you want your ad to relate as strongly to those keywords as possible.

“An essential part of Quality Scores, that’s often overlooked, is making sure that the keywords and phrases are present on your landing page. Without these words, your ads will appear less frequently, will cost more, and will have a lower click through rate.”

Kelly Newcomb, Digital Marketing Specialist at OggaDoon

What should I budget?

Budgets are difficult to set because Ads are won based on bids, and bids vary based on Quality Scores and competition. Not all keywords have the same cost, so there are two options to consider:

  1. You establish your budget in advance, spending a little less during a testing phase with a look to ramp it up once you’ve optimised your campaign.
  2. You look at the lowest and highest possible bid and decide on what you think is reasonable based on what you’d be willing to spend, how many clicks you might receive, and what the average bids are placed at.

With Google Ads’ auto CPC, Google will adjust its bid based on your total budget and will try to place a bid competitively. For example, if the max estimated CPC is £15 and your budget is £20 Google will not place a bid at £15 as this will use up most of your budget, instead it’s algorithms try to stretch your budget.

How do I plan an Ads campaign?

Planning an Ads campaign take time, dedication and a lot of research. The more knowledge you have of your target audience and their buying habits the better. The more ambitious and wider reaching you want your campaign to be the more tricky targeting can be. We start by creating proposals for our clients, looking at the different Ads networks and targeting options before launching into extensive keyword research that shapes the campaign and ad copy. It’s important that as part of the proposal we walk our clients through every step helping them to understand the rationale behind decisions while allowing flexibility to make changes and see how this could affect the campaign.

If you’re keen to try out a campaign with Google Ads get in touch with us today and find out how an Ads campaign can help build awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your website. We are confident in putting together successful campaigns that help achieve our clients’ goals as well as overseeing the management of campaigns long term through reporting and optimisations that lower CPC and CPM, increase CTRs and decrease overall campaign costs.