10 Google Search Network Tips You Need To Know

Tired of seeing low CTRs on your Google Ads campaigns? Find out how to fix it with these 10 practical and actionable tips.
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Let’s travel back in time for a second. 

The year was 1998 and Simone Kingston had a dream. What was that dream? To open Australia’s first dog boutique that would serve the style needs of canines all over the country. And in a few short years, she’d do just that with her company, DOGUE. 

So, how does that relate to Google?

Part of her success was due to a crafty marketing strategy: Google Ads. 

By leveraging tips similar to some we’ll share below, DOGUE saw a 27% conversion rate on their ads and doubled the size of their store as a direct result.

Point is: If a luxury dog brand can do it, why can’t you?

Here’s how to get started with Google Search Ads in ways that will actually get you results.

What is the Google Search Network?

The Google Search Network is a collection of search-related websites and apps where your brand’s ads can appear. From Google Play to Google Maps, they can pop up across loads of spaces and places. And there are also Google Search Partners that offer a ton of online real estate where your ads can appear - from Walmart to Amazon or Target. 

But that’s not all… Ready to be blown away?

The Google Search Network reaches a whopping 90% of online consumers in over 100+ countries and 30 unique languages. 

In general, running your ads on the Google Search Network gets you a higher Click-Through Rate (CTR) because people are actively looking for something already. So, when your company appears as a result, audiences are more likely to click on your ads.

When you create your campaigns strategically, you can massively scale your business and boost conversions. And here’s how to get started.

10 Google Search Network Tips for Boosting Conversions

Now for the good part. If you’re already running a Google Ads campaign or just getting started, these 10 tips will help you actually improve your clicks and conversions.

#1 - Do Your Keyword Research

First, you’ve gotta use the right keywords. If you’re an eCommerce brand selling sustainable athletic wear but you’re targeting broad keywords like “fitness” or “exercise” - we hate to break it to you, but it’s unlikely that you're going to get many conversions. You need to be specific with your keywords because if you’re too broad or irrelevant, your brand just won’t be pushed to the right audience. 

And your ads won’t be nearly as effective. 

People expect fitting answers to their organic searches, so be relevant. When you start targeting irrelevant keywords just because they’re cheap, you’re sacrificing your CTR as a result. When you’re not doing that, you’re more likely to be one of those Google ads that 19% of people click on during their everyday searches. 

Remember: Just because some keywords are low competition and cheap to target doesn’t mean they’re worth it.

#2 - Aim For a Good Keyword Quality Score

A common mistake we’ve seen businesses make is inconsistency in brand messaging. If your Google Search Ad is trying to get people to sign up for a free trial but leads them to a generic home page - you’re going to have a high bounce rate and lower conversions.

You need to make sure your keywords, ad creatives, and landing page are all cohesive and related to one topic. This contributes to your Keyword Quality Score which impacts how well your Google ads perform.

Your Keyword Quality Score is basically a means of gauging how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers in the same space. It’s measured from 1 to 10 and the higher the score, the better. This is because a higher score means it’s more relevant and useful to your audience, and the result is calculated based on 3 different factors.

Three Factors of Keyword Quality Score:

  1. Expected Clickthrough Rate (CTR): The chances your ad would be clicked on.
  2. Ad Relevance: How well your ad relates to the user's intent of their search.
  3. Landing Page Experience: If your landing page is useful to those who click on the ad.

All of these factor into how well your ad is rated, which subsequently impacts how well it performs.

Pro Tip: Use the same CTA (e.g. “Sign Up” or “Shop Now”, etc.) on your landing page as you did in your Google Ad copy. If it worked the first time, why not use it again? This also signals consistency and relevance.

#3 - Use Google's Automated Bid Strategy

The old way of running your Google Ads is by setting a manual bid for how much you are willing to pay per click (aka. your Cost Per Click, or CPC). Now, you can instead use automated rules to adjust your bids easily without thinking too much into it.

You can choose one of eight different automatic bidding strategies. Once you choose one based on your goals, you can easily pick a strategy that works for you, and let your ads take care of themselves. 

Here’s a breakdown of those options:

  1. Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC): This is good for beginners as it lets the Google Ads algorithm adjust the keyword bid for you and it’s semi-automated. 
  2. Maximise Clicks: If your goal is to drive more volume to your website, perhaps for list building or branding purposes, then this can work well. It’s also good if your site already has a typically high conversion rate.
  3. Maximise Conversions: For this one, it’s fully automated and picks the CPC bid based on the goal of your bidding strategy - which in this case is to get more conversions.
  4. Maximise Conversion Value: This is somewhat more advanced and also fully automated. It brings in conversions that get you the highest return and simply put, it’s focused on quality over quantity.
  5. Target Cost Per Action (tCPA): In this strategy, you’re telling Google to focus on keeping your conversions (or actions) at or below a specific set price. Of course, this needs to be realistic and it also needs previous data to make these decisions automatically for you. 
  6. Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS): Another complex strategy, this one uses your previous historical data to adjust bids to maximize conversion value and achieve the ROAS goal you’ve set. 
  7. Viewable CPM (vCPM): This strategy focuses on adjusting your bid based on the Cost Per Thousand (M) views. If your goal is to get your brand name out there, this can help you get that exposure.
  8. Cost Per View (CPV): Finally, this strategy is only relevant for video ads. It lets you set a campaign with a bidding strategy that stays at or below the level you’re willing to pay each time someone views your video for more than 30 seconds. 

Using automated bidding strategies is a simple yet effective way to boost your conversions - and ultimately, save much of your precious time.

#4 - Use Google's Smart Campaign Type

Next, you’ll want to take advantage of the different smart campaigns available that make your life as a business owner much easier here. Essentially, these campaigns do the heavy lifting for you - which helps a lot if you’re just starting out.

Google sums them up nicely in this quick one minute video here:

All you have to do to get started is:

  1. Describe your business. 
  2. Explain what objectives you want to accomplish.
  3. Set your desired keywords.
  4. Set a budget.

Once you’ve done that, Google will help you put together a campaign that is shown to potential customers all over the internet - from Google Search, Gmail to YouTube. The main types of Smart Campaigns are Discovery campaigns and Performance Max campaigns (formerly known as the Smart Shopping Campaigns).

Here’s a quick explanation of each one:

  • Discovery Campaigns: This is a simple ad campaign that seeks to help your brand get discovered. If you want to drive conversions to meet a specific marketing objective, expose your brand to new customers, and reconnect with past customers — it’s a perfect choice.
  • Performance Max Campaigns: This type of smart campaign puts standard shopping and display remarketing together. If sales and conversions are your end goal, this is the right way to go. 

And the icing on top? Since the Performance Max campaigns are new, the results are promising. Google recently found that advertisers who switched over from the old Smart Shopping campaigns saw an average increase of 12% in conversion value

#5 - Load RSAs with Different Ad Copy to Test

RSAs, or Responsive Search Ads, are a type of ad used to allow the showing of more text to your prospects. Essentially, you can enter different headlines and descriptions, and Google will create a responsive ad that automatically adapts over time. 

Also known as A/B testing, this is crucial to improving your ads. By running several versions of an ad at the same time, you can drop the lowest-performing ones and ensure that you're only using an ad that outperforms the rest. And with RSAs, you don’t have to do it yourself. 

Simply upload all your options and Google will create the best ad for you.

In general, we recommend you write 10 or more headlines and at least three or more descriptions for this set-up. That way, you’ll be sure that you’re using a winning combination that drives conversions.

#6 - Don’t Do Too Many Campaigns

A common mistake is spreading yourself too thin, assuming that this will help cover all bases. Instead, you should focus on running a set number of campaigns and monitoring them to ensure they’re performing well. That way, you can optimise them better both automatically and manually.

When you run too many campaigns at once, it’s hard to see which ones are failing — and costing you money — until it’s too late. And with Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) spending an average of$9,000-$10,000 per month on Google Ads, even small mistakes are costly.

#7 - Use Broad Match or Phrase Match

Next, we need to cover the types of keyword matching in your Google Ads. There are 3 types: Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match. All of them are effective in their own ways, but serve different purposes in your Google Ads campaigns and you should thereby pick based on your exact goals.

  • Broad Match: This means your ad will show up on searches related to the meaning of your keyword. If you’re aiming to get your ad out in front of a wider audience, then this is the best choice.
  • Phrase Match: For this, your ads are going to show up only in searches that include your designated keywords. If you have a limited budget, this is a better way to go.
  • Exact Match: Finally, with this type, your ads show up only on searches that have the exact same meaning as your keyword. If conversions are your end goal and you have a narrow audience, this might work alright. However, most businesses don't rely on this one.

By default, your campaigns are set to Broad Match and it works especially well with a smart bidding strategy. Still, as mentioned above, if budget is an issue then Phrase Match works just as well too.

#8 - Make Use of Negative Keywords

A negative keyword helps prevent your ads from showing up on a specific search term. By using these, you are ensuring your ads are showing up for the most interested customers, and instantly improving your conversion rates.

How to choose negative keywords:

To do this, you want to pick keywords similar to your own but unrelated to the product or service your business offers. For example, if a fashion brand is selling high-end shoes, then “cheap” would be a smart negative keyword to use since users searching that term aren’t within your target audience. 

#9 - Use Ad Extensions

Another easy implementation that’s worth using is ad extensions in your campaigns. Adding just a few extra elements can help boost conversions in so many ways, from increasing website clicks to pushing a promotional campaign. 

Here are three extensions you can’t skip out on.

  • Sitelink Extensions: Simply adding your website link to the top of your Google ad is a great way to bring more action to your website.

  • Call Extensions: Want more phone calls? Then you’ll want to add your phone number to your Google Search Ads with these.

  • Promotion Extensions: If you’re running a specific sales campaign, adding some text at the bottom of your ads can seriously spike conversions.

#10 - Set Up Enhanced Conversions

Finally, make sure you’re using the Enhanced Conversion feature. Basically, this allows you to collect first-party customer data (e.g. email, name, address, etc.) that people enter when they say, make a purchase on your website. After the purchase, Google can then match that customer data to the Google account they were signed into when they engaged with your ad.

Based on our own experience with clients, using this helps you recover up to 10% more conversions that you were missing out on before. And yeah, that’s no small drop in the bucket.

Amp Up Your Google Ads With Experts

There you have it, the top 10 tips for Google Search Ads. 

Once you start implementing these in your campaigns, you’ll increase the conversions from your Google Search Ads in no time. Of course, running a marketing campaign is a lot of work, especially if you’ve got other things on your plate.

If you need more help, you can always drop us a line and see if our agency is the right fit for your business. We’ve reached Google Premier Partner status and we’re always happy to share our knowledge and expertise!

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