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Google Paid Search: Which PPC Keyword Practices to Focus on in 2020 and Why

By: Ben Hardt, Director of Digital Strategy and Operations and Kevin Reynolds, Director of Client Strategy, TruStar Marketing, LLC

Smart marketers regularly revisit strategic plans and evaluate which pay-per-click (PPC) practices to continue, add and drop in the upcoming calendar year. As we work through this process for 2020, there are plenty of shiny objects competing for our attention – and our budgets.

Of the plethora of attributes that can be controlled on a Google Ads account, keyword strategy and optimization is the most likely to make or break a campaign. Which Google paid-search keyword tactics really deliver? Here are the top four and why to focus on them.

Long-tail Keywords

A great search strategist ensures customized long-tail keywords are part of each and every campaign. As opposed to a single word or two, long-tail keywords are phrases that a potential customer types in the search bar to find your product or service. Narrowing in on specific search phrases are essential when optimizing your Google Ads account. It takes time, data and research to curate the right ones; however, once you do, you can achieve greater return on investment (ROI). Don’t ignore short-tail keywords, though. Long-tail keywords are important, but it’s good to have some of both (with appropriate match-types in your plan) so you also reach potential customers early in the buying process.

Bottom-of-the-funnel keywords

These keywords are a great way to reach prospective customers when they’re close to making a decision (i.e., high intent). Some words and phrases to consider incorporating into your “BOF” keywords are: “get a quote,” “buy,” “purchase,” “request,” “contact” and “call”. Location-specific queries are great indicators of where customers are in the buying process, too. One size doesn’t fit all, however; do some research to determine the best ones for each individual campaign.

Single keyword ad group

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focusing your campaign on a single keyword ad group is the best way to increase your click-through rate (CTR). When you use these single keyword ad groups, be sure to include exact, phrase and broad-match-modified variations. (Don’t create a standard broad version, which tends to generate erroneous traffic.) To help maximize the effectiveness of this tool, also use an ad for the single keyword ad group that prominently displays its keyword.

Negative keywords

If you’ve been in marketing for a while, you’ve likely heard the saying about attracting the right customers and repelling the wrong ones. You can’t be everything to everyone – and if you try to do so, there’s a good chance your product or service won’t seem appealing to anyone. With this sentiment in mind, it’s an excellent idea to add negative keywords to your PPC campaign. Negative keywords are words you don’t want your ads to appear on when someone searches. This is an often-overlooked optimization and a source of wasted spend in an ad account.

After implementing these tactics

Practice makes progress (not perfection), so once you have these paid-search tactics in place, do periodic check-ins and continue to tweak your efforts. Also, A/B test ad copy and landing page copy to see which performs best.

In addition, the Google Ads interface gives a snapshot of performance by device. This is excellent data, so use that insight to optimize yours efforts, including your target audience’s mobile-ad experience.

If you’d like better results from your online advertising or other digital marketing, contact us for a free consultation.

TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.