Google AdWords Small & Medium Business

Create Compelling Ads With High CTR & Quality Score
Drive Traffic That Generates Leads & Sales...

Quick understanding of why most small businesses fail at Google AdWords

Generally (and I've done this myself) you get pretty excited by the idea of paying to be number 1 in Google, so you quickly set up your first adwords campaign, plum in all your keywords and boom just a case of waiting for the leads to come through.

Well not quite, take this rushed approach and likely you find your adwords budget diminishes very quickly but as the money leaves your Google account very few or no new leads ever come through.

This tends to be the end of most small businesses adwords experiences but just by understanding a few things you can set up an affordable campaign that really does generate new business leads!

Quick understanding of price, quality score and click through rate (CTR)

Price ↣ Google AdWords works on a bidding type system. You'll set a maximum cost (how much you're willing to pay to per click). You won't be the only business bidding to be #1 for your keywords there will probably be hundreds of others. It's not as simple as just outbidding all your competitors there are other factors Google takes into consideration...

Quality score ↣ Google gives your website a quality score this relates to how relevant your website is to the keyword you're bidding on. For example, if I was bidding on the keyword "surrey seo consultant" but my landing page was my IT Support page I would likely score a 0 on a 0 - 10 scale.

With this score of 0, it's much less likely no matter how much I'm willing to pay that Google will place our ads #1 and the cost per click will be much more than if we were scoring a 7 or above.

The better your quality score, the cheaper you're cost per click will be and the higher up Google will place your ads. (After all, Google still want to provide quality results to their search customers be those results organic or paid).

Click through rate ↣ Your campaigns, ads and keywords will also get a click through rate. This is the number of clicks you receive vs how many times your ads were displayed on Google search results.

For example, if an ad displayed 100 times and was clicked on 2 times the click through rate would be 2%. The higher the click through rate the better and anything above 2% is deemed a pretty good click through rate.

Quick Understanding of how to select your keywords

I would say this is the most important part of setting up any campaign and can take some adjustments from time to time. The most important thing to understand is INTENT.

The whole point of setting up your campaign is to get new business leads or sales so we want people searching with intent. Intent to buy, intent to use a specific service and so on.

Example ↣ I run an IT Support business and I want new customers so I set up my adwords campaign and one of the keywords suggested is "computer". Now if I was to use "computer" as one of my keywords I was bidding on what do you think would happen?

Ok, I'll tell you, "computer" is a BIG keyword so for sure I would get lots of impressions and probably lots of clicks but I would most likely be getting clicks from people generally looking for information about computers, or looking to buy a computer.

Although the keyword "computer" is relevant to my business there is no intent for someone looking specifically for IT support. So rather than use just "computer" we want to use "computer support" or even better "computer support in Surrey".

By using a much more specific keyword like "computer support in surrey" we will get far fewer impressions and clicks but when we do get clicks we are much more likely to turn that click into new business.

Understanding of creating good ads

Ok so hopefully now a light bulb has gone off in your head and you have a few intent keywords you're thinking of that relate to your business and not IT support. But before you log in to adwords there's more.

We need to create some really engaging ads, after all your ads will be shown alongside 3 of your competitors so we need to give the searcher a reason to click on your ad as opposed to your competitions and remember we want our ads to give us a high CTR.

Honestly what I like to do is perform some searches in the niche im working to help and look at the competitions ads to see what they are doing and saying. With this said nothing beats some kind of offer to get the potential new customer interested. As well as an offer you probably want to try and establish some sort of trust so here's an example again based around IT support.

This ad I have based on the number of letters you are allowed to use within Google AdWords:

Headline 1 ↣ Surrey & Hampshire IT Support (29/30)
Headline 2 ↣ Get Your First Month Free! (26/30)
Description ↣ We Have Been Providing IT Support In Surrey and Hampshire For Over 15 years! (76/80)

So, in a nutshell, my headline 1 is providing what the product or service is, headline 2 is our offer and the description hopefully builds some trust as we have 15 years successful business behind us. (Side note everything is capitalised you'll want to do this too)

There is, even more, to learn about creating compelling ads, don't worry we'll get to the finer details in a moment when we actually take a look at a live campaign.

Campaign ↣ keywords ↣ landing page

Based on what we've already learned you might have already worked out that it's not going to be possible to target all your different keywords and have Google give you a high quality score.

For example, my IT support business does IT support, online backup, website hosting, domain hosting and much more.

So we need to break down all our services into separate campaigns and make landing pages for each aimed at getting a 6 - 7 or above quality score based on our keywords.

Let's look at just 1 service at this stage, "it support" if the keywords I have chosen are it support company, it support in surrey, it support provider, fast it support (note all keywords have the real intent of someone looking for it support)

Once I have chosen my keywords I need to put together an awesome landing page geared up for getting new business leads that are specific to those keywords we have chosen (that's how we get a high quality score)

Take a look at this landing page design for two way radio training. This is pretty typical of most landing page designs ↣ big headline and key facts on the left ↣ short contact form with some kind of offer on the right.

two way radio landing page design

BTW ↣ you won't nail your keywords first time around, you can add or take away keywords keep playing until you have the perfect group of keywords performing well then move on to the next campaign.

First, have a think about who you want...

So before we dive in and start looking at a real campaign let's have a think about who we want as a new business lead. I'm going to use the niche Will Writing for the rest of this as that's the campaign I'll be showing you in my AdWords account.

In the case of will writing I know that my customer only wants new business in Surrey, Kent and London, based on their experience they want customers 40 years old and above, when it comes to those who are 60 and above its likely they would be using a PC or Laptop and not so much a phone or tablet. Lastly, I am thinking that running the campaign during the weekdays Monday - Friday will give us better results than on weekends so we'll remove Saturday and Sunday.

The campaign

For the will writing business I have been helping recently we currently have 4 campaigns running. (remember we need different campaigns for the different groups of keywords)

We have a general campaign using the homepage as the landing page, a campaign very specific to Surrey with only a handful of exact match keywords, a normal campaign for leads in Surrey and another much the same for leads in Kent. (We'll be looking at the meaning of exact match keywords in a bit)

To keep things relatively simple and easy to follow we'll focus on our normal Surrey campaign. You can see the campaign currently runs at over 4% CTR which I am really happy with in such a competitive niche.

AdWords will writing good click through rate

Keywords during the first month

We started this campaign with around 40 keywords either exact match or phrase match. We knew that 40 would be too many but at this stage we needed to get some idea of which keywords worked and which generated a high quality score.

On review of the first month, we eliminated all keywords that had less than a 6 quality score. This left us with only 6 (yes only 6 keywords!) 6 Keywords might not sound like a lot but actually that's fine, we want each campaign to have only a small group of high scoring keywords.

Keywords after the first month

When you're working with someone who really wants your adwords to work they should always be testing new keywords to see what works.

On a weekly basis we add and take away new keyword ideas. Currently for this campaign we have 13 keywords with an average quality score of 7. The 6 keywords we were left with after month one now have quality scores of either 8 or 9.

Take a look at the CTR on our highest scoring keywords 5.40%, 5.43%, 8.10% and so on all pretty awesome stats for a campaign in a hugely competitive adwords niche.

CTR & high scoring keywords

Ads during the first month

We started with 3 ads for this campaign. As I said above when I start with a new campaign I like to have a look at the ads of competitors and take ideas for compelling ads from them.

Remember your ads are competing against many other competitors so you should always be thinking of new ideas or offers you can use to STAND OUT! In the first month I played with different ad ideas at least every other day!

These are the ads we started with (notice they are all currently paused)...

google ads in month 1 of campaign

You can see these ads were working fairly well 3.09% CTR is pretty good but we always want to push for better results.

These are the ads we run now (notice they are all currently active)...

How to create good ads in google adwords

Ads after the first month

So you should be able to see from the screenshots what happened. At some stage, during the first month while testing different ad ideas we noticed that ads with a price and offer worked much better!

We currently run 4 different variations of ads running some kind of offer. The landing page also displays the offer and of course as a company they genuinely will offer the service at the price advertised.

Setting up AdWords campaign basics

Location ↣ within your campaign you'll want to visit locations in the left menu and set your target location. This could be anything from the whole world to just a specific town, in our case we are targeting Surrey.

How to setup location in google adwords

Once a month you'll want to click on user location report. You might find that even though you've targeted a specific location you're still receiving impressions in different countries or places. From the user location report you can start to exclude non-relevant countries.

Devices ↣ from the left hand menu again you can visit devices. Within devices you can adjust your bid for specific devices, from the screenshot you can see we run a 20% increase for computers over mobile / tablets.

How to setup devices in google adwords

Keep in mind that data suggests that although mobile browsing is on the rise users tend to browse on their phones but buy on their PC's or laptops.

Ad Schedule ↣ from the left menu you can visit ad schedule. From here you can specify the days you want your ads to run (we exclude weekends). You'll be able to use this data to determine your best performing days and even time of the day.

How to setup ad-schedule in google adwords

Demographics ↣ from the left menu you can visit demographics. From here you can exclude age groups or increase your bids for age groups. For our campaign we are excluding up to 34 years old and increasing our bids by 20 & 30% for 45 - 54 and above.

How to setup demographics in google adwords

AdWords basics ↣ never rest! Even though these are basic settings within your campaign you'll very quickly be collecting valuable data, data you can be using to make campaign improvements every month.

How to make your ads stand out with extensions

You'll want to use every trick in the book to make your ads stand out and generate a high CTR from the get go. To do this we need to make use of all Google's tools which means adding extensions to our already awesome ads.

Extensions are extra snippets of information, text or links about your business you can add to increase your ad presence. You can even add your phone number, special promotion or if you're running a mobile friendly campaign why not add a "text me back" link.

As well as adding more useful information to you ad with multiple ways your new customer can contact you you're also increasing the size of your ad within the Google search results. Let's take a look at some examples:

Car hire ads ↣ from top to bottom ↣ the first ad is running sitelink extensions ↣ the second ad is running review extensions and callout extensions ↣ the third ad is running callout extensions ↣ the forth ad is running no extensions which is why it's so much smaller in size and information displayed.

You will also notice that the top 3 ads here also make use of all available characters in their display URL rather than just Using the full URL characters is setup during the creation of your ads. You too will want to make use of this.

The display URL doesn't have to match the URL of the page where your sending users just think of it as your pretty URL. For example we add /hassle-free/will-writer

car hire ads using extensions to better CTR

Hotel ads ↣ the first ad is running the review and sitelink extension ↣ the second ad is running the review, callout and sitelink extensions ↣ the third ad is only running the callout extension

adwords hotel ads how to use ad extensions

To add extensions to your ads go to ↣ ads & extensions ↣ click extensions ↣ click the blue circle with the + symbol. At a minimum you should add call extension, sitelink extensions & callout extensions. For the campaign we have been looking at we have had nice success using the message (text me back) extension also.

How to add extensions in google adwords

What's the difference between broad match, phrase match & exact match keywords

Ok so by now you should have some good ideas for intent positive keywords, ad text and which extensions you think you could benefit from. So let's take a deeper look into keywords, you might have noticed that the keywords we use are either in [keyword] or "keyword"

how to setup keyword match types in google adwords

There are 3 different types of keyword variations you can use ↣ broad match, phrase match and exact match.

Broad match keywords ↣ will display your ads for very broad or even closely related search terms. Let's say for example one of our keywords is will writer, as broad match keyword our ads would display for any search terms related to wills or writing.

Broad match keywords are good if you want to get a lot of click quickly BUT most likely you'll find your budget gets diminished very quickly and you don't get a lot of new leads or sales.

Phrase match keywords ↣ will display your ads when your keyword is included as part of a phrase or question search. Let's again say that our keyword is "will writer" if someone searched for "local will writers" it's likely our ad would appear.

Exact match keywords ↣ exact match keywords are no surprise the most specific match type. These keywords will generate less clicks / traffic but are far more highly targeted and therefore more likely to generate leads and sales.

Based on this you might think that only exact match keywords are for you, however only using only exact match it can be a challenge to generate enough ad impressions / traffic. Often we would start with only exact match and then expand into phrase match if exact match isn't driving enough visitors.

When using phrase match you will still find you get impressions and clicks from some pretty random search queries. You'll want to monitor this after your campaign has been running for a couple weeks and some data has been generated.

To monitor the search terms your ads are appearing for you can go to keywords ↣ click search terms ↣ click search terms again ↣ you will see a list of the entire search terms your ads have appeared for.

how to manage search terms in google adwords

From the list you can select the search terms and either add them as new keywords to the campaign or add them as negative keywords. Adding as negative keywords will stop your ads from displaying for that search term.

how to add negative keywords in google adwords


Rather than finish with some long gibberish conclusion here are the stats for the campaign we have been looking at, stats are for the past 6 weeks. If you have any questions or comments leave a comment below!


86 1,372 6.27% 6 Weeks

Site Link Extensions

Site Link Extension Clicks Site Link Extension Impressions CTR Time Period
60 725 8.28% 6 Weeks

Call Extensions (Clicks Direct To Phone Number In Ad)

Call Extension Clicks Call Extension Impressions CTR Time Period
32 621 5.15% 6 Weeks

Message (Text) Extensions

Message Extension Clicks Message Extension Impressions CTR Time Period
3 55 5.45% 2 Weeks

Direct Leads

Direct Email Leads Direct Phone Leads
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