Adwords Bidding Strategies for Small Business

Google AdWords is paid advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC). Whenever someone searches for something on Google, Google mines through its AdWords advertisers’ pool to figure out whether there will be an auction. If you want your site, or a post, to rank for “bunny slippers” then you would bid on that keyword phrase with other advertisers.

The auction is then triggered when one or more advertisers bids on a specific keyword. Although, keywords are not search queries. To illustrate, a keyword such as “pet collar” can be entered into an auction for search queries such as “cat collars” or “dog collars.” Once you determine the keyword you want to bid on–and, how much you want to spend–Google takes the keyword from your account and enters it into the most relevant auction with your maximum bid.

In addition, you can only have one entry into any query auction. Google then places your ad rank based on your maximum bid and your quality score. If you have a higher quality score, you can pay less for a higher position. Plus, the auction gets run billions of times each month. If your keywords match what people search for, it gets shown next to or above organic Google search results. People can then click on your ad to connect to your website.

Why do you need Google AdWords?

Paid advertising is one of the most effective and direct means of marketing your business online. It is a trackable method of directing traffic to your site. Here are a few other reasons why you need Google AdWords.

  1. It is cost-effective. Where does the money come into play? You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. In addition, to keep it from getting out of hand, you can set your budget from between $10 per day to up to $5,000 per day. You have an endless set of options. Plus, if you know what you’re doing–you can increase your quality score in order to decrease your cost per click.
  2. It is highly targeted. With PPC, you can maximize your ad budget through location targeting. With each ad campaign, you can select specific locations such as countries, cities, territories and even a radius around a location. Plus, you can target people who search for pages around your specified location. Then, there is mobile targeting–set for mobile device users. You can also choose: time targeting, auto-tagging and language targeting.
  3. It is measurable. You probably want to know how you are spending your hard-earned dollars. Google AdWords ensures that every facet of your marketing campaign is measurable based on the number of impressions, clicks, click-through-rates (CTR), conversions and cost-per-click (CPC). This way, you can easily measure your ROI.
  4. It is relevant. Google wants to improve quality by only providing search results relevant to search queries. Google takes a look at your website and the page where you want to direct traffic. If your quality and landing page are more relevant than your competitor’s, then you will rank higher. This is how Google levels the playing field for all advertisers. 

 Bidding strategies

In order to maximize the results from your PPC account, you need to have the right bidding strategy. Here are AdWords bidding strategies to use.

  1. Location bidding. Despite wanting as many customers as you can get, it doesn’t make sense to waste money on ads that barely reach your intended customer. This is especially true if you want your ads to drive visits to a physical store. To ensure maximum visibility, you can increase your bids for ads shown to users within a 5-mile radius of your building. If you also have an online store, make this just one part of your wider bidding strategy.
  2. Automate your CPC bid. You can still set a budget limit, but this method gives AdWords control over individual CPC bids. The objective is to get the most clicks for your budget. All you have to do is select “AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget.”
  3. Enhanced CPC. This is where you want to get as many conversions as possible. With enhanced CPC, AdWords can run experiments on all your bids to determine the potential for a click to result in a conversion. Furthermore, it uses past conversion data.
  4. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs). This is critical if you want repeat customers. What you can do is set a bid adjustment based upon a user’s previous behavior on your site. For example, if you sold luggage to a user on your site–you can increase your bids for that particular user in your other campaigns that advertise luggage accessories or matching pieces. Once that user converts to your site through a search on “luggage accessories,” your ad will go higher up in the search results. It can make sense to spend an additional amount per click on users who are more likely to convert.
  5. Trends per season. If you’re a seasonal business, you may need to adjust your bidding strategies to fit. For example, if you sell Christmas trees then your biggest sales opportunities will be between November and December. This can be similar for school supplies at the end of summer and fall. You should always take a look at your account for yearly seasonal trends.
  6. Bid on branded keywords. This may be a strategy to consider even if you are already getting organic clicks for free. Moreover, it helps to control your ad message. It works by sending branded visitors to a dedicated landing page. In fact, branded keywords can also increase your overall account performance for other keywords.
  7. Manual CPC. Sometimes, you just want complete control over your bids. With this strategy, you just select “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks.”
  8. Conversion optimizer. You need a minimum of 15 conversions in the last 30 days to use this feature. It essentially sets a target cost per conversion at the campaign level. AdWords will then use your historical conversion data to help you meet your cost per conversion target. It is usually met, on average, within the time frame of 30 days. If you set your cost per conversion at a rate that is too low, AdWords may not even show your ads because the target won’t be met. Test it out for a month to see if it is working for your account.

As long as you test out and employ the right strategies, Google AdWords can be extremely effective for your business. You have to advertise, so try out several of the above suggestions.

About Samantha Stainsburry

Samantha Stainsburry is a freelance blogger from Charlottesville, VA. She's a major history buff, and loves living in Thomas Jefferson's hometown. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and finding new music among other things. Her personal ambition is beat to Ken Jennings' Jeopardy record with her vast trivia knowledge.