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With every passing day, running campaigns on Google Ads / Adwords is becoming crazy expensive with increasing CPC, more and more advertisers coming onto the platform, intensifying competition. However, as a digital marketer, particularly, if you are a performance marketer, you cannot run without Google Ads, given the immense reach and potential the platform offers. But what you can do is work on your campaign to improve Google Adwords ROI for every dollar you spend.

The operating premise of a successful Adwords campaign is to acquire the maximum number of leads/sales/revenue at the lowest possible cost and if you manage to do that you will get a Positive ROI on your Adwords. In this blog, we are going to talk about X ways that are sure to boost your Google Ads campaign and improve your Google Adwords ROI.

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of ROI – ROI is the abbreviation for Return on Investment and while I plan to do a much more detailed post on the nuances of calculating the Adwords ROI, for now, let’s stick to the simple formula  –

ROI= ((Revenue-Spend)/Spend)*100

ROI is expressed as a percentage.

So if you spend $100 on ad campaigns and generate a revenue of $500, your ROI is –

((500-100)/100)*100=400%

Now, let’s get on to the specific strategies on how to improve your Adwords ROI.

Analyze your search terms report

The search terms report is probably one of your biggest assets in improving campaign performance. The search terms report is a list of search terms that users have used in actual searches on Google, that triggered your ad to show on the search network.

To access your search terms report, go to the Keywords link in your left-hand navigation in the Adwords console, select the keyword for which you want to view the search terms and then click “Search Terms” at the top of the page. This will display the search terms for those selected keywords along with relevant stats for each one of them. You can also use the download button on top-right to export the data into Excel.

Now let’s look at how the search terms report can help you improve your Adwords ROI. There are actually two ways this can benefit you.

Negative Keywords to Avoid Wasted Spend

Keywords are those that advertisers bid on, and search terms are the actual words or phrases users type into Google. When you will look into the search terms report, you will often come across terms that are completely irrelevant and you are paying for every click you get on them. For example, if you have the keyword “web development” ( phrase match) in your keyword list, it can trigger ads for search terms like ‘web development jobs’ – in this case you know the user is clearly looking for a job and not a prospective client.

It should be a standard practice to look at your search terms to identify such irrelevant search terms and at them to your negative keywords list. A very basic exercise but this can save you a ton of money, directly improving your Adwords ROI.

Identify and Add High Converting Search Terms

The search terms report will also help you identify some terms that are more commonly used by users and are also giving you conversions. For example, the “web development” keyword might also trigger a search term, ‘magento web development for e-commerce’ and you notice that your key skills being Magento, you are getting a lot of conversions from this. What do you do? You should be adding such high converting search terms in your campaign as Exact Match. This will ensure you get a better impression share at a relatively lower CPC for the term. More conversions, lesser cost.

Misspellings & Typos – Low-Cost Conversions Improve ROI

Let’s face it, typos happen with everyone – to the extent, 10% of all search queries are misspelt! While we target all possible keywords one thing that we often miss out are typos and misspellings. The competition for misspelt keywords is much lesser making it easier to get visibility with minimal bids. Because there are very few people bidding for those misspellings and typos, the CPC on those terms are often much lesser than the correctly spelt keywords, whereas there is no difference in the user’s intent.

Using these misspellings and typos, will likely get you very few clicks but the best part is that these clicks could come really cheap and with as strong an intent as the original keyword – often times delivering conversions.

Google does offer the “close variant” option by default, so you’re already accounting for misspellings, singular or plural forms, acronyms, abbreviations and stemming (“getting a phone charger” instead of “get a phone charger”) but having them included in your ad group as exact or phrase in most cases gives you better control and more clicks at reduced CPC.

Here’s a tool to find misspelt and typo for your keywords.

Improve Ad Relevance with Dynamic Keyword Insertion – DKI

More relevant ads => Better Click through, Better Quality Score => Lower CPC, Better Conversion(possibly) => Improved ROI

Using Dynamic keyword insertion can significantly improve ad relevance and consequentially improve your Adwords ROI. When users see their exact search terms in the ad they are more likely to click. Improved CTR, can directly improve your Quality Score and reduce your CPC. Lower cost would directly lead to improved ROI on your Adwords spend.

If you are not familiar with DKI, here’s a quick refresher on how DKI works –

Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) is an advanced feature that dynamically inserts a keyword from your ad group that matches the real search query into your ad copy in real time. Your ads will automatically match what the user is looking for, making it more relevant.

Let’s say you create Google Ads for your earphones business and you want to use DKI for the ad headline ( you can also use in the ad description lines).

While creating the ad you must include the following code:

Headline: Buy {KeyWord:earphones} today!

Now see what happens when users are searching online to buy earphones:

Search Query: waterproof earphones

Your Ad Headline: Buy waterproof earphones today!

Search Query: earphones with mic

Your Ad headline: Buy earphones with mic today!

These ads resonate much better with your customers as compared to a generic ad like, “Buy earphones today”.

However, note that if the search term is too long, the word after the colon will be inserted ({KeyWord:earphones}) (the character limit for headlines is 30). Also, if the searched term is not an available keyword from your ad group, the word after the colon shows as the default.

Qualify Users Through Your Ads – Improve ROI by Lowering Spend

When you are running your Google Ads campaign with a focus on improving your ROI, you need to be clear about one thing – you just don’t need clicks, you need clicks that convert. Getting too many clicks mean higher cost, so it is important that you know how to reduce unwanted clicks, which reduces your cost and improves your ROI.

The way you write your ads can actually help you filter out unwanted clicks, thereby reducing your overall ad spend. Often times you will have some qualifying criteria for your leads/ prospects. You should try to work this into your ad copies. For example; you are an SEO consultant but you require a minimum monthly fee of $500 to take up any contract. If your ad says, ‘Expert SEO Service’ it is likely to attract clicks from anyone who is looking for SEO services, but if your ad says “SEO Services From $500”, prospects who do not have the minimal budget of $500 are most likely not going to click – saving you a bunch of money in wasted clicks.

Such filtering through ad copies can be done based on various parameters, like cost, location, specificity of service or any other qualifying criteria that you would use for your business. Also, more specific ads, help set the user’s expectations right, which in turn improves conversion. Now, this combined effect of reducing unwanted clicks and increased conversion rate will directly result in improved ROI for your Adwords spend.

Single Keyword Ad Groups – SKAG

Your account and campaign structure also affects the campaign performance and can have a direct impact on the ROI of the campaign. Single Keyword Ad Group ( SKAG) are one of the most powerful Adwords strategies that can deliver multiple benefits, all of which culminate into improved ROI on the overall Adwords campaign spend.

SKAG, as the name suggests, is a strategy where you use a single keyword in each ad group. SKAG as a topic should ideally be a post in itself as the benefits are multifold and the technicalities should also be understood in full.

At an overview level, SKAG would involve creating ad groups with a single keyword and include multiple match types of the same keyword. It is advisable to include Modified Broad Match, Phrase and Exact match. The Modified Broad Match and the Phrase match helps to capture the different search terms arising from the keywords, however, because we are just using one keyword the terms are still relevant and closely related. Also, using SKAG ensures that your ads are highly relevant to search terms – it necessarily creates an opportunity to write ads that are closely related to the keywords.

Now how does SKAG exactly help in improving Adwords ROI?

If SKAG is implemented right, there are multifold benefits –

  • You will have better control over where your ads show up – for which keyword they show up and where they don’t. Reduce wasted spend.
  • You will have a stronger control on which ad shows up for which search term/ keywords. Increased ad relevance result in higher CTR.
  • Higher CTR and increased ad relevance result in improved quality score. Improved Quality Score translates to better Ad rank / Lower CPC.

While writing this, I feel that I should definitely do a much more detailed post on SKAG. But to summarize, use of SKAG, results in cost savings while improving the quality of traffic received through ad campaigns ad this clearly helps improve conversions.

Location Targeting

Location targeting is one of the most common targeting feature used by almost every advertiser, then why am I talking about it here? Well, there are a couple of features that you can use to improve your campaign performance and also save money on wasted clicks.

Radius Targeting

This is a common feature and been there forever and this can do wonders to your conversion rate. There are multiple cases where this can be used. Particularly if you are a business where clients walk-in to your establishment, Radius targeting is definitely your friend. Though it depends on the nature of the business, how famous it is and various other factors, most walk-in type businesses get their customers from their surrounding area and doing a location targeting around your business address gets you the customers that are most likely to convert. Higher conversions = Improved ROI.

Location Options

While you choose your location targeting, Google also offers location targeting options, which is hidden just below and by default you are opted in to “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended)” – which is also Google recommended option. But like many other Google recommendations, it increases your clicks and consequentially ad spends but not necessarily conversions. With this option on, a person who might not be in your target area will still see your ad if he shows interest in your target area. What can you do? Instead of the recommended approach, select the next option, “people in your targeted locations” – and once you do that your ads will show only to people who are physically present in your target locations. This reduces a lot of wasted clicks and spends coming from people whom Google think is interested in your ads but might not be in the location to do business with you. Reduced wasted clicks and spends = improved ROI.

Shoot up Conversions with RLSA – Ad ROI Improves

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) is an extremely powerful feature that allows you to target search ads to users who have previously visited your site. While retargeting o the display network is also powerful, retargeting on search network (RLSA) can actually put your conversion rate on steroids, if done right.

Remarketing ads give your business a second chance to convert customers who are already aware of your business. The combined effect of the users high intent with their familiarity with your brand and offering creates a very potent situation for increased conversions.

Here are some RLSA tactics that are a sure fire way to bring back customers:

  1. Optimize bid adjustments for existing keywords for retargeted users only. Here just add the remarketing list to existing search campaign and adjust bids for each list. Paying a tad bit higher for this audience makes complete sense as this traffic is likely to convert at a much higher rate.
  2. While using RLSA, it is advisable to also bid on broad keywords. This helps your ads to get visibility with the users even if they are not searching for your exact keyword but something related and relevant. Even bid on your competitor names and similar products names.
  3. If your RLSA lists are well segmented based on user behaviour ( which product pages they have visited, what have they done on your website etc), you can actually have them on separate campaigns and ensure that the ads served are customized to appeal to those specific segment. This will not only improve CTR but also can improve the chances of conversion.

Using RLSA effectively can significantly boost your conversion rate and lower cost per conversion, consequentially improve your Google Ads ROI.

Mine your competitors

There are a couple of things that you should do to take advantage of your competitors.

  1. Advertise on your Competitor Brand Names: You cannot include their brand name in your ads as per Google’s guidelines but you can definitely have them in your keyword list. This will land your ads directly in front of users looking for your competitor; and if you’re persuasive enough you have a fair chance of eating a slice of your competitor’s pie. Now, why is this part of the ROI strategy? Competitor brand names are often not excessively competitive, you can get clicks and conversions at reasonably low cost.
  2. Consider Competitive Intelligence: Use a tool like SEMRush to look into competitor details. You can actually see all your competitor’s keywords, ad copies and landing pages. Make sure you go through them in details and this can expose a lot of hidden opportunities for more clicks and conversions. You can get a free trial of SEMRush here.

You can read this SEMRush review on how to get detailed competitive intelligence using the tool.

Improving Landing Page Improves Ad ROI

Increasing your Conversion Rate is one of the most effective ways to increase your Adwords ROI. While all the above pointers mentioned earlier helps to reduce wasted clicks, get low-cost clicks, improve conversion rate etc, all of which results in increased ROI for ad spend, they were all part of campaign management. However, a well-optimized landing page can also help increase your conversion rate dramatically, resulting in improved ROI for the campaign. While most campaign managers optimize their landing pages, here is one tip that will help you further.

Using a little scripting you can actually customize your landing page to show the exact keyword and related content to what the user has searched for. How does it help? Well, for a starter when the user finds the exact term they searched for after they have clicked through to an ad, they are likely to be more engaged and the chance of conversion increases. Also, these customized landing pages create a lot more synergy between the search term, the ad and the landing page content, which also results in improved quality score. This further helps with lowering cost and improving ad ranks.

In summary, if you are looking to improve your Adwords ROI, you should focus on a few key objectives –

Reduce Cost

  • By removing wasted clicks
  • Getting Clicks at lower cost
  • Improving quality score

Increase Conversions

  • Better targeting
  • Focus on conversion optimization

If there are other tactics that you think can help to improve your Adwords ROI, feel free to leave a comment and share your views.

The post 9 Ways to Improve Google Adwords ROI appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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To reduce Adwords spend, lower CPC and maximize the number of conversions – that’s the standard mandate for every Adwords consultant. The success of every Adwords campaign lies in meeting your campaign goals at the lowest possible costs.

The goals can be varied, but irrespective of the goal, the mandate for a professional Adwords consultant always remains the same – get as many conversions as possible at the lowest possible cost and often reduce Adwords spend . And rightly so.

When you have an unlimited budget ( which is never ;)), it is still relatively easy to generate leads. But delivering conversions at a minimal cost and keeping it that way requires some serious skill. You need to have a well thought out strategy. Continuously monitor your campaigns. optimize keywords, ads and be mindful of so many other nuances to make this happen.

Whichever business you’re in, whatever may be your budget, there are some standard processes that can help you optimize your campaigns to reduce wasted spend on Adwords, lower your CPC and get better ROI. Here are 12 things you can do today to optimize your cost..

Here’s my 12 Trusted Ways to Reduce Adwords Spend,  Lower CPC and Wasted Spend on Adwords 1. Long Tail Keywords Means Lower CPC

Like true friends Long tail keywords are difficult to come by but they can do a hell of a good for your campaign.

Data suggests single word phrases are costly and competitive. Long tail keywords involving 4 or more keywords are low in cost, less competitive. The search intent’ is also clearer on long-tail helping you to pick the right keywords and get better conversions.

For example:

Head Term: Landing Page

Long Tail Keywords:

  1. Free online landing page builder
  2. Landing Page Design Tips

One challenge with long tail keywords is that they deliver very little traffic due to low search volume. But they have a higher conversion rate! If you want to run a profitable Adwords campaigns then you definitely need to focus on long tail keywords. Head terms might give you volume but Long Tail keywords are most profitable. Finding long tail keywords isn’t easy but here are few tips to help –

How to find long-tail keywords for your Adwords campaign?

  1. Search Query Reports : Run a Search Query Report for the campaigns. This report will show the exact search terms that your ads showed up for and if they lead to any conversion. Reviewing this report helps understand how are your users actually searching and you will discover a lot of very relevant long tail phrases that you can add to your account, preferably in Phrase or Exact match.
  2. Use the Tools : Use keyword research tools and look into competitor data. Tools like SEMRush, Spyfu etc. helps you uncover a lot of long tail keywords. They also allow you to snoop into keywords your competitors are targeting and find which keywords might be relevant.
  3. Localize your keywords : If your product or service has a location significance, add country, state, city, town where your services are available. For example – Home Improvement  Dallas Texas
  4. Product Attributes – Very effective specifically for ecommerce businesses and can also be used in some other cases. Add attributes like type, color, size, brand etc. For example – the chance of conversion for  “Puma Men Running Black Shoes 8 size” would be much higher than for “Puma shoes”.
  5. SEO Data : Google has killed the all the keyword data from organic search and there is hardly anything to look into but still don’t forget to look into the keywords for which your page show up – you can find this in Google Webmaster Tools / Google Search Console. You will often find keywords in this list that you never thought of.

This is definitely not the end of it but these are only some of the easy ways to identify long tail keywords. Your objective should be to continually look for more of these keywords and keep adding them to the account. While not a blanket rule, it is generally a best practice to use long tail keywords only in Phrase or Exact match, depending on the keyword.

2. Match Types Can Help Reduce Adwords Spend

Keyword match types are among the fundamentals of Adwords and doing them right can actually save you a lot of money and improve conversions.Using the right keyword match types you can control the searches that can trigger your ad. Whether you want to target a wider audience or narrow it down to highly target specific groups – match types can help.

The above graphics was originally published at WordStream

Match Types Description Pros Cons
Broad Match It is the default match type given to all the keywords. It includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and all other relevant variations of the keywords. High Traffic Volume
Could help increase no. of conversions
Generates lots of irrelevant queries
Higher Wasted Spend
Tends to Lower Quality Score
Broad Match Modifier This is between Broad Match and Phrase Match and works by adding a +sign in front of the words that must be included. For the keyword to match, the words that have the ‘+’ sign in front of them should be present in the users search query.The order of the words doesn’t matter. Unlike broad match, modified broad match won’t show your ad for synonyms or related searches which gives a higher level of control. This however includes misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations/acronyms. Mostly high search volume
More relevant than broad match
Can still Generate irrelevant queries resulting in wasted spend and lower quality score
Phrase Match Your ads will appear for customers who are searching for the exact key phrase and close variants of your exact key phrase, with additional words before or after. But your ads won’t appear if there is an additional word in the middle of your keyword. For example, if your exact keyword is “ Full Sleeve Shirts”, your ad will appear for the search query “ White Full Sleeve Shirts” and “Full Sleeve Shirts White”, but not for “Full Sleeve White Shirts”. Higher relevance, Increased CTR Lesser search volume than Broad match
Exact Match Your ad will appear for customers who are searching for your exact keyword, or close variants of your exact keyword, exclusively. Precisely targeted traffic, no wasted spend Low search volume

How to Choose the Best Keyword Match Type for Your Adwords Strategy

The type of keyword match you should use largely depends on your campaign goals and often times you need to use a combination of the different match types to hit your numbers while still being able to deliver the volume of conversion your business demands.

In general, if you wish to attract higher traffic volume to your website, you should choose Broad Match or a Broad Match Modifier. However, if you want to generate high quality leads, you should use more of Phrase / Exact Match Keywords.

It is a good idea to use broad-to-narrow strategy. Start off with broad match keywords to show your ads on all relevant searches. Monitor the performance of your keywords for some time. If your ad is appearing for too many irrelevant keywords, then add negative keywords to stop those irrelevant matches ( more on this below). Also identify search terms and queries through which you create a list for phrase and exact match. In a few days, you will get the right match type combination.

3. Negative Keywords Can Save Wasted Spend on Adwords

Negative keywords are my most favorite way of reducing spend and improving campaign performance. I spend a lot of time removing negative keywords every week. if you are wondering what are negative keywords – these are keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up for.You should be looking regularly at your search Query report and you can easily identify queries that are irrelevant to your campaign.These irrelevant words need to be added to your campaign as Negative keywords. Negative keywords can also be added in combination to other match types to define how broad or narrow the exclusion should be.
For Example : if you are offering web development services and have the keyword “Web development” in phrase match, you ads can show up for “Web development tutorial” – now of course that is not your targeted query, so you should add “tutorial” as a negative keyword.

You must keep weeding out negative keywords from your campaigns on a regular basis. I do it before setting the campaign by looking at possible keyword variations through tools like SEMRush, Wordstream etc. I also keep identifying them when a campaign is running by going through search query reports and add those words to the negative keyword list. Weeding out negative keywords should be a regular task in your campaign management plan, to be done once every week.

4. Increase CTR with Ad Extensions

Increase in CTR directly affects your quality score and increase in Quality Score means lower CPC. So if you are looking to reduce your Adwords CPC and lower overall Adwords spend, you should always keep a hawk eye on your Quality Score. Adwords has a lot of different extensions available, use them wisely. Using the right extension means your ad claims more real estate grabbing more user attention. Also extensions like Sitelink offers more clicking choice for the user, thereby significantly increasing the chance of getting clicked.

5. SKAG – Single Keyword Adgroups

In general it is a best practice to have tightly themed ad group for better campaign performance but you can take it a step forward with SKAGs or Single Keyword Ad Groups.

Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) is one of the fastest ways to boost your quality score, CTR and most importantly, your conversions.

As the name suggests, in Single Keyword Ad Groups, you include one keyword per ad group. But you can include multiple match types of that keyword in that ad group. For example – if your keyword is ‘home improvement services’, then the keywords inside your SKAGs could be:
+home +improvement +services
“home improvement services”
[home improvement services] You can name this ad group- home improvement services

How SKAG improves your campaign performance?

SKAG lowers the ratio of discrepancy between the search term to your keyword and keyword to ad thus increasing your CTR. Higher CTR improves your quality score. Good CTR and quality score improve your ad positions. A higher quality score also means lower First Page Bids which lower cost-per-clicks.
However, if you are using multiple keyword match types you would want to be careful about how you set your bids – typically you bid highest for exact match and lowest for Broad match.

6. Bid Strategies Can Help

The Adwords system offers several bidding strategies and knowing which one to use based on your campaign objectives can work really well in improving performance and at time in reducing cost.

At a broad level –

If you are focusing on Clicks – you can use Manual CPC bidding or Maximize Clicks, automated strategy. However, most if not all campaigns will have a conversion objective.

If you are using conversion tracking, you can actually use Adwords Smart Bidding Strategies. There are primarily four types

Target CPA (cost-per-acquisition): You set a Target CPA for your campaign and the system tries to meet that number.

Target ROAS (return-on-ad-spend): This is more based on conversion value. Target ROAS help increase conversion value while targeting a specific return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

Maximize Conversions: If you want to get as many conversions as possible irrespective of the conversion cost, you can use this.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC): If you want to automatically adjust your manual bids to try to maximize conversions, you can use ECPC. It’s an optional feature you can use with Manual CPC bidding.

Now, while the above Smart Bidding strategies can really help in optimizing campaign performance, you need to be a bit careful while using them. I would recommend run your campaigns manually for some time to get some data that will help you understand the target that you are able to hit and also the Adwords system will learn from the data. Then try setting the smart bid strategies to see if this can outperform your manual optimization.

You also need to be ready that for the first few days this automated bid strategies might actually under-perform, as the system still optimizes the campaign. Also, if you are setting the targets too aggressively ( e.g, a very low CPA) the system will try to optimize for those but eventually it will reduce your ad serving once it realizes that it is not able to hit the target number.

If you are running a branding campaign though you should consider bid strategies like “Target Search Page Location”, “Target Outranking Share” etc

7. Utilize Ad Scheduling & Day Parting to Lower Cost

Where applicable, ad scheduling can do wonders in minimizing wasted spend and optimizing revenue. But remember, ‘applicable’ is the operative word here.

Analyzing your campaign performance by Day of the Week segment gives you a clear idea about the days that generate better results for your ads. You can set bid adjustments to either decrease or increase your bids for the specific days to benefit from this.

Also, there are some obvious cases where Ad scheduling must be used. For example, if you are a B2B player, where all your purchases are made during the weekdays, in office hours – you would probably be better off switching off your campaigns on the weekend.

When to Use Day Parting

Day parting allows you to bid differently for different time of the day. For certain businesses this is of immense importance. For example, if your supply lunches to your neighboring offices, you would probably want to bid much higher between 11.00 AM – 2.00 PM compared to remaining part of the day. If you are managing a campaign in a different time zone, you need to be super careful about setting such day parting. Day parting works based on the time zone set in your account and this cannot be changed. Hence you need to get the math right.

While some of this can be done based on the generic nature of the business it is always advisable to look at the data and make decisions. Day of the Week and Hour of the Day dimension reports would provide you all the necessary data to work on this.

Using Ad Scheduling and Day parting properly cuts down unnecessary ad serving during the days or time where the conversion possibility is negligible. If done right this can lead to good savings in overall Adwords spend.

8. Location Targeting – Simple but You Can Bleed Money

Location targeting is a fundamental setting in Adwords campaign but this can also make you bleed money. You might have selected the country or city you want to target your ads too BUT…

By default Google Adwords Location targeting is set to “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended)”. This is the recommended setting by Google but trust me this is often not the best setting for you. For example, you are a law firm operating in the state of USA and have targeted the keyword – California law. Now some one sitting in India searches – Lemon Law in California, your ad is likely to show up. He might just be searching to understand why is a law named “lemon law” – do you want him to click on your high CPC ad ?
In most cases the best location setting is “People in my targeted location”. Simply changing this one setting can save you good money.

Location Based Bidding
There’s more you can do with location settings though. Google allows you to place separate bid for each location. If you are running a country wide campaign, look at your location dimensions report. You will notice some cities are doing really well while some others are not so great. Look closer into the data in perspective to city level location, average position, cpc, total spend, conversion, cost per conversion and conversion rate. Based on the above report adjust bidding for each city to get the max conversions at the optimal cost.

Location Exclusion
Google offers the option for Location exclusion as well. So if you are running a country wide campaign but don’t have your services in a few cities or states, you can target the whole country and exclude those areas. This eliminates unnecessary clicks from areas you can’t serve.

9. Filtering Through Ad Copy Reduces Spend

I am sure you have been told umpteen times that a good ad copy with high relevance delivers high CTR, reduces CPC and increases conversion. All True. But I am going to tell you how an ad copy can sometimes help save money.

You might have some eligibility criteria for your customers – this can vary widely, it could be gender, age, income group, cost of service etc. If you ensure that this eligibility criteria are clearly mentioned in the ad copy that can actually save a lot of money.

Let me give you an example – If you are a high end digital marketing company that works with top corporations and Fortune brands, it might make sense to include something like “Trusted by Fortune 500 Brands” – this would work like a credibility statement for you and also a start up looking for similar service will know that they probably can’t afford you and would not click the ad. Sometimes it could be much more direct, if your product is highly commoditized, e.g, “SEO Packages Starting at $2000/Month” – so anyone who cannot afford will likely not click, saving you money. Or “The Best Salon in Town For Men” – you are automatically excluding women from clicking on it and saving money.

Consider Reading : Google Adwords Character Limit for Expanded Ads & Best Practices

10. Device Level Optimization Lowers Cost

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While Adwords has been the most popular platform for businesses to advertise on the web, there are concerns that every advertiser has. Beyond improving campaign performance in the ever changing and highly competitive space, a common concern that many advertisers share is what if my competitors are clicking my adwords ads ? The savvy advertisers and particularly the ones with big pockets do have strong systems to identify such fraudulent clicks and also it is considerably difficult to make any difference to their campaign performance with a few competitor clicks here and there but for smaller advertisers it could be a bigger concern.I have specifically seen a lot of first time advertisers asking this questions – what if my competitor clicks my ads ? How can I stop competitors from clicking my adwords ?

While a mature advertiser or competitor would not resort to a tactic like clicking the competitor ads ( for the purpose of burning their budget, could do that to view your landing pages though).

Understanding Fraud Competitor Clicks to Your Adwords Ads

Here we need to consider two things. Fraud clicks necessarily doesn’t mean your competitor is manually clicking your Adwords ads. There could be few possible situations –

  • Your competitor manually searches for keywords and clicks on your ads with the intent to burn your budget
    This is not a practical approach for your competitor because it takes a lot of time, if the competitor does not know how much budget you have allocated and your bids, they have no clue how long it might take, More importantly Google rotates the ads and doesn’t show the same ad all the time for the same search, hence he will stop seeing your ad after a few clicks and Google will likely block him when they see a lot of searches happening at the same time from the same IP and clicking a single link.
  • Your competitor deploys some software program that automatically searches a set of keywords in Google and clicks on your ads
    This is done by many. This softwares are also smart enough to spoof and rotate IP address, user agent etc to avoid easy detection. While I wouldn’t say that 100% of this can be detected, Google’s current algorithm does a pretty decent job at identifying most of this.
  • It is not your competitor but some other software program ( there are a lot of marketing tools, bots etc that harvest data in not the right way), that is searching for various keywords and clicking on ads to harvest data- unfortunately, your ad is one of those clicks.
    In this case you will probably not get burnt as bad because you are not specifically targeted but the bot is clicking links at random to harvest data. Even in this case, Google is able to identify most of it as above.
What is Google Doing About Competitor Clicks on Adwords

While apparently when a competitor clicks your Adwords ads, you pay Google for the click and it should look profitable for them, Google does not support this behavior and have been working consistently to counter such fraudulent clicks and help advertisers improve their performance. Google actually has a global team that is always on top of all this issues related to click fraud and invalid clicks and are continuously working to mitigate this type of activities.

  • Google Adwords has sophisticated algorithms that is able to detect such fraudulent clicks – whether manual or by bots, and once identified, Google credits the advertiser for the amount that was charged initially due to those invalid clicks. If you would go into your Adwords billing section and view the bill details, you can see a credit for invalid clicks often times.
  • Besides the filter algorithms, Google also has a team that continually does manual analysis to detect such patterns and counter them.
  • Also, if you are able to identify such competitor clicks or other fraudulent click activities in your account you can request an investigation.
How to Stop Competitors from Clicking my Adwords Ads

Now while Google is doing all this, what can you do from your end to stop your competitor’s from clicking the ads ? If you suspect your competitors are clicking your ads there are definitely few steps that you can take from your end.

Identify Competitor Clicks

The first step is to identify suspected competitor clicks. Your analytics is your friend here. Look into the data to identify patterns – are you getting too many clicks from the same IP address ? are you getting too many clicks from same IP range within a very short frequency ? Are you getting a lot of clicks from the same network that are all resulting in 100% bounce rate or shows 0.0 seconds time spent on site ? This could be all indications – not that they are definite indicators but oddities like this should raise a flag.

Block Ads by IP Address Exclusion

If you know your competitor’s IP address or you are able to identify the IP that are sending the suspected clicks you can actually prevent your ads from showing up in those IP addresses. You can even block a range of IP addresses. However, while blocking by IP it is important to be careful that you don’t block your ads from showing up for legitimate search queries.

You can set up IP exclusion in Adwords by going to Campaign > Settings > IP Exclusions

Block Ads Display by Location

Sometimes you might see suspected competitor clicks coming from specific locations ( for e.g, some click farm in China or Russia), and in such cases you can always consider blocking the ads from showing in that particular location. Again, you need to be careful that blocking the location isn’t really blocking out a lot of your potential customers. If you know your competitor’s address, you can also block by their zipcode.

Retargeting to Avoid Publisher Click Frauds

Publisher click frauds happen when publishers intentionally click on ads that are published on their website to earn some extra bucks. Both Google Adwords team as well as Google Adsense team are continuously working to identify and counter publisher click frauds. As an advertiser, retargeting is probably one of the best display ad strategies in terms of performance and this can also cut down any such possibilities of publisher click fraud. In case of retargeting, you basically target your user and the ads are not targeted at any specific publisher property, hence there is no possibility of publishers clicking on your ad.

The post How to Stop Competitors from Clicking my Adwords Ads appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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SEMRush just won the US Search Awards 2017 Best SEO Software Suite!

I have been using SEMRush for years now and the tool has never failed to impress me. While I have thought about writing a SEMRush review multiple times, the myriad of features and functionalities covered by SEMRush made my lazy-self feel like too much work to do. But finally now that I decided to write the review, this is going to be probably the most extensive review of SEMRush that you will ever read and to make it easier for my readers, I have broken down the review into specific sections covering each aspect of SEMRush and there are links for you to jump to those sections directly if you want to.

The best thing I like about SEMRush as a marketing professional is that while most of the features are centred around SEO & Adwords, it also covers various other aspects of digital marketing. Unlike most other tools that specialise in either SEO or Paid Search or Social media, SEMRush works like a swiss army knife and provides great value across all this.

While the review will provide a detailed understanding of the tool and how to use it best, nothing beats a first hand experience. You can always get started with a free trial of SEMRush.

The Most Extensive SEMRush Review – And What It Contains




SEMrush database currently has competitive information on 130 million domains, with 800+ million keywords across 100+ geo-databases. While we will cover each of the SEMRush features in details later in this review, given below are few pointers that need a mention –

  • Unlike most other competitive research tools, SEMRush provides intelligence both for SEO and Adwords / Paid search users
  • The tool is built to scale and can be used by individual users and agencies alike. The system can allow up to 10000 reports/ day.
  • What makes SEMRush an even better tool for agencies is the ability to white label all SEMRush reports and brand them with your logo and details
  • SEMRush can seamlessly integrate with Google Webmasters and Google Analytics, making the data even more contextual, relevant and useful
  • SEMRush is constantly adding new features and improving the toolset. Most new features are released in Beta and you can have free access to those tools irrespective of your subscription level
  • They have one of the best and friendly customer support team – I am saying this from my personal experience.
  • SEMRush also has a lot of training material – much more than you will ever need that can help you make the best use of the tool
Understanding SEMRush Features

Once you login to SEMRush the first thing you see is the dashboard. The dashboard will show you a snapshot of your domains and campaigns and also have links to your left-hand side to navigate into all the different tools. While this navigation undergoes minor changes continuously as they keep adding new features, the top level tools include –

  • Advanced Keyword Research
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Site Audit
  • Organic Research
  • PPC Insight
  • Ad History
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Brand Monitoring

This SEMRush review will cover all of the above features in details and will also provide enough guidance so you can use this tools effectively for your SEO or PPC campaigns.

SEMRush Keyword Research Tool

Keyword Research is one of the fundamental activities that is crucial to the success of any SEO or Adwords campaign. While there are numerous tools in the market for keyword research they all have their pros and cons. Earlier I wrote about why Google Keyword tool / keyword planner is no longer the best tool for keyword research. SEMRush with the various options for keyword research and options to dig into your competitor’s details makes for one of the best keyword research tools. You can try the tools first hand with the 7-Day Free Trial.

Keyword Analytics Overview

To begin with keyword research you would make a basic list of broad terms that your customers are most likely to search for when looking for a business similar to yours. Now go to the Keywords Analytics Section, click on the Overview tab and search for one of those seed keywords.

For instance, in this case, I have entered “printer cartridges” as my general keyword and selected the targeted geography as the US. On running the search you get a lot of useful stats related to the keyword.

This would include the Monthly Organic Search Volume and estimated CPC of your keyword. Based on this, you will get an idea about the competitive level of your general keyword.

Scrolling further down would also show you the top organic results and the ads ranking in the Google.com (as we selected the location as the US) for the keyword “printer cartridges”.

Phrase Match & Related Keywords

While you have come up with a list of seed keywords, there are probably plenty more to target and also most of the time the seed keywords are really broad head terms that are fiercely competitive and difficult to get visibility with. The Phrase Match and Related Keywords tools will help you expand your list of keywords.

Phrase Match: This report enlists all the possible keyword variations of your seed keywords. For example, for “Printer cartridges” as a seed keyword, Phrase Match, shows me options for “canon printer ink cartridges” – which could be easier to rank for.

Related Keywords: This report will give you the list of all related keywords related to your main keywords and thus work as a source of great new ideas. For example, the same seed keyword showed me related terms like “buy printer ink online” and “toner ink cartridge”. This is also very useful if you are trying to optimize your content as it helps identify keywords that would increase topical relevancy for your seed keyword.

As shown in this snapshot, SEMrush has presented nearly 4,658 keyword ideas relating to the seed keyword.

You can also download all these keywords via the Export button on the top right and they will be downloaded in your system in the form of an Excel / CSV file. This really helps to easily analyze and sort keywords and helps to play around with the data.

Both the Phrase Match and Related Keywords section can be accessed either from the left navigation panel or from the tabs next to the Overview section on the main screen.

Keyword Difficulty Tool

This report is particularly helpful for SEO. The Keyword Difficulty tool helps you to analyze the difficulty in ranking for a particular keyword in organic search.

The search difficulty index ranges from 1-100%. The higher the percentage, the tougher it will be to rank for that keyword. The results table also shows you the average monthly searches for the keyword and the number of results displayed in the SERP for that particular keyword.

While everyone would like to choose the keywords with the highest search volume, striking a balance between competition and volume is critical for a viable SEO campaign and Keyword Difficulty Level provides the same.

SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool

The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool is one stop Keyword Research tool that supplies you with each and every piece of needed information for your keyword research. You will find this option under the Keyword Analysis option in the navigation panel.

This tool is currently in Beta and is thus available for FREE until the testing period ends.

To use this, you can add your seed keyword as shown in the above snapshot and click on “Search”. SEMrush will give you a complete list of broad matched keywords to your seed keyword. You will also see that these keywords are all categorized under broad groups.

This will help you in filtering the keywords related to any group you choose. For instance, if I click on “hp” I will get the list of all the keywords containing the word “hp”(See screenshot below).

In addition, you can also filter your search results on the basis of:

  • Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty Percentage
  • Cost Per Click
  • Level of Competition
  • SERP Features

Not just this, clicking on the little blue icon under the SERP column gives you a snapshot of the search engine results for that particular keyword (e.g. clicking on “hp printer cartridges” would give you the below SERP result).

This gives a clear idea of your competitors who are ranking at top positions in the Google Search results, thus helping you evaluate better and choose your keywords and ranking strategies carefully.

All the different keyword reports are available to be exported as Excel files, which gives you even more flexibility to slice and dice the data.

While there are these many options for keyword research in SEMRush which clearly makes it one of the best options, there is much more to what we just discussed. Using SEMRush’ competitive intelligence you can actually find what keywords your competitors are using and uncover a lot of hidden keywords that are working for your competitors.

TRY SEMRUSH FOR KEYWORD RESEARCH
(7 Day FREE TRIAL)

How to Find Competitors Keywords Using SEMRush

SEMRush offers some serious kickass intelligence in finding competitor keywords and I have covered it in details in What Keywords are my Competitor’s using. I would recommend you read that but here is another feature in SEMRush that can help you identify more SEMRush keyword.

To do this, you will have to navigate to the Domain vs. Domain section under Domain Analytics which lets you compare 5 domains with your domain.

After you enter the domains, you have an option to compare the organic keywords, paid keywords or PLAs. Once you enter the “Go” button, you will get the list of the keywords you and your competitor are ranking for along with their site position in the search results.

For example, I compared two domains as shown below and got the list of keywords for which both my domain and my competitor’s domains are ranking along with their respective positions. It also shows other stats like its monthly search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty percentage, etc.

Now you should click on “Enable Charts” and get a Venn diagram presenting the common and unique keywords for both the domains. The Venn diagram here shows that the two domains share less number of common keywords. Now if you click on the part of the Venn diagram representing your competitor domain name, you can see the keywords they are ranking for, many of which you might not be targeting.

Overall, the Domain vs. Domain tool greatly reveals you significant keyword opportunities to rank yourself ahead of your competitors.

How to Use SEMRush for SEO – Useful SEO Features Finding & Fixing On-site Issues Using Site Audit Feature

While backlinks are important for SEO, it is highly critical to have your on-page SEO perfect. The SEO Audit tool in SEMRush comes extremely handy in identifying the gaps in your website and using this as a guide to improve your on-page SEO.

The SEO Audit Tool in SEMrush performs a complete onsite audit of your website in no time. Here’s how you can use it:

  • Go to SEMrush Dashboard.
  • Click on the Site Audit section.
  • Choose your project from the dropdown list that appears ( You need to add your domain as a “project” under the “Projects” menu in the left nav).
  • Click on Site Audit set up and fill in all the necessary settings and wait for a few minutes for your report.

When your report is generated you can save it as a PDF file for future analysis too. Let us check out a sample report generated.

It shows all the critical issues related to the site entered like missing Meta tags,..

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Google Adwords Keyword Planner is probably the first tool every SEO and search marketers turns to when they think about keyword research. While Google has been incredibly helpful in providing the tool, over the years we have also seen the tool evolve and unfortunately, it is becoming less and less helpful. It has often been discussed that the data shown in Google Adwords keyword tool is kind of skewed to push advertisers to spend more and its time we look for an alternative to Google Adwords keyword tool.

The latest update to the keyword planner they announced a month back, took that a level further where Google clearly discriminated against advertisers with low spend, providing them with only limited data in the keyword planner. Not just that, even for other advertisers, this “limited data” update can get triggered if you hit a certain threshold of daily searches for search volume data. Thought conveniently, Google has not specified what is the threshold number. Presumably, you can be a large spender and yet end up with limited search volume data.

And to top this up, the Google post ends with, “These changes will ensure that AdWords advertisers are able to get the data they need to optimize their accounts” . Honestly, I have been doing Adwords for more than 10 years now and I have no clue, how providing limited search volume data can help better optimize a campaign, if anything it will prompt wrong estimates and mis-prioritization of keyword bids.

The main change that is happening is on the Average Search Volume column. If you are on the limited data mode on the Adwords Keyword Planner, all you will see are ranges and ranges as wide as,..
0
1-100
100-1K
1K – 10K
10K- 100K
100K – 1M
1M+

Organic Search / SEO is becoming more and more difficult with every passing day and there is not much option for the businesses but to put money into Paid search and now they are trying to make that difficult as well. Of course these update will also help kill some of the smaller keyword tools that were using bots to fetch data from the Adwords Keyword Planner. Thank Google, they have confirmed that the Adwords Keyword Tool API will continue to return full data.

Alternatives to Google Adwords Keyword Tool

I am sure advertisers and SEOs will still continue to use the Google Adwords Keyword tool but what are the other alternatives to Google Keyword Planner for finding good quality keyword data ? I have been toying with several keyword research tools for a long time now and while some of them are more commonly used for competitor keyword research, most of them are very effective keyword research tools with loads of data that both advertisers and SEOs would love. I have listed a few alternative to Google Adwords Keyword planner tool that I personally find extremely helpful – granted they are not free but most of them offer some trial period and the nominal fee is well worth the data they provide.

SEMRush
One of the most well-known and user friendly tool providing highly detailed keyword and competitor data for both organic / SEO as well as for Adwords. Also, the data is available for 27 different countries, which serves well for search marketers that are working with clients other than in US. You can not only find new keywords but you can actually find what keywords your competitors are using, the bid price, volume, ad copies and a host of other data. Besides the regular keyword research bit it actually allows you to take a sneak pic into your competitor’s Adwords account.

If SEMRush is of your interest you can also read this SEMRush review and ultimate guide to all its features.

Spyfu
A very similar tool to SEMRush and does almost everything that SEMRush does but a little more expensive.

You can read this comparative review of SEMRush vs. Spyfu for making an informed decision.

KeywordTool.io
If you are looking for pure play alternative to Google Adwords keyword tool and don’t want to pick into competitor data, this could be one of the best keyword research tools. Also, besides Google and Bing ( SEMRush and Spyfu covers both), this also provides search volume data for YouTube ( More on YouTube optimization), Amazon and App Store ( helpful for App Store Optimization). For every search they also have a “Questions” tab, which basically shows what are the questions people are asking with the same keywords. However, in this the free version ( or even the basic paid version) do not provide any volume data and only the keywords. To get the search volume data you need to get the ProBasic package that starts at $88/month ( $20 more than the SEMRush base subscription that gives you both volume as well as CPC data).

The post Why Google Adwords Keyword Planner is Not The Best Anymore ? appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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I typically do not post about standard changes in Google Adwords policies, rules and regulations as they are typically covered in details by Google and there is hardly any new value to add. However, Adwords character limits for ads have undergone recent changes with Google’s introduction of the Expanded Text Ads and this could have significant impact on how they impact your campaigns. So, first let’s address the basic questions –

What Are Google Adwords Character Limits for Ads

A standard Google ad has five elements – Headline : 25 Character, 2 Description Lines : 35 Characters each, Display URL can accept upto 255 characters though only 35 characters are shown and the Final URL. It is important that your Display URL domain is same as the domain for your Final URL.

What are Google Adwords Character Limits for Expanded Ads

For an expanded text ad Google Adwords character limit has increased by 47%. Two Headlines – 30 characters each, one Description Line : 80 Characters. There is no separate field for Display URL and it is extracted from the Final URL, though you can customize the path.

Difference in Adwords Character Limits between Standard and Expanded Text Ads
Ad Elements Standard Ads Expanded Ads What Changed
Headline 25 Characters 60 Characters – 2 lines of 30 character each 140% increase in character limits
Description 70 Characters – 2 lines of 35 character each 80 Characters – one line 14% increase in character limits
Display URL 255 characters limit – 35 character visible, manual entry Automatically pulled from destination URL No manual entry required, path can be customized.

Adwords Expanded Text Ads Interface, with built in preview on side

How Does Expanded Text Ad Impact Your Campaigns

Well, to understand this we need to first understand why did Google suddenly become so generous to roll out this expanded text ads. There are primarily two reasons,

  • Significant share and ever increasing proportion of mobile searches and with Google’s focus on mobile searches, they wanted to bring in a format that would work equally well in both computers and mobiles
  • Likely a continuation of the same agenda, Google also removed all side bar ads few months back. Now that the side ads are gone, there is also increased space to accommodate this extra characters

So now the expanded text ads are presented in two sets – one on the banner or on top of the search results and the other at the bottom of the search results. For some of the campaigns where I used the expanded text ads, theses are few of key observations :

  • For banner/ top placements, expanded text ads typically perform noticeably better than standard ads
  • However, for bottom placements, expanded text ads do not deliver a significant improvement, though there has been marginal improvement in CTR in some cases (10% – 12%)
  • We did notice couple of campaigns where there was no difference in performance between expanded text ads and standard ads.

As you can see that the results are not really conclusive and it can go either ways, it would be important to ensure that like every other Adwords elements, you monitor and test the ads and their performance extensively.While testing the ad performance, here are couple of points that you should keep in mind.

  • Top vs. Other – I would suggest comparing the ad performance after segmenting them into Top vs. Others, as I have always seen that there is a significant difference in performance metrics for both standard ads as well as expanded text ads based on their placements. So we need to ensure that we are considering only similar type of placements and not just the aggregate data for each ad.
  • Volume – For your test results to be non-biased and conclusive, you need to ensure that your expanded text ads are getting enough impressions before you start comparing the metrics. Any statistical analysis done based on a small data set is likely to show biased results. Your standard ads might already have enough of impressions but as the expanded ads are relatively new, you will need to ensure that they get some good impressions before you start comparing them.
  • Labels – Add labels to both your Standard Ads and Expanded Text Ads. This would be helpful as your account grows bigger and you plan to look back at the data in future.
Best Practices for Making Your Text Ads More Effective

While it is normal to assume that the expanded text ads would mean higher CTR ( more characters = more visibility = Higher CTR, right ? ), as I explained above the results could be mixed and there is really no guarantee that the CTR is going to increase for sure. Also, note that the performance improvement that you are seeing now is likely to go down, as Expanded Text Ads become the norm and all advertisers start using the same – the differentiation would be lost and the competition would be more fierce.It is justified for any Adwords consultant to be excited about the expanded text ads but end of the day they are just text ads, so there is no reason to ignore the generic best practices in terms of making the ads more effective. Irrespective of whether you are using standard text ads or expanded text ads, consider the following :

  • Call to Actions : This is basic. While with all the character limits in standard ads you still might had an excuse not to include a CTA, with much higher character limits for expanded text ads, there is no excuse for not to include a CTA
  • Sitelink Extensions : Use them as long as you have alternate pages with specific value propositions to land your users. Gives your users more options, increases your share of real estate on the SERP
  • CallOut Extensions : Excellent option to use to showcase your USPs. Also very effective in securing more real estate for your ad, chances of higher CTR, making it more difficult for your competitors.
  • Update Your Ad Extensions :You might have used some of your key USPs in ad extensions earlier but now some of them could probably be part of your expanded text ads – so it would be wise to relook at the ad extensions.
  • Most Important Messaging Goes in the Headline : Though you have a bigger description character limit in the new expanded text ads, the Headline still gets the most visibility. Also, with two headlines now you have more space, so ensure that your key messaging is clearly served in the headline.
  • First Headline is More Important ( only for expanded text ads) : Yes, you get two headlines but remember sometimes your second headline will get wrapped with a line break and in some cases they might also truncate the second headline.
  • The Path Fields ( only for expanded text ads) : include the Path fields wisely, so the user gets a clear idea as to what the landing page is going to talk about. One easy way of doing this is to include the main keywords in the path fields as they resonate well with the user’s search query.
  • Include Active Verbs : Including active verbs in the ad copy is a great proven way to increase CTR of your ad copies. Use words like Increase, Grow, Reduce, Lower etc
Monitoring Your Competitor’s Adwords Text Ads

While you are working on improving your ads and taking advantage of the increased character limits of expanded text ads, your competitors aren’t sitting idle either. If you are in a highly competitive segment, it might be quite a task to keep track of your competitors Adwords moves and their new ad copies.  Thankfully there are some tools that allow you to do this pretty neatly. I prefer using SEMRush, that allows me to dig through all my competitor’s Adwords keywords and Ad copies and also understand what are their top performing ad copies or when new ads are introduced by the competitor. It’s well worth the small monthly fee and they even offer a free trial access.

Feel free to share what your take is about this increased character limits for Google Expanded Text Ads and how do you see it working for you.

The post Google Adwords Character Limits for Expanded Ads & Best Practices appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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Competitor analysis is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy and when it comes to search marketing knowing what keywords your competitors are using could just be the perfect piece of competitive intelligence that you need to beat them in their own game.

If you have searched in Google for “What keywords are my competitors using”, you definitely believe that there is a way to get that info, other than your competitor divulging the same voluntarily, (which is no less than a utopian dream). I am going to show you exactly how to find your competitors keywords for Adwords and or SEO.

Tools to Find Your Competitor’s Keywords

Finding your competitor’s keywords whether for Adwords or SEO isn’t really that difficult if you have the right tools and know how to use them right. There are only a handful of such competitor analysis tools and I particularly prefer SEMRush or Spyfu. (You can read my comparison review of Spyfu vs. SEMRush vs. Keywordspy vs. Ispionage if you want). However, for the purpose of this post, we will use SEMRush to show you how to find your competitor’s keywords.

Find Your Competitors Adwords Keywords

There are three approaches to finding your competitors Adwords keywords :

  1. Start with specific keywords – identify competitors and then dig for their other keywords. This approach is suitable when you are looking to identify missed opportunities, increase your keyword basket
  2. Start with specific Competitor – When you know who your major competitor is and want to do a deep dive into his keywords. This also offers similar insights as above
  3. Start with your domain – I prefer this as it also helps you identify new competitors at times that you might have missed otherwise and also opens up a largest set of keyword opportunities

Let’s take SEMRush.com as an example and try to identify their competitor keywords

  • Log into your SEMRush account ( you can get a Free Trial here)
  • To your left you will see the navigation bar, Click on Domain Analytics > Advertising Research
  • In the top search field type your domain (semrush.com) and hit enter
  • Ensure that you have selected the right Geography from the tabs just below the search bar
  • This should give you a comprehensive review of the domains Adwords presence – not just keywords, but also traffic and budget estimation, keywords, landing pages etc

You can use this process to dig individually into each of your Adwords competitors in deeper details. The other information about budget, traffic, ads etc could be extremely helpful in improving your Adwords campaign.

Assuming you are SEMRush, you already know your keywords, so now click on the “Competitors” link under “Advertising Research” in the left navigation.

This will show you an extensive list of Adwords competitors and summarised information for their keywords and traffic as shown below.

The competitiveness against each of them is indicated by the blue bar.

Common Keywords: These are the keywords for which both your domain (SEMRush.com) and the competitor domain are ranking for in Google’s paid search results.

Ads Keywords: Keywords the website is buying in Google AdWords for ads that appear in paid search results.

Ads Traffic: Estimated traffic brought to the website via Google AdWords paid search results.
Ads Traffic Price: Estimated budget spent buying keywords in Google AdWords for ads that appear in paid search results (monthly estimation).

SE Keywords: Keywords bringing users to the website via Google’s top 100 organic search results. While this is not exactly what we started looking out for, at times this provide great information about new keywords that can be included in your Adwords campaign.

If you have noticed the above screenshot, you will notice the numbers under Common Keywords and Ads Keywords are hyperlinked.

Now all you have to do is identify the competitors for whom you want to know the keywords and right click on the Ads Keywords number against the competitor name > open in new window / tab.

This should give you the Advertising overview of your competitor’s domain. Scroll down a bit and you can see the list of all their ads keywords.

Notice the “Export“ button on the top right of the table? Click on that and you can export the entire list of your competitor’s keywords into Excel or CSV format. And not just the keywords but you also get all the other relevant information like what is your competitor’s estimated bid for the keyword, which landing page is the keyword mapped to, the competition and volume for the keywords and more. Isn’t it sweet?

But you may ask, I can directly input the competitor’s domain name and get these results, why did we start with our own domain name?

Remember I mentioned to right click and open the competitor’s keywords in a new window? The reason being, now that you have started with your own domain, in one of your browser windows you have the complete list of all your paid search competitors. So all you have to do is, go back to that window,

    • Click on Ads Keywords for all of them ( or as many as you want) and open them in a new window
    • Export their respective keyword list into Excel
    • Club all the Excel files into one and check for which keywords have been most commonly used (on a related note you might find this helpful : How Excel Pivot Tables Can Help in Adwords Campaigns )For example, if you have the data from 5 competitors, one keywords might be used by all 5 of them, 3 keywords might have been used by 4 of them, 2 keywords might have been used by 3 of them, rest of the keywords have been used only by any one competitor.

The keywords that are used by all or the majority of your competitors are obviously the most important ones and you need to counter check if you are missing any of them.

In fact other than the subjective evaluation of keyword intent and quality, ideally each keyword that appears on the list should be looked at as an opportunity and you should compare all those competitor’s keywords against your keyword list to see if there are any missing opportunities.

You also might want to read : 3 Adwords Competitor Research Metrics to Improve your Campaigns

How to Find My Competitor’s SEO Keywords

This is relatively simple. You have to start at the left navigation, Domain Analytics > Organic Research. You can continue the same way as we did for the paid search but as it is typically more difficult to work with too many organic keywords ( good if you can manage to do that), an easier approach would be

  • Identify your top targeted keywords
  • Search for those keywords to identify the top 5 competitors for each one of them
  • Now in SEMrush, under “Domain Analytics > Organic Research, search for the competitor domain names
  • This should give you a list of keywords that they are ranking for and also an indication of what percentage of their traffic is driven by each of those keywords
  • Go through the list / Export and check if there are any major keywords that you are missing

This would also show you the specific page URL that ranks for the keyword – go ahead and check that page to identify what type of content is working for them and what would you need to do better than your competitor.

On a related note, SEMRush also works as a great keyword research tool by itself. You can find the options under “Keyword Analytics”.

While I tried to be detailed in explaining the process to identify the competitor’s keywords, I understand some of it could be a little confusing unless you are using the tool while reading this. Feel free to sign up for the free trial which will allow you to find your competitor keywords, though they will show only partial data even that is pretty decent. Also, there are tons of tutorial videos that you can have access to which shows you exactly how to use this tool to find competitor’s data.

The post What Keywords Are My Competitors Using – This is How You Can Find appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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With businesses pouring in millions of dollars into paid search and more specifically Google Adwords, Adwords competitor analysis tools are getting more and more important today. The four major players dominating the market are – Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage. While all of them are comparable, there is often a debate on which one is the best. It is very unlikely to come out with a clear answer if you compare Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage, however, in this post I am trying to put together some objective data on few parameters and also provide a short subjective review of the tools based on my experience of using them.

Features Spyfu SEMRush Ispionage KeywordSpy
Keyword Base Nothing Specified 800,000,000+ 92,000,000 127,000,000
Domain Base 77,000,000 130,000,000+ 17,000,000 Nothing Specific
Countries Covered US, UK 117 Countries US, UK, Canada 32 Countries
Export Options Yes Yes Yes Yes
Language Support  English English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Polish  English  English
Customer Support Live Chat, Email, Phone US, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Toll Free Phone, Email, Live Chat(Skype) Email, Phone Email & Live Chat
API Access Yes Yes Limited API Access No
Pricing Monthly Packages $49( very limited) – $299 Monthly Packages $99.95 – $399.95 Monthly Packages $69.95(extremely limited) – $299 Monthly Packages $89 – $139+
Free Trial Yes Yes No Yes
Website Spyfu Website SEMRush Website Ispionage Website KeywordSpy Website

The above data provides a basic understanding of the features but is definitely not comprehensive to make a decision, especially if it is the first time you are buying a tool like this. I have personally used all these tools and if you would ask me to pick two from the list I would pick SEMRush and Spyfu and if you ask for one, it would definitely be SEMRush.

Why I prefer SEMRush and Spyfu over the others

The size of the database is not the only thing you should be looking at for buying an Adwords competitor analysis tool. Though SEMRush has one of the largest databases there are other factors that you should be considering.

Over the years of using these tools, I have noticed the effectiveness of such tools also largely depends on what is done with the data – to be more precise what sort of reports are you able to get from the tool. Also, the user interface of the tool is extremely important as it directly affects your learning curve with the tool and also your day to day productivity while using it.

I like Spyfu for the fact that it is really focussed on Search and does a really good job at it, whether you are looking for organic or paid search intelligence. The API functionalities are particularly effective if you are looking to work on large agency level accounts. Also, it is probably one of the most trusted tools by SEM stalwarts in the industry.

My fondness for SEMRush, however, stems from multiple reasons…

a) It is the only competitor research tool that provides data from 29 databases across 27 countries. With all the other tools if you are looking to get data for any other market but the US, you are in for trouble.
b) The interface is super clean and extremely well planned that automatically pushes the users to the next steps.
c) It also provides competitor intelligence on Video ads and Product Listing Ads and has recently launched a Display Intelligence section as well. This is one tool that pretty much serves all your competitive intelligence needs.
d) I have tried running 3 different accounts that I manage personally through these tools and SEMRush returned the most accurate results ( not 100% but very close), followed by Spyfu, KeywordSpy and Ispionage.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experience if you have used any of these tools or if you are looking forward to buying one, I would suggest you get started with SEMRush Free Trial.

Some Updates on SEMRush & Spyfu

It’s been couple years I wrote this post and things have changed, so I have Updated the post again on 22nd April 2017, with some data elements in the table and more importantly, a couple of these tools – SEMRush and Spyfu have launched a lot of new features in this years. While a full-blown review of SEMRush and Spyfu is in order, here is a quick snapshot of some of the new features that have been introduced.

SEMRush Review – New Features

While SEMRush is known for their SEO and SEM competitive analysis features over the last couple of years they have enhanced the search intelligence features extensively as well as introduced a lot of new features across Social Media, Video Ads, Content and PR, Brand Monitoring. Given below are a list of additional features beyond the core Search Marketing competitive intelligence features. You can also read our 5000+ words extensive SEMRush Review & Guide or take a free trial.

SEO Content Template
This is a very interesting feature that is still in Beta but projected to come out of Beta on May 1st 2017. Here you can enter your targeted keyword and the tool will provide you with an SEO template which includes :

  • Semantically Related keywords
  • Some of the domains from where you should be acquiring backlinks
  • Recommended Text Length
  • Readability Score for the Current Top 10 competitors.

These recommendations are based on your top 10 organic competitor analysis. This given an excellent background when you start to create your content for the targeted keywords and could be really helpful for SEO.

A detailed comparison of SEMRUSH vs. Spyfu – which is a better SEO Tool.

Brand Monitoring

  • Monitor your brand reputation
  • Discover New opportunities
  • Track Backlinks

Video Advertising Competitor Research

  • Uncover your competitor’s video ad strategies
  • Discover top advertisers
  • Identify opportunities on how to make money from your videos.

Display Advertising Research

  • Identify Top Publishers and Advertisers
  • Analyze competitors’ display ads
  • Identify New Publishers
  • View Display Ads across devices

Social Media Monitoring and Analysis

  • Keep track of your social media campaigns
  • Research your competitor’s social media presence
  • Visualize data

PLA Competitive Research

  • Identify your Product Listing Ads Competitors
  • Get insights into your competitors’ product feeds
  • See your competitor’s best performing PLAs

I think with all these features been added, SEMRush is becoming a very comprehensive tool to be used across all digital marketing channels and activities and is creating a clear competitive advantage over other similar tools. If you haven’t tried SEMRush still now, you can take a Free Trial here.

Spyfu Review – New Features

Keyword Groupie
This allows you to easily organize keywords into targeted groups. You can start with a list of keywords, the tool will help delete duplicates, add additional data like competition, cost etc and club them into relevant groups. SEMRush also offers a very similar feature called Keyword Magic Tool.

Spyfu Custom Reports
This is a highly useful report if you are an agency. You can not only generate the SEO results or Adwords recommendation report ( Adwords Advisor Report) but you can customize them to make the reports look branded with your agency. You can –

  • Add your logo
  • Remove Spyfu branding from the report
  • Editing the reports to hide any section that you might not want to show to the client
  • Add a consistent theme design across your reports

Unfortunately, Spyfu doesn’t offer a free trial like SEMRush but they do commit to absolutely hassle-free cancellation and the tool is definitely one of the best. You can try Spyfu here.

The post Comparative Review of Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage appeared first on Adwords Consultant India : DigitalSRC.

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