Want to master The Google Search Network, but have no idea how? Wish you could understand how to truly capture your audience on one of the largest global networks to date, but can’t seem to find the starting line? Don’t worry, Chuck Norris wasn’t made in a day…Well, technically he was, but that’s not the point.
Every advertiser knows Google is the place to be; however, just because you’re in the club doesn’t mean you’re leaving with a phone number. Google requires much more attention and sweet talk than the typical advertiser gives it, which oftentimes leads to little returns, broken hearts and lost hope for The Search Network.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know and more to become a true Lucha Libre of The Google Search Network. We’ll start with the basics of what The Google Search Network is, and end with expert tips on how to optimize your advertising efforts and defeat any obstacles that stand in your way.
Get brand new Google ad strategies straight to your inbox every week. 23,739 people already are!
Why Should You Care?
In 2000, Google was handling more than 20 million searches each day on its search network organically. It was this volume that sparked the birth of Google AdWords, which is now triggering over 3 billion searches in a single day. Today, Google is the most widely used platform for over 4 million advertisers globally and over 1.2 million businesses.
If those numbers don’t make you want to jump in on the action, you may want to try reading them again. Not only is The Google Search Network a massive playing field, it has countless advantages for the advertisers that actually know what they’re doing.
Understanding Differences in Networks
Before you can get started in The Google Search Network, you need to understand the differences between Google’s plethora of networks and which direction will be the most beneficial for your account.
The Search Network is a group of websites and apps where an advertiser's ads can show. When a user types a search query, it triggers results on the search engine results page (SERP). These results show up based on the relevancy to the users search query both by organic web crawlers Google puts out, as well as paid ads on the top and bottom of the page.
Campaigns in The Search Network typically have an end goal of users taking an action, such as clicking on your ad or calling your business. The difference with this network is instead of advertising to people who may not actually want to see what you have to offer, these users are hot - and no I don’t mean they’re ridiculously good looking in stretchy pants.
What I mean is the traffic temperature is, as Johnathan Dane says, “Someone Peed In The Pool” warm. These users are typically farther down the funnel in that they’re interested in what you have to offer and may actually want to do business with you.
You know when you’re getting in your daily dose of a good Reddit scroll, you look to the right and see an ad for that product you looked at earlier? Congratulations, you played yourself - You’re now looking at The Display Network.
The Display Network consists of Google websites, partner sites, mobile sites and apps. This network acts more as a demand generator and works really well for brand awareness. Because the users are higher up in the funnel, you’ll need to choose a less aggressive call to action than in other network campaigns.
But this is not the place for Display talk. If you want to learn more about that, you will have to check out Johnathan Dane’s “Master Plan” to getting more conversions in the Display Network.
Benefits of Using The Search Network
What are the benefits of using The Search Network?
- High Intent To Buy. 93% of online purchasing experiences begin with a user search query, according to Marketo. Because the user knows what they are looking for, their intent to buy is through the roof. As long as you show a relevant ad to their search query - it is an easy win.
- Measurable Results. Concerned with where your money is going? Don’t fret. When you advertise on The Google Search Network using Google AdWords, there’s full transparency about where every penny is placed in each campaign. When you look at your Campaigns Dashboard within AdWords, you’ll be able to see amount of clicks, impressions, click-through-rate, cost-per-click, conversions, even cost per acquisition. Google does a good job at allowing you to easily measure your ROAS here.
- Budget Control. Piggybacking off of this - Google gives you control over the budget you set. Whether you’re allotted $20/day or $1000/day, you’re able to set your campaign budgets and ensure that you do not exceed spend.
Setup for Success With The Search Network
Now that you know WHY you should care about The Google Search Network, you may be asking yourself, HOW the heck do I actually begin advertising here? In the following 5 steps, I’ll break down everything you need to know to run a successful search campaign and get the most out of your efforts.
Choosing The Right Path
Now that you know a bit about the different Google Networks, you can have better judgment when it comes to the different campaign types to choose from. Below are a few points to note when choosing a campaign type.
AdWords Campaign Options
Search Network With Display Select
This type of campaign is not ideal for advertisers. When you choose Display Select, Google lets your ads show on the SERP and partner sites, as well as across the Display Network where Google sees fit.
The problem with this type of campaign is that you are giving a lot of control to Google, especially when it comes to the “Display Select” part that they so casually throw on the end there. This could put your ads on relevant sites easily without much work, yes, but it could also waste a lot of money on placements that have nothing to do with your business, such as apps (damn you Candy Crush!).
Google claims this to be the “best option to reach max customers”, but we all know what that really means. That is Google saying, “let me hold your hand as you give me all your money and I stay in control”.
Display Network Only
The title is self-explanatory here. A Display Network Only campaign allows advertisers to show their ads across Google’s Display Network. This is great for top of the funnel campaigns and brand awareness.
If you are or have an eCommerce client, this is a campaign for you. A Google Shopping campaign lets you promote your products and any details they might be interested in on the SERP.
Search Network Only (Standard)
While this is a good start to gaining more control of your campaign, it still gives Google more hand than we would like. By choosing this campaign type, you would be missing out on critical features such as ad scheduling, location settings, dynamic tracking URLs and remarketing lists for search ads, just to name a few.
Search Network Only (All Features)
? KB Approved! Finally, we get to the preferred campaign. By choosing “All Features,” you’re gaining access and control of all the features. Meaning, you have the ability to choose ad delivery methods, implement ad extensions, and also access to mobile settings.
AdWords Account Details
There are a few things that need to be completed before your ads can show up on the SERP. As wonderful as it would be, there’s no magic around to just have them show up. We’ll go through the basics of setting up your account and what you need to consider when creating a Google Search Campaign.
By setting up location targeting, again, you’re holding onto all control over the account. First, you’ll choose which location you would like to advertise to, followed by the options to choose who will see the ads.
You can choose to target “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location” meaning your ad will be shown to anyone who types in your location, has viewed content regarding the location or chosen the location in their search setting. This is the most broad, and what we’ve learned thus far is that’s not typically the most ideal solution.
The next option is, “People searching for my targeted location”. This will show your ads to people who use your location name in their search query.
? And finally, the preferred option, “People in my targeted location”. This shows your ad only to people within your targeted location, which unless you’re trying to build brand awareness on a larger scale, would make the most sense to an advertiser. Why would you pay to show your ads to people you are not able to sell to - you wouldn’t.
Quite possibly the greatest selling point of advertising on The Google Search Network is the fact that you are able to set your own budget. When deciding your budget, it’s easiest to figure out your monthly desired spend and divide that by the amount of days in the month than splitting that between your campaigns.
Once you have your budget, you can set implement it in two places.
Building Your Account
The structure of an AdWords account is quite simple, if you don’t overthink it. You have an account that’s made up of campaigns, which is made up of ad groups, which consists of ads which are triggered by your keywords.
Think of it this way - your AdWords Account is your Google home, it houses all things advertising. In it you have your rooms. Now, you want your rooms to have a certain theme in regards to decor right? I mean, how weird would it look if every wall was a different color?
So campaigns need to be organized by similar themes. Inside your rooms (campaigns...stay with me!) is your furniture. Your furniture is all different, but should still match with the other in the end. Furniture = Ad Groups. I wish I was clever enough to relate keywords to something, however, I am all out of analogies. Keywords are magically matched with a user’s search query, which then triggers the ad it is affiliated with.
Campaigns are the backbone of your AdWords account. When thinking about structure, you should take a look at your website/products and go from there. Meaning, if you sell lucha libre masks, capes, boots and stretchy pants, you should create separate campaigns for each product. This will allow you to organize budgets for each product, as well as see which products are more successful, have higher traffic, and making you more money.
Ad Groups & SKAGs
Each campaign is made up of multiple ad groups which contain a set of keywords that should be relevant to the ad group. At KlientBoost, we preach Single Keyword Ad Groups or SKAGs - meaning, one keyword per ad group. This allows you, as the advertiser, to be extremely granular in your advertising and ad copy.
Because relevancy plays into so many aspects of digital advertising, it’s a good idea to make your ad copy as relevant as possible to your keywords. With SKAGs, it’s easy to make your headline exactly what the customer is searching for.
Keywords are what trigger your ads to show from a user search query. As I mentioned above, Single Keyword Ad Groups should be your new best friend. Google allows 3 Match Types when it comes to keywords, so let’s dive in.
Broad match keywords allow your ads to show whenever a search query includes any of your keywords or related words alike in any order - a bit of a free for all, if you must. This will give you the largest amount of impressions, but it’s not very specific and could give you some traffic you have no business getting, like below:
Typically, it is best to stay away from Broad Match Keywords, unless you are using a modifier.
Broad Match Modified
A broad match modified keyword shows your ads to search queries that MUST include those terms in any order. While this still is not being the most specific, it is a great way to mine for new SKAGs due to the high traffic.
A downside of broad modified is that it could result in higher spend and lower quality traffic.
Phrase match keywords will ensure that your ad only appears when a search query includes the string of words exactly as they’re in AdWords. Meaning, if you’re bidding on “Lucha Libre Stretchy Pants”, the search query that could trigger your ad might read, “Where to find Lucha Libre Stretchy Pants near me”.
This match type gives you much more control on the search terms allowed to trigger your ads, which means your traffic will be more relevant and higher quality.
Finally, Exact Match. This is the most specific you can get when targeting using keywords. When you use exact match, this tells Google, “Do not show my ad to anyone unless they type in exactly what my keyword is”.
This gives you the highest control, and most relevant traffic. The downside? You might not get as much traffic as you would like.
Mobile Search Network
Before you get excited thinking you have mastered the Google Search Network, think again. You have forgotten that nearly 60% of all searches are done on a mobile device, as Hitwise says. By getting a full grasp on mobile search advertising, you can find yourself worlds ahead of other advertisers.
Let’s start back at the basics. You’ll want to create a Search Network Only with All Features campaign, as we always do. Carry on as you would any other Search Network Only campaign -- location, bids, daily budgets, ad creation, etc.
Once you have your campaign created, go into your “Settings” tab.
From there, find the “Devices” tab and set the “Computers” and “Tablets with full browser” devices to -100%. This will ensure that your ads will not be shown on those type of devices.
One thing to note, when dealing with mobile, it’s best practice to keep things short and sweet in terms of ad copy. You want to capture attention as quickly as possible on that small screen.
When choosing keywords, it’s a rule of thumb to use more broad matching and general keywords as mobile users typically enter in fewer keywords than they would on a desktop.
The grand finale of a mobile only campaign is ensuring your beautiful landing page is compatible with mobile devices; otherwise, it will be portrayed as the worst thing on Earth to a user.
Ad Rank & Quality Score
Boom, there you have it. You’re advertising on The Google Search Network. Life is all rainbows and butterflies now. Not quite…Once you have your ads in place and your campaigns set, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make your account stand out from the others. Literally, you actually need your ads to show or else you have done all of this work for nothing.
Let’s see how you can avoid looking like a fool and get your ads on the first page, shall we?
Where your ads show on the Google SERP is determined on your “Ad Rank”. The higher your Ad Rank, the higher up on the page your ads will be shown. How do you know where your ads are showing? Google gives you a handy dandy column called, “Average Position” that shows what position on the page your ad is showing.
Your Ad Rank is determined by various factors within your account tag teamed with your Max CPC. These factors make up what is called your Google Quality Score.
What goes into this mysterious Quality Score? Well, Google has derived a magical proprietary algorithm (as they always do) that calculates a score out of 10 which is then marked down as your Quality Score. This includes your expected Click-Through-Rate, Ad Relevance, Landing Page User Experience, Max Bid, and first born child.
To see where you stand with these metrics, you can view a Quality Score column for specific keywords.
5 Best Practices to Follow
Once you are up and running with your campaigns, you’ll most likely want to begin scaling your business. There’s no better place to do this than on The Google Search Network. Below, I have 5 quick tips that will help you get more return out of Google.
1) Take advantage of your “Settings” tab.
Remember a few minutes ago when we walked through mobile campaigns? Well, let’s dive back into the Settings section.
Here you can create an Ad Schedule which will allow you to begin collecting data based on Day Of The Week or even down to Hour Of The Day if you want to get super granular.
You can implement this practice in the “Locations” tab along with the “Device” tab to make sure your bids are going to the right place.
2) Ad Extensions are your friends, and there’s tons of them.
Now, I am not going to go deep into every ad extension, but I’ll explain the importance. When you apply ad extensions to your ads, Google gives you kudos with your Quality Score. Which means cheaper CPCs, higher positions, and hopefully, more conversions.
What are ad extensions and where do you find them? Well, just like everything else, there’s a nice little tab at the top which will point you in the right direction.
The more types of extensions, the more information you’re able to provide to users who are searching for your product, which in the end means the most relevant ad possible.
3) A/B test ads to find the perfect match ❤️
The best way to know what’s working and what’s not is by testing, and an easy test is between your ads. When testing your ads, this will help know which ad copy variation works best with your targeted audience. It’s best to test one every 7-10 days to allow data to build up (this is dependent upon traffic).
Depending on what metric is most important to you, declare a loser of the set at the end of your testing period and duplicate the winner. From the duplicated ad, change the copy. Maybe this is a new form of CTA, new description or even a new landing page.
4) Negative Keywords can save your life.
Well, that may be a little dramatic. BUT, adding negative keywords to your account can definitely save you a lot of money and heartache. By adding a negative keyword, you’re telling Google, “Do NOT show my ad for a search query that contains this word”. Remember when I talked about that jerk that “hates all the orphans in the whole world”? Well, by creating a negative keyword for the word “Hate”, you could prevent your ad from showing to him.
A better example, if I own a shop and I sell Mexican flour tortillas, I would want to add a negative for the word “corn” to ensure people who are looking for corn tortillas do not see my ads.
To add negative keywords, simply go to your “Keywords” tab and choose, “Negative Keywords”.
Another way to add in negative keywords is by utilizing your “Search Term Report” under the same tab. This report shows you the exact search queries people typed in that triggered your ad. From there, you can choose which search terms are considered bad and add them as a negative keyword to the campaign or ad group level.
5) Remarketing Lists For Search Ads to bring in those on the fence.
Remarketing is a tool that many people forget exists in the search world.
If someone visits your page, leaves, then conducts a search to trigger your ad again, you obviously will want to look good in front of them. It’s like an ex boyfriend/girlfriend; you want to show them what you have to offer and why you’re the best choice they’ll ever find...ever. Well, with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, you are able to do this by increasing your bid on these people. RLSA audiences can be added and modified in the “Audiences” tab.
Wrap Up on The Search Network
I hope that this has helped you at least know how to start your journey. Think of this as a resort course, before doing a deeper dive you need to be familiar with your surroundings and gear. The Google Search Network is no doubt a beast, but with the right tools it can be tamed.
Don’t be one of the many advertisers who do the minimum just to get by. There’s so much more to Google than putting your account on autopilot.
Have additional questions on how to get started? Leave a comment below and I’d love to help you out. If you would like to learn more and really excel at advertising on The Google Search Network, check out our KlientBoost AdWords Academy.