How to Beat Your Rivals on Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a great tool for driving traffic to your site; but you need to know how to make the most of the system. Many people just find they end up spending loads of money bidding on super-competitive keywords and sooner or later their ads get disabled for under-performing. While your competitors seem to be getting the top spot time and time again! Want to know how to beat them? Read on..

1. Always specify negative keywords. For example, if your product requires payment, include -free as a negative keyword; that way your ad won't be shown to people who include free in their search and you won't have to pay for visitors who have no intention of spending any money!

2. Bid on AS MANY relevant keywords as possible. If you're only bidding on a dozen keywords then you're probably bidding on the same ones as all your rivals and you'll end up having to pay too much per visitor. If you can think of interesting new combinations of keywords that none of your rivals are bidding on, you'll be able to get high up the results very cheaply. Of course, these less common keywords get searched for less often and will therefore bring in less visitors, but because you're paying less, these visitors are potentially more profitable.

3. Try to split your keywords into groups of similar words and then create a separate campaign for each group. In each campaign you can reword your ads so that they are exactly relevant to those keywords. This will dramatically improve the click-through rate. If you Ad contains any of the exact words which the person searched for, then it makes those words bold, and they are more likely to be clicked on. So make sure that each campaign's advert is very closely relevant to the keywords/phrases you bid on.

4. The higher your click-through rate (CTR), the higher you ad will be shown. Even if you are bidding less money than the person above you, if your ad gets a higher CTR Google will show yours higher. If your ad does not get at least 0.5% CTR, google will disable your ad; so do not bid on keywords that are not directly relevant to your adverts!!

5. For every keyword or phrase you bid on, you should also bid on "keyword" and [keyword]. Putting the keyword or phrase into "inverted commas" means that your ad will show any time someone searches for that word/phrase as part of a search with other terms included, putting it in [square brackets], means that your ad will show when someone searches for that phrase and NOTHING else. Google prioritises ads that are closely targeted to what people have searched for, so this will help you get higher up the results.

6. Always run at least two, differently worded, ads for each campaign. Google will automatically show both adverts alternatively, and you can then see which advert gets a higher CTR (i.e. which ad people are more likely to click on). When you've had a good number of clicks you can decide which advert is most effective and delete the less effective one. Then create a new second advert and see if you can get a higher CTR with a different type of wording. This way you are constantly improving the wording on your adverts to make them as attractive and effective as possible.

Steven is part of London web designer Cleartide's team in charge of managing Create a website and 2Clicks.com - the easiest way to build your own website - They specialise in web design, development and strategy.

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