What are Google Search Ads?

Google Search ads appear on top and bottom of Google search results when users look for products and services. Google Search ads are matched to search results pages (SERPS) based on the terms or phrases searched for. You only pay when the potential user clicks the search ad to visit your website or call your business. The total number of search ads for a query will vary from one to seven depending on the popularity of keyword. Search ads are also available on "Search Network" of Google such as YouTube etc., which can be setup in the search campaign settings.

How does Google rank search ads?

Google rank search ads based on AdWords auction of keywords. Competing advertisers bid on their keywords setting the maximum CPC (cost per click) they are willing to pay for a click. This max bid combined with Quality Score assigned by Google’s algorithm determines the position of the appearance of ads on SERP.

The Google Adwords Formula for Calculating Actual CPC in Search Ads

Google Adwords Formula for Calculating Actual CPC

Calculating Ad Rank for Adwords

Ad Rank = Keyword Max CPC bid * Quality score

Calculating Actual CPC
Max BidQSAd RankActual CPC
Competitor A28161.88
Competitor B35152.41
Competitor C43123.34
Competitor D5210MAX CPC

Search ads works with this auction system, which takes place for every search.

Google CPC (Cost Per Click) for Search Ads

Based on the competitiveness and Industry type, the cost per click for a search ad may vary from a few cents to over $100 (Attorney/Legal). Below is the Ad spending across various industries in the year 2016. The figures are in US$ (Billions).

PPC Adspend by Industry-2016

How to Create High Performing Search Ad Campaigns?

Basic requirements for a Google Search Campaign:

  1. Targeted location – The areas where your business serves or delivers products.
  2. Website/Landing page that clearly explain your services/products.
  3. Primary Keywords & Negative keywords
  4. Text Ad creative
  5. Google my Business account (mandatory for local business)

Step – 1

Keyword Research - Identify high performing targeted keywords which will drive in potential customers for your business. We recommend using Google’s planner tool to reach the right customers with the right keywords. Keyword planner tool helps you in discovering new keywords, search trends, search volumes, keyword bidding and much more. You can create a list of converting keywords built on the category of your website, the targeted location, competition and budget.

Google Keyword planner

Refine your keyword list based on search intent, search value, competition & keyword bids. Create theme based ad-groups using keywords for right targeting with best ROI on search campaigns.

Google Keyword planner

Step – 2

Ad Creative for Search Ads – Deliver the right message at the right moment to your customers. Drive qualified leads by writing impressive Ad creative.

  1. Write Unique, compelling Ad copy focused on Customer benefits.
  2. Include Keywords in Ad creative, but do not overdo it.
  3. Do not use boiler plate content, provide right call to actions.
  4. Create different Ad copies to suit respective devices.
  5. Make full use of character limits.
    • Headline 1 : 30 chars
    • Headline 2: 30 chars
    • Description: 80 chars

Text Ad creation

Ad Creative – What Not to do

Excessive punctuation and symbol, exclamation marks will lead to disqualification of ad creative. eg. Hot Sale!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Full CAPS or word by word Capitalization is not recommended

Do not repeat words as a means to emphasize the ad. Ads like “Hot Sale, Hot Sales and More Sales” will be disqualified.

Unnecessary Spacing, double spacing, multiple spacing is a strict NO for ad creative.

Step – 3

Ad Extensions for Search Ads- Ad extensions play an important role in CTR (Click Through Rate) but a very few PPC campaign managers make use of ad extensions to their full potential. With ad extensions you can add a “Click to Call” number, your “Business Reviews & Ratings”, “Show Product Images” and much more.

Types of search Ad Extensions

Types of Ad Extensions

  1. Price Extensions
  2. Call Extensions
  3. Call Out Extensions
  4. Site Link Extensions
  5. Structured Snippets
  6. Review Extensions
  7. Location Extensions
  8. Seller Rating Extensions

Price Extensions – You can setup price extensions for standard product and services. Price extensions will show only if your ad is in #1 position. Please refer to Image -1 where our price extension shows “PPC Service Rates” below the ad. Price extensions are displayed different in desktop and mobile. It can have a headline of 25 characters and a description of 25 characters.

Price extension on desktop

Price extension on desktop

Price extension on mobile

Price extension on mobile

Call Extensions – Call extensions or Click to Call extensions show differently in desktop and mobile. On desktop it shows the business phone number only while in mobile it displays a call button through which calls can be directly made to your business. You can track the results on call extensions by setting up “call Tracking” in Adword reports.

Call extensions for search ads on desktop

Call extensions on desktop

Call extensions for search ads on mobile

Call extensions on mobile

Call Out Extensions for Search Ads – Call out extensions are non-clickable ad extensions where you can describe your product or service more specifically to boost the click through rates. eg: “Free Express Shipping in 3 days”

Call Out Extensions

Site Link Extensions – Site Link Extensions are used to display the major categories of your business. If you sell “Cakes & Flowers” you can have links to Cakes and flower section with a short description of 35 characters. Six site links are allowed in desktop while mobile displays four.

Site Link Extensions

Structured Snippets - Structured snippets provide potential customers a preview of the nature and range of your products and services, thus improving the click through rates. These are just text ad extensions and are not clickable. Structured snippets help the user to understand your product and service better.

Structured Snippets Extensions

Review Extensions – This include third party reviews to be included in the ad and Google have strict policies on what to show and what not to show. Review extensions are best suited for service sectors.

Review Extensions

Location Extensions - Location extensions help potential customers find your business locations by displaying a map, address, or the distance to your business. Location extensions can have a phone number or call button to make direct calls to your business.

Location Extensions

Seller Rating Extensions - Seller ratings extensions is an automated extension type which displays ratings typically when you have over 150 ratings with a 3.5 plus. Google collects the ratings automatically from a reputed list of rating sites such as Google reviews, bizrate, reviews.co.uk, resellerratings etc.

A Detailed Video from Google on How to setup the various ad extensions

Step – 4

Search Ads Campaign Setup To setup a search ad campaign, provide a campaign name preferably with a prefix or suffix “textAds” and select search Network only. Select “All Features” for the Search Network. In the Google search network, select include search partners for maximum conversion.

Search Ads Campaign Setup

Google search partners targeting

Step – 5

Set Location for Search Ads – Setup the locations where your business serves and include areas with close proximity so that your search ads will be displayed to the targeted audience. You can choose to show your ads to only for a small town or the entire world depending on the nature of your business.

Location targeting

Step – 6

Bid Strategy – Setup the bid strategy for adwords with default bid and daily budget. Choose Manual CPC to gain control over your keywords with enhanced CPC. By enabling enhanced CPC in Google search ads, Adwords will suggest to adjust the bids for maximum conversions. Setup a default bid based on the average CPC of your Industry. Choose a daily budget based on the default bid and search impressions.

Daily budget allocation

Step – 7

Delivery Method – Choose the delivery method for search ads to “standard option” which enables the search ads for optimized delivery and spending the daily budget evenly over time.

Ad delivery method

Step – 8

Ad Scheduling – Creating an Ad schedule is very important for local businesses which operate standard hours with weekend holidays. Ads should be run as and when your staff could handle the calls. Ad scheduling for search ads help you to show your ad on certain days, or during certain business hours. You can setup ad scheduling by selecting a start date and end date. Also you can choose the days of your choice and hours of your ad scheduling by selecting the day and time as below.

Ad scheduling

Step – 9

Ad Rotation – When you run more than an ad in search Ads it is important to display the right ad for the right audience. Google Adwords have a special algorithm to determine which ads suit best for the audience from specified demographics, location, time etc. Choose the “Optimize for Clicks” to let Google determine which ads to be shown for maximum clicks.

Ad rotation

Step – 10

IP Exclusions – You may need to filter IP addresses or range of IP addresses that you want to exclude from seeing your ads. You can setup IP exclusions in search ads by clicking the “Edit” in IP Exclusions and entering the specific IP address or wild card to exclude a range of IP addresses.

IP address exclusion

IP address exclusions

How does Search Ads Compare with Display Ads in Google Adwords?

Google Search Ads have a distinctive advantage in certain sectors compared to Google Display Network (GDN). Google Benchmarks and a Hubspot study reveal the following details on CTR, CPC & CVR of Google Search ads compared with Google Display Ads.

CTR – Google Search Ads vs Display Ads

The table below provides the CTR (Click Through Rates) for Google Search Ads and Google Display Ads. As you notice the click through rates for Display ads is much lower than the search networks. This data is supplied by Hubspot (latest update SEP 2017). I have plotted the graph of Search vs Display Ads for an easy comparison.

Average CTR by Industry
IndustryGoogle Display Network(GDN)Search Network
Advocacy 0.52% 1.72%
Auto 0.41% 2.14%
B2B 0.22% 2.55%
Consumer service 0.20% 2.40%
Dating and personals0.52% 3.40%
Ecommerce 0.45% 1.66%
Education 0.22% 2.20%
Employment Services0.14% 2.13%
Finance and Insurance0.33% 2.65%
Health and medical0.31% 1.79%
Home Goods0.37% 1.80%
Industrial Services0.35% 1.40%
Legal0.45% 1.35%
Real estate0.24% 2.03%
Technology0.84% 2.38%
Travel and Hospitality0.47% 2.18%

Average CTR by Industry

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