Scaling the mountain to the coveted #1 spot on Google with PPC can be done in 2 ways; you can pay your way to the top or write your way to the top. The oversimplified formula for ranking is ($bid) x(Click-Thru Rate%), which means Google will rank an ad with a $2 bid and a 1% CTR lower than an ad with a $1 bid with a 3% CTR. So you will get more opportunities and pay less for each with a good ad.
This formula plus an estimated and undisclosed 100 other factors, will determine where your ad shows up for your keyword. The most important of these ‘other’ factors is certainly the copy. And since copy will definitely influence your click-thru rate… it counts double, easily making it the single most important component of your PPC program.
4 Rules For Writing Your Way to The Top of A Local Search on Google
1. Include keywords in the title of the ad (25 characters).
2. Write a 70 character sentence (I like sentences at the top) or 2 phrases less than 35 characters each and try and weave the keywords in logically to the copy. Consider the user first, write good copy and then see if there is a word you can change to the keyword.
3. Include the geography in the ad.
4. The copy you write in the ad is also above the fold on the landing page.
Rewrite the Keyword In Your Headline
Including the keywords in the headline is the easiest thing to do but it’s not always done. I understand that people want to get creative, but this is not the place to do it. Not in a local search anyway. The most you can really do is add an adjective like professional or award winning plus the keyword. Don’t use anything you can’t back up like best or award winning unless you can prove it and do prove it on your landing page. Google monitors such claims. The other thing you may want to do is include the geography here.
Examples of headlines I might use for a Landscaper in Danbury Connecticut for the query Landscaper in Danbury.
Danbury Landscaper or
Very easy right? Not so fast… here is where it gets hard, not hard like calculus, hard like elbow grease. You should set up ads for each keyword a user may type in. So, if the query changes to Landscape Contractor, consider having a different ad with Landscape Contractor as the headline. It just takes some good old fashioned hard work to write the ads for each keyword and Google’s Keyword tool to make sure you are targeting the right keywords. Write separate ads for at least the most common phrases plus your geography. (You geo-targeting, in which case I would not use the geography in the copy… google will put it in for me.)
70 Characters to Motivate
Now that we have the headline, we need to write some copy for the ad, only 70 characters and so much to say. Before we get started, however, we need to check the landing page. Is there anything we can get from the landing page that would make good copy for the ad? There is… ok… good just rewrite it so that it makes sense in the PPC ad format. This is important because any copy that is in your ad should also be on your landing page… if it is not, your potential customer will not trust you or just get irritated. Either way the ad will not convert and your #1 position will be wasted.
If you have no copy on the landing page that works, re-design your website. I don’t mean to over complicate this; but if you cannot find 70 characters on your landing page that will motivate people who are in the market for your service to choose you, you need to re-write the copy on that site. No way around it. Answer these 2 questions and you’ll be fine: Why should I choose you over the competition? and What are the benefits of doing business with you?
You may consider putting geography here if not used in the title, such as ‘Serving Danbury For Over 20 Years’.
So at this point the ad might look something like this:
Landscape Design & Construction
Serving Danbury For Over 20 Years
This ad is a little generic, so I’m not crazy about it; but I was able to logically weave in all the keywords for the query and got Landscape in twice, that will help when Google decides where to rank the ad initially. This ad is likely to be very near the top of the page right away with a competitive bid (ads cannot get placed in the top spots on the left until they are approved- will take a few days). With a good landscape construction job being worth upwards of $15, 000 you should expect to pay a couple of bucks for a click and consider it a bargain.
For ideas on writing even better ads look through the direct mail that comes to your house. Get ideas for headlines, especially from the pieces that are done professionally. Also, look through your val-pak or super coups and see if there are many advertisers from your industry. If there are that indicates that coupons work well for your industry and that an offer might work well in your ppc ad, as well.
You can put discounts in your ad, like $1oo off for new customers, as long as the offer is restated within 2 clicks of the landing page. Than your ad might look something like this:
See Your Landscape Before You Dig
Free Computer Assisted Design
Than on the landing page you’ll want to explain that offer or have a prominent link to a coupon for that offer.
I’m not in love with this second ad but I’m not really worried too much about it. I’ll split-test one against the other and the loser will be gone in a short time anyway. I’ve warmed up to ads real quick that I wasn’t crazy about initially when they started producing double digit click thru rates.
Include Your Geography Somewhere In The Ad
Now I have one last problem with this second ad… there is no geography in it. That will hurt the ad… I need to fix it. I have run into this problem before, with only 3 lines of copy to play with… it’s bound to happen.
I’m going to fix this problem for only $8 by chuggin’ on over to godaddy.com and buying another URL. What URL I buy will depend on my service area. If I only service the city of Danbury I will purchase DanburyLandscaper.com. But if I service the whole county, I will purchase FairfieldCountyLandscaper.com. It’s not quite as good as just Danbury for this query but otherwise I would have to buy more than 60 Urls, so it’s going to have to do. There is a couple of other benefits with purchasing the county url: the ad will crank for county searches in fairfield and it will allow me to put some geography that isn’t redundant into my geo-targeted ads.
The next thing I have to do with this url is 301 redirect it to my site. This sounds complicated but I promise it isn’t. GoDaddy does the work for you. Purchase the domain, then click on Manage Domain>Forward>and you get to this screen:
Simply put the radio button on 301 moved permanently and type your url including http:// into the box.
You must 301 redirect the ad to your site or you could create problems for your site in the organic results.
If you purchased fairfieldcountylandscaper.com, make sure that at the top of the landing page it says… Serving Fairfield County or some such thing for the reasons discussed above. Also don’t be surprised if some of your keywords for the county search, a very popular query, start exceeding 20% after a little split testing.