125 – How to use Google Ads to Boost your SEO services
Hello, and welcome to this episode of RetainFM. My name is Pete Everitt, and it is brilliant to be back in 2021.
Before we do anything else, let me wish you a very very happy new year. It’s been a year like no other, it will probably be another year like no other. But that’s not the point, I really hope you have had a wonderful break that you’ve come back to work after the festivities refreshed and you celebrated in whatever way you could do to the local restrictions, etc. in your area. More than anything, though, I hope that you’re safe and well. And welcome to the other side!
So the podcast is back. And it’s going to be just as good as it ever was!
The plan is still exactly the same, we will be interviewing some brilliant guests, we’ll be looking at lots of different techniques, lots of different ways that you can help build your agency through recurring revenue and the the tactics that we we use in our agency. The processes that we use at SEOHive, etc, etc, in order to help you build your business and find better clients.
And with that in mind today, what I want to talk to you about is how we use Google Ads in order to boost SEO. And by that I don’t necessarily just mean by actually running ads, but how we use the Google Ads tools in order to help the SEO that we supply to clients.
You see, Google is one that Google Ads even is one of the main income streams for Google. And because of that, the data that is held within the Google Ads platform is super accurate. It’s invaluable. And frankly, if you’re not using it, when you’re either doing some keyword research or optimizing SEO campaigns, or whatever it might be, then frankly, you’re missing out on a trick.
So what I wanted to do today was to give you my top 12 tips for how we use Google ads and their tools in our SEO retainers. And basically, that falls into two camps…
So the first we have is the actual tools in Google ads and how we use those. And then the second six are actually some practices that we have, if we’re actually running some ads and how we use those to optimize for SEO.
So firstly, the tools within Google Ads itself. Now the first thing maybe I should mention is that Google Ads is the way that Google largely makes a lot of its revenue. And the way that it does that is by charging a premium for the ads that appear at the top of the screen. Now in order to charge a premium for those ads, what the Google algorithm is designed to do is make the next results, so the top organic results, the best results that it can find on the internet.
Only when it does that can then start to squeeze higher and higher prices for those ads that appear above it. So, knowing all that, and bearing that in mind means that if you’re running keyword research, and you are not including the cost per click metrics in the keyword research, whether you get that from Google itself, which is my sort of number one tip or tool in Google is to actually use the cost per click data. Whether you get it from Google is Google itself, or whether you use something like SEMRush or Ahrefs to get that information, is a little bit irrelevant. But you do need to make sure that you’re including cost per click data in your keyword research. And that’s because it’s not only that Google can charge that money, it’s because some people are paying that money.
You can guarantee if you’ve got two keywords that are either maybe variants on the same theme or, or very closely related somehow, but one of them is being charged a far higher cost per click than the other, then nine times out of 10 or even 99 times out of 100. That is because that higher price term has more conversions than the lower priced one. So you need to make sure that you’re including cost per click in your keyword research.
The next thing you can do is use the keyword tool in Google Ads to find related and all long tail keywords. And one of the great things about the Google Ads platform whilst it isn’t very pretty to use and there are a lot of clicks involved. It is very simple to either plug in an existing keyword or top level keyword or theme that your client wants to rank for, or even a domain name and then cascade all of the related terms out from there. So that’s the second tip, you find related and or longtail keywords using the keyword tool.
Then we have the traffic estimator. Now this one I put within tools because it is a tool that’s in Google Ads, but it does work a lot better if you are running ad campaigns, because then it will feed in your data for keywords, rather than just simulated data. But it does work both ways round. And basically, the traffic estimator lets you see the estimated clicks, impressions and costs for any given keyword, and therefore its relations. If you build up those lists through the keyword tool, and then go into the traffic estimator, you can start to get a feel of which of the good variants which are not so not so great variants of keywords, and start to compare complete that strategy, so that you are giving a holistic result back to your client.
The next tool that we always use is the placement tool. Now, the placement tool is interesting and is driven by AdSense. It’s part of the Google Display Network. And the reason we do that isn’t so much for the keyword side of things, but as a potential source of finding links. And this is a technique that I’ve mentioned to a few people and they’ve gone “You do you do what now?!” But actually the Google algorithm is there to put ads that are on the Display Network into the most relevant places on the internet to try and drive those clicks back to the target website.
Those websites are obviously open to having External links because they’re running AdSense, surely they’re used to people visiting, they’re visiting their website and then clicking off somewhere else. Now, okay, by running ads through AdSense, there’s normally some kind of financial incentive to the website owner, the website host in order to get those ads to display. But you know what, actually distilling the list of websites where Google would display an ad, and you know, either approaching them putting them on a target list using a tool like hunter or something like that, to find some contact details, you can just find some gems of URLs that you can obtain backlinks for even if you have to pay a small fee for the backlink. And as long as you’ve done your due diligence, there’s not a problem in doing that.
Don’t ever go and buy packs of links, absolutely not. But you know, paying a fee to a website owner is not a problem. Or maybe you need to create a piece of content, a guest post or something like that. But it’s an easy way of finding websites that are open to the possibility of link building, even if you then need to do a bit more legwork moving forward. So that’s Tip number four.
Tip number five, the opportunities tab. Now, this really does only work if you’ve gone and filled in the ads themselves. Now, we’ll get on to using ads to test meta titles and descriptions and stuff in a minute, so I’m not going to go into that in too much detail. But filling in the ad details, and then getting the opportunities gives a great source of breadth and depth to your strategy. And maybe just throws up a few things that you haven’t thought about.
There’s a number of these tools down, we’re at tip number five, that and really also help you understand how Google interprets something. And I don’t know how you find it with clients. But we often find that particular clients that work in particular niches, or very drill down focused industry or something like that, they often have nuances to the ways that Google maybe understands particular terms.
We used to work for a company that worked in water purification by reverse osmosis, but they only did it for industrial clients. So it was important for us to understand how Google understood the terms reverse osmosis and water purification. Because if you go and Google those terms, you’ll get sent to Amazon and places like that for household water purifiers. And that’s exactly what our client didn’t do.
So it was really important that we understood how Google was understanding those terms, so that we could then advise our client correctly. That’s not to say that we then went and created a whole lot of content about household water suppliers, absolutely not. But it helped focus our minds and our strategy down onto the things that were actually going to help the client. So the placement and the opportunities tab, even things like the related keywords, they then start to not only help you with the research that is going to help your client, but also with help you with the research that is going to help you advise your client correctly and steer away from the things that aren’t relevant to them.
And then finally, the sixth tool within the Google Ads platform that we use is the contextual targeting tool. Now this is designed again for the display network but gives you ideas of groups of keywords for either display or text ad campaigns. So this is maybe where you then start to take your keyword research one step further. And this isn’t about just creating a list of words, but starting to build those keywords into pillars and clusters. So that again, so that you’re taking the information from Google’s algorithm and applying that directly to your clients work.
And this is where you start to move from a service that is delivering SEO to a consultant that is actually interpreting the data and starting to give advice. And the contextual targeting tool really helps us in that part of the keyword research and strategy and gives us the legs to stand on to say “No, we really think you should be doing it in this way. And these are the reasons why.”
So they are the top six tips for the tools within Google ads. And a very quick overview as to how we use them, particularly in our keyword research process.
So now some practices… And to be perfectly clear, and to reiterate it again, these only work if you are actually running some ads.
So the first is segments, and particularly segments on match types and device types. So when we go and put keywords into Google ads to actually run some ads, we won’t hardly ever use broad match, I’ll be perfectly honest.
So there’s three different match types. For those of you that weren’t aware within Google Ads broad match means that it will, your ad could display matching any word within that terms, if you’ve got a term with two or three words in it, any individual word could show your ad. And that’s of course the broadest scope. And it’s likewise it gives the widest reach but maybe not the most targeted, you then have a phrase match.
So phrase match is where the key word that you put in has to appear exactly as that phrase, but it could have something else before or after it. So if your phrases training shoes, then it would display for red training shoes, or brown training shoes or blue training shoes. And or it could display for training shoes for men, for example, something on each end.
And then the final standard match type is exact match. And that is where it is exactly that term that you put in, we normally do a mixture between phrase match and exact match depending on the types of keywords and length of keywords that we’re putting in.
There isn’t anything wrong with putting in the same keyword in different match types. And then getting the data off which variant has basically loaded them the best results lead to the most conversions.
So segments based on match types, but also device types. Because it’s really important to know whether we are dealing with users, larger mobile devices or tablets, that hardly ever happens on actual desktop browsers. And you know, we can then start to optimize UX and etc, based on that data rather than the clients telling us. The other thing I would say is that whilst you can get that data through from Google Analytics, we found that the data that you get from Google Ads, if you’re spending the money on it, is a bit more accurate. And it does give you more information surrounding the user’s journey than purely basing it on Google Analytics. And if you’re paying for it, and it’s there, Hey, why don’t use it.
The second thing, and I touched on this earlier, is to test meta titles and descriptions. So you simply write the ad with the meta title as the ad copy and the meta description as the ad description and see how it goes brilliantly within Google Ads, they already have a be testing and in place, you can build up a whole number of ads within a particular ad group, and just see how they go. And when you’ve got a reasonable sample of data – and by reasonable sample, I mean into hundreds of clicks, not just a few dozen – then you can start to make decisions about how you’re going to apply that into your organic pages.
Click through rates on ads, this kind of hits with the item above to do with ad copy. But you know, where are you getting your clicks, clicks through? Where what are the what are the ads that are performing the best, more the point than just the clicks though is you also then need the conversion rate. So it’s click through rate leading to conversion rates, you can have a great click through rate on particular keywords. But if those people don’t enquire at the other end, then sort of what was the point?
So yeah, you need to put that in the context of actual inquiries or sales or whatever the metric is for that client. And as it’s coming through, we then look at click through rate on keywords.
So again, this is exactly what I was saying before about researching the keywords, put some of them to the test if you’ve got a straw poll between two or three keywords – as the consultant, it doesn’t really matter to you which one we use, it’s all to do with which one performs the best for the client.
So by putting them to the test using Google ads, let the data speak for itself and find the most appropriate most converting keywords. And they are the ones that we then prioritize within our SEO strategy, and then use the other keywords or supporting variants, etc, etc.
Tip number five (can’t believe we’re at five in this section already!). That’s Tip Number 11 overall!
Retargeting to organic prospects. So this is to help with your organic conversion rate. Rather than just showing ads to cold traffic, show ads to slightly warmer traffic. And you can set that as a medium and incoming medium of organic. So that means that the retargeting ads that you will show either mainly normally through the Display Network, granted, but they will only be shown to people that have found you through organic search.
So you can, if your job as their SEO consultant is to prove or to deliver leads based on organic search, help support that role with some retargeting ads!
And the last one and this one’s a bit of a biggie is to look at the search query data. Now that is a list in Google Ads, that shows you all of the terms that have been typed in that your ads have shown for and you can filter by ads, or keywords, or ad group or whatever. Now, this is the data that you’re missing. This is the data that used to be in Google Analytics, and they removed it. They do have a version of it in Google Search Console, but it’s not great. It’s not as reliable. So, if you’re not running ads, go for Google Search Console every time – it’s better to have something than nothing. But if you’re paying for the ads, go and get the up to date highest quality data that Google has to offer. And that is the search queries within your ads.
Because of all the reasons I mentioned earlier about how Google makes money, go and look through there. And the things that we want to pick up from those queries isn’t just about the target keywords, but look at the types of language that are being used and help that to inform the new content that you create moving forward.
For example, I mentioned this client before we work with a telecommunications company, and they’re a relatively small regional telecoms company. They don’t want to compete in places like London, or, you know, Edinburgh, the whole sort of whole breadth and stretch of the UK. They have their own patch within Yorkshire and Derbyshire. And that is where they want to serve.
Through the Google search, and the search query data that we got from Google Ads, we could see that the types of language that were being used were things around advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons, this versus that. So we started creating content for them about the advantages and disadvantages of leased lines, and the advantages and disadvantages of fibre to the cabinet and fibre to the cabinet versus fibre to the premises. All of these things that were based on their keywords, their keyword research, but in the sort of context of the search queries that we were seeing from Google ads. And those articles are now the biggest drivers of inquiries to that telecoms company, simply because we looked at the data and looked at the context surrounding the data and let that inform our strategy. So that’s how we use search query data.
I really hope you found this episode useful. I’d love to know if you’ve got any other tips for how you use Google ads in your own SEO, and deliverables and your own SEO processes. So head on over to our Facebook group, www.peteeveritt.com/group or search Facebook for RetainFM, and you’ll you’ll find us there. And let’s have a discussion and see if we can help more agencies to use the free data from Google ads and the tools that are at hand in Google ads to help them deliver high quality SEO for their clients.
I look forward to seeing you next time. My name is Pete Everitt. Goodbye.
Main talking points include:
- Including Cost Per Click (CPC) data in your keyword research
- Finding related and / or long-tail keywords
- Traffic Estimator to assess competition levels – This lets you see estimated click, impression, and cost metrics for a given keyword. Your own Google Ads data is more accurate than any of Google’s tools, and in many ways this is similar to looking at volume and competition in the keyword tool, but these estimates can give you an idea of competition (higher costs are partly driven by advertisers competition) and relative volume.
- Placement Tool – a unique source for link propsecting – driven by adsense
- Opportunities Tab – a good source for finding breadth in your strategy
- Contextual Targeting Tool – The contextual targeting tool is also designed for the display network, but gives you ideas for groups of keywords to create for display campaigns. Since the tool is designed for the display network you want to proceed cautiously in analyzing the suggestions, but you can often come up with some good ideas for themes – either buckets of keywords to target on a single page or a collection of content to create.
- Segments for search match types and device types
- Ad Copy – to test meta titels and descriptions
- CTR on Ads
- CTR on keywords
- Retargeting to organic prospects
- Search Query Data
Join our Facebook Group!