Effective Google AdWords Campaigns – Part 1


Google AdWords is the most popular advertising platform in the world, making Google billions of dollars in avertising revenue each year. When used correctly, Google AdWords is one of the most affordable ways to promote your products or services.

In this series of articles I’m going to explain exactly how you can setup your own profitable Google AdWords campaign from beginning to end. I will only assume you know the basics of Google AdWords. I will teach you:

  1. How to perform effective keyword research, including looking at your competitors ad’s and web sites
  2. How to write headlines and copy for your Google ad’s that will dramatically increase your click through rate and why you must test even the tiniest changes to your ad’s
  3. Why and how you can create multiple ad campaigns for the one product to increase your conversion rate
  4. How to reduce the chance you’ll get “Google slapped” – reducing how much you pay for your Google adWords ad’s in the process
  5. How to write effective landing pages, ensuring you have a “message to market match” and you’re speaking the same “language” as the people who click your ad’s
  6. How and why you should filter your sales process so you can perform follow up pre-sales (via email) to people who click on your adWords ad’s

My goal with this series of articles on AdWords is to teach you not only what I’ve learnt, but to teach you how we use it to drive significant sales of our software every day.

Sound good? Great. Let’s get started

Keyword Research and Segmenting Based On Context

Before you even start a Google AdWords campaign you need to workout which search keywords you want to show your ad’s for. Not all keywords are created the same, and one of the most important things you need before you get started is an effective, relevant list of keywords.

There are 3 ways to find your keywords and they are listed below. Use these techniques to find the 10 most popular keywords relating to your product/service only. We will only use 10 keywords because we’re going to pay close attention to the performance of our ad’s and we will be creating ad’s specifically for just a few targeted keywords. This probably goes against what you’re used to doing or seeing – creating 1-3 ad’s for hundreds or even thousands of keywords – you just accept the keywords Google suggests when creating your adWords campaign, right? Wrong. Don’t do that. Trust me.

Here’s how to find just ten keywords to get started:

  1. Grab a pen and paper and just start writing all the keywords and phrases that come to your mind when you think about your product/service. Just ask yourself: “if I were in my customer’s shoes, which words would I use to find my product/service on Google?”. List as many as you can.
  2. Go to a few of your competitors web sites and look at the text on their pages including title tag text, meta tags and text between H1 and H2 tags. Write down the words that you think people might use to search for your competitor’s products from those you see on their site.
  3. Use Overture’s search suggestion tool to find maybe 10-20 keywords/phrases related to your products/services. For example, if you’re selling funny T-shirts online, enter “funny tshirts” in the search suggestion field and click the blue button. You’ll see a list of keywords along with the number of times that keyword has been searched for on Overture in the last month. Because Google has a much larger reach than Overture, multiply each number by about 10 times – that’s how many times that exact same keyword is searched for on Google each month (approximately):

    Don’t forget long tail search phrases which are search phrases that contain 4 or more words, such as “buy funny tshirts in new york” or “funny simpsons cartoon tshirts”. Most big advertisers ignore long tail keywords and if they are overlooked your ad will automatically show up in first place when people search using these long tail search phrases.

  4. You’ll now have a list of anywhere from 10 to a few hundred keywords or phrases. You now need to rank them in order from most popular to least popular. You should be able to tell which ones are the most popular by using Overture’s keyword tool above and by searching for them on Google. For each search make a note of how many adWords ad’s appear down the right side of Google.
    If there’s more than one page of adWords ad’s then competition is extremely tough for that keyword so you might want to instead turn it from a normal search phrase into a long tail search phrase, such as “funny beer drinking tshirts” instead of just “funny tshirts”.
  5. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, choose the 10 keywords at the top of your list. We will use these on your first AdWords campaign. We’re going to split your 10 keywords into at least 2 groups, based on context. For example, look at the list of keywords below for “windows vista”:

    windows vista
    windows vista screenshots
    buy windows vista
    download windows vista
    purchase windows vista
    windows vista cd
    windows vista vs windows xp
    windows vista demo
    windows vista reviews
    should i upgrade to windows vista?

    By putting the keywords into context I can clearly create 2 separate groups: keywords searched for by people just researching Windows Vista and keywords searched for by people who are ready to buy Windows Vista, i.e. they have already researched Vista, want to install it and are ready to enter the buying phase.

    Here’s how I’d separate the keywords above:

    People researching Windows Vista

    windows vista
    windows vista screenshots
    windows vista vs windows xp
    windows vista reviews
    should i upgrade to windows vista?

    People ready to buy Windows Vista

    buy windows vista
    download windows vista
    purchase windows vista
    windows vista cd
    windows vista demo

    By working out the context in which people are searching for Windows Vista we can easily separate our keywords into 2 groups, which will allow us to create 2 different adWords campaigns: one to target people researching Windows Vista and one for those ready to buy.

    For people just researching, we’ll link them to relevant articles and reviews on our site. For those looking to buy we’d send them to a page on our site where they can order Windows Vista. Don’t worry too much about where to send them yet though. I’ll dedicate a whole article to that later in the series…


In this, the first article in the series on creating high performing Google AdWords ad’s I’ve shown you how to perform effective keyword search and segmentation based on the context in which people are searching for your products/services – in our example I used Windows Vista.

Complete the steps in this article for what you’re trying to sell and in the next article I’ll teach you how to write headlines and copy for your Google ad’s that will generate click through rates well above the average of 1%-2%.

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8 Responses to “Effective Google AdWords Campaigns – Part 1”

  1. Bradley Holt says:

    In your example you have a specific keyword, "windows vista", competing with long tail keywords such as "windows vista screenshots" and "windows vista vs windows xp". If you bid on all of these keywords you would be competing against yourself (AdWords may be smart enough to account for this). You should either bid on only the specific keyword or only on the long tail keywords, not on a mixture of both. If you think about this from the point of view of someone searching, it makes more sense. A search for "windows vista screenshots" would trigger a bid on "windows vista" (because those words are contained within the search phrase) but a search for "windows vista" would not trigger a bid on "windows vista screenshots". For this reason, it's a good idea to look through your keyword list to remove competing keywords.

    [From Mitch: Hi Brad. You'd setup a separate campaign for each keyword, which is what part 2 of the article is about. You're not bidding against yourself by using multiple related keywords, you're increasing the chance of your ad getting shown, and the more keywords you bid on per ad, generally the less relevant your ad becomes.]

  2. Steve Browne says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I have a question for you:
    I've always thought that this type of monetization of a web site was counterproductive to selling your own products. You work so hard to get a prospect to your site, only to send him away to another site for a small amount of change so that someone else can make a sale off the referred prospect. Why would you do that? Why not focus on keeping a prospect at your own site so that you could make your own sale to him at a greater level of revenue than what you earn with Google advertising? Thanks for explaining.

    [From Mitch: Hi Steve. I think you're confusing Google AdWords (shown on Google.com down the right, which the article is about) with Google AdSense (shown on your own site). I didn't mention anything about AdSense in the article. AdWords are used to get people *to* your site, not to send them away. Hope that clears up any confusion]

  3. Joker says:

    Excellent article. It's a good start to SEO. I'm eagerly awaiting your next.

  4. Janet says:

    Thanks for the series Mitch. I think it will be very helpful.

    I have always felt that the results from the inventory.overture tool were heavily overstated. I would take the numbers with a hefty teaspoon of salt. and certainly I would not be multiplying them by 10 to get the actual searches on Google.
    For example, a search on "energy" brought up this keyword phrase:
    "beauty energy enter food force health life loss new raw stratosphere totally weight"
    Number of searches: 4239 (January 2007)
    Even assuming that the tool has scrambled the search phrase I have to consider it VERY unlikely that this has had 4000 searches in a month. You see this sort of nonsense all the time in the results from this tool.

    In the Tshirts example, targeting the long tail will not necessarily cut out the competition. You might have "Buy funny TShirts in New York" but if you also have "Funny TShirts" as a broad match in your keyword list, Google seems to go with the broad match phrase first, not giving you any advantage simply because you also have the longer term on your list. At least that's what we've been seeing in our results.

  5. Barbara says:

    excellent; We hired an ad agency to do our Google campaign and they are doing a terrible job. Marketing is wondering why it isn't working well and this gives me some good ideas.

  6. chris says:

    Great article and looking forward to the rest. Lousy 1-2% click through rates that result in few if any sales. Keep the good stuff coming and looking forward to how we can use email to market to those who click through.

  7. Patrik says:

    In your article you speak about using Overture keyword tools. Is the keyword tool offered from Google not relevant?
    Or what is the advantage of the Overture tool?
    Thanks for your great article and answer.

    [From Mitch: Hi Patrik. The Google one is definitely relevant, I just prefer to Overture one so it's much of a muchness really]

  8. Christopher says:

    Mitch, Enjoyed the article. I have an agency that set up multiple ad groups each of whcih had the exact same keywords in them. In this case are e competing against ourselves?

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