Creating Google Search Ads That Are Better Than Competitors: 5 Field-Tested Tactics

From using keywords in your ad copy to prompting action with strong call to actions and utilising relevant ad extensions, marketing professionals have different approaches to helping their ads stand out. 

But to outdo the competition online, you want to go further than just the basics and apply best practices around the latest PPC techniques. 

So in this guide, I’ve covered 5 field-tested PPC best practices to help you stand out from your competitors and encourage more users to click through to your website. 

5 Of The Best PPC Practices You Need To Know

This list of best practices features tactics you can start using today to rank your ads above competitors’. Let’s start with basic practices and work our way through to more advanced ones. Read on!

1. Using Keywords Strategically In Your Ad Copy

Keywords, the building blocks of any Google Search ads campaign, play a crucial role in making sure your ads are showing up in relevant searches. At Reef, our first best practice is to use the keyword of that ad group throughout the ad copy (within reason). By doing this, Google registers that ad as having high relevance to the keyword and also the selected landing page. 

Below is an example of how we used the keyword ‘gift voucher ideas’ by ensuring it was placed strategically in the ad copy

To derive maximum mileage from the keyword, it was used in several different places within the ad. Here’s a list of where we used the keyword in the Google Search ad above:

  • Headline 1
  • Headline 2 – used ‘gift’
  • Description line 1 – variations of the keyword ‘gift voucher’ and ‘voucher’
  • Path 1 and 2

The reason why we included the keyword where we did is because by having it in these different areas, our relevancy between our ad, the keyword we are bidding and the landing page became higher and the rank of our ad improved in the Google Search listing.

By following this best practice, the highest ad relevancy score of above-average was achieved.

2. Utilising New Google Search Ads Format

One of the next best practices that is important for any digital marketing professional is making sure your Google Search ads are following the latest and greatest formats. To be on top of your competitors, you need to ensure you are in the loop about any new or recent updates. 

For instance, in late 2018, Google released a new and improved format for search ads which allowed you to include 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. Another perk to this update was that you could use up to 90 characters for each description line, allowing more room to include unique selling points and other important information. 

Although headline 3 and description 2 may not always show, it is important to include them in your ad copy as well.

Below is an example of an ad that utilises all headlines and descriptions:

Another new Google Search Ad format that you can utilise is the responsive search ad. It allows digital marketers to be able to serve users with highly relevant content and messaging, and tests various combinations of headlines and descriptions you provide to see which work the best together. 

An example of where a responsive search ad would work is for a new appeal for a charity. By creating an RSA, they would be able to find out which combinations work best for driving donations and use those for their current and future campaigns. 

Another example would be for a new client, that isn’t sure which headlines and descriptions they should use together and use this as a chance to experiment and find out which work best for them and are effective on their audience.

By implementing these into the various accounts we manage here at Reef, we have seen an improvement in traffic and conversions. 

One of our clients achieved these results, from one responsive search ad and has been able to push not only traffic to the website but conversions also, in the form of transactions, as you can see below:


3. The Importance Of Strong Call-To-Actions 

Having strong call-to-actions in your ads is absolutely crucial for driving traffic to your website and promoting conversions. A common mistake marketers make is not incorporating CTAs in the ad copy, which leaves the targeted user with no direction or incentive. And at the other end of the spectrum are ads that use too many CTAs that confuse the reader and prompt them to click on a competitor’s ad instead. 

However, depending on the client, call-to-actions vary and must be relevant to the product, service and your specific goals. 

A best practice for any Google Search ad is to include strong relevant call-to-actions in both your headlines and descriptions or at least one of either. 

Here’s an example of what I mean by having different call to actions, specifically for headlines, based on different goals:

If your client was a mattress company, and their aim was to push mattress sales, in your headlines you would feature call-to-actions around buying or purchasing like ‘Buy Your Mattress Now’ or ‘Purchase Your Own Online’. 

However, if their goal was to drive calls from ads to make over-the-phone orders, you would incorporate call-to-actions like ‘Call Us Today’ or ‘Call Now To Order’. 

When it comes to descriptions, you want to pique people’s interest with your unique selling point or other points of interest. However, it is also important you push your audience to take some kind of action, therefore a call-to-action is the perfect element to add to do this. 

Using the same example of a mattress client and the mattress sale goal, a unique selling point of theirs is that they are Australian-owned and tailored to supporting you while you sleep. 

A CTA-driven description they would use could be:

Australian Owned And Proud, Give Yourself The Gift Of Sleep. Buy Your [Brand Name] Mattress Now. 

Adding a strong call-to-action to your ads will give you a competitive advantage online by giving your users the direction they need to take. 

4. Relevant Ad Extensions Are Key 

There are so many options when it comes to ad extensions, but the question is, do you know what each one is and what they do? This section will give you a brief overview of the main types (sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets) and what each one is, their purpose and provide an example of them in practice. 

Sitelinks

To put it simply, sitelinks are what are used to drive your audience to other specific pages on your website, other than the ad’s main target landing page. 

When someone clicks on a sitelink, they are automatically taken to the specific page which tends to provide additional information or provide another opportunity for the audience to convert. This type of extension is important for clients that want to have other important areas of their website featured. 

If you include sitelinks in your ads, they will help boost the click-through-rate of your ad overall as they present other points of interest for the audience, giving you more ad real-estate than your competitors.

Here is a visual example of sitelinks:

Callouts

Callout extensions are offers or unique selling points that are promoted and visible to users after the description lines. Their purpose is to highlight what your business offers within 25 characters each and ensure your product or service is seen as more desirable than competitors. Therefore, these are also a crucial element to add to any Google Search ad. 

Below is an example of how callout extensions are used towards the end of the description section.

Structured Snippets

Similar to callout extensions, structured snippets are used to highlight specific aspects of your product or business. They typically show beneath your expanded text ad and appear as a header with a list of values. 

The main categories that you can choose from for your header are:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Product models
  • Service catalogues
  • Shows
  • Styles 
  • Types

For example, if you were a travel insurance company, you could use the header service catalogues and list the type of insurance cover you offer e.g. cruise, adventure. 

Although they are similar to callout extensions, they offer audiences more insight into the type of offerings your business provides and can also help improve your click-through-rate (CTR) of your overall ad.

5. The Power Of The Countdown & IF Functions

Not sure what either of these is? Well, they are both pieces of code that are added to ads to serve different purposes.

Countdown Functions Add a Sense of Urgency in Your Ad

Countdown functions are used to add in countdown timers to ad copy. They are apt for any ads that need to create a sense of urgency and compel audiences to complete a certain action. 

For instance, if you’re a charity, you could use countdown timers in your tax appeal ads to drive more EOFY donations. To create and push the need to make a donation before June 30th, you could incorporate a countdown timer, a certain amount of days out, to act as a reminder for audiences interested in donating. 

Another example would be if you were having a sale and wish to create the urge to buy the product while the sale is on. You could implement sale-related ads with countdown timers e.g. Sale Ends In (Countdown Function).

Here’s an example:

IF Functions Show Specific Copy based on Device or Target Audience

Overall, they show specific headlines or description lines based on either a device or target audience, and there are two broad types of IF functions:

  • Devices IF Functions: Are used to show different messaging, based on whether they view the ad on a mobile or computer device. Since mobiles are generally smaller screens, a shorter to-the-point description line would be used, compared to a computer which can allow a longer description line to be shown. 
  • Audience IF Functions: This type of IF function is utilised by clients who wish to present different messaging based on the type of users. To put this in an example, if a client wishes to have a specific message to people that have previously visited their website, they can with audience IF functions. If a user is outside this audience group, a different, more general type of messaging can be shown to them.

By incorporating any one of these types of functions into your Google Search ads, you are more likely to stay ahead of competitors that don’t utilise these tools. You will be able to target people based on their devices, an audience group and be able to entice them and create a sense of urgency to buy your product or use your service. 

There you have it, with these 5 best practices for Google Search ads that I have discussed in this blog post, you will be smashing it in the auction insights and trumping your competitors! 

To learn more about how we put the world’s most powerful PPC channels to full use, visit our PPC and Google Ads services page.

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Creating Google Search Ads That Are Better Than Competitors: 5 Field-T…

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