by Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks

Google Adwords is a must for any small business. It’s an essential tool to reach local audiences and is infinitely scalable. You decide exactly how much to spend, what keywords to choose, and what targeting to use. When used with a bit of know-how, Google Adwords offers some of the best ROI in advertising for both big and small businesses. If you aren’t sure where to begin, Google makes it easy, go to


Include Location Based keywords/Use Geo Targeting

Most small business depend on business they get from their community, consequently you need to make sure you are targeting people searching for goods and services in your area. At the very least, bid on keywords that have your specific good and service and your city and state. For instance if you are a sushi restaurant in Oakland, you would want to bid on search queries that contain sushi and Oakland California. Also bid on neighborhood keywords– if you are in the Temescal area, bid on queries with sushi and Temescal.

Geo targeting allows you to target only those areas you wish. Depending on the kind of business you run, this can be very helpful. In the example above, it probably wouldn’t be prudent to bid on “sushi restaurant” nationwide, but to it would be worth it to bid on everyone searching for sushi restaurants in Oakland or the Bay Area.

Always Expand Your List of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are words or phrases within a search query that you don’t want to trigger your ad. Again using the example above, you may want to bid on all search queries for sushi in Oakland, but have a negative keyword of “classes.” Most likely someone searching for classes on how to make sushi is not your best prospective customer. Negative keywords are a crucial way to make sure you are driving the right people to website to increase revenue, but it takes constant experimentation and tweaking.

Make Sure a User Knows Why they Clicked on Your Ad Once They Reach Your Website

It’s crucial that once someone has clicked your ad, that they don’t get confused by the page they land on and think they have clicked on the wrong ad. This decision will happen in less than a second. Companies with larger budgets can invest in custom landing pages tailored to ad groups. If you don’t have the budget for that, at least make sure that the basic good or service you promoted in your Adword ad is very prominent on the page you send them to, very often your home page. The next step you want prospective customers to take should also be clear. Should they call you for an estimate? Make sure they see your phone number at a glance. Should they come to your restaurant? Make sure your address is very visible.

Use Scheduling

Who is your target audience? Are they businesses looking for consultants or are they foodies looking for a good meal that evening? The first group is going search for your business during business hours, while the other is going to do their searching in the evening. Once you know your target, you can concentrate more of your budget on the times they are most likely going to search for what you offer.

Remember Adwords is Always Changing

Google is constantly tweaking the algorithm it uses to determine the quality score of your ad and thus your how much you pay. A campaign that gave you a very high quality score at one time, may not work as well a bit later. Google won’t tell anyone when it has changed it’s algorithm, and their are always a variety of factors that determine an ads success in such a dynamic environment. But an evolving algorithm is just another reason to constantly adapt.


Set a High Budget Until You have some Experience

It is important to start small, experiment and then expand slowly. No one can tell you exactly what will work for each business. There will be some trial and error and without knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, it is easy for costs to expand quickly. So, set a low daily and monthly budget in the Adwords system to start with.

Focus Just on Traffic

All Adwords traffic is not created equal. It is one thing to drive people to your site, it is another to drive the right people to your site and get them to buy something or come to your location.

If you see an increase in traffic, but no increase in business, it means there is either something wrong with your ad (driving the wrong people) or something wrong with your website (you are driving the right people, but something about the website is confusing your customers). If you are selling your product on your website, it is is extremely important to make the check-out process as easy as possible.

If you sell a service, make sure visitors know exactly what your service is on the first page they see and that your contact information is impossible to miss.

Constantly tweak your keywords and your ad wording to maximize customers rather than traffic.

Expect Good Results without Constant Managing and Tweaking

You really have to look at your Adwords account everyday. You have to monitor trends and then make changes to get the most from them, otherwise you will just be wasting your money. That said, it doesn’t have to consume your day. Unless you investing thousands of dollars a week, a half an hour a day should be enough, often less.

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