Outwit, outsmart, outspend? It sounds like a Survivor throwback, but when it comes to dealing with competitors on Google Ads, you don’t have to spend more to win. In fact, with a few brilliant tactics, you can not only keep tabs on what they’re doing, but also minimize the chances that they can do the same to you.
Here are a few of our smart Google Ads strategies that will put you ahead, and leave your competitors wondering what happened.
Focus on User Experience First
We look at the websites of local jewelry stores daily. One common thread is that 90% of the time, jewelers do not follow best practices when it comes to proper SEO and overall site structure. Today, Google is most concerned about user experience, which is now affecting how your website is placed on search engines. The tool for measurement is ultimately bounce rate. Your bounce rate is measured by how many people click on your listing or ad and leave quickly. The more people leave the page quickly, the higher the bounce rate.
Best practice for reducing bounce rates and improving your user experience is creating landing pages that provide information about the individual product or service that you want to promote. For example, if a user is searching for an individual product or service that they are interested in but land on a page that talks about multiple products or services, that page is not as relevant to the search they typed in. This ultimately results in high bounce rates.
Additionally, we have to think about each stage of the buyer's journey. Most of your website traffic are people that are just doing research or even in the "Awareness Stage". You should be providing helpful information on your landing pages. Most jewelers tend to overlook 90% of their audience and are only catering to the 10% that are in the buying stage.
What is Good for Organic SEO is Good for Google Ads
When you follow best practices for SEO, Google Ads performs best. Proper SEO structure is also having a dedicated landing page for every keyword you want customers to find you for. For example, if you are a local jewelry store that sells engagement rings, you want to be found when someone types in "Engagement Rings in Kansas City, MO" (replace the location for wherever your store is). There are two ways you can be found when someone types in that search term. One is through Google Ads and the other is through organic (non-paid).
If you are not showing on Google and other search engines in prominent position on the keywords you want to be found for, you are most likely not incorporating the proper SEO structure, which is ultimately going to require you to spend more on Google Ads because Google looks at your landing page relevance for each campaign you run. Google Ads gives you a grade called a "Quality Score". The higher the quality score, the more prominent you can show, even if you are spending less than your competition. This is probably the most important takeaway of outsmarting your competitors on Google Ads.
Additionally, proper structure can follow a simple formula:
- Put your keyword in your title tag
- Repeat that same keyword in the first sentence of your meta description
- Repeat the keyword in your H1 (your largest text heading size)
- Repeat the keyword in one or two of your H2's (your second largest text heading size)
- Pepper the keyword throughout the content on the page
In order to make sure you have this all set-up properly, there are many tools you can leverage which can ensure you are indeed following this formula. If you use Google Chrome, add the Moz Bar chrome extension and you can do a page analysis. If your site is built on WordPress, Yoast is a great plugin that can alert you if you are not following the proper structure.
The better your on-page SEO, the better your Google Ads will perform.
Spy on Your Competitors Without Letting Them Spy on You
This sneaky trick requires knowing your competitors’ email addresses. Even if you only have one, you can check the header to figure out what IP address the email is coming from. Then, in the campaign settings of Google Ads, you can block your competitor’s range of IP addresses.
Not only will this minimize (if not completely eliminate) issues with them clicking on your ads to raise the price you pay, but it will also make it harder for them to be able to see your marketing activity, and therefore throw a wrench in the gears of any planning they might do to get around it.
Take Advantage of the Flexible Bid Strategy
Google Advertising has two main purposes: to make money for Google and to keep information relevant to consumers. To that end, one of the little-known settings in your ad account is the option to use the “flexible bid strategy”. The goal of building this kind of strategy is to put your ads above those of your competition.
This mode also lets you optimize bids in real-time so that you can aggressively target and hopefully attract those customers that are searching for the very things that your competition wants to outrank you on.
There is one caveat to this strategy, as well as other ad strategies profiled here. Although it seems like low-hanging fruit, don’t just target your competitor’s brand name. In the past, this might have given you the lion’s share of impressions. But today’s Google Ad platform is smarter than that -- and it knows that you are not your competitor.
As a result, creating a campaign just around your competitor’s brand will get you nothing more than a low quality score, a poor ad rank and a higher cost-per-click. Don’t be deceived!
Leverage Google’s Custom Affinity Feature
Google’s Custom Affinity Audience feature lets you target your audience with greater precision across Google’s display network (which reaches over 90% of internet users). Here’s where the outsmart part comes in: target the homepage of your competitors. Google is smart enough to realize that this is a different brand from yours, but that the visitors who are interested in that brand will likely be interested in yours as well.
And Google’s Display Network isn’t just limited to websites. It also works on videos, apps and more, helping you greatly expand your reach.
Share What Separates You from Your Competition
With Google Ads, you can go very deep and granular on what separates you from your competition. When doing so, don’t hesitate to make a list of the things that separate your business from theirs. You can then position your own ad campaigns to play up your strengths while highlighting their weaknesses -- giving your ads a better position and impression share than your competitors.
As you can see, all of these methods are designed to reach the same audiences as your competition, yet position your business as the better option for those same users. If managing your ad campaigns feels overwhelming, why not reach out to us at GemFind Digital Solutions to learn more about how we can help? We work one-on-one with jewelry websites to help your ads excel and position you as the credible expert in your chosen industry or area.
Contact us today to learn more!