Testing Your Google Adwords Search Engine Ads

By Leland Poliks

I'm not sure why, but many of my clients who place pay-per-click search engine ads like those on Google or Yahoo become obsessed with finding the best keywords and totally neglect other factors in creating a profitable search engine advertising campaign. Often they install so complicated a keyword empire that they can't psychologically manage any other changes and leave their campaign running in such a way that it costs them way more than necessary.

Don't let this happen to you! Keep your advertising costs down and your momentum moving toward profitability by following these guidelines for prudent, manageable testing.

1. Compile a small collection of keywords (key phrases, probably) to test for each grouping of ads - let's say, up to ten. Likewise, before getting started, stockpile a number of different ads to test against each other - let's say, three to eight ads.

2. Set up the campaign with two or three ads tested against each other for each set of keywords. Google lets you do this automatically. Simply create additional text ads and they'll rotate them for you until you say otherwise. Google also shows you the click-through rate, cost per click and number of clicks for each ad.

3. You don't usually need your ads to show up on top, so put in a bid per click that according to Google's keyword traffic estimator puts you at about the #7 position - showing on the first page of results, but not at the top. Set your maximum spend per day rather high, however, which according to the experts tests better than the opposite.

4. When you have at least 100 clicks on your best performing ad, delete the poorest performing ad and insert another ad to test in its place. Keep testing three ads in rotation until you have a clear winner.

5. Then, when you've arrived at a better performing ad, begin fiddling with and adding and deleting keywords to your heart's content.

6. Whenever you're stuck on what else to do about your keywords, test other elements, always just one change at a time. For instance, try turning "content ads" on and off, changing your maximum bid, modifying your ad copy by changing a word at a time, reversing the order of words or lines, and so on.

While this advice may differ a bit from the mathematically correct procedures of testing, it's easy for a novice to implement. Search engine advertising conveniently allows you to watch your results and adjust each campaign for optimal performance, so long as you have a system of testing that doesn't let you feel overwhelmed.

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