Relevance and Optimization
Search marketers often spend huge amounts of money and time creating and running campaigns without really understanding relevance and how it affects their success. This is going to waste a lot of money. It's not a personality test. It's a matching game. And a pretty simple one. A matching game between what your potential customer typed into Google - and the keywords, ads/extensions, and landing page that comprise your campaign. These can be words that tell you the what, where, and how somebody wants some goods or services.
Google defines relevance as how closely an ad campaign matches a user’s search, determined by the relationship between keywords, ads, and post-click landing page
Suppose someone types these search terms into Google: “24 hour walk-in burn care in Homestead Florida”. Now suppose that you had created a campaign where your keywords, your ads, and your landing page were all dedicated to "24 hour walk-in burn care in Homestead Florida”. You’d probably score pretty high on the relevance scale.
If your campaign and landing page were more generalized, say: “emergency services in homestead”, then not quite as much relevance. If your campaign and landing page were just “florida health care”, much less. That’s relevance and how it is measured.
Just imagine that you do one thing in one market. You are a law firm that handles eminent domain disputes in Atlanta. PERIOD. That’s all you do. That’s all you’ve done for decades. You’re very good at it. Now imagine what your keywords, ads, and landing page would look like. How relevant would that make you when someone typed in: “Eminent domain disputes in Atlanta”. Extremely relevant! Probably beating every possible competitor.
Google would thank you by showing your ads more frequently for lower bids. Your new customers would thank you for answering their need for exactly what you do. Your click through would be high and your conversion rate would be high. Success. (That is, assuming you can write good ads and you have a great process for converting clicks into “conversions”).
Now the trick is: How to compete for that eminent domain business in Atlanta when you’re (in reality) a large law firm with offices in many cities with many specialties? The Answer: A campaign and landing page that is completely focused on “Eminent domain disputes in Atlanta”.
To help you organize the vast array of potential searches that your customers might use to find you, let's break each search into three parts (or dimensions): where, what, and how. To successfully get customers, we’re going to have to become very good at combining the where, what, and how in our campaigns. Your goal in your campaign is to be as specific as you can in identifying these and grabbing customers when you match up on them. Let’s call those three dimensions: Geography, Products/Services, and Features. Or GPF.
- The Where - Geography: This could be as big as which country (because of shipping and taxes) or as small as which zip code, in the case of pizza delivery zones. “Near me” is a bit of geographic relevance customers type in.
- The What - Products/Services: This could be as generic as any roll of paper towels or as specific as one brand of high-capacity industrial crane made specifically for lifting windows. It can also be any combination of goods and services together.
- The How - Features: This could cover anything else. Such as price, discount, delivery time, contracting terms, color, insurance coverage, options, customization, warranty, disposal, etc. “When”, as in now or soon or 24 hour, are good things to consider here.
- The first reason people don't get this is that their "experts" talking to them don't get it. Or would rather get paid for generating clicks for low relevance searches - and then wonder why they're not getting any conversions. Hmmmmmm. In the mean time, you're paying Google, and maybe even your agency, a lot of money for clicks that don't convert. But it's still a simple matching game. No matter how exotically you try to portray it.
- The second reason you might be confused about relevance, is that people frequently design campaigns that combine sets of keywords and ads that should not be together. Now, trying to understand which searches your campaign is relevant to is just about impossible. But if you waste hundreds of hours of analysis and reports, you probably will (eventually) find out you should have created separate campaigns for each set of relevant keywords, ads, and landing pages.
- Maybe you actually do understand relevance - and you just don't want to make individual campaigns that are that focused on specific customer needs and markets. You'd rather make big campaigns combining lots of different landing pages and sets of keywords and adgroups. Maybe we can at least help you to understand how poorly that approach is going to perform.
How important does your campaign's relevance seem to Google Ads? A couple of years ago, they started measuring and reporting a new parameter: Campaign Optimization Score. Optimization score is an estimate of how well your Google Ads campaign is set to perform. Scores run from 0-100%, with 100% meaning that your campaign can perform at its full potential. Along with the score, you'll see a list of recommendations that can help you optimize each campaign.
And none of those recommendations can touch the importance of having a simple campaign that is tightly focused on one set of keywords, ads, and landing pages. That match. A lot.
If you doubt that, just create a simple campaign with a very focused set of keywords, ads, and landing pages. The minute you load this campaign into Ads/Editor, you will see a Campaign Optimization Score that is probably way above any campaign you have ever created. CampaignBuilder campaigns frequently score well over 90% the first time they are loaded into Ads/Editor. That is simply because campaign optiimization score favors a campaign with focus on one set of search terms and one user need.