In the world of PPC, there are many tools advertisers can use in order to improve performance. Some cost money, like SEMRush, but have a wide variety of features, like competitive research, keyword ideas and traffic estimates. Others, like Google’s Keyword Planner, offer a narrower set of tools for free.
One of the more effective free options, however, stares advertisers in the face every day. That tool is Google’s search engine results page (SERP). In this post, we will be discussing the key SERP features advertisers can use to improve their paid search performance.
1. Look for the Competition
The easiest form of research that can be done on the SERP is observing the competition. This can provide an advertiser with many key insights, including:
- Who they are – By knowing the competition, an advertiser can understand new keywords they should be bidding on, as well as keyword spaces their competition might not be found on.
- Ad copy ideas – Understanding how competitors talk to their users can provide ideas on features that should be focused on when creating new ads.
- Finding the correct keywords – The competition and their ad copy might not relate to what an advertiser plans to promote. If this is the case, the keyword chosen might not be the right fit.
2. Monitor SEO Listings
While looking at the competition can help provide ideas for ad copy, the SEO listings can help as well. Thanks to Google’s organic algorithm, these listings represent products and services users are most likely looking for when searching a specific keyword.
On the same note, SEO listings can tell if an advertiser should be bidding on a keyword at all. For example, if a company sells “car speakers”, bidding on the term “high quality speakers” seems to make sense.
Upon looking at Google’s SERP, however, it’s clear that portable and home speakers are the focus for users searching that term. In this case, that keyword should not be bid on.
3. Review Shopping Ads
For search ads, the text format is the most prominent on the SERP. There is another option to consider, however: Shopping Ads.
When searching for keywords to bid on, it is important to understand if results bring up Shopping Ads. If an advertiser plans on bidding for the term “basketball shoes”, they will notice that shopping ads, not text ads, show first.
Doing a simple search like this can provide insight on what ad type an advertiser should use for a specific keyword. If results tend to be more eCommerce focused, then setting up a shopping feed to run shopping ads would be the most effective strategy.
4. Find “Related To” Searches
When it comes to keyword research, tools like Google Keyword Planner are often the “go-to” for coming up with new ideas. There is, however, an SERP feature that can offer similar ideas at a smaller scale. That is the “Searches related to” section.
Located at the bottom of the SERP, Google offers other suggestions for the keyword typed in. For advertisers, this is a perfect opportunity to potentially discover new words that could be bid on.
5. Follow The News
Google’s SERP displays news articles for specific keywords currently trending in the news. Advertisers should use this feature to their advantage. By paying attention to keywords to potentially bid on, advertisers can create ads that reflect current events.
For example, a website protection company wants to bid on the term “ramsomware protection” and finds news articles about a new form of Ransomware affecting the Internet. The advertiser can now use the specific name of the virus in their ad, promoting that they can protect against it.
There are plenty of tools on the Internet to aid advertisers in their goal to create the perfect PPC account. While some effective tools can cost money, others are available to everyone for free. With a variety of features that help monitor competition, current trends, and audience behavior, Google’s SERP is a necessary research tool for all paid search advertisers.
Simply put, to improve PPC performance, “Google it”.