We currently do not offer monthly management for our home inspection clients. However, we offer comprehensive guides on building and optimizing your own Google Ads campaigns.
As stated in the manuals, we strongly encourage you to implement the Call Ads campaign before implementing the Desktop/Landing Page campaign. In the vast majority of cases, this campaign will provide the best ROI. Many of our former clients only run a call campaign.
We do not provide guidance regarding the implementation of conversion tracking code on your website, nor do we undertake any alterations to your website structure. For comprehensive instructions on the process of setting up conversion tracking, we recommend consulting the official documentation offered by Google Support, which provides in-depth insights and step-by-step guidance on the subject matter.
***Note before moving forward***
You can see your changes in Change history, but I like to keep a notebook or spreadsheet of the changes that I make during each optimization (not including daily additions to Negative keywords). This will help guide you as your campaign matures. It is oftentimes handy to know exactly which change you made and when.
When opening your Google Ads dashboard, you land on the Overview page. You can customize your Overview page to show you KPI’s that you track. As a simple 30,000-foot view, this isn’t terrible, but to properly optimize your campaigns, we will need to take a deeper dive.
Click on Campaigns
Next, choose your Date Range. Some optimizations can be daily, some weekly, and some only monthly or less.
Now, we need to have the correct Columns. Click on the Columns icon and then on Modify columns.
Modify ColumnsAfter clicking Modify columns, you will land on a screen with options of columns to select and those selected (right-hand side).
The easiest way to correct this is to delete all selected columns on the right-hand side by clicking on the (x) for each column.
Performance Drop down the performance box and make these selection in this order: Impr., Impr. (Top) %, Impr. (Abs. Top) %, CTR, Clicks, Avg. CPC, and Cost.
Call Details Drop down Call details and select Phone calls
Competitive metrics Go to Competitive metrics and make your selections in the following order: Click share, Search impr. share, Search top IS, and Search abs. top IS.
Conversions Select Conversions, Cost / conv, and Conv. Rate and then click Save your column set* and give it a name. Click Save & apply. I save mine as whatever level I am on (Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, etc).
Column Definition Now we must understand what each column is reporting to us. Impr. – How often your ad is served.Impr. (Top) % – How often your ad appeared above organic listings. Impr. (Abs. Top) % – How often your ad was the first ad shown.
CTR (Click Through Rate) – Measures how often people click your ad after it’s shown to them, which can help you understand the effectiveness of your ad. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad receives by the number of times your ad is shown.
Clicks – When someone clicks your ad, it is counted here.
Avg. CPC (Average Cost Per Click) – the amount you paid divided by the total number of clicks.
Cost – Your total cost for this time period Phone calls – How many phone calls were initiated.
Click share – The clicks you’ve received divided by the estimated maximum number of clicks that you could have received.Search impr. share – The impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Search top IS – The impressions you’ve received in the top location on the search result page divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location. Use this metric to bid on the top page location.
Search abs. top IS -The percentage of your Search ad impressions that are shown in the most prominent Search position.
Conversions – How many conversion actions that were taken Cost / conv. – How much each conversion cost Conv. Rate – Percentage of clicks that converted
Below are the metrics by column that either describe the average for that column or our targets for that column. These numbers will fluctuate, but these are good benchmarks to shoot for. Impr. – 80+ impressions per day that our ads run.
Impr. (Top) % – We found that shooting for 75% is part of the “sweet spot” for lead generation.
Impr. (Abs. Top) % – We are aiming for 15% – 25%.
CTR – For call ads, 1.75% is the average CTR. Desktop campaigns are 2% CTR.
Clicks – Call ads 1.75 clicks per 100 impressions. Desktop ads 2 clicks for every 100 impressions.
Avg. CPC – No average. Varies by market. Cost – Varies by market and advertiser.
Phone calls – Ideally, we want half of our clicks to be phone calls.
Search impr. and Click chare data – This is variable by market and based on factors such as budget, keyword bid, and keyword/ad/landing page continuity.
If you have very low Impr. share, you may need to increase your budget to be competitive later into each day. We will cover these more under Auction insights.
Conversions – We want half of our Phone calls to turn into conversions. If half of our clicks are calls and half of our calls are conversions, our conversion rate will be 25%.
The standard conversion rate for lead generation for service industries is/was 4% – 8%.
Cost / conv. – Ideally, we don’t want to pay any more than 10% of our average gross home inspection. (If your average home inspection is $420, we would like our cost / conv. to be $42 or less) Over the last few years, that has been unattainable in most markets.
Conv. rate – A conversion rate over 15% puts you ahead of most Google Ads marketers (for non-branded keywords). Our target is 25%.
In the above example, a home inspector in South Florida, you can see that we are doing well in many metrics. Identifying where we are lacking can point us to areas of improvement. Let’s break it down in 2 parts…
Our ad schedule has us showing ads Monday – Sat. That means for the month of June, we had 26 advertising days. We want our Impressions to be at least 2,080. That would equal 80 impressions per day, and you can see we far exceed that.
Our Impr. (Top) % is a little high, but I still labeled it as green. This is a competitive market and this client wants to be at or near the top.
Our Impr. (Abs. Top)% is quite high here. As stated above, we really want to be around 25% – 35%. You can adjust this by adjusting your keyword bids, but you must be careful. Drop your bids too low, and you can be consistently beaten out on the most competitive or converting keywords. Our CTR is .32% above average, so we know our ad appeals to our audience. 86 Clicks reflects that as well.
Our Avg. CPC is about normal for Call Ads in this market. We have actually reduced that cost by full dollars per click over the last few years.
Our Cost is under $2,000, which is our monthly budget.
We had 86 Clicks, so we would like to see at least 43 Phone calls here. We fell below that benchmark and landed at 30, so we will want to check the Search terms report and see if we get clicks for irrelevant search terms.
Our Search impr. share is above 56%, so our ad shows for over 50% of the available opportunities our keywords provide. In very competitive markets, you may not own the majority of Impr. share and still operate a very profitable campaign. In the below example, our ad shows more than 50% of the time, and our Click share rate shows that our ad is clicked 65% of the time that we were eligible and there was a paid click. These two metrics tell us that for June, we took more than 25% of the total paid clicks in our market.
Due to personal experience in this market, I know that our ad spend would rank no higher than 3rd, yet we took 25% of the total clicks. The top 2 competitors spend 2x or more ad budget than we do. We had 17 Conversions, which is very good. At 86 Clicks we expect 43 Phone calls, so we would want 16-17 Conversions.
We only had 30 Phone calls, so more than half of those calls converted.
A Conversion is a Phone call lasting longer than 2 minutes.
Our Cost / conv. is high, but those costs have been like that for over a year (July 2023).
Our leaves room for improvement but is way above this industry’s average conversion rate.
Now that our Campaign-level assessment is finished, let’s look at how we rank against our competition. In the left-hand column of the dashboard, click Insights & reports and then click on Auction insights.
Auction insights report on how you rank against your competition in a few positioning and volume metrics.
Impression share – the number of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
Overlap Rate – how often another advertiser’s ad received an impression in the same auction that your ad also received an impression.
Position above rate – how often another advertiser’s ad in the same auction shows in a higher position than your own, when both of your ads were shown at the same time.
Top of page rate – how often your ad (or the ad of another advertiser, depending on which row you’re viewing) was shown at the top of the page in search results.
Abs. Top of page rate – The percent of your impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
Outranking share – How often your ad ranked higher in the auction than another advertiser’s ad, or if your ad showed when theirs did not.
This particular report isn’t a comprehensive review of all of your competition. It gives you an overview and allows you, in some cases, to understand what your competition is doing. You can view Auction insights at the Campaign, Ad Group, and Keyword levels. At the Keyword level, you can see how competitive you are on your top converting keywords or maybe top volume keywords.
This information can allow you to make very granular adjustments to your campaign.
These insights and the resulting actions taken can directly affect your campaign’s profitability. Details matter!
For those companies that have built up their brand presence, you can add your brand name to your keywords and see if other companies’ ads are showing for your name.Armed with his data, you can act appropriately to be competitive for those search terms. (Increase your bid on your brand keywords) If a company has a very high top or abs. top of page rate, but very low impression share, it is likely that the company is overbidding for keywords and does not have enough daily budget to sustain the campaign.
from Auction insights and land at Search terms. Search terms allow you to see what users are typing into the search bar to trigger your ad to show.
This is where we find all the terms we DO NOT WANT TO SHOW FOR.
This is one of the single most important steps in every Search campaign and can be performed daily.
If you built your campaign as I instructed, you would have at least 2 Negative keyword lists (Competitor & General). As you look through your Search terms, pick either Competitor names or General keywords that you want to remove and work on them separately. In the below example, I have chosen General terms that I want to remove. Go through and select the terms you want to remove.
Click on Add as negative keyword
Some terms will give you multiple keywords to add to the Negative keyword list. In the above example, I can remove commission, errors, omissions, ladder, and vest as broad match negative keywords. First, we make sure to select add to Negative keyword list. (There are occasions that you will only add a Negative keyword to a particular campaign or ad group)
Since I have selected General terms, that is the list that I choose. This next part is very important. You have to consider what you want to remove. I try to pare it down to the core word that would remove all associated phrases. We often use broad or phrase match types for this purpose. You can see I used broad match in the example below:
By doing this, I am telling Google that I do not want my ads to show for any search containing any of these words. Redundancy is a good thing when it comes to Negative keywords. I will add these same terms in broad match plural and as exact match just to be extra careful.
When finished, they should appear as excluded on the main Search terms screen.
Why do we do this?
We do this because Google aims to show your ads for as much inventory as possible. This increases the chance for your ad to be clicked, and the click is what gets Google paid.If you remove the singular form of a word, it is often best practice to remove the plural, as Google may show your ad to any variation of that word. (Ex: Search term is [home inspection career]. The best practice would be to add career and careers to your Negative keyword list.)
We can now move on to excluding Competitor names. It has been debated that showing for competitor names can be beneficial, but I have not seen this play out in real-world scenarios. Often, someone looking for another company is a referral or has already done business and has a question or concern. Rarely can enough of these leads be converted to be profitable. You want to be just as meticulous when removing competitors. If a name has an apostrophe, you may want to add it to the Negative keyword list with and without the apostrophe. (Ex: [Brian’s Home Inspection] can be added as Brian’s and brians.)
Be careful; if a competitor is named (Your City) Home Inspections, and you exclude them, you may exclude searches for home inspections in that City.
This is the same as with competitors with names like Best Home Inspectors Inc.
The only way to remove this term without removing your ads from people searching for the best home inspectors is with Exact match [Best Home Inspectors Inc].
Again, if you add a Negative keyword that conflicts with a keyword, Google will notify you and offer a remedy.
This report can also provide you with new Keyword ideas.
If you see a lot of traffic for a specific term, you add it to your Keywords in much the same way.Adding keywords this way does limit what Ad group the keyword goes in.
If you want to add this keyword to a specific Ad group, you may have to do that manually by going to that Ad group.
Click on the term and click Add as keyword. Now you can modify the keyword and put in a Max CPC if you like.
Ads & assets
When optimizing ad copy, it is best practice to not make major changes to the ad copy. I like to work on the ads for each ad group separately, and I will take the losing ad and make a small change. It does not matter if all ad copies are well above the average CTR. We always want to try and improve.
In the above example, I would try to optimize Ad A. Although this ad copy is tied for the most conversions, has a lower Avg. CPC, and showed for the most Imprs., it also has the highest cost per conversion (by far). This particular ad copy had a geo-modifier in the Headline 1. I changed this to something more simple (Complete Home Inspections).Normally, this is all that I would do at this time but the Headline 2 was directly tied to the previous H1 and didn’t make sense with the new headline.
I changed H2 to advertise the promptness of our inspections and reports. Remember, you want to use these Headlines to match your keywords and give the searcher a reason to click your ad. Ask yourself, what is my prospective customer most interested when making their home inspection decision? Often price, time to service, and time to report delivery are the biggest buying influencers.
Checking your ad schedule on a biweekly or monthly basis may yield important information. Take a look at the example below:
In this example, our Tuesdays stand out. It happens to be the day that our highest Avg. CPC occurs.
However, it also has 10 conversions, a 77% conversion rate and a cost per conversion of $26.60.
On Tuesdays we have the most conversions and a cost per conversion that is almost 5x’s less than the next best day.
I will add a bid adjustment (Increase 15%) here to try and take advantage of these stats.
When we go to the keyword level, we are really getting granular.
This is where we can really determine our competitiveness.
We cannot cover every factor that may determine what you do to a keyword, but we can follow a basic formula to make our campaign efficient and profitable. First, let’s talk about what columns you want to look at:Impr., Impr. (Top) %, Impr. (Abs. Top) %, Clicks, CTR, Est. first page bid, Est. top of page bid, Est. first position bid, Avg. CPC, Cost, Phone Calls, Click share, Search impr. share, Conversions, Conv. rate, and Cost / conv. These are basically the same columns that we set at the Campaign level, with the exception of the page and position estimates (these can be found by clicking Columns, Modify columns, and using the Attributes drop-down. Once your columns are set, give them a name (Keywords, maybe?) and click Save.
I had no good way to include this image, so I cut it in 2. Sorry if this makes it more difficult to read.
I like to organize the Keywords either by Impr. or Clicks. In this instance, we have them organized by Impr. I am looking to see if any of our Keywords are Below first-page bid. If any are, you are not competitive enough on those Keywords to expect any clicks or calls. Even if you did get a click or call from the second page, the lead quality would be terrible. Now you have to decide if those particular Keywords are worth raising the bid for.
Next, I am looking at the Top % and Abs Top %. Remember, we are shooting for approximately 75% Top % and 25% Abs Top %. Many of our Keywords in this example are hitting Top% in the 90th percentile.
We will drop these Keyword bids down some and monitor the effect.
If there aren’t many searches in your market, you may be more aggressive than the 75/25% model I suggest.
Sometimes I am forced to do the same thing. Just know that we are overpaying for these clicks at this point, which will increase our Cost/ conv. and ultimately our Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
Ad positioning on the SERP page is another important factor determining your campaign’s profitability.
We then look at the more obvious KPI’s such as Calls, Conversions, and Conv rate. If you have a keyword that is generating phone calls AND conversions, you want to try and capture as much Search impr. share and Click share for that keyword as you can. We can use tactics such as adding broad-matched Keywords (if not already in use), modified landing pages focused solely on that Keyword, and increasing keyword use in the ad copy to increase Impr. share (IS). We can use the same tactics if we struggle with getting traffic for a Keyword.
LocationsOpen up your Campaign Build Resource and go to the Phrase tab. Highlight the keywords in that column. Hint*- Click on the top of the column, which will highlight the whole column, then hold down ctrl + C. This copies all of the keywords. Click on the Enter keywords box on the Google screen and hit crtl + V.
I didn’t write these manuals to get rich. I wrote these manuals because many small businesses are underrepresented in the digital marketing world. Most cheap agencies and managers are ineffective, and the Google “smart” options are smart for
Google, but not so much for you. I DO NOT guarantee that these structures and tactics will work. I do guarantee that I have used these exact methods to make many service businesses, home inspectors in particular, 3-10x their monthly investment. I want you to succeed.
If you have tried everything that I have laid out and you are still struggling, send me an email at JasonB@serviceleadsdirect.com
Please explain the problems you are encountering and any steps that you have taken to fix them. I will respond and even jump into your campaign if need be.
Do not be surprised if it takes your campaign a few days to gain traction. This is common. If after a few days, you are not receiving impressions, double-check that keywords and ads are eligible. If so, you may need to add a broad match ad group, expand your geography, or increase your individual keyword bids (if using a manual bid strategy).
Check your account performance a minimum of weekly.
Answer calls, even if they are labeled “spam risk”. When using Google tracking numbers (something you have to do to allow Google to track your calls and conversions), it is normal for calls from ads to show up as spam risk.
Do not be afraid to make small changes, but only make one or two at a time. Too many changes will make it very difficult to understand which changes had positive or negative effects. Give each change at least a week, preferably 2, before you measure the effects of the change.
Your competitors set the market. The more competition, the higher the bids. Try to stand out from the crowd.
DO NOT IMPLEMENT GOOGLE SUGGESTIONS
Ad Auction – The process that happens with each Google search to decide which ads will appear for that specific search and in which order those ads will show on the page (or whether or not any ads will show at all). Each time an ad is eligible to appear for a search, it goes through the ad auction.
Ad Copy – The written or text part of an advertisement.
Ad Group – An ad group contains one or more ads that share similar targets. Ad groups are used to organize a campaign into common themes.
Automated bidding – A solution that helps advertisers automatically set bids based on performance goals.
Call to Action (CTA) – a piece of content intended to induce a viewer, reader, or listener to perform a specific act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive.
Campaigns – Overall or top level of an ad account structure, including ad groups, keywords, budgets, and targeting.
Clicks – When someone clicks your ad, like on the blue headline or phone number of a text ad, Google Ads counts that as a click.
Cost Per Click (CPC) – Cost per click bidding means that you pay for each click on your ads.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) – CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. For example, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%.
Conversion – When a user performs some specified action after clicking an ad, such as making a call lasting (x) amount of time or submitting a form on your website.
Daily Budget – The average amount that you set for each ad campaign on a per-day basis. It specifies how much you are roughly comfortable spending each day.
Display URL – The web address that appears with your ad
Impressions – An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on Google network.
Keyword – Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your ad can appear.
Negative Keyword – A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.
Pay Per Click (PPC) – Google’s advertising solution which allows businesses to bid on keywords for a chance to show ads in Googlesearch results. When using Google Ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Search Volume – Indicates the number of search queries for a specific search term in a search engine within a given time frame.See more resources at: https://support.google.com/google-ads/topic/glossary