indicatorSales and Marketing

Paid search: putting your business in the spotlight when people come looking for you

By ATB Financial 17 August 2020 7 min read

The world of paid search can seem daunting, but it’s an important place to have a presence. The single biggest value that paid search brings, when compared with competing digital marketing tactics, is that customers come looking for you.

Consider this example. It’s Friday night and your family is demanding pizza for dinner. So, you pull up a search engine on your phone (and there is an 86.02 per cent chance that you are using Google according to the latest search engine data), and type in ‘Best pizza in NW Calgary’. You are an individual, tasked with purchasing pizza, who is looking for guidance on where to spend your hard-earned pizza dollars. How can NW Calgary pizza shops ensure that they are showing up at the top of those Google search results? Through paid search.

ATB Financial Digital Marketing Manager Kassia Hollis-Haynes gets excited when talking about paid search. “I’m such a big advocate for it! It is just so effective….and cost-effective! Customers are qualifying themselves for you. They literally define for you exactly what it is they are looking for.” Whereas with social media, the marketing goals tend to include storytelling, brand awareness and relationship development, with paid search the goal is to simply solve a problem through conversion.

So, where to begin?


Nail those keywords

Hollis-Haynes shares her biggest piece of advice for paid search success. “Be very deliberate when thinking through a customer’s intent when identifying your keywords. You don’t want to show up where you don’t belong. In the example of pizza, I would advise avoiding using ‘pizza recipe’ as a keyword, as that is unlikely to convert to a sale. If your keywords are not performing as they should, revisit them as there may be a disconnect. Just ‘best pizza’ may be a keyword that is used in research to identify the most popular pizza toppings as opposed to being used by a prospective customer looking to place an order for pizza.”

In addition to identifying the strongest keywords for search engine marketing, you’ll also want to give some thought to negative keywords. Negative keywords will help to ensure that you are not showing up in irrelevant searches. For example, if your tantalizing NW Calgary pizza place is a dine-in only establishment, setting up ‘delivery’ as a negative keyword will prevent your ad from appearing to those customers who have their heart set on home delivery.


Focused ad groups

With your keywords identified, the next step is to now structure your ad groups. Ad groups serve as the “buckets” for your keywords, and should be differentiated by product offering or audience. Elements of an effective ad group include hyper-focus on defining your audience, targeted messaging and consideration of geographical footprint. Our NW Calgary pizzeria may choose to set up an ad group focused on their specialty keto menu. And one focused on the award-winning quality of their pizza. And perhaps another one focused on their location.

Ad groups give you a forum to play around a bit with different messaging so you can really see which messages resonate well. “You can learn so much about your audience based on their behaviors,” Hollis-Haynes states. “For example, each ad group should be clustered around a theme, so based on performance you’ll see which themes are attracting the most customers and which are achieving the best conversions

Hollis-Haynes demonstrates ad groups in action in the example below:

Ad groups


Keto Menu

keto pizza
can pizza be keto
order keto friendly pizza
low carb pizza
Award winning

calgary best pizza
best pizza

pizza delivery nw calgary
nw calgary pizza
pizza north calgary
pizza west calgary
Ad Group Headline 1 Headline 2 Headline 3 Description Line1 Description Line2
Keto Menu

NW Calgary Pizzeria

Keto-Friendly Pizza

Low Carb Crust

Craving pizza but don't want to ruin your diet? Try our Keto Menu.

Offering keto-friendly, low-carb cauliflower crust. Get it now.
Keto Menu

NW Calgary Pizzeria

Keto-Friendly Pizza

Low Carb Crust

On a Keto diet? No need to give up pizza - try our low carb option.

Offering keto-friendly, low-carb cauliflower crust. Get it now.
Award winning

NW Calgary Pizzeria

Best Pizza in Calgary

Award Winning 'Za

We have some of the best award winning pizza in Calgary.

Finalist in the Canadian Pizza Showdown, 2019! Order today!
Location NW Calgary Pizzeria

Delivery to all of YYC Dine in NW Calgary

NW Calgary Pizzeria - the location is in the name!

We deliver citywide from our NW Calgary location.

Are you a growing business looking to build your brand?

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Landing pages that work

‘Stick the landing’ isn’t just a phrase used in gymnastics. You’ve put in a lot of effort and, potentially, money to get your customer to make that all-important click. So, now you’ll want to ensure you are sending them to a landing web page that will take them across the conversion finish line! Keep your end-user experience top of mind when creating your landing pages by ensuring they are relevant to the search, optimized for mobile devices and user-friendly.

“Avoid having landing pages that are too broad, “Hollis-Haynes explains. “They should be as focused as possible. You’ll want to ensure those keywords are showing up throughout. All of this works together to inform your quality score.”

The Google Search Quality Team shares this starter guide of search engine optimization (SEO) best practices that will positively impact your landing pages quality score including:

  • Create good titles (brief, yet descriptive) that effectively communicate the content of the page
  • Add description meta tags to each page
  • Use heading tags where it makes sense to do so
  • Use friendly URLs and avoid generic page names
  • Write content that is easy to follow. Use your keywords, but avoid “keyword stuffing

As Google states in their starter guide, “let’s improve the quality of the web.”

Improve your quality score

What is a quality score? “A quality score is how Google assesses your ad and determines whether they want to run it for their users.” Hollis-Haynes points out, “Google wants to be known for being an excellent search engine, so they don’t want to serve poor ads to their customers. The relevancy of your ad will impact your quality score. If your business has a lower quality score, Google will penalize you by charging you more. On the flip side, if you have a good quality score, you’ll pay less.”

All of the above-noted strategies will help feed into that 5+ quality score rating (out of a potential 10) that businesses should aspire to.


Google AdWords

Given that 86.02 per cent statistic referenced above, it’s worth focusing specifically on Google AdWords and their pay-per-click model. Pay-per-click (PPC) works just like it sounds, where the customer pays a nominal fee for each time their ad is clicked on through a keyword search. PPC pricing is determined through a market-driven auction system, in which keywords are priced out based on demand and quality score (prices can vary significantly – from less than $1.00/click to over a $100.00/click). This is where your organization’s quality score can have a significant impact on your paid search budget: the lower your score, the more you will pay per click.

High up on that first page of Google searches is a fantastic place to be – 95 per cent of search clicks are on the first page and 67 per cent are within the top five listings.

As critical as paid search is, it can be overwhelming. In closing, Hollis-Haynes advises, “paid search and digital marketing is a full-time job. Doing it on top of running a business is hard work. Don’t beat yourself up if you find it challenging. Google has a lot of resources – work your way through them. It may be worth exploring outsourcing your paid search work, even if it’s just to get expert support in the initial set up of your campaigns.”

If you’re looking for a deep dive on everything you need to know around how to grow your business and make it more resilient, our ATB X Accelerator program might be just the place for you. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to one of our entrepreneur strategists to explore where you are with your business, where you want to be, and how to get there!

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