How to Write Great Google Search Ads Headlines & Descriptions
A lot of blog posts about Google Search Ads will tell you to improve your ad with sitelink extensions, responsive ads, conditional “if” logic, etc. And those are all solid ideas. But if you haven’t perfected the basics of an ad—the copy—then implementing those solutions are like building a stronghold on sand.
The foundations of great Google Search Ads are well written headlines and descriptions. With a 30-character maximum for headlines and a 90-character maximum for descriptions, writing exceptional ad copy is easier said than done. Here are several tips to get you started on your Google Search Ads copy strategy.
Embody Your Audience
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but your Google Ads aren’t about you. Yes, it’s important to build brand awareness and increase sales and all that, but your goals are secondary to your customers’ goals. Write your ad copy from your customers’ perspective first and then edit it based on your company’s needs rather than the other way around.
Talk like your customers.
Believe it or not, it’s 2021 already, and that means more than a third of the U.S. population is using voice assistants to search online. Businesses now have no choice but to speak like the people they serve. No one is asking Alexa to find “superior carpet solutions.” Use simple words that are colloquial to your customers. But that doesn’t mean you can be generic. If you are trying to target customers who are ready to make a decision (i.e. give you money), “carpet cleaner” is less likely to convert than “Canoga Park carpet cleaners” or “hot water carpet cleaners.” Google’s ad quality score is based on, among other metrics, ad relevance, which “measures how closely your keyword matches the message in your ads.” In other words, the more you speak like your customer, the better your ad will be.
Focus on pain points.
You may have spent the last two years developing an innovative new carpet cleaner that’s totally silent, but unless loud carpet cleaners are a common problem, your customers probably won’t care. At least when it comes to Google Ads, get rid of the ego. Take steps to understand the challenges your customers face, and then offer solutions in your headlines and descriptions. If you constantly hear from customers that they’ve turned to you because your competition’s tech is outdated, focus on your modern equipment. If you’re stealing your competition’s customers because their service is shoddy, write a headline like “five-star customer service.” And finally, make sure you provide a call-to-action with clear next steps. Your audience doesn’t only want to know you understand their problems; they want to know you can solve them.
Support Your Content
Google Ads do not exist in a vacuum. Your ad copy must complement your existing campaigns, not only from a user experience perspective but in order to play well with Google’s algorithms as well.
Mimic your landing page.
One thing you may notice when you write headlines and descriptions is that Google will recommend keywords and phrases it finds on your chosen landing page. Why? Because Google Ads considers landing page experiences when calculating your ad quality score. The Google Ads Help forum states that Google Ads determines “how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad.” It does this in part by determining how close your ad copy resembles your landing page copy. If your headlines read “hot water carpet cleaners” and “five-star customer service” but virtually none of those words appear on the intended landing page, Google gives your ad the shady side-eye.
Stick to tried-and-true messages.
Another way Google Ads determines ad quality is with Expected Click-through Rate (CTR). This metric measures “how likely it is that your ad will be clicked… based on the past click-through performance of your ads.” The bad news in this is that if the copy in your previous ads performed poorly, your new ads will be at a disadvantage. The good news in this is that if the copy in your previous ads performed well, you can reuse that copy to put your new ads at an immediate advantage. Algorithms aside, it’s also critical to consider the user experience. Keep your branding and messaging consistent across platforms to ensure your touchpoints are as effective as possible. (Since it must be said, you should never stick only to "tried-and-true" copy or creative in your marketing. You have to test and elevate yourself. But if you want to test new taglines or messaging, do it on a platform where it's cheaper and quicker to test, like Facebook Ads, first.)
Rely on Your Data
At Elevate My Brand, we always say that the numbers don’t lie. Data will tell you the truth about what your customers want and how they want to find you. Use the software and techniques at your fingertips to improve your Google Search Ads copy.
Look into Google Search Console.
Search Console is a free software by Google that measures your site's search traffic and performance, and it’s a wonderful tool when it comes to writing great ad copy. Google Search Console can tell you the search queries people use to find your website as well as how many clicks and impressions each search term yields. If one of the terms generating the most traffic to your site is “free carpet cleaning estimate,” then you know to add that keyword to your copy, or to add it as a negative keyword if you don’t actually offer free estimates. Similarly, if you see that “same-day carpet cleaning” yields 10,000 impressions but 10 clicks, you know that there is something wrong, and your ad can perhaps be an opportunity to clear up any confusion.
Trust your Google Analytics.
Google Analytics grants you access to even more user and site data that can be instrumental in writing great ad copy. Honestly, the possibilities are endless, but let’s run through some scenarios. If 90% of your site traffic comes between the hours of 8pm and 9pm, avoid “same-day service” in your descriptions. If 20% of your visitors are “value shoppers,” speak to your competitive prices. If most users who land on the homepage then click to the Our Team page, include the manager’s name in the copy to create human connections. Translating Google Analytics data into actionable copy decisions takes strategy, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Cody H. Owens, Account Executive
Elevate My Brand