Making PPC Work for your Small Business

ppc advertisingPPC (pay per click) advertising can be an invaluable tool. If you’re a small business hoping to drive traffic to your website and increase sales of your product or service, it’s probably worth a try.

It can be more affordable and controllable than traditional forms of advertising, giving the small fry the opportunity to compete against the big fish. Yet it can also confound the uninitiated, appearing as a world populated by acronyms and ever-changing algorithms.

Simply Business recently produced an infographic designed to help small businesses get their PPC advertising off the ground, from planning a campaign through to creating ad groups and landing pages.

Click image to open interactive version

Here, we round up our top tips for running a successful Google pay per click advertising account.

Place yourself

Make sure you have location targeting set tightly. If you sell bikes in Bolton, don’t show adverts to people in Dubai. Google allows you to target your ads to a very small geographical area.

Limit to Google searches

In the campaign settings, restrict your ads to show only on Google search results. Otherwise, Google will show your ads around the web in a much less targeted fashion. If you would like your ads to display on the wider Google Display Network, it is advisable to create separate campaigns for these, so you can track the performance separately.

Be dedicated

Group similar keywords together in an ad group. Then for each theme, make a dedicated landing page on your website. The headline and the image should be tailored to that particular group of keywords, so that when the customer comes to the page they immediately feel that the page is relevant to them and want to move forward in the site.

Keep it simple

Landing pages should be simple, with a strong call to action on the page. Multivariate testing has shown that this tends to result in the highest conversion rates.

Copy for clicks

Make your ad copy relevant to the keywords in the ad group, and make three different ads for each ad group, so that Google can rotate them and choose the best. The more relevant the ads to people who are searching on Google, the higher the click-through-rate will be, and hence the higher they will rank at the same or lower cost-per-click.

Track, optimise, monitor

Insert the Google conversion tracking so that your goal (whether that is online purchases, or registering on your site) is pushed into AdWords. This will allow you to see your cost per acquisition in AdWords for each keyword, which will help you optimise your account and monitor performance. If you can, use the goal value to push in online revenue.

Get clued up on keywords

Modified broad match allows Google some freedom in choosing similar keywords to match your ads to. However, Google will often match your ads to undesired keywords. Check the search terms report regularly to keep an eye on this. Add any keywords that don’t look relevant or have a high CPA as negative keywords, to prevent Google matching to them in the future. Add any keywords that are registering conversions as exact matches. Over time, you can build up a longer and longer list of well-performing exact match keywords. This list, and the historical performance information that comes with it, is very valuable. Over time, you will be able to increase both the stability and performance of the account.


Be suspicious of PPC agencies. Even the biggest and most respected agencies have a reputation for having large sales forces, over-charging and doing a poor job. After all it isn’t their money they are spending, and their customers often don’t understand what they are doing. If your company can afford it, consider hiring a dedicated online marketing analyst to run your PPC account in-house. If you can’t, get learning yourself! Use our infographic to help you get started.

About the author: Milo Spencer-Harper is the Search and Attribution Manager for Simply Business, the UK’s largest online business insurance broker, with 200,000 small business and landlord policy holders. He specialises in optimising paid search and building systems for multi-touch attribution.