Higher Education Marketing

Google Adwords Tips for College Marketing Coordinators

Date posted: February 6, 2012

Google Adwords (aka Pay Per Click marketing) gives your college the ability to choose the keywords you want your site to rank for, displaying ads on the first search engine results page. Google Adwords campaigns are an increasingly important weapon in education marketing, as they provide total control over your advertising budget and message.

We’ve posted some Google Adwords writing tips in the past, but there are some general guidelines your university should be following in order to make the most out of your Google Adwords’ campaigns.

 Here are some Google Adwords tips for College Marketing Coordinators:

Create keyword-rich ads
This probably seems obvious, but people often make the mistake of drafting keyword-light ad text. Show prospective students and searchers that your ad is relevant to their search. Decide what keywords you want to focus on, and make your ad text as keyword-rich as possible. Google will bold search keywords in your school’s ad, helping you stand out.

Bolded Search Terms - Google Adwords

A way to make this easier is to use specific campaigns for each program and multiple ad groups, each with a short list of keywords (Instead of having one ad group with many keywords).

Avoid bidding wars
Yes, you need popular keywords. The more popular the keyword, the higher the search volume, which increases the potential website visits, leads, inquiries and e-registrations. This is what you want. However, popular keywords are obviously very competitive, which means it can increase the cost per click. You don’t, therefore, want to get stuck in a needless bidding war for them. We would, in fact, recommend avoiding bidding wars on popular keywords and to focus on long-tail keywords instead. (Note: Keyword popularity can be determined by using keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Tool. These tools should be used in conjunction with Google Analytics to identify the keywords that actually convert to your website goals.)

If you’re having trouble competing for the most popular keywords, go back to your keyword research to find keywords with a lower search volume. You may think that you’re compromising, but in the long run, this diversification of keywords can actually help you lower your Cost Per Click.

For more on this, check out this helpful video detailing keyword research tips for Google Adwords:

Test, test, test
Create as many ads as possible, with different headlines, keywords and wording. Once these variations are written, you can rotate them in a single ad group. Doing so will give you a good sense of what text works best. Better ads will have better ROI and CTR.

Exact matches and negative keywords
You can control the position of your ad with exact matches and negative keywords. For the former, make sure to include both broad and exact matches for a keyword phrase, then set the bid higher for the exact match. Strategic use of negative keywords, meanwhile, can help your ad’s CTR and position.

Use/create landing pages
Generally speaking, it’s not a great idea to point an ad to your home page. Use a relevant landing page on your school site (we would suggest a program page or inquiry request) or create a landing page uniquely for specific keywords and campaigns.

It’s also very important to align the scent trail, ensuring that your message is consistent throughout. Aligning the message at each stop along the way, from the search query, to the ad copy and finally the custom landing page (and making sure you use the same keywords) can help you improve the conversion rate and usability of your program pages?

What other Google Adwords tactics have you used?

2 thoughts on “Google Adwords Tips for College Marketing Coordinators

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>