Google Adwords techniques and tips


What are some good Google Adwords people have found that really work for getting qualified leads and finding good, cheap keywods? Or any other tips? Any great articles about it?

Also, for a concrete example, I have a site for which my current need to increase signed up users. I'd like to get traffic into for these things:

- hiking

- starting hiking groups
- joining hiking groups
- birding (and possibly various kinds of bird names)
- spotting trees (and possibly various kinds of tree names)
- spotting wildflowers (and possibly various kinds of flower names)
- hiking bloggers who want cool widgets for their blogs
But since my site is free, would AdWords work for me? I'd probably have to try to compete for cheap keywords? What would be a good strategy for me?


Adwords Advertising

asked Mar 31 '11 at 22:59
1,821 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • When the question is about SEM, why are so many people talking about SEO? I am an SEO expert with sites ranking for single-term, high-volume searches. I know A LOT about SEO. But my question was about SEM. Lets stay on topic of SEM please :) – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • If you are already getting much traffic on your site, why drive even more if the current traffic isn't converting? Fix conversion/offer on your site first and when you have the actual metrics how many people out of 100 sign up when they land on the homepage and how much that is worth to you, then move on to testing the paid methods of getting traffic. – Teekay 13 years ago

9 Answers


I agree with Tilen. Using SEM (search engine marketing) may not be what you want to do. You'd be MUCH better off spending the money you might spend a month on AdWords farming out some blog posts on your subject: i.e. SEO (search engine optimization).

Take a look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour a Day. It will help you hone your target market and behavior and then set you on your way to doing your own SEO.

Especially if you love the subject (hiking) and enjoy writing/finding resources for it, then you can serve your site and enjoy the experience all at the same time instead of paying Google for dribs and drabs...

Good luck and thanks for the site! I'm a hiker too (though on the other side of the country)...

answered Mar 31 '11 at 23:57
Keyton Weissinger
126 points
  • I know about SEO, I was asking for something useful with SEM ;) – Genadinik 13 years ago


This probably won't be what you want to hear, but i'll say it anyway.

All you will do if you start advertising your site on adwords the way it is now is burn through money and not get much response.

First you have to figure your conversion process, that takes first time visitors to become customers. Either offer them something for free, like an informational guide that will teach them something that isn't common knowledge in exchange for their email address so you can keep in touch and get them to use your product, or have a way more clear sense of direction on your site for people who just hop onto the first page. ( all offer a great lesson of how a good landing page looks like)

Secondly... If you want to use paid advertising, you better be selling something, or you won't have a clue whether you are on your way on being profitable or just burning through your hard earned money.

answered Mar 31 '11 at 23:38
394 points


These are my understandings of the content of your question:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) aims to improve the visibility of a website in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
  • The purpose of SEM , as with any marketing, is to build an audience, develop leads and convert them to users/customers.
  • SEM is not your marketing strategy -- it is a component of your overall marketing strategy.
  • SEM includes SEO and PPC advertising. PPC advertising is an attempt to "buy your way onto the front page."

In all of my experience with the PPC aspect of SEM -- what I have learned can be sumerized as the following:

  • It is not a silver bullet.
  • When you are in a space where your key words compete with with major players (like say REI) then I would deprioritize this tactic for others
  • Conversion is critical. Increasing site traffic by 10x but decreasing conversion rates by 100x will look like a SEM success, but will actually be a step backward for your business. You must have a CRM process that allows you to track users by source -- including SEM activity.

And now, what may seem obvious -- but one of my key learnings:

  • The best terms are ones that you can claim unique ownership to through other marketing means. For example if you coin a new phrase related to hiking and get that phrase out enough that it is searched. If you can get people to review something you did that includes that coined phrase -- and then you purchase the PPC's to dominate the resulting activity. A white paper, a great blog post, a product/artifact that use the phrase are all ways to jump start that process.
Good luck!
answered Apr 4 '11 at 14:13
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points


I'm not a fan of the AdWords model. It's an auction system. It's unpredictable and it doesn't produce a lot of value over time.

If you want to build a community why not focus on organic traffic? Go to the people you want to attract and offer a value statement. Focus on the needs of the community and build something valuable.
You could for example try to educate your users about hiking. Start writing articles on that topic, and contact other bloggers who are passionate about it, and ask them if they would be interested in guest posting on the community blog. This usually is a win-win situation for both of you. You will both get exposure, and your community site would rank more appropriately in organic searches. Much more valuable and long lasting, that bidding for words.

My point is that just driving traffic to your website, won't be enough if there's nothing attracting and valuable to your users there, to make people come back.

answered Apr 1 '11 at 00:34
Mircea Grelus
782 points
  • AdWords has really good conversion rates when done the right way. I am not a fan of paying either, but if it is done in a smart way, it can make a business. There is a tremendous number of AdWords success stories. You should become more of a fan ;) – Genadinik 13 years ago


Adwords can be used to pull extra traffic, but it's hard to get ROI on it these days. Its the wrong model for a site that's basically free.

You need to spend time adding content that will appeal to your target users, and increase the likelihood of them bookmarking and linking to you. It's basically a long game - trying to create quality content, and getting your user base to also create content via forums public postings and the like.

The more you can do to make your site "sticky" the better (ie give users reasons to visit regularly and join in). As your new there's obviously going to be that bit less content to start with, but people may still find you interesting, and think they'll come back in a few months and see how you're doing... Until you have critical mass of content you'll lose some early visitors as there simply isn't enough there. So while you're adding content and executing a traditional SEO process, you should create a great monthly email newsletter with the best content you can make, to try and retain those early visitors until your site has enough of it's own community for them to come back and join in.

So it's the long game for you over the coming months.

answered Apr 1 '11 at 02:00
2,552 points


I found the book from very good.

I have read 4 books about SEM, and his was the best.
Lots of practical tips on what to write in your Adwords ads.
Lots of real-life examples. Highly recommend it.

answered Apr 2 '11 at 03:51
714 points


AdWords has various devices on its site that you can use to see what words draw high traffic, and you can test out different words to see what gets the most hits. I found it useful to know what people are searching for (unfortunately wasn't the phrases I had expected).

answered Apr 1 '11 at 09:22
1,747 points


Blogging and ranking in the organic search results is a much better strategy to go after because it's free. You can use Google AdWords to run experiments though:

  1. Use the Google Keyword Checker Tool to find which keywords people are searching for around outdoor activities
  2. Use Google AdWords to see what people are clicking. Throw up a landing page for your article you're planning to write, and have people sign up to be notified when it is available. If people are clicking the AdWords, it means the organic search results are sub par.
  3. Write some thoughtful, interesting and helpful articles around the keywords that are searched for most and that you got clicks on. You should be able to start ranking on the first page if you targeted the right articles. You'll also have an initial email list to blast our your emails if you got some people to sign up.
answered Apr 1 '11 at 02:33
Andy Cook
2,309 points
  • Question was about SEM, not SEO. – Genadinik 13 years ago


I agree with most here that adwords are not your best bet. Using SEO farms may also be a bad idea. With google coming out with the +1 ( ) soon, you may want to focus on simply creating high quality content. Create a following on twitter and via your blog. Offer a newsletter to keep users up to date on new content. Build quality following over time.

answered Apr 1 '11 at 05:55
Landon Swan
569 points
  • Question was specifically about SEM. – Genadinik 13 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Adwords Advertising