Navigating the complexities of Google Ads can be a game-changer for small businesses, and who better to guide us than founders, CEOs, and marketing experts? From choosing the right Google Ads network to combining ads with organic rankings, here are twenty specific tips shared by industry professionals on how to make the most of your marketing efforts. Here’s a comprehensive guide for small business marketing on mastering Google Ads.

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  • Choose the Right Google Ads Network
  • Focus Ads on High-Intent Keywords
  • Showcase Social Proof on Landing Pages
  • Prioritize Local Targeting in Ads
  • Be Selective with Keywords and Test
  • Enhance Insights with Conversion Tracking
  • Target High-Converting “Near Me” Keywords
  • Align Bids with Specific Marketing Goals
  • Link Ads to Thought-Leadership Content
  • Optimize Geographical Targeting Precisely
  • Experiment with Dynamic Keyword Insertion
  • Focus on Niche Audiences with Long-Tail Keywords
  • Conduct Comprehensive Keyword and Audience Research
  • Clean Up Campaigns to Increase ROAS
  • Use Responsive and Standard Display Ads
  • Refine Campaigns with A/B Testing
  • Increase Conversions with Remarketing
  • Build Custom Audiences Using Competitors’ Sites
  • Leverage SEO Pages with Dynamic Search Ads
  • Combine Google Ads with Organic Rankings

Choose the Right Google Ads Network

Google Ads is a much more efficient digital marketing strategy for small businesses. However, it is not enough to just invest. You need to know in detail each possibility of Google Ads, to explore them for the benefit of your company.

Google offers different types of networks for different types of ad campaigns. Depending on their marketing goals and budget, small businesses should first intelligently choose the right network and combine it with some good outreach strategies. This will help them define where their potential customers will see their ads and also how they want their ad campaign to impact their customers.

For example, if the goal of a small business is marketing for brand outreach and recognition, the video and display networks are best. However, to truly reach your audience for marketing purposes, your ad campaigns need to be very well-thought-out and structured. Only in this way will your ads be able to stand out with a good ranking.

Shivansh Bhanwariya, Founder and CEO, Shivansh Bhanwariya Digital

Focus Ads on High-Intent Keywords

Google Ads is a very effective way for all businesses to market their services and products to customers. However, smaller businesses tend to have lower disposable income than larger companies, meaning it’s more important to set clear objectives and focus your Ads towards customers ready to convert.

Utilizing search Ads can allow small businesses to do this, by focusing Ads on the ideal customer. Selecting high-intent keywords, showing relevant Ads that provide value, and having clear goals are essential. The key is to understand your target audience and where they are in their purchase journey. This will allow you to focus your budget on customers lower down the buying cycle, ready to convert.

It’s also very important to continually adjust your approach, keywords, Ads, and budgets. Search intent is always changing, and to be successful, you need to continuously adjust based on users’ behavior.

With clear objectives and a carefully chosen audience, you can effectively utilize Google Ads to reach your goals.

Kathryn Pearson, Head of PPC, The SEO Works

Showcase Social Proof on Landing Pages

Showcasing social proof on the landing page is a great strategy for small businesses to utilize Google Ads effectively for marketing purposes. 

For example, displaying the number of reviews and ratings of a Google listing and other local listing platforms, video reviews, and the logos of well-known brands that have featured your business can help establish trust with potential customers. By incorporating these elements, small businesses can increase the likelihood of converting clicks into customers.

Mohammad Arman, Local Marketer, Mohammad Arman

Prioritize Local Targeting in Ads

For small businesses leveraging Google Ads, prioritize local targeting to maximize impact. Use location-based keywords, ad extensions with location information, and geo-targeting settings to connect with nearby customers actively searching for your products or services.

This ensures that your ads are displayed to a relevant audience, which increases the likelihood of attracting local customers. By focusing on specific geographical areas, small businesses can optimize their ad spend, increase visibility among potential customers in their vicinity, and drive more targeted traffic to their websites or physical locations.

Daniel Florido, Chief Web Development and Director, Pixelstorm

Be Selective with Keywords and Test

One effective tip when using Google Ads for your small business is to be selective about your keywords. Choose ones that directly relate to your goals to avoid wasting money on the wrong audience. Avoid overly broad or overly specific keywords that might not match what your potential customers are searching for.

Testing is your ally here. Try out different keywords and ads to see what works best. This helps you figure out what connects with your audience and gets the most out of your money. By being careful with your keywords and regularly testing, you can fine-tune your ads over time. This way, you’re not just spending wisely but also getting the most out of your Google Ads campaign. Keep it simple, choose wisely, and always be ready to tweak things based on what your audience responds to best.

Camille Fortuno, B2B Marketing Research Specialist, UpCity

Enhance Insights with Conversion Tracking

Rigorously honing conversion tracking setup to amplify campaign insights is essential. Far too often, SMBs launch Google campaigns loosely aimed at general brand awareness or lead generation, relying solely on click and impression metrics. 

However, without deeper visibility into post-click actions through goal completions, it remains impossible to accurately assess message resonance. Are certain landing pages bouncing visitors more than others? Do some ads spark trials but rarely lead to paid sign-ups? Proper tracking exposes decision frictions and drop-off culprits that are completely invisible otherwise. 

Then, creative, copy, and landing experience can quickly shift, addressing leakages, accelerating the sales cycle momentum, and increasing ROAS. With Google campaigns, don’t rely on proxy vanity metrics like clicks without conversion tags that illuminate the crucial on-site journey. Install Google Tag Manager and strategically tag key pages, such as contact forms, demos, and checkout, with campaign variables to map reactions.

Nitai Aventaggiato, Founder and CEO, Helpmonks

Target High-Converting “Near Me” Keywords

One of my mentees owns a butchery, and he almost doubled his revenue in just one year by targeting “near me” keywords in his Google Ads campaigns. 

These were keywords people typed when they were ready to buy from him, like “butchery near me,” “buy grass-fed beef near me,” and “buy organic vegetables near me.” Due to this high buying intent, some of these keywords saw a conversion rate of over 10%!

So, if you own a small business and you’re thinking of running Google Ads, the first keywords I recommend targeting are “near me” keywords as they convert best.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

Align Bids with Specific Marketing Goals

To effectively use Google Ads for your small-business marketing, my number one tip is to base your bids on what makes sense for your specific goals. Avoid getting caught up in bidding wars or blindly following industry benchmarks. Instead, take a closer look at your conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and overall marketing budget. 

Make sure to set bids that align only with your objectives, whether it’s maximizing revenue, acquiring new customers, or increasing brand visibility. This way, you can ensure that every dollar you spend on Google Ads is a strategic investment.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO,

Link Ads to Thought-Leadership Content

Small businesses can effectively utilize Google Ads for marketing by focusing on thought-leadership content in their campaigns.

Instead of purely promoting products or services, create ads that link to content demonstrating expertise in your field. This could be a blog post, a white paper, or a video offering insights or solving common problems in your industry. This approach positions your business as a knowledgeable leader, builds trust with your audience, and often leads to higher engagement. 

By providing value through your ads, you not only attract potential customers but also establish a reputation as a valuable resource in your market. 

Remember, the key is to offer content that is both relevant and useful to your target audience, making your ads more than just a sales pitch.

Jaya Iyer, Marketing Manager, Teranga Digital Marketing LTD

Optimize Geographical Targeting Precisely

The key challenge small businesses face when it comes to Google Ads is their limited budget compared to the money spent by large corporations. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize paid search performance for each penny spent. 

I have personally found that the largest impact comes from being very precise in the geographical targeting. Not everyone knows that Google’s geo-targeting logic is somehow flawed—if a location is not explicitly excluded, it is counted as included. Pretty strange, right? 

So my tip to small businesses would be to bulk-exclude every single country that’s not their target. The second important step is in Campaign Settings under Locations to choose targeting “Presence” only, as opposed to the default and recommended setting “Presence or Interest.” That narrows down the geo-targeting and brings in much better results.

Hristina Stefanova, Head of Marketing Operations, Blue Tea Software

Experiment with Dynamic Keyword Insertion

I highly recommend experimenting with dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) in ad copy. DKI automatically inserts the user’s search query into the ad text, enhancing relevance and click-through rates. 

However, use this feature judiciously and closely monitor results to ensure inserted keywords maintain ad coherence and user relevance. Regularly review and refine DKI implementation based on performance data to keep ads dynamic and engaging.

Hardy Desai, Founder, Supple Digital

Focus on Niche Audiences with Long-Tail Keywords

Targeting specific long-tail keywords helps reach a niche audience more effectively, reducing advertising costs and enhancing conversion rates by appealing to users with precise interests.

Benjamin Tagg, Marketing Strategist and SEO Consultant, Newbird LLC

Conduct Comprehensive Keyword and Audience Research

Comprehensive keyword and audience research is fundamental to successful search marketing, particularly for small businesses balancing a tight budget. 

Keep in mind that with Google Ads, you’re only billed for actual clicks, so it’s crucial that the people clicking your ads are ready to take action. Taking time to analyze, review, and choose commercially viable keywords will get you the best return on ad spend (ROAS). 

To measure your success, ensure all your conversion events are set up and tracked in the ads platform. Spend time understanding all the ways your customers can transact with you, then make sure they are all tracked as conversions. 

It sounds simple, but you would be surprised at how often it’s neglected.

Matt Janaway, CEO, Marketing Labs

Clean Up Campaigns to Increase ROAS

Do a proactive campaign cleanup, because why pay for what is ineffective? Torokhity Weightlifting was getting many clicks but very few purchases. Most clicks were from people browsing and looking for freebies. 

A visitor searching for “weightlifting training programs” is more likely to purchase than one searching for “free weightlifting programs.” We curated our ad campaign to filter out search queries with keywords like “free” and “download.” We ensured that our content and programs were seen by people serious about their training, and we added location targeting to our campaign. 

We focused on North America, our primary customer base, to ensure we target the right people interested in purchasing our service. After this cleanup, our ROAS skyrocketed by 397%. This isn’t magic; it’s common sense. Google Ads can be a minefield where you continually invest resources with very little return. You need to learn how to trim the fat and focus on what benefits your business’s visibility.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy, Founder, Torokhtiy Weightlifting

Use Responsive and Standard Display Ads

It’s a good idea to use both responsive and standard display ads to get the best results. Diversity is key, right? That’s important to remember when setting up a Google Display Network ad campaign. I’ve personally compared custom image ads with Google’s responsive ads. Even though the custom ads looked better, the responsive ones got more people interacting with them.

We’ve recently seen how important Google’s responsive display ads are. They’re useful for advertising both services and products. Responsive ads can appear in places where standard ads can’t, like at the top of YouTube searches or as native ads. To have your ads in these spots, you need a responsive ad in your campaign. They can show up in these special places that regular display ads can’t. Google mentions in their support documents that responsive display ads can reach more people than any other type of display ad. Getting more people to see your ad more often, without spending more, can lead to more engagement.

Patrick Beltran, Marketing Director, Ardoz Digital

Refine Campaigns with A/B Testing

A/B testing is a powerful technique small businesses can use to maximize the effectiveness of their Google Ads campaigns. This involves setting up two versions of an ad—be it a Showcase Shopping ad, image, text, or video ad—and running them concurrently to see which performs better.

Before doing a test, it is important to identify what you are trying to improve: the click-through rates, conversion rates, or whatever key performance indicator. Then, create two versions of your ad, one with a different element, e.g., a different headline, image, or call to action. 

Fortunately, Google Ads makes it easy to set up and run these tests. Allow the ads to run; you will get data on how each performs. It is a cost-effective way for small businesses to identify which ad elements resonate best with their audience without heavily investing in large-scale campaigns. A/B testing can help refine ads based on real-world data, making Google Ads an effective marketing tool.

Dmytro Sokhach, Digital Marketer, SEO Entrepreneur, CEO, Editorial.Link

Increase Conversions with Remarketing

Small businesses can effectively utilize Google Ads by incorporating the powerful remarketing tool. According to WebFX, “Only 2% of visitors make a purchase when visiting your website for the first time; the other 98% leave without making a purchase.” 

So, remarketing could be the best way to reach those potential customers who leave your website without making any purchases. Also, it helps to increase brand awareness and conversion rates by staying at the forefront of customers’ minds. This is possible by creating tailored ads targeting these potential customers as they browse other websites or social media platforms. The best thing about remarketing is that it is cost-effective as well as impactful.

Nikhil Soni, Founder, The Tribe Kids

Build Custom Audiences Using Competitors’ Sites

Build a custom audience using your competitors’ websites. I’ve found that custom audiences are a really effective way to ensure your ads reach the right people for your business. If someone is looking at your competitors’ websites, they’re probably interested in what you offer, too. They’re likely close to making a decision, so it’s a smart move to use the reputation of better-known competitors to your advantage.

Personally, I’ve managed to get more people interacting with my Google Display Ads by targeting people who visited specific websites in my industry. I show my ads to this group on the internet. Since these people have already shown interest by visiting those sites, it’s really helped increase the number of people clicking on my ads!

Henry Brook, Founder, The Page

Leverage SEO Pages with Dynamic Search Ads

My favorite tactic small businesses can utilize in Google Ads is leveraging high-performing SEO pages with dynamic search ads, while setting a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) limit. This strategy capitalizes on the strength of your SEO efforts, using pages that already have optimized metadata and high keyword relevance. By setting up dynamic search ads, Google automatically generates ad headlines and landing pages based on the content of your high-performing pages. This ensures that the ads are highly relevant to user queries, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

The key here is the CPC limit. In competitive markets, bidding wars can drive up costs significantly. By setting a CPC limit, you can tap into more affordable traffic that might be overlooked in your major campaigns because of higher bidding costs. This approach allows for cost-effective ad spending while still capitalizing on relevant search queries that align with your optimized content.

This strategy is particularly useful for small businesses as it maximizes the utility of their existing SEO efforts and controls advertising costs, ensuring a more efficient and targeted approach to reaching potential customers through Google Ads. It’s a smart way to extend your online visibility and draw in traffic with no extensive additional content creation or high ad spend.

Blake Smith, Marketing Manager, ClockOn

Combine Google Ads with Organic Rankings

One of the best ways to maximize a Google Ads campaign is to choose terms that you can also rank for organically. Your click-through will increase when your website is visible twice within a single search. It creates the assumption that you have a stronger brand than the competition. I recommend this strategy to all of my clients.

Jason Vaught, President, 805 SEO