Our team uses google and bing adwords for real estate leads.
Before diving into this article you have to know that you can't drive traffic to "any website" and expect it to convert. Check out my 26 point Sierra Interactive Review.
We’ve been able to reduce our cost per click (CPC) by 60% on both Google and Bing AdWords campaigns.
We made a single change to our ad group structure, which ultimately increased our ads quality scores and decreased our ad spend.
For those who aren’t familiar, CPC refers to the price you have to pay for each click. So if you’re paying to promote your content through Google, for example, the lower the CPC, the better. That means you’re getting more bang — or clicks — for your buck.
Maximizing your campaign to achieve the lowest possible CPC is imperative, especially when it comes to real estate. Just take a look at Wordstream’s list of the 20 most expensive keywords in Google AdWords.
If you are totally new to Google or Bing AdWords, you’ll want to start with this illustrated 15-step guide to setting up a Google AdWords campaign written by Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes.
On his step No. 14 — entering your keywords into Google — you might want to pause. That’s where we deviated. I’m going to show you a different way to structure keywords and ad groups that’s proved successful for me.
How to Lower Your Cost Per Click (CPC)
The single best way to lower your CPC is to improve your AdWords Quality Score.
Here’s how Google defines AdWords Quality Score: “Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”
The scores range from 1 to 10. Higher Quality Scores typically indicate lower costs and more prime positioning.
So how do you bump your Quality Score up to a 10/10? One way I’ve discovered is to use single keyword ad groups (SKAGs).
Single Keyword Ad Groups (skags)
A SKAG is defined as one keyword per ad group.
If you take a bunch of keywords and cram them into one ad group, strategizing can become tricky. Sometimes you lose control over which keywords you’re bidding on, and keywords may no longer match the search terms you’re targeting. When you break down these keywords into an SKAG, you regain control, and you’re able to ensure that you’re bidding on the keywords that match the search terms.
With SKAGs, you include multiple match types of a single keyword. An example for real estate would be:
+la +jolla +real +estate — Broad Match Modifier
“la jolla real estate” — Phrase
[la jolla real estate] — Exact Match
As a personal preference, I only want to pay for intent searches and exact matches. By changing all of our ad groups to SKAGs at the beginning of last November, we’ve been able to decrease our cost per click from $10 to $20 to $3-$6 depending on the keyword.
You’ll want to make your ad copy — headlines, description and masked landing page URL — reflect these specific keyword. You can see in the example below what our exact match keyword is: [Rancho Santa Fe Homes For Sale].
The Argument for DIY: My Experience With PPC Consultants
In the past nine months I hired and fired three pay-per-click (the same as CPC) management solutions.
Two were freelancers I secured through Upwork with good reviews.
I found if you don’t actually read the ad copy in every single ad group, you might miss grammar mistakes or spelling errors, which can affect your ranking. For example, one freelancer was outsourcing his work to India and presenting as his own work through Upwork.
Below is an excerpt of an email I sent to the third company in an attempt to get out of my contract:
“I’ve spent eight hours today on this 68-page report and have grave concerns about your company’s expertise regarding U.S. real estate-related PPC. I’m contractually obligated to pay you $1,300, and eight hours later, I truly felt that I’ve been working on what I paid you guys to do.
“Looking at this work I have no confidence in continuing to pay monthly to analyze when little analysis went into the setup. Attached is all the work I did today where you can see I’ve spent time addressing these concerns. At this time, I do not feel that we are a good fit to work together:
“1. The ad copy was terrible. I signed up for the subscription to iSpionage today and was able to see instantly what the top advertisers are spending on AdWords and their top performing ad copy: Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com — that takes seconds to figure out who the top US advertisers are for real estate.
“2. Negative keywords. I’ve seen various tools online, Wordstream, etc. “Rent to own” is definitely missing as are others.
“3. Keywords were entered such as beach house, oceanfront, waterfront, beachfront for Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, etc. that are nowhere near the water. This truly tells me no keyword tool was run for these neighborhoods.
“4. Keywords neighborhoods are missing that attach to all groups. What type of keyword tool for communities was run? The following are La Jolla neighborhood keywords that should have picked up with some research:
- La Jolla Shores
- La Jolla Muirlands
- La Jolla Village
- La Jolla Cove
- La Jolla Farms
- La Jolla Bird Rock
- La Jolla Windansea Beach”
My experience with multiple vendors led me to spend significant time mastering PPC myself. Unless you have very deep pockets, contracting out PPC campaign setup will cut into your SEM budget because of the exhaustive hours required doing keyword research and setting up each ad group.
Finally, each day you’ll want to monitor the average position from the day prior.
“Average position helps describe how your Ad Rank compares with other ads. For more information on how your Ad Rank compares with other advertisers, check the Auction insights report.”
The auction insights report will allow you compare your performance to other advertisers. This will show you what’s working and what might need some more of your attention.
Once you switch your ad groups over to SKAGs, you can drastically cut your bid amount and keep watching it day by day. You may be able to get some clicks under $2 for a bid whereas before you had to bid $5 to $7 to get in the first or second position.
Be sure to check out our beginners guide to real estate SEO. If you begin google search engine optimization in twelve months you should be able to drop some of your PPC spend.
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