Stop Googling Yourself!

If you’ve ever had the privilege of working with a small business PPC account, you’ve probably had this conversation:

SMALL BIZ OWNER: Our ads aren’t showing up!
YOU: That’s odd…everything seems to be fine in the account.
SMALL BIZ OWNER: I just Googled our name and didn’t see our ad!

Then, you have a long conversation explaining how PPC actually works to your naive client, and hopefully get them to understand that having a PPC account doesn’t guarantee ad coverage on 100% of searches. I’ve actually been on the receiving end of the opposite conversation: when a client congratulates you on getting them a #1 Google result (clearly indicating they don’t know the difference between SEO and PPC). While it’s nice to get noticed for your good work, this may actually be a more harmful scenario for your client.

Here’s what you need to explain to your client (feel free to send them this post as a link). It’s totally impossible for Google to show every advertiser’s ads on the first page 100% of the time for every keyword they are bidding on. It’s a mathematical impossibility. That’s why we have factors like bidding, quality score, and Google’s algorithm to ensure everybody gets a chance to have their ad show up. So, depending on your daily budget, bids, and ad targeting settings, your particular ads get put in a queue to show up, along with the thousands of other AdWords advertisers.

Your ad sits in the queue until a user types in a search query relevant to a keyword you are bidding on. Then, the Google system goes to work, calculating whether or not to show your ad, and where to place it in the results. If the timing is right, your ad will show. Once it has shown up, it gets put back in the queue to wait for the next qualifying query.

Now here’s the kicker. If you just Googled yourself and saw your ad, you just took an ad impression away from a potential customer. This was an impression that might have lead to a click, which in turn might have lead to a conversion. If you sit at your desk all day, Googling yourself to check ad positions, you could be costing yourself money with every Google search.

If you’re worried about whether or not your ads are showing, don’t fret. Google will always let you know if there is an issue with your ads or keywords. If your ads aren’t showing, then Google isn’t making any money from you – they have an incentive to get your ads up and running as soon as possible after any interruption. If you’re worried about which position your ads are showing in, the stats on average position are right there in your account. You’re never going to be guaranteed a top spot every time (and in reality, this isn’t as important as you think), and you can pretty easily adjust what position your ads show in by raising or lowering your keyword bids.

If you really want to see how your ad shows up on a real-life Google search page, there’s even a tool for that. Just go to the Google Ad Preview Tool. Here, you can enter whatever keyword you like and see a sample Google results page. You’ll get results for organic and paid searches calculated by the Google algorithm, but it won’t count as an ad impression in your AdWords account. You can even use the tool to change your domain or geographic settings to see how users in other regions view your ads. This function is pretty handy if you don’t geotarget your own area in your ad coverage, or you have special campaigns for other cities, states, or countries.

Hopefully, this information will cure you of your self-Googling. Sure, we all give in to a vanity search now and again. But if you’re spending money on AdWords it’s best to kick the habit.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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