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Published December 23, 2021

Top 10 Keys to Running a Successful Google Ads Account for a Landscaping Business

Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the best and most focused tools you can use to get your landscaping business in front of potential customers. When someone is looking for a landscaping service within your target area, your business has the opportunity to show up as the #1 result in their Google search for “landscapers near me!”

Google uses a “pay per click” model that provides the ability to choose the keywords you want to rank for within Google — these are terms that your potential customers are using to find you. You can bid on these words and show ads for them. For example, “landscaping near me,” “local landscaping service,” and “landscapers in X city” are all terms your potential customers are using to search for your business. With Google Ads, your customers can find you with just a simple Google search, wherever they are.

It’s important to keep your goals in mind when creating your Google Ads account so you make the most of your budget. When it comes to Google Ads, let the experts help. At Searchalytics, our team is the top in their field and we have proven results for creating and maintaining successful Google Ads campaigns for landscaping companies across the country as well as other home services fields. It’s just what we do. Contact us today to get started. 

In the meantime, check out our top 10 tips that’ll help you set up and fine tune your Google Ads account for success.

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1. Setting a Budget to Launch & Scale

When setting a budget for your Google Ads campaigns, it’s important to have growth in mind. Set a starting budget when your account is fresh and have a plan to scale as business grows. Tools within Google Ads, such as the Keyword Planner, can aid you in estimating what your starting budget could look like if you don’t already have one in mind. When you import a list of keywords you’d like to target, the Keyword Planner gives you a high and low range of Average Cost Per Click for these keywords. If your target keywords are all around $2/click on average for the high range (which is where we want to be) and your budget is $1,000/mo, you can expect around 500 clicks per month, or 16 clicks a day. If your conversion rate is 5%, that’s less than 1 conversion (call, form fill out, etc.) per day on average. These aren’t exactly concrete figures, but they can help you gauge a good starting budget for your account.

A great thing about digital marketing is that everything is measurable, and you will be able to tie success (calls, direction requests, form fill outs, and other conversions) to ad spend within specific keywords and searches. If a particular campaign is doing well and is limited by its starting budget, look at expanding the budget to grow both your traffic and your business. Pausing or reducing spend for poorer performers can help alleviate budget for other areas as well.

Once you have a set budget, dividing it up can be tricky. We recommend starting your landscaping account with 3 campaign types, including Branded, Services, and Dynamic Search Ads. But what’s the best way to divide your budget up among them? An easy approach is to start with a Shared Budget for all of your campaigns until you can gather data to make an informed decision on this later. Shared Budgets do exactly what the name suggests: they pool your daily budget where every campaign can pull from it. Keep an eye on your Shared Budget, which campaigns pull in more conversions, and how much they spend to do so. If Campaign A is taking 80% of the Shared Budget but only has 25% of the conversions, it may be wise to pull all of your campaigns off of the Shared Budget and divide the budget up using conversion volume as an indicator of which campaigns deserve larger chunks of budget. Campaign B may only be getting 20% of the budget but 75% of the conversions. What could it do with more money?

2. Determine Target Locations

Identifying geographical areas in which you want your ads to appear is another crucial first step in creating your account. Google Ads has the ability to target locations in a few different ways including by country, state, county, city, zip code, and radii around these as well. Choosing locations to target can be as cut and dry or as detailed as you’d like it to be. Do you only want landscaping calls from the Dallas area? Target the city of Dallas. Are you willing to branch out a bit outside the city limits and target a 15 mile radius around Dallas? It’s up to you!

One thing to keep in mind is the effect that expanding or adding locations can have on your budget. If your budget is more limited and you serve a tri-county area, it may be helpful to initially focus on the county where you get the majority of your calls with a plan to expand to the other two when budget allows.

3. Select Initial Keywords

All successful Google Ads accounts start with a good foundation of choice keywords. It will look different for every account and every website, but a good starting point is to have one branding campaign for your business name keywords and another ad group that advertises the services you provide.

For example, if we had a landscaping company called Searchalytics Landscaping Company, we’d have a campaign called Branded with an ad group that houses keywords like [searchalytics landscaping company], [searchalytics landscapers], and [searchalytics landscaping] to cover some variations on our name that people may search. These keywords will likely be on the cheaper side because competition for our name should be low. However, the conversion rate for these keywords should be among the highest in the account.

The other campaign would be the service-oriented terms. This campaign would likely have the lion’s share of the budget, and it should feature non-branded terms for your services like [landscaping near me], [landscapers in nashville], or [development landscaping services]. This structure should be more granular, with Quality Score in mind. Quality Score is a keyword-level metric that gauges the relevance of your keywords to the ad in your ad group, and the landing page your ad will land on. The higher your Quality Score is, the less money you actually pay per click; having the highest Quality Score possible is key. This can be achieved by grouping your like keywords in focused Ad Groups and having the ads in these Ad Groups land on the best page possible within your website. In the previous examples, you’d have an development landscaping ad group with development landscaping keywords and an ad that lands on a development landscaping page on your site. Repeating this setup for the other keywords in your account ensures a high Quality Score and the best experience for your potential customers.

4. Measure Performance by Creating Conversions

Setting up accurate conversions is a hugely important step in making sure conversions are properly set up. Accurate conversions are key to helping you (and Google’s algorithms) measure success and failure in your account. Conversions can look like multiple things, from a Calls from Ads conversion to a contact form fill out or scheduled appointment on your website. Creating conversions can be tricky, and it is an easy way to mess your account up with inaccurate or broken conversions. Google does give instructions on how to embed certain conversions in your site during the conversion creation process, but check with your webmaster if you need help.

An easy and valuable conversion comes from the Calls From Ads extension as previously mentioned. Because these calls originated from an ad, they’re trackable by Google Ads as conversions. These calls are only tracked if they last more than 30 seconds, so the conversions are free of spam. This conversion is automatically created when you make a Call Extension in your ad account, and it is one of the easiest and most valuable conversions you can have in your account.

Another type of conversion is a little more complex and involves the Contact Us form or appointment schedulers you may have on your site. It’s a trackable conversion in Google Ads, but you may need to get in touch with your webmaster to embed the appropriate code on the page that can be found within Google Ads. This type of conversion can be used to gauge the success and failure of campaigns, ads, keywords and more in your account, so the quicker you can get these up and running the better!

Finally, you probably already have a Google My Business account for your business. If not, you should! Linking your Google My Business account to Google Ads comes with huge benefits. It provides your ads the ability to show up in Google Maps, which provides a whole new audience of potential landscaping customers that were previously calling a competitor. As a result of this, your CPCs (cost per click) may be driven down. Google Maps ads are typically less competitive so it’s cheaper to get potential customers to click on it here.

A Google My Business link is created through a Location Extension and provides additional conversions and success metrics to track, like people requesting directions to your business, calling you from your Maps listing, and more!

5. Bid Strategies: Manual vs. Automated

When creating your Google Ad campaigns, there are two ways you can go with your bid strategy: manual or automated. Google Ads will push you toward an automated bid strategy, such as “Maximize Conversions.” While this and similar strategies are not inherently bad, it’s wise to limit them with a Target CPA (cost per acquisition) or Target ROAS (return on ad spend) in the case of a Maximize Conversion Value bid strategy. With these bid strategies, you do not set bids for your keywords; rather, Google Ads does the bidding for you and spends the budget with the goal of bringing in as many conversions as it can within the target limiter. In the case of a local business like landscaping, we’ve seen mixed results with automated bid strategies and more often than not we recommend manual strategies.

Manual CPC bid strategies allow more focus, but they can be more difficult to create. It’s also hidden away in submenus within the Bid Strategy portion of Campaign Settings (Google really wants you to use automated bidding) so it’s also harder to find. With a Manual CPC bid strategy, you set and adjust the bids for your keywords yourself. This is a more hands-on approach, with bids often taking several weeks to dial in but it leaves you in control of the keywords you want to bid higher than others, and it can more directly affect your ad’s competition in the auction.

With any bid strategy, success or failure will lie in the conversions that are set up in the account. Without sufficiently accurate conversions, any automated bid strategy will fail to optimize itself successfully, and it would be difficult to gauge the value of even Manual CPC campaigns outside of just traffic alone. Inversely, inaccurately set up conversions can harm your account by over-inflating conversion volume and leading you and any algorithms to believe your account is more successful than it really is. This is especially harmful for automated bid strategies, which will ramp up spending seeking more of these inaccurate conversions.

6. Use Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads (also known as RSAs) are a fairly new offering from Google Ads, and they are the ad type we (and Google) recommend using for your Search campaigns. If your account has been running for a while, you will likely have Expanded Text Ads running in your ad groups. These are the traditional 3 headline, 2 description ads that were introduced a handful of years ago. It was best practice to have some of these in every ad group, and it was up to you to see which ads performed best, and pause underperforming ads then replace them with ads that may do better. Thankfully, those days are behind us. With a Responsive Search Ad, you create an ad with up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, and Google Ads uses these to build ideal ads as it sees fit. They’re self-optimizing, which eliminates the need for manual A/B testing and the ad-level analysis that used to be a fixture of regular optimization before RSAs.

However, they’re not entirely set and forget. It’s important to keep an eye on the Ad Strength of your RSAs. Aim for a Good or Excellent ad strength, as Average and Poor ad strengths can harm performance and can even send your ad into an “Approved (Limited)” state. Google Ads often provides information for how to improve your specific RSA’s Ad Strength with tips like “add more headlines” or “make headlines more varied.”

7. Maximize Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are additions to your ad that provide the searcher additional information like your phone number, your service catalog, additional pages they can land on and more. They have the added benefit of making your ad significantly larger, taking up more real estate on Google. Extensions can be added at the account, campaign and ad group level. There are different types of ad extensions to consider, too.

Call Extensions are a type of Ad Extension that allow searchers to call your landscaping business right from an ad on the Search Results Page without even needing to visit your site. These calls are tracked as conversions, which is a huge benefit.

Sitelinks are like mini-ads that provide information on other services and link to other pages on the site. For example, a branded ad can have up to 4 sitelinks for things like residential landscaping, development landscaping, water services, and maintenance. There is a little place to write a description for each extension, and each extension gets a landing page. It is best practice to have at least 4 sitelink extensions.

Location Extensions are another great type of ad extension that gives searchers an address for your business so that they can request directions and see that you’re a local business. Similar to Call Extensions, they give your account additional conversions to track.

8. Use Dynamic Search Ads

We briefly mentioned Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) earlier when discussing budget. This is a type of Search campaign that is not keyword-based but rather creates ads and advertises for terms based on Google’s index of your site’s pages. This traffic is commonly cheap and can be used as both a catch all for keywords that may have slipped through the cracks and also as a keyword farm to gather up new keywords to add to new or existing ad groups. DSAs are an extremely valuable tool that every account should use.

9. Continual Search Term Optimization

Search Term Optimization can come across as busywork but is incredibly important for refining your traffic and not wasting budget on irrelevant terms. In Google Ads, you can see a list of search terms and keywords potential clients use to find you online. We recommend regularly reviewing the list and weeding out the irrelevant search terms and adding relevant keywords as you see fit.

In previous years, ad groups containing only Exact Match keywords required very little maintenance, as Exact Match was truly exact, and your ads would only show for your exact keyword. Today, Close Variant substitutes are bringing in increasingly broader traffic. Keywords like Exact Match [landcaping] will bring in close variants such as “landscaping ideas,” and your site may have separate pages for these two terms that would cause you to want to negative “landscaping ideas” out of this ad group. All of that is to say that not even Exact Match ad groups are safe from search term optimization, and regular maintenance is necessary in order to have a clean and efficient account.

10. Continual Bid Modifications

Also known as bid mods, bid modifications are another important optimization tool that have a huge impact on profitability and can be utilized at the campaign level. Using a % modifier, you can bid up or down on traffic based on device, ad schedules you have set up, your location targets, audiences, and more. For example, if most of your conversions come from mobile but desktop traffic has a lower conversion rate, you can bid down on desktop traffic to give mobile a larger chunk of your budget. This will lower your cost per conversion and increase traffic to your highest converting devices. These should be reviewed every month or so.

Get Hyped for Growth and Call Us

Google Ads is an invaluable tool for getting focused traffic to your website and business. There are so many levers to pull in order to optimize your account, and hopefully this list provides a few ideas and ways to improve your account and bring success to your landscaping business.

Want to optimize your existing Google Ads account or create a new one to grow your business? We’d love to talk. We work with other landscaping services across the nation, helping each one of them grow in their market and achieve their goals. With proven success in Google Ads, as well as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media advertising, we’d love the opportunity to work together.

By Sergey Savin

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