What is Google Ads: Pay-Per-Click Marketing Explained for Contractors
When people jump on Google they’re looking for *something* specific.
This could be a new kitchen, new turf, or a new driveway. Whatever it is, their search has intent. This means they’re actively looking for a contractor, trade or home improvement business to help them out.
Your potential customers are literally spelling out what they want in the form of keywords – and you can create ads on Google that appear when people search for those keywords, aka Google Ads. Even better, you only pay when your ads get clicked so there’s less wasted spend, and more interested prospects ending up on your website.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is the fast, powerful, and proven way to bring in new leads and customers.
If SEO is the long game, then Google Ads is strapping a rocket to your contractor, trade or home improvement business and pouring gasoline on top. And the best part? It’s performance-based.
That means you don’t pour money in and hope for results. You only pay when your ads are getting clicks.
No clicks? No leads? No sales? Then you don’t pay. It’s as simple as that.
If you’ve been on the fence about Google Ads, or if this is your first time looking into performance-based advertising, we’ve rounded up all the info you need to help your contractor, trade or home improvement business grow.
“What are Google Ads?”
Let’s start with the basics…
Google Ads is a paid advertising platform that runs under a pay-per-click model.
That means you only pay when someone clicks on one of your ads – this is known as your Cost-Per-Click, or CPC. This is a pretty great advertising model, because it helps you funnel your advertising spend on people who are most interested in your ads.
Let’s say you’re a domestic plumber by trade.
If someone sees one of your ads online but doesn’t click it – maybe because they need a commercial plumber – you don’t pay a cent. On the flip side, if someone does click on your ad it’s a good sign they’re in the market for some plumbing help around the house.
In short, Google Ads drive qualified traffic and good-fit leads to your contractor, trade or home improvement business.
“How do Google ads work for contractors?”
Google Ads are triggered by keywords.
When you set up your Google Ads you assign specific trigger keywords. When someone searches for one of those trigger keywords, your ads appear.
For example, here are the results for the keyword ‘synthetic turf laying’…
Google Ad results always appear before organic results (organic results are the ones you earn through SEO). And you can spot an ad thanks to the small black ‘Ad’ text before the website’s URL.
Ranking at the top of the page is a massive advantage because it’s the first result a potential customer sees, which puts your trade, contractor or home improvement business top of mind. That’s why customers who are ready to hire a tradie click on paid ads 65% of the time.
“Are Google Ads free for contractors?”
You’ll need to pay to run a Google Ads campaign, but is your goal to save money or make money?
Plenty of contractors, trade and home improvement businesses go with the first option and think it’s smart to slash costs and manage their own SEO. Yep, you’ll save a few hundred bucks a month this way, but are you bringing in new customers at the same time?
Saving money is useless if you’re not making money at the same time.
Paying for Google Ads is about growing your trade, contractor or home improvement business. With businesses who invest in Google Ads seeing $8 of revenue for every $1 they put into their ad campaigns, pay-per-click marketing is a proven money maker.
Your competitors use Google Ads to steal your customers
Need another reason to jump on the paid advertising bandwagon? Your competitors are using Google Ads right now.
Thousands of contractor, trade and home improvement businesses are using paid ads to take the fast shortcut to the top of Google. And if you don’t believe us, try Googling your main service and your local area and you’ll see how many businesses are paying for instant results.
To make things worse, your competition could be bidding on YOUR business name to steal your customers.
Since Google Ads are triggered by keywords, there’s nothing stopping someone from bidding on your business name. So when someone searches for you, the first result they see isn’t your website, but your competition’s website instead.
“How does the Google Ads bidding process work for contractors?”
Google won’t show a paid ad for every search.
They reserve paid ads for keywords with ‘commercial intent’ which means someone is looking to spend money on a product or service. The second that person submits their ‘commercial intent’ keyword – like ‘backyard patio construction’ an auction takes place.
To be eligible you’ll need to have set up an ad campaign and assigned your target keywords. If your keywords match the keywords used by the person looking for backyard patio construction, you’re in with a shot.
Google Ads runs this auction every single time a commercially-driven keyword is entered, so you’re able to bid on individual keywords and rank for specific home improvement terms.
How the Google Ad auction works for contractors
Google first takes into account how much you’re willing to pay for an ad click – this is your Max Bid.
You can set a maximum bid so you don’t blow your budget, and you can choose to set a max bid on individual keywords or groups of related keywords.
Once Google takes into account your max bid, they’ll consider your relevance.
Google doesn’t want to reward the highest bidder alone, because there’s no guarantee the highest bidder will have created a relevant ad that will help someone build a new backyard patio.
And if the customer feels the ads they’re seeing suck and leaves without clicking on them, then Google doesn’t get paid – remember, Google gets 100% of the money you pay per ad click so they take Google Ad rankings seriously.
It makes sense that Google is super keen to get as much money through paid ads as possible (they made $146 billion through ad clicks in 2020) so the relevance of your ad is a HUGE contributing factor as well as your max bid.
“How much will Google Ads cost my contractor business?”
Since Google Ads is a pay-per-click marketing strategy, your ads are displayed for free. You’re only charged when someone clicks on your ad, but the cost of your ads depends on the keyword you’re targeting.
Some keywords cost more than others. Google Ads is a live bidding system, so that means the cost of your ads is influenced by your competition and how much they’re willing to pay for a click.
Keen to get your Google Ads cost as low as possible? Check out our ultimate Google Ads pricing guide for home improvement businesses.
To make sure you don’t blow your budget, you’ll always be able to set a Max Bid – this is the most you’re willing to pay for an ad click. But remember, the most important feature of your ads should be RELEVANCE.
Keen to make Google Ads work for you? Boost your Quality Score
Now you know that Google’s ad bidding system isn’t the same as you’d see at a property auction – it’s not a ‘highest bid wins’ scenario.
Google’s goal is to make sure the results they display offer the best value for search engine users, so Google uses your maximum bid and pairs it with your Quality Score – which is an estimate of the quality and relevance of your keywords, ads, and landing pages.
This is CRUCIAL because it means you can rank for keywords with a lower CPC by boosting your Quality Score.
And if the idea of higher Google Ad rankings while paying less sounds appealing, we’ve written a handy guide to show you EXACTLY how to send your Quality Score skyrocketing.
Check it out below.
Keen to pay less for your Google Ads? Use our Quality Score guide and slash your costs