The Complete Guide to Google Ads for Contractors

The Complete Guide to Google Ads for Contractors

BuildBook Team
October 11, 2023
June 19, 2024

Whether you’re looking to expand your business or to fill your sales pipeline with a few more leads, it’s important to recognize and leverage the power of online advertising in today’s digital era. Using Google's Pay Per Click (PPC) ads can propel your construction business to new heights, placing you at the top of potential client’s search results. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the ins and outs of Google PPC ads, its benefits, industry-specific practices, and success stories from contractors like you.

Understanding Google PPC Ads

In order to master Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC), it is crucial to first understand what it is and how it works. As the name suggests, pay-per-click is an online advertising model where advertisers pay a fee each time their ads are clicked. 

While Google offers a few different types of advertising options, the most popular of those is paid search. In simple terms, paid search allows you to choose keywords and bid on how high up you’d like to appear in the results. The more that you’re willing to pay per click, the higher you’ll appear in the results. 

This is different than organic search because you’re paying to appear in keyword search results. Organic search, on the other hand, is when you appear in keyword search results (without paying) because your website is more relevant to what's being searched compared to other websites. Organic search results are ranked according to their quality and relevance through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

Pro tip: To learn more about improving your SEO, check out our Essential Guide to SEO for Home Builders and Remodelers.

To say it another way, paid search results are advertisements. As the advertiser, you bid on the value of a click given its keyword, platform, audience type in which it originates, and more. 

While this guide will focus mostly on the art of mastering Google’s search engine advertising, Google offers plenty of additional ways to reach your target audience through Google Shopping, Gmail, network display ads, and YouTube. While each is different in many ways, they all allow you to set your own budget and only pay when your objective is reached. 

With a basic understanding of Google advertising, you are now ready to explore some of the benefits and begin building a campaign that maximizes your visibility and drives success.

The Benefits of Google PPC Ads for Home Builders and Remodelers

Google PPC ads offer many benefits for home builders and remodelers looking to stand out and gain a competitive edge in their market.

Advertising Efficiency 

One of the biggest advantages of Google PPC ads is the ability to reach a highly targeted and localized audience. Using keywords and geo-targeting, you can reach people in your market that are searching for exactly what you have to offer. This precision targeting increases your likelihood of converting clicks into clients without wasting a penny on speaking to the wrong audience.

Quick Results

As soon as your campaign goes live, your ads appear in search results, driving traffic and potential clients to your website. Plus, you can measure these results within just minutes or hours, tracking everything from the number of clicks and impressions your ad receives to your overall return on investment.

Increase Visibility

Google PPC ads can also increase your visibility and credibility. Even if your target audience doesn't click your ad the first time, seeing your company at the top of search results can increase your awareness and build trust. 

7 Steps to Launching a Successful Google PPC Campaign 

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your business, there is a blueprint for success with Google PPC advertising. To make it easy, we’ve narrowed down the process of creating and launching a campaign into the 7 steps we’ve outlined below:

1. Choosing the Right Objective for your Campaigns

When creating a campaign in Google Ads, you’ll be asked to choose an objective. Since each campaign can only have one objective, you should think about what you want your ad to achieve (sales, leads, or increasing traffic) before creating your ad. If you’re going straight for the sale in your construction business, a “sales” goal could be best. If you’re looking to promote a free estimate or consultation, you could aim for a lead generation goal. 

Google Ads Campaign Objectives

Remember that with each objective, there will be a different influence on how your money is spent to get to that goal. So for example, if your campaign objective is to generate sales, you may pay more money per click to get to that sale vs. a campaign with an objective of increasing traffic. Cost per click on a campaign focused on lead generation may fall somewhere in between. 

Setting the right objective for your Google Ads campaign is essential. Why? Because without having a target, you’re not using your ad spend effectively. Objectives give your campaign direction and inform Google how to help you best optimize your ads for success. 

Since we’re focused on Google search ads, we’ll focus on the three primary objectives you need to consider:

Objective: Website Traffic

While your ultimate goal might be to generate more sales, it doesn’t always mean that sales should be your campaign objective. Consider this: When someone is searching for a contractor to build their forever home, or remodel their dream kitchen, it’s an important decision that requires time, research, and a lot of trust. In order to build that trust, it may be smart to be a helpful resource during that process. This is where a campaign with a Website Traffic objective could be ideal. 

Promote your portfolio, or an article on the latest kitchen trends … your goal is to reach as many potential buyers as you can who are early in their journey while building trust along the way. They may not be ready to fill out your contact form yet, and that’s ok. By getting them to your website and offering them something of value, you’re now on their radar and one step closer to earning their trust (and business). 

What’s more, by visiting your site, you now have the ability to nurture them more directly through retargeting, which we’ll cover later in this guide. 

Objective: Leads

If your primary goal is to capture new leads, you’ll want to create a campaign with the Lead objective. If you consider the journey of your potential ideal client, this campaign is meant to reach those that are in the process of interviewing contractors and likely looking for bids or estimates. 

Knowing this, your keywords and ad copy should address this need. Be enticing, clear, and concise with your messaging. 

For example, you can offer a free estimate or a consultation on your project to entice them to fill out a lead form.

Once potential clients click on your ad, they should be directed to a landing page to convert them into leads. Your landing page should be optimized with an eye-catching headline, a clear call-to-action, and minimal distractions. 

Make sure your landing page offers valuable information that addresses your potential client’s pain points and convinces them to take the next step.

Again, retargeting campaigns are also an effective way to re-engage with those who’ve visited your website but didn’t convert into leads. By targeting these people with ads that remind them of your services, you can improve your chances of converting them into leads.

Objective: Sales 

If you’re looking for potential clients that are ready to buy, the Sales objective in Google Ads is the way to go. This could be true if you want to promote a service or do a consultation. When you select “sales” as your Google Ads objective, Google Ads will show your ad to potential clients who are most likely buy based on how you’ve targeted them. Within the sales objective, you can also target potential clients who have seen or interacted with your ad before, which makes it easier to reach those that are familiar with you and possibly closer to making a purchasing decision.

When creating a sales campaign in Google Ads, set your budget, audience, and the ad format you’d like to use. Don’t be afraid to utilize all of the opportunities for assets and extensions that Google offers you. Test different headlines and bidding strategies to see what works. And if you’re not getting the results you want, dig closer in the data that Google provides so you can figure out what might not be working. 

2. Choosing the Right Keywords

As a contractor, you need to make your business visible on search engine results pages (SERPs) to attract potential clients. With over 40,000 searches per second on Google, targeting the right keywords is the most critical factor in creating a successful campaign. You should invest in keyword research and selection to build effective Google Ads. 

Identifying Relevant Keywords

Make sure your ads reach potential clients actively searching for your services. One way is to think about what you might search if you were looking for what you have to offer. Try these searches yourself and see what comes up.

Once you have a list of keywords, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to see which has the highest search volume.

You can also analyze your competitors’ ads to determine their target keywords. By Identifying these keywords, you can create more targeted ads that will likely be clicked and get a higher conversion rate.

Utilizing Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools can help you to find new keywords and analyze their performance. One such tool, SEMrush, allows you to discover the top keywords, see the search volume, and what you can expect to pay per click for the keywords you want to target.

Another helpful tool is Spyfu, which helps you discover the ads and keywords your competitors are using, which ones are performing best, and an estimate of how much they are spending per month.

Using tools like these (and there are many more), you can determine which keywords are worth targeting and which are not. They can also help you discover long-tail keywords (we’ll explain this below) that are more specific to your business and have less competition, making it easier for your ads to rank.

Long-Tail Keywords for More Specific Targeting

Long-tail keywords are more specific keyword phrases with lower search volume but are highly targeted. These keywords can help you reach potential clients who are further down the sales funnel and have a higher intent to buy. 

For example, instead of targeting “custom home builders”, you can target “custom home builders near me” or “custom home builders in Los Angeles”. 

By targeting long-tail keywords, you can create more targeted ads that are more likely to be clicked and have a higher conversion rate. Long-tail keywords also have less competition, meaning potential clients are more likely to see your ads.

3. Crafting Compelling Ad Copy

It’s crucial to have well-crafted ad copy to stand out. Ad copy is your first point of contact with potential clients. It ultimately influences their decision on whether or not they click on your ad. Creating captivating and persuasive ad copy drives conversions, boosts click-through rates, and maximizes the return on your ad investment.

Let’s discuss how contractors can create attention-grabbing headlines, highlight USPs, and include strong CTAs.

How to Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines

Headlines are the first things people see about your business, so it’s crucial to make them catchy and informative.

When it comes to creating headlines, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

  1. Each ad displays more than one headline.
  2. Each headline contains a maximum of 30 characters.

With a limited number of characters available for each headline, you want to create headlines that are concise while showcasing your offerings and what makes you different from your competitors. 

As an example, “Affordable Concrete Services'' talks about your relevant services (concrete services) and your selling point (affordability and quality) while staying under the 30 character limit. 

Pro tip: Using powerful words like “affordable,” “quality,” “reliable,” and “trusted” can help you stand out and increase credibility. 

Highlight Unique Selling Points (USPs)

USPs are what makes your business different from others. Contractors should highlight the unique benefits they offer and why people should choose them over others. 

For instance, if you specialize in eco-friendly home renovations, you can mention it in your ad copy to attract environmentally conscious clients. 

And if you provide same-day service, 24/7 availability, or a satisfaction guarantee, highlight it. By showcasing your USPs, your ad copy will be more relevant and compelling to your potential clients.

Include Strong Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

A call-to-action is an essential component of any advertising strategy. It directs users to take the desired action—whether that’s filling out a contact form, calling your business, or visiting your website. 

It’s important to include a strong (call-to-action) CTA in your Google Ad that tells potential clients what they need to do next. A well-written CTA should be action-oriented, persuasive, and easy to understand. 

For example, a CTA like “Book a Free Home Design Consultation Today” communicates a requested action (Book), a persuasive benefit (Free Home Design Consultation), and a sense of urgency (Today). 

Strong CTAs are key to improving your ad’s click-through rate and increasing conversions.

4. Designing Effective Landing Pages

To get the maximum results from your Google Ads campaign, you’ll want to create optimized landing pages that align with your ads. Optimize your landing pages by using the language your target audience speaks and having clear calls to action.

The key is to create a dedicated theme for each ad group, keep consistent messaging between your ad and landing page, and have a user-friendly design. 

Creating Dedicated Landing Pages 

The best way to create dedicated landing pages for your Google Ad starts with knowing your target audience. A landing page that converts focuses on the offer (your conversion goal). Make sure your offer speaks to the audience you're targeting and have clear videos or images that show off your work.

Use minimal copy on your landing page and make it easy to navigate. Your landing page should also be optimized for mobile and match the design of your ad. 

Ensuring Consistent Messaging Between Ad and Landing Page

Consistency is vital when it comes to building landing pages that convert. The messaging should be the same, from the keywords in your ad to the headline on your landing page. Consistency helps to reinforce your message and make prospects know they’re in the right place.

Make sure that your landing page takes the user through a logical flow. If your ad promotes a specific service, the landing page they land on should provide more information about that service. This will help visitors make informed decisions and increase your chances of converting them into leads.

User-Friendly Design and Clear Contact Options

The design of your landing page plays a vital role in converting visitors to leads. Be sure your landing page is user-friendly and has a clear call to action. Here are a few tips to create effective landing pages:

  • Use white space to give your landing page a clean, uncluttered look
  • Use a clear and concise headline that communicates the fundamental value proposition for your service
  • Place your call to action (CTA) in a noticeable spot on the landing page to make it the primary focus and convert leads
  • Keep the landing page simple. Avoid adding too many elements, which can cause confusion and stop visitors from taking action.

5. Setting Up Campaigns and Ad Groups

The structure of Google Ads is divided into two main components: campaigns and ad groups. A campaign is the broadest classification and serves as an overall place where your marketing efforts fall. It’s where you set your overall budget, target locations, and other high-level settings. Within each campaign are ad groups that allow you to narrow your ads and keywords around specific themes. 

By structuring your campaigns and ad groups the right way, you can create more targeted, effective ads that reach your desired audience and drive results. 

How to Structure Ad Campaigns

You should structure your campaigns based on your services or specific locations. This will help you keep your ad groups organized and shown to the right audience. 

For example, if you offer roofing and siding services, you should have separate campaigns for each service. This makes it easier to monitor the performance of your ads and adjust your budget accordingly. 

How to Structure Ad Groups

Within each ad campaign, you’re going to have ad groups. Each group contains its own ad and set of keywords. Your ad campaign could contain one or many ad groups depending on what you’re promoting and who you are targeting. 

With the roofing example from before, you might want to break down your roofing ad campaign into ad groups for each of the styles of roofs you offer (shingle roofing, shakes, metal roofing, etc.) or ad groups for each of the roofing services you offer (roof repair, roof installation, etc.).

 Creating ad groups in this way allows you to create ads and target keywords that are more relevant to those searching for those specific things, which ultimately leads to better results.

Allocating Budgets and Bids Effectively

Make sure you are getting the most out of your budget without overspending. 

You can adjust your bids based on how much you will pay for each click. Be sure to monitor your campaigns regularly and adjust your bids to optimize your ad spend.

6. Include Ad Extensions

Getting your ads to stand out on the crowded search results page can be challenging. One way to improve the visibility (and performance) of your ads is by using ad extensions. As the name suggests, these additional pieces of information extend your ad and offer more value to potential clients. 

Let’s take a look at what these ad extensions are and how to implement them to improve your ads visibility.

Utilizing Site Links, Callouts, and Structured Snippet Extensions

Site links are additional links below your ad, directing clients to specific pages on your website. For example, if you’re a general remodeler, you can link to different types of work you do showcasing these services. 

Site links help clients find what they’re looking for from your ad rather than navigating through your website and potentially losing interest.

Callouts are short, extra information that appears beneath your ad text and conveys specific details about your service. For example, you can use callouts to highlight your unique selling points, such as “Free Estimates” or “24 Hour Emergency Service.” 

Callouts are an excellent way to capture the client’s attention and communicate the value of your service.

Structured snippets expand on the ad content by offering additional categories of information about your business. 

For instance, you can use snippets to showcase your services, the brands you work with, and the locations you serve. Unlike site links, structure snippets aren’t clickable but still provide important information to potential clients.

Providing Additional Information and Value

Ad extensions allow you to provide more value to the client and make your ad more engaging. 

By including site links, callouts, and structured snippets, you’re giving the client more information upfront and increasing the likelihood that they’ll click on your ad. 

Enhancing Ad Visibility and click-through rates (CTRs)

By using ad extensions, you’re increasing the size and relevance of your ads, which in turn enhances your ad’s visibility. Your ad will stand out among the competitors, and potential clients will be more likely to click on it. 

Additionally, because ad extensions improve the user experience by providing more information and value, visitors are more likely to stay on your site, which may lead to higher conversions. 

Overall, ad extensions improve the CTRs of your ads and increase the chances of a potential client becoming an actual client.

7. Use Geo-Targeting and Ad Scheduling

Two critical tactics to improve the performance of your Google advertising efforts are geo-targeting and ad scheduling. 

Geo-targeting allows you to deliver targeted ads to specific geographic areas, while ad scheduling will enable you to choose the best days and times to display those ads. These tactics, when combined, can significantly improve the effectiveness of your Google Ads campaigns. 

Targeting Specific Geographic Areas

The main advantage of geo-targeting is the ability to target specific geographic areas where you know there is demand for your services. For example, if you are a roofing contractor based in Boston, you can use geo-targeting to show your ads only to people searching for roofing services in and around Boston. 

This ensures that you are not wasting your advertising budget on people who are not likely to be interested in your services. You can also use geo-targeting to exclude areas where you do not provide services, allowing you to focus on areas where you have the most significant potential for success.

Choosing Optimal Days and Times for your Ad to Appear

Another advantage of Google Ads is the ability to choose the days and times when your ads will be displayed.

With ad scheduling, you can show your ads only when your potential clients are most likely searching for your services. 

For instance, if you’re a remodeler, you might find your audience is most active in the early morning and late afternoon when people are getting ready for work or returning home.

By using ad scheduling, you can be sure that your ads are displayed during these high-volume times, increasing your chances of generating leads.

Adapting to Local Market Trends and Preferences

As a contractor, you know your local market's unique preferences and demands. Using this knowledge, you can tailor your ad campaigns to target your local market's needs and importance. 

This might include highlighting services in demand in your area or featuring reviews from local clients to build trust and credibility with your target audience. 

Monitor, Analyze, and Optimize

To maximize the success of your campaigns, it’s essential to continually monitor, optimize, and analyze the performance and data of your ads. 

Regularly Monitoring Campaign Performance

To monitor your ads you should track your key metrics to be sure your ads perform as expected. You can track numerous metrics, but some of the most important ones are clicks, impressions, click-through rates (CTRs), and conversion rates.

Tracking Clicks, Impressions, CTRs, and Conversion Rates

Just like it sounds, clicks are the number of times someone has clicked on your ad. Impressions are the number of times your ad has appeared on someone’s screen. CTRs show the percentage of people who clicked on your ad after seeing it, and conversion rates show how many people who clicked on your ad bought your services or took the desired action. 

By tracking these metrics, you can identify which campaigns are working well and which ones aren’t. Once you determine which campaigns are underperforming, you can simply turn them off or adjust them for better results.

Identifying Top-Performing Keywords and Ads

Once you’ve started to track your metrics, understanding which keywords and ads are leading to better outcomes is essential. Identifying top-performing keywords and ads will help you put more money into high-performing campaigns instead of wasting money on low-performing ones.

Dive into the data for every keyword and every ad. Which ones are racking up clicks and conversions? Those are your winners. Double down on them with more of your budget and measure your results.

Be sure to utilize all of the headline and ad copy variations that Google offers you when creating your ads. This will help you identify top-performing elements and provide further optimization opportunities to increase your CTRs and conversion rates.

Testing and Optimization

In addition to monitoring, you’ll want to focus on testing and optimization to make improvements to performance. That means tweaking ad copy and discovering what works. Do the same for your landing page. A polished, user-friendly landing page can turn casual clickers into committed clients, reduce bounce rates, and boost user experience. It’s a win-win.

Testing Different Ad Copy and Images

Increase your campaign performance by trying unique ad copy. Mix it up, try different approaches, and see what works for your audience. 

Optimizing Landing Page Elements

Once clients click on your link, they’ll be redirected to your landing page. Having a well-optimized landing page will determine if the visitor stays or leaves. 

By improving the elements of your website that visitors interact with, such as copy, images, and design, you’ll create a better user experience, making it more attractive for visitors to choose you. Once you’ve tested different elements of your landing page, you’ll know you have a winner when you experience higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates, and higher conversion rates. 

Adjusting Bids and Budgets for Better Results

Internet marketing isn’t for “one and done” type campaigns. It calls for constant tweaks and tune-ups. Sure, refreshing your ad copy and landing pages is critical, but let’s not overlook the power of a well-calibrated budget and strategy.

Adjusting your budget and bidding strategy isn’t just about spending more; it’s about spending smarter. The secret to getting the most for your buck is diving into your data, spotting patterns, and looking at conversions.

Utilizing Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking can make all the difference in knowing if your ads are working or not. By accurately measuring clients' actions on your website after clicking your ads, you can optimize your campaigns to generate more leads and, ultimately, more business. Let’s look at how you can set up conversion tracking to result in a positive ROI

Setting Up Conversion Tracking Metrics

To make conversion tracking work for you, pinpoint the actions that matter most for your business. That might mean form submissions, phone calls, or booking estimates. Once you’ve nailed down these key actions, it’s time to set up your conversion tracking goals in your Google Ads account.

To set up conversion tracking, navigate to your account's “Tools & Settings” section and select “Conversions.” From here, you can create new conversion actions and set up tracking for each. It’s important to note that you’ll need to install a tracking code on your website to record these actions accurately.

Measuring Campaign ROI and Effectiveness

To start, you want to zero in on the highest converting ads. Fine-tune your targeting, tweak your messaging, and adjust your bidding strategy, all based on your current data. 

One metric that’s worth its weight is cost per conversion (CPR). This tells you how much you’re spending for each conversion to occur. Keep this number lower to increase your ROI and convert more leads. 

Don’t overlook your conversion rate, either. This handy number reveals the percentage of customers taking valuable action after clicking your ad. Compare conversion rates across campaigns and pinpoint the winning combo of ads and landing pages. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Following this guide can lower the likelihood of making mistakes that negatively impact your Google Ads. Here are some top things to consider when building your Google Ads.

Overlooking Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are the terms or phrases you don’t want your ad to show up for on Google. When you don’t set negative keywords, your ad will likely appear for irrelevant searches, which can drive up costs and lower ad effectiveness. For example, if you’re a roofing contractor, you might want to add negative keywords like “DIY roofing” or “roofing jobs” to avoid wasted clicks. Setting up negative keywords can improve your ad’s efficiency and increase your ROI.

Neglecting Mobile Optimization

Mobile devices have been driving the growth of digital ads, and contractors need to take advantage of this. However, paying attention to mobile optimization is a common mistake contractors make. Mobile optimization refers to creating a landing page that is easy to read and navigate on mobile devices. If your ad is not optimized, it’s likely to be dismissed by potential clients, which would negatively impact your overall ad performance. By optimizing your landing page for mobile devices, you can increase your chances of attracting potential clients while improving your ad performance.

Failing to Refine Targeting Over Time

As we’ve previously discussed, Google Ads enables you to adjust your targeting to reach specific demographics and locations. It’s not uncommon for contractors to set up a campaign and forget about the targeting settings. Failing to monitor and refine your targeting can result in your ads being displayed to an irrelevant audience, leading to low conversion rates and high ad costs. You need to continuously evaluate and adjust your targeting over time to avoid this. Refining your targeting can improve ad visibility, increase conversions, and reduce wasted ad spend.

Not Leveraging Retargeting Opportunities

Retargeting shows previous website visitors personalized ads when they browse the web. With retargeting, you can increase your conversion rates while reducing the cost per conversion, making it an essential component of any effective ads campaign. Including retargeting in your Google Ads strategy can boost your ad performance and attract potential clients already familiar with your business. 

Run Profitable Google Ads

Google Advertising isn’t just a marketing buzzword; it’s a proven strategy that puts you in front of the right potential clients when they’re searching for what you have to offer. This cost-effective approach is ideal for home builders, remodelers, and general contractors looking to get maximum return on their advertising spend.


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