Paid Search

Everything You Need to Know about Dynamic Search Ads

If you’re looking to take your online marketing efforts to the next level and you’re ready to spend a little bit of money on paid search, dynamic search ads are becoming more and more popular. They did not always get the best reputation in the past because the system can seem so automated and seem to take control away from marketers, but just last month Google added new features and updates to change all that. The sooner you can understand how they work and what they can mean to you, either as an SEO or an advertiser, the better.

A Recap: What Are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic search ads (DSA) allow Google to automatically generate text ads to be included in an auction based on the content of your site as opposed to the keywords that you may have added to a campaign. Google then creates the headline, ad copy, and chooses the landing page of the ad based on what they saw when they crawled your site. In other words, Google will spend the time automatically targeting relevant search queries based on your content so that you don’t have to. It helps ensure that all gaps are filled in your keyword campaigns so that you can have the best ROI possible. According to a Search Engine Land article:

“The idea is that DSA can be used to cover your bases for keywords that aren’t already in your campaigns. They said, “these may be unique or low-volume queries or location-oriented searches that use ‘near me’ or ‘nearby,” which, according to Google Trends data, have doubled in the past year.”

If you’re looking for a quick understanding of how DSA work in general, check out the following video below that Google created to help you get started:

Once again and put into simplest terms, there are five major benefits to DSA for businesses according to the same support page:

  1. Save time. You don’t have to spend time creating keywords, bids, and ad text.
  2. Frequent, automatic updates to your ads. Google will crawl any changes you make to your content so ads are always up to date.
  3. Show relevant, dynamically generated headlines with your ads. Google will create a headline using words from a customer’s search phrase and your landing page.
  4. Control your campaign. You get to chose whether you want to show ads based on your entire website or specific categories (more on this in the next section).
  5. Capture additional traffic. You reach more customers than you do with a keyword-targeted campaign; thus bringing in more traffic.

Any type of company can benefit from DSA, but Google does say in their official DSA support page that those with content-rich websites will see the best results. This includes websites that offer many different products and services and see changing items every so often. If you have content that change too frequently however, such as daily deals, DSA would be tough.

New Dynamic Search Ads Update

As of July 28 of this year, Google officially announced a new category-targeting feature. This means that DSA will now create categories of your site content to be used when ad targeting. It’s up to you as a Webmaster to select if you want Google to target by category as opposed to only selecting certain product pages. The example Google gave was “furniture.” If you have a relevant landing page to this category an ad will be triggered, and if not, then no ad. Below is a screenshot example from Wordstream that was published on Search Engine Journal here:


As you can see, you now have the choice to use categories recommending for your site, or you can still use all webpages just as before. Bid recommendations are based on the performance of the keywords you have setup in your other campaigns that are similar, and you’ll always see an example of the search queries Google will target for each category if you’re on the fence.

In other words, this new system helps to give you more control so that you know what the ads will look like, which landing pages they might send traffic to, and which queries they may show up for so that you’re not just blinding handing everything over to AdWords.

What DSA Success Means for SEO and Advertisers Alike

For SEOs: According to Wordstream’s Larry Kim, this is essentially a new way to pay to rank on the keywords you were hoping to rank for organically, so this is a huge change. Because SEO can take so long to see results, this is a great way to gather data right away that should tell you which pages are generating the most conversions or leads. You don’t even have to think about search queries with DSA—you just have to look at the data to see which landing pages are getting more traffic than they did before your campaign. Once you have this data, you can begin to create an SEO strategy based on what needs attention but has potential.

For Advertisers: This is the perfect opportunity to have your ads show up for search queries and keywords that weren’t even on your radar. All of the data you gather from these ads may help you to make more controlled decisions in the future and help put an idea in your head that you would never have had in the past.

For tips on setting up a DSA for your business, check out this article from Search Engine Watch as well as this article from Google Support. Once you give them a try, let us know what you think of the new feature and what you found in the comments below.

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