In this article, the Energy Circle Paid Search team analyzed 6 different solar search engine marketing campaigns and will share our analysis on which ads will likely perform well and those that will likely perform poorly and why.

After reading this article you will understand the principles and elements that separate the performance of search engine marketing campaigns for generating residential solar leads. We’re not going to analyze the landing pages at this time, but have published a complete landing page analysis, examples and best practices on landing page design on Civic Solar’s blog.

This article is specifically written for residential solar contractors that are looking for way to generate their own affordable leads instead of relying on purchased leads.

Our analysis and best practices are based on our experience spending over $250k in search engine marketing campaigns for our solar clients over the previous 12 months. Based on this data, we have a large database of the successful ad characteristics to help solar contractors move away from relying on purchased leads.

Learn more about solar search engine marketing campaigns here:


Now, let’s jump into analyzing actual PPC ads.

Best Practices for Solar PPC Ads

Generally, there are three key characteristics that are essential to a well-performing PPC ad.

1.   Ad extensions

The only standard for ad copy is the large blue text, the URL, and the line of grey text at the top of the ad. The rest of the text is composed of ad extensions. Ad extensions take up more space, give more information, and help to drive higher click-through-rates — which helps overall Quality Scores.

  1. There are a number of different types of ad extensions that may show up.
    1. Structured Snippet Extension

Structured snippets allow advertisers to describe features of a specific product or describe the range of products or services their business offers.

  1. Location Extension

The location extension provides the location and business hours.

  • Sitelink Extensions

Blue links at the bottom that are indented are called sitelink extensions.

  1. Call Extension

The call extension allows for the phone number to appear in the ad.

2.   Keyword relevance

The ad should have some similarity to the search term.

3.   Clear call-to-action

The ad should provide a very clear call-to-action that focuses on the unique selling proposition of your business.

These PPC Ads Need Some Work

SEARCH: “Solar installation Albany, NY”


  • Poor array of ad extensions: Only has sitelinks
  • No address, phone, or location. Possibly not linked to Google business account
  • Missing display URL. These help infer landing page relevancy


SEARCH: “Solar installers Raleigh, NC”


  • Poor array of ad extensions: Only has sitelinks
  • No address or phone. Possibly not linked to Google business account. Remember that many searches happen from mobile devices, so no phone number is a problem.

These PPC Ads are Okay

SEARCH: “Solar installer Dallas, Texas”


  • Keywords and location are included in the ad
  • Good array of ad extensions: Callout, Structured snippet
  • Missing display URL
  • Missing address, phone number, and hours


SEARCH: “Solar installer Long Island”


  • Search keyword is in the ad
  • Missing phone number, location, and hours.
  • Poor array of ad extensions: Callout only

Some Pretty Good PPC Ads

SEARCH: “Solar installer Oakland, CA”


  • Uses same keyword and location as search term
  • Shows address, phone number and hours
  • Good use of ad extensions. Callout, review, location, phone number
  • Linked to Google business profile which pulls in pertinent data in the bottom row


  • Has display URL but it’s not related to the search term — display URLs help infer landing page relevancy


SEARCH: “Solar installer Albany, NY”


  • Uses same keyword as search term
  • Albany is in the description
  • Has phone number, address and hours
  • Missing display URL — they help infer landing page relevancy
  • Excellent array of ad extensions: callout, structured snippet, location, phone number

Why Great PPC Ads Matter

Let’s look at a number of ads across a specific query.

SEARCH: “Salt Lake City Solar Installer”


The list of ads above does a good job of showing how ad extension mix can affect how ads will appear, you’ll notice that the ads with more extensions are higher. However, even if all possible ad extensions are implemented they won’t necessarily show. The name of the game is bidding to be at the top of the page with as complete a listing as possible on your most important keywords.

If you want to get quality leads through search engine marketing, it’s essential to pay attention to how you’re structuring your campaigns and building out individual ads. Remember to use ad extensions, make the ad relevant to the keyword, and include a call-to-action.


Learn more

Learn more about solar search engine marketing campaigns here: