Most advertisers quickly think-up keyword lists without researching, hoping their keywords will be obtainable and profitable. This might be why over 80% of Search Campaigns fail to be profitable.

Getting your website listed on Google Search results using AdWords is a way to show ads for your website (or products) instantly. With AdWords, you select keywords for your ad appear on and when people perform Google searches using those keywords, your ad will show up on their search results in one of multiple available locations.

While this is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website, it really isn’t as simple as it looks.

There are nearly 400,000 Google Adwords advertisers now and this number is growing quickly. Some studies suggest that over 80% of these advertisers are unsuccessful - meaning they are unable to produce a positive return on their ad spend.

Most new advertisers like to aim-high and try to secure the top-positions for keywords they are targeting, paying less attention to the more important factors such as Keyword Research, Ad Copy, Campaign Structure, Quality Score, and Ad Position.

Here are a few steps you should always take to make sure you are getting the most out of Google Adwords Search:

Keyword Research

Most advertisers generate keyword lists on their own without doing any research, hoping these keywords will be profitable and obtainable. This could be the recipe for disaster. Take your time and research your keywords properly using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner or other free keyword planning tools available online. Use a spreadsheet to build up your keyword lists. Design keyword combinations with related “assisting” keywords (such as “buy” or “free”) and also build out “long-tail” keywords (such as “in San Francisco Bay Area” or “download for PC”). Multiply and build-out your keyword list as large as possible. Now, separate all of your keywords into groups of highly-targeted themes and try not to have more than 10-20 keywords in each group. These groups will become your ads groups when you build your search campaign in Adwords.

Here are a few free Keyword Planning Tools online:

- Adwords Keyword Planner
- SEM Rush Keyword Tool
- Spyfu Keyword Planner
- Moz Keyword Explorer

Ad Copy

Your ad copy should be tailored specifically for each group of theme-related keywords (Ad Group). Google allows for three lines of text (headline, description 1, description 2) and a url. How you write your ads will determine your success for each keyword you are advertising on.

The Headline makes all the difference. You’ll need a headline that stands out on the search results page. Just make sure that your headline grabs your prospect’s attention and doesn’t let go until they click on your ad. Most people don’t read or even see the description lines so make sure your headline conveys your message clearly and suggests a call-to-action. Your Website URL should also be related and recognizable (ex:

Campaign Structure

How you organize search campaigns within your Adwords account will set the foundation for its performance. Ad groups should be structured and organized within campaigns to separate targeted theme keywords (and other targeting methods) grouped with highly relevant ad copy. If multiple campaigns or multiple ad groups are targeting the same or similar keywords (and other targeting criteria), they may “overlap” and compete against each other in the auction. A well-structured Adwords account should have very minimal overlap.

Quality Score

Quality scores are given to Keywords and are provided for you within your Adwords account. Each keyword is graded based on the historical performance data of search queries that exactly matched your keyword, regardless of match-type. Each Keyword must reach an “Impression Threshold” minimum number of impressions before Quality Score reflects its performance within your account. Once this threshold has been achieved, look to CTR as an additional indicator of performance. Use (1.5%) as a benchmark minimum CTR requirement for your keywords.

Your Landing Pages are also given Quality Scores based on if they provide the user with relevant and original content, transparency, and navigability. Landing Page Quality Score is directly tied into your Keyword Quality Scores so make sure to have plenty of keyword-rich and relevant content on your Landing Pages. Make sure that your website loads for everyone quickly, on all devices.

Ad Groups are made up of ads and keywords (and other targeting criteria), and Adwords is grading your Ad Groups based on their overall performance. Keywords with below-average QS can affect Keywords with above-average QS. Ads with below-average CTR can affect ads with above-average CTR. Improving, pausing, or separating your lower-performing keywords and ads helps you achieve a better Ad Group Quality Score.

Learn more about Adwords Quality Score

Ad Position

Instead of aiming straight for the top ad position for a keyword, work your way up slowly from the bottom. Learn the competition and the average cost per click (CPC) for a little while. Then, slowly work your way up into the “middle” ad positions where you will find more impressions and probably get a higher conversion rate from the clicks you receive. Take this time to optimize your website, quality scores and ad copy. Test different keyword combinations, match types and “assisting” keywords (such as “free”, “buy”, “learn”, “play”). Once you are profitable advertising within these “middle” ad positions, then start aiming for the top position.

Chris Harkey
Published: July 16th, 2017

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