13 Google AdWords Tips and Tricks

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 6 minutes.

Google’s AdWords product helps connect you with potential customers in the right place, and at precisely the right time by placing relevant adverts on the right-hand-side of Google’s search results pages (SERPs) or through their content network, via AdSense.

For a beginner, Google AdWords can be a little daunting to start with, so below I list some tips and tricks that have served and continue to serve me well whenever I setup and manage a campaign.

  1. Don’t use broad keyword matching — At least not to start off with. What’s broad matching? “If you include general keyword or keyword phrases-such as tennis shoes-in your keyword list, your adverts will appear when users search for tennis and shoes, in any order, and possibly along with other terms.” With expanded matching it becomes even harder to know when your keywords will show, because Google will pick them algorithmically. Broad match is usually used by experienced advertisers looking to save time (usually with a long list of negative keywords) or by lazy advertisers, who may not have the time or the inclination to target their campaigns. Broad matching can also be the right way to go for parts of certain kinds of campaign, but wading straight into it can be dangerous.
  2. Use dynamic titles in your adverts — Dynamic titles are easy, they don’t cost anything and they usually have a good effect on CTR and conversion rates. The phrase that the searcher uses in their search will come up as the the title of your advert. This saves you having to create an individual advert for each keyword and means that your ad will be more targeted. In the title field of your ad simply put {keyword:your default title here}. The default title is in case the search phrase is too long for the title field or if AdWords can’t display the search for some other reason.
  3. Use global negatives to prevent advert duplication — If you’re selling something, you don’t want people finding your advert if they’re searching for free stuff. This sounds obvious, but do some searches and you’ll see it happening. Use the word ‘free’ in your campaign global negatives. You can also use this for other words you don’t want to turn up for. Using negative keywords is especially important if you’re using broad matching.
  4. Turn off content targeting and search network — Do you know where to look at these adverts? If the answer is a resounding “no”, leave them alone until you feel confident that you know where they’ll be showing and that you can make them work — get comfortable with Google SERPs first. Conversion rates and CTR‘s change dramatically for each search property, not to mention content targeted adverts. Get acquainted with Google before you move on to the others.
  5. Test different advert-copy and positions — How much of a difference will being in the first position, as opposed to the second, third or sixth position make, for your net profit? The answer is that it depends on your creative, industry and who else is bidding on your keywords. The bottom line is that you should know. Test your creative in each position and work out where it will be most effective, from an ROI point of view. Remember also that the AdWords ranking algo works on a CPC x CTR basis (it’s actually more complicated than that, but that gives an idea as to why out of two adverts with similar CPC‘s, one will be higher because of a higher CTR.) You can also test your creatives. Write several different adverts and set them to run evenly (Google will run the one which preforms best by default, but you can set them to run evenly in your campaign settings). The creative which gives you the highest ROI is the one you should go with. You should probably run this kind of test for more than just a day.
  6. Optimise your destination URLs and landing pages — The landing page is the page which the person who clicked on your advert will see when they come through to your site. Don’t use your homepage as your landing page unless it deals only with selling the product you’re advertising. For example, if you’re selling widgets, optimise a page on your website with information regarding that widget, this could be a product page on your website, or a specific page for the advertising campaign.
  7. Track conversion and ROI — Track everything. Google will track impressions, clicks and click through rate. Just because an advert has a high CTR doesn’t mean that it is making you money. Use Google’s own conversion tracking codes and link AdWords with Analytics. If you don’t know how each keyword is preforming, then you won’t be able to optimise your campaigns. Turn off the keywords that aren’t working well and invest more in the keywords which are.
  8. Work out your CPA — How much is each sale costing you? Are your Google AdWords listings preforming as well as your Yahoo! listings? Your Bing listings? Your offline marketing? You should know how much you’re paying for each order, sale, download or enquiry on each channel — only then will you be able to set CPA targets to work towards and know which channel is best for you.
  9. Don’t enter into bidding wars with your competitors, find a niche — It is easy to get into bidding wars with your competitors. You want to be number one and so does your competitor. The best thing to do is to take a step back, ten deep breaths and consider how important it really is to be in the number one spot. If you can justify it, fine but otherwise: let your competitor be number one, slot into the number two slot and wait. If you have a better product, your click-through rate will get you to the top – and you’ll still be paying the same as you were in the second position. More and more people are using automated bidding software. This software will update at a set interval to keep the ad in the desired position. Doing battle with this kind of software is even more frustrating and less rewarding than trying to outbid a competitor.
  10. Set a weekly budget and stick to it — When you’re first starting out this is really important. AdWords is addictive, and like anything else addictive, it can quickly get out of hand. A keyword may convert like nobody’s business one day and die the next. Make sure you know a keyword is working — more importantly, know why it is working — before you invest more.
  11. Geo-target your adverts — Geo-target your adverts to the relevant audience. It can be done when you set up a new campaign and in your campaign settings. If you want to show on google.com that’s fine, but remember that you can geo-target to individual countries and even cities (you can target regions in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the Netherlands). The more targeted users feels that your ad is, the more likely they are to click on it.
  12. Organise your adverts into logical groups — This will make it easier for you to know what is doing well and what isn’t — especially a year later. If you’re selling widgets have a campaign not just for widgets, but for each brand of widget, and then an ad-group for each widget model.
  13. Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing — Is your competitor doing something better than you? What keywords do you share with your competitors? Can you discern their strategy? Do they use automated bidding software? Do their landing pages have some magic which you should be emulating? This is the sort of information you can find out and the kind of information that you need to know.

If there are inaccuracies in the above list, just give me a shout, otherwise, I’m happy to hear your own tips and experiences.

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  • Really useful information, especially the point about keeping your campaigns organised.



  • Anonymous

    hey there,

    this is quite convincing stuff, but also check this weblog http://www.adwordsnemesis.com for more info on Google AdWords Tips and Tricks…

  • Partha S Dutta

    nice post and now i’ll try to follow this guidelines.. thanks 🙂

  • Include specific keywords that directly relate to the specific theme of your ad group and landing page.