Last week a client asked me to analyse and consult on their Google Adwords campaign with the aim of making it more targeted, and more cost-effective to ultimately improve their PPC ROI. My recommendations seemed to have worked very well for them so I thought I’d share the knowledge.

So, here are 8 simple tips you can use to make sure you’re getting the most from your Adwords campaign, maximising your ROI and seeing the level of traffic which should be generated by a successful Adwords campaign.

Google Adwords ROI Tips1. Set up conversion tracking

How do you know which adverts are most effective? How can you tell which adverts should be dropped, which adverts can be left as they are and which adverts could do with being made even more visible?

The only way to tell is to set up conversion tracking, and Google provides a simple way for you to do this. You can visit this page for a simple tutorial which takes you through the process, but what it effectively does is to allow you to see which adverts are resulting in conversions, and which web pages are being visited as a result of an advert.

If a visitor clicks on one of your Adwords adverts a cookie is left on their computer by Google to record the action. If that person then goes on to visit your website, the cookie is used to record this fact, and this data can then be used by you to identify which adverts are performing well, and which aren’t, giving you more control over your campaign.

2. Reorganise your Adgroups

The ideal way of doing this is to make sure that each product or service has its own ad group. By organising your ad groups better you can improve the quality score, and this in turn means you’ll pay less per ad view, and of course this will mean your ad will be seen more.

To improve the quality score of your ads you need to make sure that they are organised more effectively to use the actual product keyword or keyphrase in the advert, they should appear in the title, the description and the URL. So, for example, if your keyphrase was ‘SEO service’ your advert could look like this:

UK’s #1 SEO Service
Fast, friendly SEO service for UK
businesses. Free assessment!

The underlines have just been included to show how the keyphrase has been included in all three elements of the ad – this is important.

Alternatively, to save time reorganising your campaign, you could use the ‘Keyword Insertion‘ feature which allows you to create a standard ad format which will then be used by Google to insert your keywords into the ad for you automatically. You can find out more about Keyword Insertion at

3. Improve your landing page score

Having a good advert which is highly visible and results in plenty of clicks is one part of the story, but for real success your landing page needs to be designed in partnership with your ad. So for example, if we use the Adwords ad example above, the web page name needs to include the keyphrase ‘SEO service’ in the URL, and in the <title> tag and on the page too, preferably in at least one <H1> tag and throughout the page.

This makes sure Google sees the page as being relevant to the ad, and therefore is given a higher score (resulting in less cost and more exposure). It’s also important to think about making sure that what you’re saying and offering on the page leads on naturally and fluidly from any promises made in the advert, so that visitors will feel encouraged to find out more, sign up or place an order.

4. Test your ads

No, this doesn’t mean clicking on them! Please don’t ever do that, and don’t ever feel tempted to search for your ads either, as this will simply waste exposures (impressions) which might otherwise have been seen by potential customers.

Ad testing means having two or three versions of the same ad so that you can measure their performance. You might think that an ad which offers a ‘free quote’ is likely to perform better, but is this really what makes people click? Try having a version of your ad without the exclamation mark and word ‘free’ and with a different tone and see how the two compare. You can view your ads without wasting impressions by using the Ad Preview Tool.

5. Add negative keywords

A negative keyword is a word which triggers your ad, but shouldn’t do. For example, you might find that in our example ad above a search for ‘free SEO advice’ triggers your ad, but this kind of search isn’t likely to a lead or sale. Therefore, it’s a waste of an impression, and potentially a lost customer elsewhere.

By including negative keywords you can stop your ad from being displayed in cases where the search is less likely to result in a sale, therefore increasing your ROI by reducing your CPC (cost per click). Google’s Keyword Tool will help you to identify negative keywords. You should also use the ”search terms‘ report available in your Adwords account.

6. Identify less competitive keywords

The trouble with some keywords is that they are so popular they’re being used by almost all of your competitors, which means your ads are only going to be seen very occasionally. Unless you’re in a very niche market with relatively little competition it’s a good idea to spend time hunting down those less common keywords, and especially those longtail keyphrases which might not be searched for as often, but for which there might be significantly less competition, improving your exposure massively.

For example, ‘SEO service’ generates 126 million results, with a full bank of 8 Adwords ads stacked on top of each other, with a full 3 sponsored listings stacked up at the top too. However, a search for ‘UK SEO expert’ only generates 4.2 million results, and there are only 2 ads on the right, and only 1 sponsored listing. Again, use the Keyword Tool to identify long tail, less competitive keyphrases. I wrote an article on how to do this here.

7. Automatic bidding

Although this might not work any better than manual bidding, it’s an option that’s often worth trying. Using this tool Adwords works on your behalf to try to generate as many clicks as possible within your set budget. With automatic bidding there’s no need to specify individual bids for each of your ad groups. Simply set your maximum daily budget, and then let Adwords automatically adjust your maximum CPC bids for you.

You can find this feature in the ‘Settings’ tab at the Campaign/Ad Group level. It’s usually a good idea to use the ‘Focus on Conversion’ options with this.

8. Test different match types.

It’s easy to assume that by using ‘exact match’ with your ads you’re focussing on highly targeted conversions, but the truth is that you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

One way to test this is to have a variety of alternatives for your ads. Have some ads set up for ‘broad match’, others for ‘exact match’ and some for ‘phrase match’.In this way you can test the performance of each and see whether your exact matches are actually resulting in the same level of conversion as phrase matching, letting you make campaign wide alternations to continue to improve the cost and ROI of your Adwords campaign.

Why not give these tips a try, you should find your Adwords ROI improves signifigantly.

Do you have any additonal tips? Please leave a comment below and let us know!