Google AdWords: 10 Pro Tips For Boosting ROI

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Phil Singleton

Phil Singleton is a Google Marketing and SEO expert in Kansas City. Contact Phil today for a free SEO strategy consultation.

Google AdWords

Table of Contents

Every week, we work with new clients and help them save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just by enabling some useful features in Google AdWords. This typically helps businesses of all sizes save money, increase ROI, or (and most often) both.

google adwords pay per click

Why do so many companies overspend on AdWords?

It’s so frustrating!

Every single new AdWords account audit we conduct highlights the same problem: too many junk clicks and an unnecessarily low ROI.

Why do business owners, marketing teams and PPC agencies keep making the same mistakes over and over again?

AdWords ExpressFirst of all, AdWords is really hard for most companies to optimize. Google makes it easy for you to setup an account, and even easier to overspend because the default settings are heavily slanted in their favor (imagine that!).  Business owners quickly get in over their heads with DIY AdWords programs because they are overwhelmed with the back-end.  Or they get started with Google AdWords Express and miss out on many of the advanced features available in the standard version.

Secondly, when companies seek outside help, PPC and Internet marketing agencies usually get paid as a percentage of your spend, and that ranges from 10% to 20% and higher. In other words, they get paid more when you spend more – not exactly an alignment of interests.   Further, it’s to their advantage for you to have unnecessarily complex campaigns….so messy and complicated, in fact, that you fear leaving and end up getting locked into a low ROI relationship.

Finally, Google AdWords offers you phone support (which is great), but you have to understand that asking Google how much you should spend is like asking a casino how much you should gamble.  Just like PPC agencies, their incentive is to make sure they max out your spend.  Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall likens Googe AdWords support akin to “letting a German Shepherd guard the ham sandwiches.”


Here are ten Google AdWords tactics I use every week to save companies money immediately:


1. AdWords Location Settings:

In your campaign settings, make sure you are targeting people in your targeted location vs people that show interest in your targeted location. Many business owners pay for clicks from people in other states of even other countries that have shown an “interest in your area” by including the city name or zip code in their search. Unless you have other business reasons for doing so, most local businesses should only pay for click from people that are physically located in their market area.




2. Check AdWords Dimension Tab – View by: Search Terms

This is my favorite data feature in AdWords.  The Dimensions tab is where our prospective clients experience the “holy crap” moment, and usually start turning red-in-the-face once they see how many crummy clicks they have been paying for…

Be sure to check the Dimensions tab in your campaign and view the actual keywords that were typed, when they were click, how many impressions it revenues, and what you paid per click.



3. Use AdWords Website Tracking Code:

Use the website tracking code feature in your AdWords campaign to track conversions. You can put some AdWords code in your contact for confirmation page and that will enable you to track AdWords clicks, or on the html purchase confirmation page for your eCommerce site:

adwords conversion tracking



TIP: I recently created a WordPress plugin that makes it SUPER EASY to add AdWords tracking code to your site, both sitewide, or page by page. Check it out here:




4.  Use AdWords Website Call Conversion Tracking

This is my personal favorite Google AdWords feature. Website call conversion code dynamically inserts a Google forwarding number on your website that measures the calls made by these customers. Whether they click-to-call from the number on your website or dial it directly on their phone, you will be able to pinpoint these AdWords driven calls back to keywords that generated the clicks.

Install the dynamic phone tracking conversion feature for all your ads. When an person visits your site through an AdWords click, you can setup this code to dynamically insert a Google forwarding number that will track phone calls that originate from an AdWords click.



5. Use Exact Match or Phrase Match Keywords Over Broad Match Keywords

An exact match keyword looks like this [keyword1 keyword2] with brackets and will only show your AdWords ad if that word or phrase is searched.

A phrase match looks like this “keyword1 keyword2” is quotes, and will only show if a search includes the keyword or keyword phrase in the search.

Broad match is defaultl ike this   keyword1 keyword2  and will show in any search no matter what if the keyword is anywhere in the phrase.  This default setting gets business owners into trouble because it is WAY TOO BROAD.  You end paying for lots of clicks with no commercial value.


6. Use Negative Keywords To Weed Out Junk Clicks

Use the negative keywords feature! Many businesses pay for junk clicks because they do not exclude words in their campaigns that are clearly not buy words. Some people complain that AdWords attracts lower quality leads…but if you eliminate price-shopper keywords, then you can focus your budget on ideal clients that want to buy from you because of your unique selling position.  For example, words like free, cheap, affordable, jobs, employment, etc. do not show commercial intent, but you could end up paying a premium for these words unless otherwise excluded from your campaign.

As an example, we do not want clicks from people that seek low-end, graphic-driven, digital brochure websites or cheap SEO services.  Our clients understand that a website is the hub of a modern marketing machine and the key for a high ROI marketing strategy.  In other words, they do not shop for digital services as if they were an expense (ie vendor relationship), but rather view websites and SEO as a true investment (ie partner relationship).   Thus, we take extra care to remove companies that want low cost web solutions or cheap marketing services:




7. Use A Dynamic Bid Adjustment Strategy

You can selectively increase your bid amount per key by device and location.

  • By device: You can choose to increase your bid amount by an additional percentage for certain devices. For example, you can bid on a set of words for $5/word for example, and boost that bid by 20% on mobile devices, so that when does a mobile phone search for that word, you can rank higher for that device.   Bidding higher on mobile searches is a great strategy because more than 50% of all searches now are made on mobile devices.  Further, with a much less screen space available, the mobile ads dominate the top of mobile searches.
  • By location: You can also do the same for a location – so if you have a metro scope campaign, you can choose to increase the bid amount by a percentage for a particular county within that campaign.  For example, you could bid $10 for Kansas City metro searches, and boost that bid by 25% for clicks originating from Johnson county.

adwords device bidding


8. Use Ad Extensions

There are additional feature that result in more information displayed for Ads in the top three positions.

  • Sitelink extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Review extensions

adwords sitelinks

9. Using Day And Time Scheduling

Set your ads to run during targeted hours or days. You can select what days of the week you campaigns run, and what hours of the day as well.

Bonus Tip: you can also set a bid adjustment and dynamically / automatically set AdWords to bid higher during a certain time period just like in tip #7 above.

AdWords Ad Schedule

10.  Connect Your AdWords & Google My Business Accounts

In addition to the AdWords extensions listed in #8 above, there is a another great extension for your AdWords ads – the location extension.  In order for this option to be available in your account, you have to connect your Google My Business account with your AdWords account.


AdWords Location Extensions


google-adwords-ebookDid you like these AdWords Tips and Tactics?

This 1,500 word blog post contains some great tips, but it really only scratches the surface.  There are many more great features and tactics such as AdWords remarketing (you know, those stalker ads that seem to follow you around the Internet) and other PPC tactics such as dynamic keyword insertion, advanced geo-targeting, and much more.

I have recently co-written a 40+ page eBook  on Google AdWords that not only covers the basics, but also includes more tips and tactics for getting the best possible return on investment from your PPC campaigns.

My next eBook, Google Adwords: Proven Strategies & Tips for Better Pay-Per-Click Advertising, is part of our Marketing Guides series being published through John Jantschs’ Duct Tape Publishing.

You can find more book and eBooks I have published on my Amazon author page.

We also have more info on our Kansas City AdWords consulting service page.

Do you have any other pro tips or advice to share on AdWords?  Share with us below: