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Last Modified: 1/7/24

In the world of Google Ads, Digital marketers are constantly fine-tuning their campaigns to generate more relevant clicks while stressing over metrics like click-through-rate and cost-per-click.

The problem is we’re so focused on hitting certain KPIs that we forget the work we do in Google Ads is only half of the equation.

Below is our list of 10 steps to help optimize your Google Ad campaigns to better convert those website visitors into customers.

Google Ads optimization steps and process

  1. Have you matched the search intent of your keywords to a relevant landing page?

    We have to look at why we first chose the keywords we did and what their true intent is. For example, if your campaigns are bidding on top of the funnel keywords or phrases, does it make sense to send them to a landing page with a bottom of the funnel conversion point like a contact us page? Probably not.

    Before starting any ad campaign ensure your goals line-up with the landing page or pages you intend on getting in front of these searchers. It may make sense to build out several different landing pages, one could capture emails through a newsletter signup for top of the funnel keywords, another might be a gated piece of content like a downloadable whitepaper, or there is always the bottom of funnel contact us page with a lead form on it.

    To start small will be easier to focus on one goal and one landing page before moving on to more advanced strategies.

  2. Does your bidding strategy make sense for the keywords you’re bidding on?

    Would you pay the same amount for a newsletter signup as you would a bottom of the funnel lead? Most people would say no, and you should let your bidding strategy reflect this idea.

    Bidding higher on bottom of the funnel search queries and lower on broader more general phrases.

    When auditing Google Ad accounts this is almost always an area where there is room for improvement, a smart bidding strategy can make or break the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

    It also helps ensure there is enough budget to properly get in front of those bottom of the funnel type searches as you won’t be wasting spend on clicks that don’t convert as often.
    Google Ads bid adjustments based on keywords
    The farther you go down in your marketing funnel, the matching keywords will also have more search intent. There will typically be a smaller number of high intent keywords to choose from and using an exact match type keyword strategy will help keep those groups tightly controlled to optimize your return on ad spend.

    Higher funnel searches with less intent should be targeted with broad match or broad match modifier keyword type.

    From there you can gather relevant keywords as you begin to collect data on what is converting and what isn’t. Middle of the funnel search intent keywords we typically like to target with phrase match or maybe broad match modifier type strategies to ensure we are going after a wide enough audience to hit our objectives.

    As a general rule of thumb, you should always be bidding less for a keyword that is more likely to lead to a top of funnel conversion like a newsletter signup, and more for a keyword that has a higher chance of turning out to be a strong lead.

  3. Are your conversion points setup in Google Analytics?

    Every conversion point on your website should be setup to get tracked back into Google Ads, this will allow you to narrow down the actual keywords that are best converting your site visitors.

    Without knowing what is or isn’t converting, you won’t be able to effectively optimize your campaigns or measure their success.

    Conversion points setup for a Google Ads campaign


    There are several ways to do this but if it is your first time we would suggest looking at some basic guides to setting up goals in Google Analytics and how to import those into Google Ads.

    More advanced setups will typically be done using Google Tag Manager which makes the process for adding future conversion points much quicker with less room for error.

    Conversion data also allows for more advanced bidding strategies within Google Ads like maximize conversions, which focuses on bringing in prospects that are more likely to convert. For ecommerce businesses this can be very effective at increasing your return on ad spend with just a little effort setting up the conversion goals.

  4. Is your ad copy telling a coherent story with your landing page?

    Sometimes the ads with the best click-through-rate are the worst converting, and this could be due to a number of factors but a common error we see is the ad copy writers will write to a specific group of keywords without taking into account what the story is on the landing page.

    What naturally happens in this scenario is you have prospects clicking on convincing ads to website pages that aren’t telling a coherent story, leading to a quick bounce and wasted ad spend. Checkout our 9 factors to consider when design your website to better cater your content to your audience and increase conversion rate.

    Leads entering the marketing conversion funnel

    It is always a good idea to group similar keywords and write ad copy specific to those groupings. 

    There must also always be thought beyond just getting the click and boosting CTR. One of the most effective strategies is using software like Optimizely or Google Optimize to modify the landing page copy by the keyword group the searcher clicked through to your site on.

    Most people have no idea this is a thing, let alone how to implement it, but surprisingly it isn’t that hard and brings in great results. This type of content personalization is often referred to as "dynamic" or "smart" content because of its ability to be relevant to a wide range of prospects. Just make sure you're able to deliver on all of the different stories that smart content is telling.

  5. Your lead form contains too many fields or doesn’t make sense for the ask

    If you’re signing up for a newsletter you expect to give your email and maybe a name and these prospects we would consider to be at the top of your funnel, interested in more but not ready to buy or get in touch. For more middle of the funnel prospects who might be in the consideration stage in searching for a product or service, they may be willing to exchange more of their information in return for your content.

    For example with a gated whitepaper pertaining to their specific industry they might be willing to give you name, work email, job title, and perhaps answer a drop-down question you can use to later segment them into different buckets.

    With bottom of the funnel lead forms it usually makes sense to get a name, work email, phone number, title, and maybe an open-ended comment field. We intentionally exclude company name and company size because the work email that they provide you will give you the company they work for and a quick search on LinkedIn or Google will show you company size, so why add the friction?

    This does assume you are using form software or a customer-relationship-management tool that makes it possible to exclude prospects using free email addresses to submit forms.

    Think of the fields on any lead form as a source of friction but also qualification, meaning your newsletter subscribers probably don’t need much qualification to subscribe and so there should be less friction on the form. The opposite would be true for bottom of the funnel leads, they should be more qualified via additional fields in the form and therefore experience more friction.

    Unnecessary friction is where it often makes sense to cut back on what you are collecting or find that data elsewhere.

    Tools like Hubspot CRM will allow leads to come in and auto-populate relevant data automatically like company name, revenue, employee count, city, state and more.

  6. Keyword overlap when using broad match or phrase match types

    For those top and middle funnel search intent keywords you bid on, your broad match, broad match modified, or phrase match type strategy will almost always create at least some overlap across your marketing funnel. What this means is you may have a broad match keyword that gets you a click from a bottom of the funnel search phrase, and if you’ve followed our optimization steps you’d be serving that ad group a top of funnel landing page which in this case would not be optimal.

    To solve for this common problem, it almost always makes sense to have a smart internal linking strategy. Meaning your top of the funnel piece of content, whether it is a blog or other piece of content, should contain links to related pieces of content that are deeper down in the funnel. So in that way you give higher intent driven searchers a way to dive deeper into your content where more valuable conversion points exist.

    Internal link building website structure

    If you see a lot of these types of searches occurring in your top of the funnel ad groups it would probably make sense to start moving the phrases that are converting into your middle or bottom of the funnel ad groups and adding them as negative keywords to your top of funnel ad groups.

  7. Stay focused within your business's core value propositions

    You might be surprised how many businesses bid on keywords that aren’t relevant to their core competencies.

    A lot of the time, it is due to broad match type bidding strategies that give Google a little too much freedom to decide which searches to get in front of, leading to a huge amount of wasted ad spend. If this is your business, go back to step #2 and match the keywords in your Google Ad account to your marketing funnel with a smart strategy around match type.
    Business strategy sticking to your core value propositionsYou should be continually asking yourself what your core competencies are and what is actually driving revenue and profits for your business. A great exercise to do is to pull a search terms report out of Google Ads for a month or longer and go through the list of actual Google searches that your ads were shown for and received clicks. More often than not you will find a lot of completely irrelevant searches you paid for clicks on.

    Ideally you would want to see relevance increase in unison with your marketing funnel, so the further you are down your funnel and the keywords you are bidding on, the more relevance there should in your search terms report.
  8. You haven’t added any negative keywords at the ad group or campaign level

    Depending on how your Google Ad account is structured you will almost always want to add negative keywords at a campaign or ad group level. For your bottom of the funnel campaigns that rely on exact match type keywords this will be less important as you are telling Google exactly which keywords you want to bid on and there won’t be a large amount of creativity that happens between what you specify and what Google serves your ads for.

    With broad match and phrase match campaigns you will need to keep a close eye on your search term reports. When you begin seeing keywords pop up frequently that hold no relevance to the product or service you are offering, you should begin adding them to your negative keyword list at a campaign or ad-group level.

    If you use tools like Moz, SEM Rush, Ahrefs, or just Google Ads Keyword Planner to do your keyword research, you can often add irrelevant keywords to your negative list before the campaign launches.

  9. What about Microsoft (formerly Bing) Ads?

    There is no doubt that Google gets the lion’s share of search engine traffic, but you’d be surprised to find that other platforms like Bing can actually net you a better return. This is because there are more marketers focused on Google Ads and fewer who also run Microsoft Bing campaigns. However, Microsoft makes it extremely easy to port over existing Google Ad campaigns into their advertising platform.

    It almost always makes sense to run both simultaneously if you have enough budget to spread between them. If you only have $10/day to spend you probably wouldn’t want to split your budget between them, but at $30+ it begins to make sense as your cost per acquisition on Microsoft’s Bing can often be much lower than Google.

  10. Do you have the right resources in place to fully optimize your Google Ad campaigns?

    We want to stress that to be OK in Google Ads does not take a lot of effort, there are tons of great tutorials available through simple Google searches that will make you better than 70% of marketers. The problem is you will always come up short against those who have been honing their talents over many years in the platform.

    The best Google Ad guru’s will be data-driven analytical thinkers with the ability to come up with multiple solutions to the same problem.

    [Shameless plug] At jumpany we happen to be those types of people and are continually building better performing campaigns for our clients, feel free to get in touch for a quick consultation to determine the scope of your needs.

    Where do you start to keep things simple?

    Build a single campaign with one goal and focus on creating a landing page that matches a tight group of keywords. If that works, start adding the complexities of additional landing pages, more keyword groups and possibly alternative goals across the spectrum of your marketing funnel.

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