Expert Advice and Best Practices for AdWords Dummies

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

Lately I have been trying to compile the coolest metrics and best practices to look for in your Adwords campaigns. That not only helps me touch base and recall all the best practices but also reminds me to stick to them while refining my failed digital marketing tests, so a word of advice from experts to beginners.

Search Marketing campaigns are focused on numbers and stats even while managing campaigns of as little as £5 a day. Each ad group, campaign, keyword requires an in-depth search on what you want to gain from it and what are your goals with it – unless your company has billions of dollars to spill over search marketing without worrying about the results. As they famously say – Marketing is just another form of Statistics.

Enough of the general rant, I will come down to the core topic – key features to look for in AdWords for dummies coming from experts as their best practices.

Quality Score

Every campaign’s budget changes and often they depend on the key goals and financial condition of the company. Quality Score is one of the key metrics that determine the cost per click along with the position of your ads.

Having a strong focus on the number you get in your quality score keeps your budget in a healthy shape. What could be more exciting than draining your competitors budget and knowing about it?

Score who? What am I talking about?

The best explanation of quality score is given by Google, “Quality Score for Google and the Search Network is a dynamic metric assigned to each of your keywords. It’s calculated using a variety of factors and measures how relevant your keyword is to your ad group and to a user’s search query. The higher a keyword’s Quality Score, the lower its cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and the better its ad position.”

Google’s earlier model of calculating advertisers rank was very straight forward the algorithm only multiplied click-through rate with cost per click to determine ads position. As the system got more intelligent and complex this model became more complex as well, it now includes Quality Score as part of the measuring algorithm to determine the price per click, ad rank and the frequency of ads. Quality Score on its own is a mix of many small but important factors. The breakdown of these important factors is as following:

  • Click through rate
  • Relevance of keyword to its adgroup
  • Landing page quality
  • Relevance of keywords to the creative (ad copy)
  • Overall account performance history
  • Load time and other relevancy factors (secret sauce as Google calls it)

How to check Quality Score in your AdWords Account

Here are two ways to find your Quality Score in Google AdWords:

The Customize columns command tells you whether each keyword’s Quality Score is “Poor,” “OK,” or “Great.” To enable the command:

1.    Sign in to your AdWords account.
2.    Select the relevant campaign and ad group.
3.    Select the Keywords tab.
4.    Click Customize columns at the top of the ad group table.
5.    Choose Show Quality Score from the drop-down menu.
6.    Click Done.

The Status command tells you the actual numerical value of your Quality Scores. To access these values:

1.    Sign in to your AdWords account.
2.    Select the relevant campaign and ad group.
3.    Select the Keywords tab.
4.    Click the icon in the Status column next to a keyword. The Keyword Analysis field appears. The second section of this field indicates the keyword’s Quality Score.

A quick tip to improve quality score:

Quality Score is not something you can win overnight, it takes a lot of time, sweat and micro analysis of all the above factors but once you get it right, you have mastered the art of keeping your money in your pocket for the worst of times.

Click Through Rate

After knowing your Quality Score, the next thing to look for is click through rate. It is helps determine if your keywords and ads are targeting the right audience, it also helps in benchmarking which techniques and keywords are performing better over time and are completing your campaign goals.

CTR? Customers that Run-away? I am confused.

If you do it right, customers will not run-away but run towards you, hoards of them bringing lots of cash and we definitely like the sound of that. This all sounds very exciting but how can we calculate CTR and use it to our advantage?

Calculate CTR in your AdWords account

Calculating CTR is as easy as adding 2+2 but is as important as the cash in your bank account.

Click through rate = total number of clicks *100 / total number of impressions.

For example a website with 100 impressions and 2 click would have 2% click through rate and an ad of 56,892 impressions and 234 clicks would have a click through rate of 0.41%.

Tips to improve CTR for your campaign.

Improving your CTR is an art and the best way to master it is to try again and again with all the variations’ of keywords and creative lines that you can think of.

Here’s a link to a blog post on PPCHero with tips to increase your CTR but if you are focused on improving your CTR during your holiday seasons, a few pointers in my earlier blog posts might help.

Conversion Rate

In essence, conversation rate means how well our campaigns are achieving our goals. In my earlier posts on the basic guide to conversion, I explained it as the core metrics to follow which would gain you the most in your campaigns.

Conversion rate is integral if you want your vague goals to be more specific, benchmarking, campaign improvement and even goal alteration.

Calculating conversion rate is another straight forward process but setting it up is another whole dive on its own.

Conversion Rate = Total Conversions/ Total Views x100

Total conversions and total views can be replaced with whatever variable you are trying to calculate, if your goal is only lead generation you can use the lead forms or demo requests divided by total number of visits to the landing page times 100.

Tips to measure conversion rate:

As most of the digital practitioners I know highly recommend it and I will endorse that as well ‘never measure conversion rate without setting a goal’. Setting goals not only help you realise your current position, compare it with past, includes seasonality but also keeps the campaigns in sync with over all campaign or company goals.

Search Query Report

Managing keywords and search query reports is one of the most important tasks while managing a PPC account. Search Query Report allows you to see the exact term that a user typed into Google.

Unless your campaign only has exact match keywords, it will most certainly get some level of unwanted impressions. When you see impressions on your unwanted keywords it decreases your click through rate which in result decreases your quality score meaning you will end up paying a lot more for the same ad listing position in result pages.

Search reports not only give you negative keywords but it also helps you understand the searchers behavior, your visitor’s behavior and search queries that are taking place in your market. Therefore an in-depth study and pattern segmentation will help you target your visitors according to their needs.

How to run a Search Query Report in your AdWords Account

Go into your Google AdWords account and click the keyword tab. Select the date range that you want to get the report at. Your recent campaigns might not have enough data to show thus the reports data retrieval depends upon the size and amount of traffic your accounts receive.


Once you hit the ‘All’ options the report will run and show you all those search queries that triggered your ads.

Search Query Report is also useful for deleting existing low performing keywords and replacing them with new better targeted keywords and more popular search query keywords.

Finding Negative Keywords

The next best advantage of Search Query Reporting is finding keywords that you do not require in your campaigns but are sucking your budget. Seeing how your ads are being triggered may help you notice irrelevant searches. You can easily find these negative keywords isolate them and add to your negative list for a clean, crisp ad campaign saving you adspend and increasing your CTR.

Almost every keyword should appear in the ad text

Google bolds the search results if the search keyword matches the keyword in the ad text. This attracts researches eye and increases the likelihood of getting better CTRs – which Google rewards with better ad positions and lower CPC. Keeping this formula in mind every ad group should be tightly linked to the keywords and ads in the ad group.

Be curious.

Explore everything that AdWords has to offer, there are a wealth of tools and information available for you to use in optimising your campaign. Be curious and bold is testing new tools and remember small changes bring huge impacts. 

Faseeh Shams is a Marketing Executive at Traffic Smart, developer of Adthena, a Competitor Analysis Search Intelligence Solution which is used to deliver the most in-depth and thorough results available for benchmarking, campaign improvement and infringement monitoring.