If you run PPC ads for your affiliate marketing, blog products, etc., you know how easily a few “quick” ad tweaks can suddenly eat up the entire afternoon. And that’s if you’re lucky and don’t end up accidentally deleting one of your ad campaigns.

I’m here to hopefully make your PPC ad editing a little bit easier. Also, should you implement these quick strategies as recommended below, I guarantee that you’ll save a little bit of money on your PPC advertising too.

Not bad for something you can do over a short coffee break, eh?┬áLet’s begin!

How to quickly and easily improve your PPC ad strategy

To begin with, we’ll be using Google AdWords as our PPC ad model.

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1. Get rid of your general keywords.

It (almost) goes without saying that, if you’re going to use long-tail and highly targeted keywords for your website content, your PPC ads should follow suit. However, I’ve made this mistake myself, thanks in part to focusing too closely on finding keywords that provided me with a good Quality Score (QS). After a week had gone by, I had a nice hefty Google bill thanks to my ads being served up to almost every search query under the sun.

How can you find long-tail keywords that also have some traffic? First, go to the keywords tab of your AdWords account. There, you should find your previously added keywords- for example, credit cards. Click on the orange +Keywords button.

At this point, you should see different long-tail keywords show up in the right panel shown below. Click ‘Add’ to add any one of these keywords to your existing campaign. Once you’re done, hit the blue ‘Save‘ button. Your selected keywords should now appear in your keywords list.

keyword selection

Go back to your existing keywords list and pinpoint your general keyword terms (e.g., credit cards). You should also be able to see the number of clicks and CTR per each keyword. While the number of clicks may be higher for general keywords, that doesn’t mean that such words are generating conversions. More than likely, these very generic keywords are just costing you lots of money thanks to non-specific search queries. Delete them or you might wake up to this type of AdWords bill.

2. Use transactional, not educational, keywords.

Some keywords are, just by their very nature, research-focused or educational and not sales-focused or transactional. For example, if I search on the term ‘what is a credit score,’ I’m probably more interested in finding out how credit scores work in general rather than finding out my actual credit score or how to improve it.

Educational keywords are great for SEO but not SEM (search engine marketing), which is what PPC advertising is all about.


Because when users input search terms that are educational in nature, they’re not yet ready to buy. So, even if your ads get clicked, they will probably not convert.

How can you best determine whether your keywords are educational or transactional? By searching on them yourself.

Search on specific keyword phrases that you have included in your AdWords ad campaigns and look at the search engine results page (SERP) in detail. Are the websites mostly informational (e.g., Wikipedia)? Or are the results populated mostly by corporate or business pages?

If your keywords are bringing up educational and informational sites, they are probably not helping you score sales. These are the keywords you should consider removing from your PPC ad repertoire.

3. Check which keywords are being used to show your PPC ads.

The bad news is that Google has pretty much encrypted all organic search terms used to find your website. Luckily, this situation doesn’t exist on Google AdWords. You can still go into your account and find out just what kinds of keywords are being input by users who then click on your ads. This is included in your Search terms report.

You will already need to be running active campaigns in order to get such data. First, click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab in your AdWords account, followed by the ‘Keywords’ tab. Now, click the the ‘Details’ button.


At this point you can choose to see all the search terms being input by users before they click your ad. If you find that a lot of informational or irrelevant search terms are being input, you can take the next step, which is outlined in Strategy 4.

4. Add negative keywords to your campaign.

At the very bottom of your ad campaign panel, you’ll find a blue hyperlink that says Negative keywords. If you click on the cross sign to the left, you’ll open up a panel that allows you to input all the informational and irrelevant keywords found in Strategy 3 as well any other keywords you can think of.

negative keywords

You can add keywords at the ad group or campaign level depending on how many ads you have created and how many different topics your ads encompass. Doing this should reduce your campaign costs considerably.

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5. Organize your ads into ad groups.

If you’re running more than one ad for a specific landing page and/or your ads all use the same keywords, you are better off organizing your individual ads into ad groups. There are two big reasons for doing so: ease-of-use (for you) and QS (from Google).

Let’s say you’ve made 3 different ads that encourage users to pay for a credit score monitoring service. These ads can all be placed under one ad group called ‘credit service’- or whatever you wish to title it. At the AdWords campaign level, you can create such a title and then add each of your 3 ads there.

ad groups

If you wish to revisit your ad groups in the future to add/remove new keywords or add in additional negative keywords, you only need to select the specific ad group holding all of your similar ads. There is no need to peruse individual ads and do the same tasks over and over. This means major time savings for you.

Google is also reportedly not too happy when forced to peruse disorganized ads. A higher QS is assigned to ad groups that are arranged by identical keywords.

Your 5 minutes are up!

By using the 5 strategies outlined above, you can increase your Google QS and reduce the cost of your ad campaigns. Oh, and still enjoy what’s left of your coffee break.

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