Google Ads Optimization:
8 Ways To
Increase Conversions

Cynthia Meyer
Cynthia Meyer
Content Marketing Manager
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Making a pizza can be quite an ordeal. Especially if you miss the mark with the first pizza dough toss.

A strategic PPC performance plan can help you in the same way a chef becomes a master pizza maker. You gather the right ingredients, follow the right order of steps, and produce an ideal end result.

Today, we’ve partnered up with Marin Software to bring you the Google Ads Performance Ideas Pizza. We've got eight useful performance improvements you can start implementing today.


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Google Ads Research + Spy Tools - Increasing Expansion Opportunities

Yes, conducting research can be a tedious process. But doing your due diligence can be worthwhile, especially when it comes to using Google Ads research tools and PPC spy tools.

Warning: Most people use Google Ads research and spy tools all wrong. They use Google Ads Keyword Planner and PPC spy tools to apply the research to averages.

Applying your research to averages, like average CPCs and average conversion rates, is something you don’t want to do.

Here’s why. We conducted original research on the effectiveness of Google Ads Keyword Planner, and we found that in the CPC bid prices were actually more expensive than what our clients were paying for those keywords.


Do This Instead: Apply your Google Ads and PPC research to focus on expansion opportunities to increase conversions for search and display.

Use your new research findings for things like:

  • Keywords that your competitors are getting impressions for, and that you’re missing out on
  • Keywords with the highest search volume to give you the most potential impressions, clicks and conversions
  • Display placements that your competitors are taking advantage of, and that you’re missing out on
  • Google Ads Display Planner which helps you identify new audience demand

Start by accessing Google Ads’ research tool, Keyword Planner:

Google Ads keyword planner
Go to Tools > Keyword Planner

Then open the Auction Insight report:

Google Ads insights
Compare yourself in the green row with your competition

For more spy tools, check out 18 PPC spy tools that’ll crush your competition.

Even with PPC spy tools, you shouldn’t be using them to figure out the plausibility of a PPC campaign. Focus on expansion opportunities to beat out your competitors.

Google Ads Search - Using Single Keyword Ad Groups & RLSA for More Control

What’s the best way to gain the most control over your Google Ads campaigns?

Straight up, using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) is an effective way to set up your PPC campaigns so you have the most granular handle over every aspect of your campaign.

You basically set up one keyword per search term within each ad group of your campaign.

Here’s why SKAGs give you utmost flexibility and nimbleness:

  • When you use Google’s suggested 10-20 keywords per ad group, your campaign can end up looking something like this:
multiple keywords
That’s a lot of keywords coming into one ad
  • When you use SKAGs and have 1:1 ratio of keywords to search terms, so your PPC campaign looks more like this:
one keyword
A closer match - much better

With SKAGs, you can stop attracting all those unwanted search terms and start attracting the search terms you’re actually targeting that match up to your keyword.

Here’s what a properly setup SKAG search term to keyword matching looks like:

The search terms matches up with the exact same keyword

This way, you can pause the keywords that aren’t bringing you the right traffic and boost the keywords that are.

Another option: Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) is a Google feature where you can create specific text ads that retarget specific audience lists for you.

RLSAs also give you more flexibility. You can modify your bids based on retargeting visitors that have been to your site and landing pages before.

You can cater to where people are in the conversion funnel and decide which ads to expose them to depending on how familiar they are with your brand.

Here’s a visual of the potential ROI reach with RLSAs:

You can be broader in your targeting - image source

With RLSA campaigns, you can target audiences that are at the top of the conversion funnel, hence making your keywords and reach more broad.

Google Ads Display - Targeting Lower Threats to Match PPC Channels

If you’re an enthusiastic fan of our blog posts, you may have seen this before:

chuck norris action cycle
Our Chuck Norris action cycle

When comparing Google Ads performance ideas for the Display Network vs. the Google Ads Search Network, the two networks address completely different stages of the conversion or action cycle.

Display visitors are at the top of the funnel in the awareness stage. Search visitors are closer to the bottom of the funnel in the consideration phase.

This is an important factor to consider when creating your PPC campaigns and deciding on which channels to use.

Because visitors come from different PPC channels with different intent levels, they’ll respond to different calls-to-action (CTAs).

Takeaway: When creating your CTA, consider which PPC channel they came from. Then match the threat level of your CTA with your visitor’s stage in the action cycle.

The PPC Thermometer - Matching Intent & CTA Temperatures

There are different temperatures for each stage of the conversion cycle. Display visitors, for example, tend to match up colder intents with colder CTAs.

We call this concept the PPC thermometer.

The whole purpose of gauging different PPC temperatures is to find out which types of CTAs will work best with your various visitors.

Takeaway: The warmer your visitor is in the action cycle (those coming from search), the warmer their conversion intent will be, which means the warmer your CTA threat level can be.

conversion intent and threat temp
Match the intent of your visitor with threat level of your CTA

So if someone comes in from a display ad with a colder intent, don’t greet them with an intrusive high threatening request, like asking for their personal contact info for a free consultation.

The visitors that come in at the ice cubes level are likely to be at the top of funnel, so cater your CTA threat level and offer to that stage of the conversion cycle.

Here are some Google Ads performance ideas for CTAs that match up to action cycle temperatures:

Google Ads Performance Ideas cta temp
Colder CTAs match up to display visitors, and warmer CTAs match up with search visitors

Micro Metrics & Quality Scores - Measuring PPC Success

So many of us get obsessed with micro metrics and forget about the big picture.

Don’t fall into this trap and get stuck on micro details like quality score, impression shares, CTR, average position, PVC, relevance score, CPC, CPPthe list goes on.

Sure, those metrics are important, but if they aren’t helping your overall macro metric (a sale), which is your main business goal… then those micro metrics don’t matter much in telling you about the real progress of your PPC campaigns.

Do This Instead: Rather than focus on the nitty-gritty details, simply ask yourself - is your PPC campaign is generating you more revenue and making you more money?

An effective way to track whether or not your campaign is making you more money is to track actual sales vs. conversions and other micro metrics.

Here’s what I mean. In this example, which keyword do you think works best?

Google Ads Performance Ideas cost per conversion keyword test
Looks like Keyword 1 because it’s costing less per conversion

But what happens if you pull yourself out of that micro metric and check out your keyword’s effect on sales?

In that same example, here’s how the same two keywords relate to cost per sale:

Google Ads Performance Ideas cost per sale keyword test
Now which keyword is outperforming?

Keyword 2 is the one that’s generating more revenue for you when you look at the bigger picture and consider the cost per sale.

Takeaway: When analyzing your PPC campaign metrics and PPC performance, don’t get bogged down in the micro details, and instead, focus on your overall business goal.

The Iceberg Effect - Creating More Control Over Your PPC Campaigns

Without SKAGs in your life, you can easily fall into a trap we like to call the Iceberg Effect.

Here’s what it looks like in terms of search terms and keywords:

Google Ads Performance Ideas keyword search term iceberg effect
Totally unbalanced and monstrous below the surface

What happens when you don’t isolate single keywords and match them up to the exact same search terms is you end up paying for a lot more search terms than your intended targeted keywords.

How many more? Maybe this many:

keyword search term 1:132 ratio
Way more search terms than you want to pay for

Without controlling a granular level of keywords and search terms, your PPC campaigns could end up having something like a 132:1 search term to keyword ratio. No bueno.

Avoid the Iceberg Effect. Shoot for a 1:1 search term to keyword ratio by setting up SKAGs in your account.

Something like this will get you that 1:1 ratio:

Google Ads Performance Ideas skags example
Exact search term and keyword matches

The Weekly Google Ads Checklist - Cross-Checking Your Strategy

In our PPC agency, we follow these four standard steps when managing our clients’ Google Ads accounts:

  1. Audit search terms: We do a full-blown sweep and look at all of the search term reports to seek out irrelevant traffic. Once we identify the irrelevant traffic that’s wasting ad budget, we make modifications and add to the list of negative keywords.
  2. Expand search terms: Our team scrutinizes the campaign’s search terms looking for relevant terms that can be used to create new SKAGs. The purpose of this step is to expand for more quality traffic.
  3. Compare ad copy performance: We review ad copy performance to see which campaigns are increasing conversion rates and which ones aren’t. This is how we decide whether or not new variants are needed or whether we should change ad copy. We track this methodically by A/B testing ad copy variants.
  4. Lower CPA: We comb through and audit bids for each keyword, allocating more budget to high performers and cutting the budget for poor performing keywords.

We do this each and every week to make sure our account management is up to par with our client goals.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) - Improving Your Landing Pages

The conversion magic happens beyond the initial click from your Google Ads campaign.

The ultimate conversion goal is to get your target visitors to convert on your landing pages and opt into your offers there.

We have a happening gifographic that explains landing page anatomy and describes each component of a perfect landing page. Here’s a summary of its parts:

  1. Traffic quality matters as much as the landing page, so be sure to track the intent levels of your visitors.
  2. CTA threat level should match the intent level of your visitors
  3. Headline and subheaders should be tested to find out which combinations speak to your audience the most.
  4. Your hero shot is the quick prominent visual your visitors will see first. Try to express your offer’s unique value proposition in the image itself.
  5. Benefits and features should be very clear on your landing page. Your visitors understand explicitly what they’ll be gaining from your offer.
  6. Social proof can help build credibility and trust for your brand. Use realistic numbers and testimonials to be believable.
  7. Your confirmations page is the perfect spot to give your converted visitors a taste of what’s it’s like to be a client of yours. Delight your visitors on your thank you page.

For more Google Ads performance ideas and CRO tips, check out Landing Page Optimization and Landing Page Best Practices.

When CRO magic is in full effect, you can increase your conversion rates and conversion volume, all while decreasing your cost per conversion.

Closing Thoughts

Whether it’s using Google Ads research and spy tools, implementing SKAGs and RLSA, avoiding the Iceberg Effect, or applying CRO tactics to your landing pages, these eight Google Ads performance ideas can help you increase your return on PPC campaigns.

Try out all eight strategies to pump up your PPC performance.

Chapter 8:
Google Ads Optimization

What You’ll Learn: Learn the optimization routines we use to take poor-performing Google Ads accounts to turn into the envy of your competitors.

Chapter 9:
Google Ads Tips

What You’ll Learn: Discover the unknown strategies we use to take your Google Ads performance to a whole new level.

Chapter 10:
Google Ads Statistics

What You’ll Learn: Dive deep into the industry averages and see how you compare to the different industries that advertise through Google Ads.