PPC Management

6 Steps to Save your Underperforming PPC Account

Pay per click is a very common form of advertising in the online arena. Although Google has done a marvelous job that dabbles in many areas of our lives, the company’s main source of income is paid online ads. Despite the numerous individuals and companies that spend money advertising through Google, many are either dissatisfied with their ROI, or have already given up. The fact is: Google Adwords is a difficult and complex tool to use advantageously


It’s very easy to spend your entire budget each month, and not reap conversions. In fact budget control is the most frustrating factor with Google Adwords. Even with large amounts of data, it can be hard to understand why your campaigns have leakage, or are not producing the results you desire.


Since Dynamic Search is dedicated to improving your web marketing pursuits, we have good news. Follow our step by step guide to improve your underperforming PPC accounts.


1. Increase Keyword Quality Score

The fundamentals of PPC is this: The higher your quality score is, the lower your costs. This very notion is why you must consistently be working to improve your quality score. Yes, you will spend less money if you raise your QS.


The difficulty is that quality score is not just measured with one simple factor. According to Google, quality score is estimated with three factors:

  • Landing page relevance
  • Ad Relevance
  • Expected Click Through rate


Let’s start fixing our Quality score by adjusting our landing page.

Based on your research, you have created ads that are relevant to your keywords. But are your landing pages relevant to your ads? Google inspects your landing pages and crawls them for keywords and UI to make sure that you are beneficial to viewer’s needs. If your keywords and landing pages don’t relate to each other, make a change.

So what makes a good landing page?: Simplicity.

  • Make sure that you have an obvious CTA (call to action)
  • Avoid distracting or busy interface
  • Make sure they include keywords from your ad
  • Avoid having too many options
  • Limit the products you have on your landing page, or, even better, make one landing page per ad.
  • Customization and specificity will reap clicks and conversions.

Here is an example of a simple and effective landing page:


Your ads need to be relevant to the keywords connected to them, otherwise your keyword quality score will suffer. They also need to be as specific as possible. With PPC, the more specific you are, the better. Specificity with ads prevents bounces, because your viewer will or will not click based on their understanding of the ad. Bounces, as you know are essentially wasted clicks/money; and increased bounce rate decreases quality score, etc.

Other things to check for:

Grammar and spelling is a must

Seriously, it’s bad for business. Typos will make your ad look either untrustworthy, or incapable – both are bad. Go over your ads twice to make sure they are perfect.

Don’t go crazy with punctuation

Avoid excessive exclamation marks. Limit yourself to one per ad, or avoid them unless needed.

Capital letters

Part of optimizing your ads, is making sure that they are visually appealing to viewers. Your headline is your first impression, and your ads will look more attractive when each word begins with a capital letter.

Call to Action

Every ad you publish should make a clear call to action or CTA. Your link should be legible and clear. Your text should encourage a click, and make it obvious where the user will arrive by clicking.



According to Google AdWords help, your expected click through rate is based on multiple factors including:

  • How likely it is that your keywords will match users search terms
  • Keyword past performance
  • Factors like your ads position in search results

This factor is basically Google’s best guess, and does not play a heavy role in quality score. In fact Google support even mentions that keywords can have high quality score, and maintain a low expected click through rate. Nevertheless, your goal is to improve your numbers all around. If an expected click through rate is low, and your keyword continues to flatline, our suggestion would be to pause, or delete it.

2. Optimize Keyword Bids

Every keyword you have needs a bid placed upon it so that Google understands how much you will spend to get your ads (related to the specific keyword) seen. Although Google does give you an estimated minimum bid to place on each keyword, often times, you should increase those bids in order to outperform your competitors. If you have a keyword that is not getting enough impressions and clicks, you should try increasing the bid.


In the above example, you will note that our max bid currently is $2.00 for every click. However, our average position is ~five in the Google results page. We are aiming for the top three positions at least, so as my initial response should be to increase the bid. With this strategy, I am telling Google that I’m willing to pay a little more than competitors for the top seats.

3. Delete costly keywords

Another thing to note is that you shouldn’t worry about how many keywords you have, but how much each efficient keyword is costing you. Keywords that are not performing should be given two or three months of tweaking. If the keyword continues to perform poorly, pause it, or delete it. It’s easy to get attached to your original keyword choices, but no matter how much you want to rank for a specific keyword, if it’s performing poorly: it’s costing you money, and hurting your overall campaign reputation.


4. Competitive Intelligence

Audit your competitors PPC campaigns to see which keywords your competitors are bidding on and ranking for. This is a great thing to do before you create your campaign, and also periodically as you tweak it. You can view how much their spending on specific keywords, and some allow you to see ads they have used. Competitor audits are a great start to making data-based decisions. Some tools that allow you to do them are:

  • SpyFu
  • SEMRush
  • iSpionage
  • Google Adwords Keyword Planner

5. Do not forget your Negative Keywords list

Negative keywords are vital to avoiding budget leakage in your poorly performing PPC account. If you have high impressions, but you have little to no CTR, you need to focus on negative keywords. This means that your ads are showing for search queries that are similar to your keywords, but not close enough to what user are looking for.

  • View all your campaigns
  • Click Dimensions Tab
  • Dropdown the VIEW menu and click > SEARCH TERMS
  • If your list is endless, break down your time window to the last seven days
  • Any search terms that you don’t want to show up for, set them aside in your negative keyword list
  • Monitor this list once a week, and narrow them down, as time passes

6. Monitor Weekly

These tweaks to your account are helpful, and should be implemented. However, don’t think of your PPC account as a “set up and coast” solution. Instead, monitor and adjust your PPC account once a week. Spend 20-30 minutes fine tuning and adjusting each section that needs maintenance.

  • Optimize keyword Bids
  • Optimize Ads
  • Pause costly keywords
  • Check for messages from Google
  • Brainstorm new keywords
  • Review poorly performing landing pages – make adjustments
  • Review 7 day negative search terms
  • Add negative search terms in the negative Keywords list
  • Review and tweak all sections based on the data from your CTR and Quality Score