3 Tips to Boost AdWords Performance with a Little Cleaning

Are you using Google AdWords to reach the right people at the right time? It’s common for campaigns and keywords to quickly accumulate, causing your ads to show up in irrelevant locations instead of in front of your target audience.

Start 2018 off on the right foot in by cleaning your AdWords account. We’ll cover how to clean up your campaigns and ad groups, keywords, and extensions.

Tip 1: Examine Campaigns and Ad Groups

First, review your campaigns and ad groups. Analyze their performance to determine which campaigns are successful and should stick around, and which you should delete. At the ad groups level, identify which ad groups may be dragging your campaign performance down. Pause underperforming campaigns and move top performing groups into their own campaign.

Tighten up ad groups by editing their length; we recommend having 10-15 keywords in each ad group. This way, you have enough keywords that your ad appears with enough volume to make an impact, but not so many that you start appearing in irrelevant queries. Keeping your keyword list small also helps ensure your ad copy and keywords are highly related which helps increase your quality score and drive down your costs. Ensure campaigns and ad groups are clearly labeled, so you can find and track activity at-a-glance. You’ll thank us later!



Tip 2: Clean Up Your Keywords

Next, analyze your keywords and remove any that are underperforming, duplicated, or have a low-quality score or low/no impressions.

Under Acquisition > AdWords > Search Queries access a report identifying search queries visitors use to see your ads and land on your website. Then, you can use a secondary dimension to identify the keywords those search queries are being matched against. This report is perfect for identifying whether you need to narrow the scope of your keywords or add in negative keywords.


Check your keyword match types. AdWords has 4 match types.

Your ad is displayed when:

  • Broad Match: someone searches any of your keywords, in any order (even keyword synonyms, misspellings, and other relevant variations). For example: if your keyword is “men’s shoes,” someone searching “buy boys shoes,” or “men’s dress shoes,” may come across your ad.
  • Broad Match Modifier: someone searches for any keywords plus the specific keyword (or very close variation) you have designated with + . For example, if your keyword is “+men’s shoes,” someone searching “men’s loafers,” or “men’s dress shoes,” may see your ad, but someone searching “boy’s loafers” will not.
  • Phrase Match: someone searches your keywords in the exact order you entered them (or are close variation), but has additional words before or after. For example, if your keyword is “men’s shoes,” someone searching “buy men’s shoes,” “men’s shoes on sale”, etc. may see your ad, but someone searching “Shoes that fit best for men” will not.
  • Exact Match: someone searches your exact keywords or are close variations of the exact term. If your keyword is “men’s dress shoes,” someone searching “men’s sandals,” “boy’s dress shoes,” etc. will not come across your ad.

Don’t Forget Negative Keywords

Check your negative keywords’ performance. Remember, negative keywords are keywords you don’t want associated with your ad. For example, if your negative keyword is “blanket,” any time someone searches the word “blanket,” your ad will not appear in search results. You may now have a product or service in an area you once did not support. It is important to pull that list and ensure it is still relevant for your business.

Next, run an analysis on keyword phrases targeting your audience and how they match to the keywords you are going after. Use this list to identify a list of universal negative keyword that you can simply copy and paste into any new ad groups or campaigns.

Tip 3: Bid Adjustments + Extensions

Finally, review your bid adjustments and extensions, especially if you have expanded service areas or opened/closed any locations over the year. Bid adjustments dictate where and how often your ad shows up. For instance, if you know your ad performs well on mobile, you may increase your bid on mobile so more people see your ad on their mobile device.

As your business expands you’ll want to adjust your bid to fit your audience and online/mobile presence. It is important to review these bid adjustments regularly so if you haven’t done it in a while now is the time to check they are still valid.

Extensions are extra tidbits of information included in AdWords text ads, such as location, phone number, call outs for specific promotions, etc. Again, locations and phone numbers may have changed, and promotions may be out dated. Take time to see if any updates need to be made.

Bonus Tip: Ad Scheduling, Rotation, + Delivery

How often are your ads displaying?  You can update your ad scheduling, rotation, and delivery, so your ads are displayed in a different order, time of day, or frequency.  Start thinking about upcoming holidays (like Valentine’s Day or Easter) and how you can maximize your ad spend around holiday promotions. Do you want all your ads showing up between 6AM-5PM, or do you want them spread over a 24-hour period?

Happy Cleaning!

When you’re running multiple campaigns and constantly creating new ones, it’s important to clean your keywords, ad groups, and more, at least once per year. Ensure your ads are targeting your audience in the right place and at the right time to maximize exposure and conversions. Follow our three tips, and you’ll have an Adwords account ready to tackle 2018!