10 Golden Rules of AdWords

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Chris Kent
Chris Kent
10 Golden Rules of AdWords



Google AdWords can be an incredibly powerful advertising platform. However, trying to manage your account whether big or small can be like going down the rabbit hole. Before long you don’t remember where you came from, you want to optimize for this keyword, but it’s in the wrong campaign, or is it? To help alleviate this confusion, whether I am continually managing an account, or just auditing one. I give all my clients a copy of what I like to call the  ‘10 Golden Rules of AdWords’.


1. Always Install Conversion Tracking

Always, always, always install conversion tracking. Even if your goal for a specific campaign is branding, conversion tracking gives you another metric to measure the effectiveness of your keywords besides CTR. If you are a local business, you don’t want to set up call tracking, or you are just doing it for branding, try and use an event such as time on page.


2. Never Send PPC Traffic to Your Home Page

This is a mistake that is a shockingly big waste of money. Assuming your website is more than just a one-pager dedicated to a single conversion action, you probably have specific pages for specific actions. Send your visitors as far down the conversion funnel as you possibly can.


3. Never Bid More Than Your Conversion Rate

Just because you have the budget to bid more on a certain keyword doesn’t mean you should. Always bid with a few things in mind: conversion rate, value per customer, and desired ROI. Here’s an example that will hopefully make this clear- I have a landing page that converts at 2%, the average customer is worth $100 of profit to me, and I want a 10% profit margin.

From the example:

So if those were your statistics you shouldn’t pay more than $1.80 for any keyword until it converts better than two percent.


4. Always Separate Display & Search

Whenever you are setting up an account, if you have a budget for both display & search, always make sure they are completely separate campaigns. There are several reasons. The two big ones in my mind being that they are going to perform completely differently, and the second is keywords work in different ways. In search you are picking which keywords will trigger your ads, in display you are creating a theme for your ads or more information on that see what Google has to say about it.

5. Extensions are Your Friends

Google is constantly trying to improve the search experience. These improvements include offering more information in ads. Whenever you get a chance you should try to include extensions in your ads. The whole purpose behind extensions is to make your ad more relevant and increase CTR. Check out this series of posts from PPCHero for implementation.

6. Negative Keywords are Your Friends

Nobody likes paying for irrelevant clicks. Unless your entire account is exact match keywords, you need negative keywords. Negative keywords are the keywords you don’t want to pay for. You can add them at the ad group or campaign level. Some popular negative keywords are  “free” “cheap”. Make sure they are in your account.

7. At Least Log In To Your Account Once A Day

You don’t have to be constantly optimizing, but pick a time of day & get in your account for at least a few minutes every day. This will allow you to catch potential errors, notice trends, and avert crisis. People who set and forget their AdWords accounts often fail to make any money on them.


8. Your Ad Should Always Have a Call To Action

Searchers shouldn’t have to think too hard. Make sure all of your Ad Copies have CTA directing your potential customers to the next step. They can be simple or complex, but they should always be specific.


9. Set ROI Goals

If you don’t have goals when you begin your AdWords journey, you will not get the most out of it. Not only are setting desired ROIs part of the bidding equation, but they will also guide the rest of your business. Using ROI goals can help you focus on specific product categories over others, and will help you prioritize specific campaigns.

10. Test, Test, Test

You should be constantly testing ad copy, testing landing pages, testing bids. Every AdWords account is different. You should not build an account off of what you think is the best. If you do not have the necessary resources (time or financial) to test your account, consider bringing in outside help. Setting aside part of your ad spend to pay a manager or consultant can often pay dividends in the long run.

Those are ten pillars you can build a successful Adwords account on. What are the rules you always follow when working with your AdWords accounts?

Chris Kent

Chris Kent

Chris Kent (@KentKineticSEO) is a consultant specializing in medium sized E-commerce Audits and Adwords Optimization. You can catch him blogging ... [Read full bio]