8 Quick Ways to Increase Your AdWords CTR


There are times you just want to increase your click-through rates. You might need to raise it to help Quality Scores, increase traffic, or gain visibility for a new product.

Often by just raising click-through rates, you might not be raising your conversion rate. You can even decrease your conversion rates with ads. However, we’re going to focus on raising click-through rates regardless of how it affects other metrics.

As always, you should be testing this for yourself to see what helps your overall account’s goals.

Adding An Extension

One of the easiest ways to increase click-through rate that also helps conversion rate is to use ad extensions. Ad extensions will help you take up more real estate on the page and show additional information with your ads. You can add extensions for local, social, products, and there is even a beta contact and subscription extension.

If you have yet not added extensions, do so now.

Add Sitelinks

Sitelinks are a type of extension so this could be grouped with adding an extension except there is one big difference between all the other extensions and sitelinks.

With the other extensions, only one extension will show with an ad. You can have sitelinks show with another extension. This is another no-brainer to add. With sitelinks, you can add additional benefits or navigation into your site directly from the ad copy.

Extended Headlines

The absolute easiest way to increase click-through rates if your ads are shown above the organic results is to end your description line 1 with a punctuation mark. When you do so, the description line 1 is added to the headline and really makes the ads stand out.

Take a look at these three ads:


The first two ads have very long headlines. The third ad does not. All the third ad has to do to have a longer headline is to add a period after ‘Low Fare Guaranteed On All Flights’. That’s it. As soon as that change was made, the ad would have an extended headline.

Consider The Display URL As Marketing Copy

Your display URL does not have to be an actual URL. As long as your root domain in the ad and site are the same, you can consider the rest of the URL as marketing copy. The display URL can be 35 characters long – don’t waste the space.

You can add a product name, feature, benefit, or other aspects to the display URL to make the ad copy more attractive. To learn more about display URLs, please see the article: Everything You Need To Know About AdWords Display URLs.

Seasonal Headlines

There is always some holiday or event on the horizon. In just the United States, there are more than 40 holidays at the national level. When you starting adding regional events such as the Boston Marathon, DC Cherry Blossom Festival, state fairs, parades, and much more; the list of events becomes endless.

When you add or reference events in headlines, your ads look very timely and relevant and can often have positive impacts on click-through rates.

Use Trademarks

Many consumers are brand conscious. When someone searches for a brand, they want to see that brand in the ad copy. You do have to be careful of the legalities around trademarks; however, adding those well-recognized words to the ad can make a large difference to your CTRs.

Remove Prices & Ad Discounts

A price in an ad copy reminds the searcher they need to spend money. Often removing the price can help CTRs. It is also useful when you’re not the cheapest ad on the page.

While we don’t like to always spend money, everyone likes a good deal. Instead of putting your price in the ad, switch your offer to a discount. Instead of spending $50, someone is going to save $10. What would you rather do, spend $50 or save $10?

In many countries, people do not get the concept “just because it’s on sale does not mean it’s free.” Discounts often outperform prices in ads.

Give Something Away for Free

Who doesn’t want something for free? Put something in your ad that’s free. A free consultation, free gift, buy one get one free, a free whitepaper. It doesn’t matter – it’s free.

Test For Yourself

While these 8 methods often work – they don’t always.

I recently saw an account where when the word ‘free’ appeared in an ad, their ads had a lower CTR than if they focused on experience or value. Removing all instances of free from the ad copies and switching the value proposition to experience raised both their CTRs and their conversion rates.

The next day, I was working on account in a very similar industry and when the word ‘free’ appeared in the ad, their ads had a much higher CTR and the same conversion rates as the other ad types.

If you need to raise your click-through rates, these ideas can help you gain a solid starting place. However, always test for yourself. Only you can truly know what happens to your account’s profits as you change your ads to bring more visitors to your site.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Paid Search Column


About The Author: is the Founder of Certified Knowledge, a company dedicated to PPC education & training; fficial Google AdWords Seminar Leader, and author of Advanced Google AdWords.

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  • http://www.cpcsearch.com Terry Whalen

    Hi Brad, it looks like Google is enforcing a rule that sitelink destination URLs need to point to unique pages rather than the same landing page of the ad. At least in our recent experience, it’s still a good idea to use sitelinks for additional ad “real estate” and to extole or emphasize benefits, etc., but be aware that if your sitelinks all point to the same page – especially if that page is the same one used in the primary ad destination URL – your sitelinks may be disapproved.

  • http://triplelootz.com/ trenoult

    Hi Brad, thanks for the post. Regarding extended headlines, you mean that everytime you add a punctuation mark to your description line 1, ad will be shown with the longer headline? I thought, doing this will only increase the chance for your ad to appear with a longer title as It is explained in this Google Post http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/02/longer-headlines-for-select-ads-on.html

  • http://www.bgtheory.com Brad Geddes


    Yeah – Google has been enforcing that for a while now – it’s in their rules for sitelinks. I’ve tried #anchor links; and that use to work; but Google is starting to disallow them overall. I’ve had them approved when there is a jQuery involved so that most of the page’s content appears different; but overall, it only sometimes works.

  • http://www.bgtheory.com Brad Geddes

    trenoult – technically, I believe you’re correct. However, I don’t have any accounts where its not working 100% of the time. I think its pretty much a given for everyone (I could be wrong) that extended headlines work if the ad is formatted correctly.

  • tomfurton

    Provided your Ad Rank is high enough for above-the-organic-results placement, correct? It seems like space restrictions would preclude the extended headlines from triggering in the right column…which is probably something I picked up from you elsewhere. You’ve been a heckuva resource for me in my first agency job, Brad!

  • http://www.interactiveh2o.com Catherine

    Thanks, Brad! The tips for extended headlines will be put to use immediately.
    We have been using the display URL for increased copy space and it works very well. Sometimes people do not know what they are looking for and that it is related to another product or service found on the same page. Rather than add additional pages, we can reach a larger volume of potential clients by appealing to their query, rather than the specific service or product of the client.

  • atn.pradhan

    Hello Sir,

    It is very good article about PPC. But I don’t little agree about this point – Remove Prices & Ad Discounts

    I think, it depend industry to industry, if we talk about real estate industry showing price in ad copy does a crucial factor for quality leads… Because if we have a flat worth of $140000 for sale than we can not afford a customer who has the budget $100000 only or less than it, so if we want a quality lead then we will have to show the price in ad copy!

  • Laura Lewis

    Thanks for the great post Brad. Can you clarify something. In your paragraph about “Test For Yourself” you mention

    “I recently saw an account where when the word ‘free’ appeared in an ad, their ads had a lower CTR than if they focused on experience or value. Removing all instances of free from the ad copies and switching the value proposition to experience raised both their CTRs and their conversion rates.

    The next day, I was working on account in a very similar industry and when the word ‘free’ appeared in the ad, their ads had a much higher CTR and the same conversion rates as the other ad types.”

    What are you saying here? In your 2 examples? Is it better to NOT use Free? Or are you saying it works differently for different people?

    Laura (^o^)y


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