6 steps to improve your Google Ads campaigns

Looking to fine-tune your PPC approach and maximize results? Unlock the potential of your Google Ads campaigns with these actionable steps.

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Struggling to boost your Google Ads campaign performance? 

Whether it’s dwindling impressions, rising CPCs, or a drop in conversions, this article outlines six key steps to diagnose issues and unlock opportunities for improvement. 

From checking conversion tracking setup and bid strategies to evaluating ad groups and search terms, these actionable tips will help refine your PPC approach to drive better results.

1. Ensure conversion setup is accurate

When figuring out why a Google Ads campaign isn’t doing well, start by checking how conversions are set up. Clear and accurate conversion tracking is crucial for assessing your campaign’s effectiveness.

Ensure the conversion tracking is properly configured to capture essential actions, such as form submissions, purchases, or whatever goal you set up. 

Check if you have existing conversion values or if you can apply them to signal the value of each conversion action to Google. 

If conversions are low, troubleshoot the tracking code and contact Google support for tag setup help. Accurate tracking and aligned values are crucial for improving campaign performance and getting precise ROAS and conversion data.

2. Check your bid strategy

If you have an unattainable goal, Google may have a status on your campaign that is “Limited by bidding strategy.” 

If your bid strategy is limited, you can upgrade it to a fully automated bidding strategy, which will help you get more conversions at a similar CPA or higher conversion value at a similar ROAS. 

Other common limitations may be bid limits below the average for your keywords. Increase your max CPCs, or if you are using smart bidding, increase your tCPA or decrease your tROAS.

3. Pull search impression share

Search impression share indicates the percentage of total impressions an ad receives compared to the total number it could receive. 

If you have a campaign that is struggling to spend, this is a great metric to look at. A lower search impression share suggests missed opportunities for visibility. This could involve:

  • Refining keyword targeting.
  • Adjusting bid strategies to have a lower ROAS target or higher cost per acquisition.
  • Improving ad relevance.
  • Expanding the budget in competitive auctions. 

There are two other metrics to add to your report: 

  • Search lost IS (rank): Search impression share lost to rank.
  • Search lost IS (budget): Search impression share to budget. 

If you see a high percentage for rank, you should improve your landing page, ad copy, and keyword targeting. If you see a high percentage lost to budget, you’ll want to dedicate more spending to be competitive. 

If you have a search impression share greater than 10%, you may also see competitive metrics in the Auction Insights report. This will show you other advertisers bidding on the keywords in that campaign. 

If your impression share is much lower, you may want to expand your budget and make bid strategy adjustments to be less restrictive.

Regularly monitoring and optimizing search impression share is a proactive strategy to fine-tune campaigns and maximize a campaign’s reach.

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4. Evaluate ad group setup

This is a critical next step in diagnosing performance issues in your Google Ads campaign. 

Ad group structure is crucial for ad relevance and targeting precision. 

If a campaign is underperforming, check how ad groups are structured. 

  • Are all conversions falling under one campaign? 
  • How many keywords do you have per campaign? 

Assessing whether keywords within an ad group are tightly related and align with the ad copy and landing page content ensures a cohesive user experience. 

A well-organized ad group structure should have a maximum of 1-20 keywords and top-performing ad groups can be broken out. 

If many keywords have low-quality scores, you should look into:

  • Adding or removing keywords.
  • Confirming all keywords are found in the ad headlines and top keywords are found in descriptions. 

Evaluating and optimizing ad groups boosts campaign relevance, improves Quality Scores, and enhances overall performance by aligning ad content closely with targeted keywords.

5. Check quality scores

Quality score is a metric that reflects the overall quality and relevance of ads, keywords, and landing pages in a campaign. 

It is a number on each keyword 1-10, with a lower quality score indicating potential issues impacting ad performance, such as poorly aligned ad copy, irrelevant keywords, or suboptimal landing page experiences. 

By closely examining quality scores, you can pinpoint specific areas that require improvement. 

Add metrics for landing page experience, ad relevance, and expected CTR, which all impact quality score. If any are below average, focus on that area to improve your quality score.

A higher quality score positively influences ad rankings and positions and lowers the cost per click. This, in turn, improves the overall efficiency of the campaign. 

After making changes, check your keywords after 1-2 weeks to see if the quality score has increased.

6. Pull search term reports

Regularly monitoring this report lets you identify irrelevant or low-converting search terms that might be draining your budget without delivering meaningful results. This is crucial, especially if you’re using broad match keywords. I suggest doing this every week.

By compiling a list of negative keywords and applying them to that ad group or campaign, you can:

  • Prevent low-quality searches from coming through.
  • Refine your targeting.
  • Improve ad relevance. 

In turn, this can increase your quality score and expected CTR. 

6 must-do tactics to optimize your Google Ads campaigns

Getting a Google Ads campaign back on track requires a methodical approach to identify and address underlying issues. By following these must-do steps, you can gain insight into areas that need improvement. 

Regularly optimizing based on performance data is crucial for achieving campaign goals. With ongoing refinement guided by metrics, you can unlock the full potential of your Google Ads investment.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Andrew Wirtz
Andrew Wirtz is Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, a full-service digital marketing agency. Andrew covers topics on paid search, shopping and more. Prior to Portent, he was a Digital Marketing Strategist at Spectrum Communications and is a graduate of UIUC. You can find Andrew on Linkedin to ask questions or discuss PPC news!

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