7 Ways to Improve Your Google AdWords Click-Through-Rate [Video]

Use these 7 tips so folks aren’t afraid to click your ads. (It’s not a trap, honest…)

If you’re using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your landing pages, you’ve heard of a click-through-rate (CTR). CTR is a major defining factor of an AdWords campaign, second only to conversions. The difference, however, is that your click-through-rate can be improved using techniques to modify your ads and placements only, while conversion rates are more influenced by the content and calls to action on your landing page.

Here are 7 ways to improve your PPC Click-Through-Rates… (btw, the video is at the end).

1. Grab attention with seasonal tie-ins

Redfly Marketing offers this tip, pointing out that tying events and holidays into promotions can be help improve click-through-rates. This method can also be used to tie in relevant industry happenings, trade shows and other timely events that might catch a searcher’s eye.

Takeaway: Incorporate what’s hot and capitalize on industry and world events.

Example: Use the term “drop holiday pounds” in a weight-loss product ad.

2. Using negative keywords

A useful tip from SBX Marketing suggests using negative keywords to decrease traffic from related but irrelevant searches. A negative keyword excludes your ad from appearing on search pages making use of the term.

Takeaway: Get rid of the extra irrelevant fluff by specifying what you’re not looking for, and reduce under-performing traffic.

Example: If you’re running a campaign for sports photos, use the negative term -medals to eliminate searchers looking for trophies and medals.

3. Ask a question

A question, especially one that strikes on a need or desire, elicits a response from a reader. If your question resonates with searchers, your CTR will improve because it builds curiosity.

Takeaway: Tap into emotions by asking pointed questions that touch on hot selling points or benefits. Example: Going back to the weight loss example, asking a question such as, “Want to drop four sizes?” or “Want to sizzle in your New Year’s Eve dress?” both evoke emotion and elicit response. The second example also incorporates tip number one. Use natural repetition. Use your keywords as often as naturally flows within the context of your copy. Don’t try to force keyword repetitions, or your ad will read like spam.

Example: Replace “Want to cook like a pro? Learn to cook from expert cooks in our latest cook book.” with “Want to cook like a pro? Learn from culinary experts in our exclusive how-to cook book.”

4. Target your audience

Targeting is common sense if you’re familiar with your ideal consumer. Do you sell to folks outside of the U.S.? Is your target customer male or female? Educated or not? High or low-income? These are all questions to ask yourself as you target your ads to show only to your ideal audience.

Takeaway: Don’t waste your time–or your money–promoting your ads to customers who don’t care. Take the time to identify your target consumer.

Example: Don’t try to sell AdWords marketing advice to law students.

5. Mind your quality score

Here's a fairly useless diagram about quality score (Image source)

You want to send ad traffic to relevant landing pages; therefore, your landing pages should be consistent with the ad campaign you’re running. In other words, if your ads are targeting keywords that don’t appear anywhere on your page, your CTR will suffer as well as your quality score — and the lower your quality score, the higher your cost-per-click can be.

Takeaway: Don’t try to trick Google. They are too smart for you.

Example: Ensure that your ads and landing pages are targeting consistent keywords for maximum results.

6. Mind your placement

You’ll want to experiment with different ad placements in order to get the most results from your ad campaign. Plan to spend a good deal of time evaluating the ROI of your campaigns. Is it worth it to pay more per click for a higher-performing ad position on a page? Or is your ROI greater if you’re paying less per click for a less than ideal position yet still getting ample click-throughs?

Takeaway: Obviously, you want to get the most results with the smallest amount of money. It’s up to you to find the sweet spot.

Example: You may place ads targeting lower-performing keywords in better-performing spots, or vice versa. This will take some experimentation. Be prepared.

7. Don’t forget your landing pages!

It has bugger all to do with Click-through-rate, but it has a massive impact on what happens after the click. So remember to create one landing page per ad and make it unique (that means original content and a matched message to what your ad is saying). For more check our this infographic and blog post on the subject.

Google AdWords can be a fantastic way to drive traffic to your landing pages. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s as simple as throwing up a couple ads and watching the traffic pour in. There are many factors to take into consideration, but with the right recipe, you can get an incredible ROI from an AdWords campaign.

If you’d like to learn some more about getting started with PPC – watch this SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday Video session from Tom Critchlow which breaks it down nicely.

Keep on clickin’

— Angela Stringfellow

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About Angela Stringfellow
Angela Stringfellow has spent the last few years of corporate life working in marketing management in the healthcare industry before transitioning her real-world marketing experience to the web. For the past several years, Angela has worked as a consultant with businesses small and large to build comprehensive social media campaigns, blogging and editorial strategies and enhance overall brand reputation and media presence, with a primary focus on Web 2.0 technologies and content marketing.
» More blog posts by Angela Stringfellow


  1. Martin

    Great post – easy to read.

    With landing pages, don’t always simply conform to whats perceived as industry norm. Do your own tests. Having certain things above the fold etc – different things work for different industries and you’ll never fully understand what works FOR YOUR SITE unless you test.

    Will subscribe.

  2. Abogados Madrid

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  4. Vishnudath

    Angela, really awesome post. and Thanks for great Video too.

  5. Patty Engels

    Great article! I also have the experience that asking a question works, even in titles in the natural SERP results.

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    […] impressions just because your checking to see if your up.https://adwords.google.com/select/AdTarg…I've made my adwords account,put in the keywords, etc, but when i search it, it doesn't show up.hel…ea to use this as it won't affect your campaigns impressions just because your checking to see if […]

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  9. Palanivel Raja

    Hi angela

    Really its interesting and definitely it will help me to get more traffic to my website.


  10. Tara

    Thank you so much – this is really going to help me overhaul my adwords!

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    […] 7 Ways to Improve Your Google AdWords Click-Through-Rate .If you're using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your landing pages, you've heard of a click-through-rate (CTR). CTR is . Example: Going back to the weight loss example, asking a question such as, Want to drop four sizes? […]

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  13. John

    If you create an Ad in Adwords, it gives you the option to fill in the destination and display URL. The destination URL is the URL of the page where you want your visitors to land. The size of the destination URL can be up to 1,024 characters. On the other hand, the display URL is the URL that is shown in the actual Ad and can only contain 35 characters.

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    How does Google Adwords work? Google is the largest search engine on the web receiving over 200 million queries each day through its various services. As Google is the most popular search engine today, webmasters are keen on having their websites achieve a higher ranking in the search engine results it provides. A high ranking can mean high traffic for that website. The search engine results page is also a great venue for advertisers to promote a product or service through ads and links. Consequently, Google launched its Adwords service, as a way for businesses to advertise products and services to a targeted audience. Google Adwords can guarantee instant traffic. In this service, Google displays relevant text based ads within its search engine results page termed as “Sponsored Links”. Whenever a particular keyword is searched on, these relevant links appear in a separate section giving excellent exposure to the sites listed.

  15. Martins

    Hi everybody,
    Still pretty hard to get the CTR rate up since I am advertasing in English language for the audience whose native language is Dutch. (and yes i know 95% of their populations speaks English) The Reason for that is I am a student from foreign country and I do not speak their language! =/
    Any suggestions?
    Also I wanted to make the Home page as clear as possible (no text at all, seems like that was my first mistake)?

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  18. Krishnan C

    Hi Angela Stringfellow

    It’s really excellent article .I like the information, so thank you for sharing this article.

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  20. Bhajan Santvani


    These are indeed great tips. I’ve learnt something here ? Thank you for sharing!

  21. PPC Agency Orange County

    Thank-you for sharing such an amazing information regarding CTR and optimization of the ads. It totally depends on how you optimize those ads whether using the keywords have more searches, there should be a strategy through we can get more leads and it depends how you optimize those ads using your best techniques.

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    Thanks for the vital tips. As a budding entrepreneur who is new to marketing I am constantly looking to educate myself in seo/adwords. Highly appreciate it!