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Tracking and improving results

Refining your keywords and bids

Invest in keywords that produce results

Choosing high quality, relevant keywords for your advertising campaign can help you reach the customers you want.

5 tips for choosing the right keywords in AdWords

Be sure to invest in keywords that are producing results for you. To see if the keywords you've chosen are on the right track, answer these questions:

1. Are your keywords specific and targeted to the right people?

Your keywords should be closely related to what you're advertising. The more relevant and specific your keywords are to what you offer, the more likely they'll be to bring in customers for you.

Keywords of 2 or 3 words (a phrase) tend to work most effectively.
 

Let's say that you're advertising kids basketball shoes. How would you assess each of these potential keywords?


Keyword: Basketball

This is a very general keyword, and using it could make your ad appear for searches on almost anything related to basketball, like basketball scores or basketball videos.

One-word keywords tend to have more competition, might require higher bids, and—most importantly—won't be likely to produce conversions.

Keyword: Basketball shoes

This is more specific than just basketball, but keep in mind that people searching this term might not be interested in shoes for kids. Instead, they might be searching for shoes for adults.

Keyword: Kids basketball shoes

This keyword is probably just right. It describes the specific product in question. And you can be confident that people searching this keyword are specifically interested in shoes for kids as opposed to shoes for adults.

Keyword: Cheap kids basketball shoes

This is a very specific keyword. If you sell basketball shoes at reasonable prices, this phrase could be worth including. Just keep in mind that if your keywords are too specific, they might not be searched that often.

 

2. Are you capturing the different ways people search?

To help you reach more customers, think of other terms and phrases people might search for to find your business. It's a good idea to include other commonly used terms and word variations in your keyword list.

For example, customers looking for kids basketball shoes may be using words similar to kids, such as youth, boys, or girls—so you might consider adding keywords like:

  • youth basketball shoes
  • boys basketball shoes
  • girls basketball shoes

Or, customers may be searching for athletic shoes or sneakers instead of basketball shoes, in which case you could add keywords like:

  • kids athletic shoes
  • kids sports shoes
  • kids sneakers
 

3. Are you filtering out irrelevant terms?

You can filter out specific terms people might search for that aren't related to your business. Adding a keyword as a negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered when someone searches using that word or phrase.

For example, if you're using the keyword basketball shoes, but you don't sell adult basketball shoes, you probably don't want your ad to appear when someone searches for men's basketball shoes or women's basketball shoes. In this case, you could add men and women as negative keywords.

We recommend having at least 3 negative keywords in each ad group. (You can also have negative keywords at the campaign level.) By filtering out searches that aren't relevant or specific enough, you ensure that you're only paying for clicks that bring in business for you.

Do it now: Add keywords
Previous experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab. Keywords tab
  3. Click the + Keywords button at the top of your keywords table.
  4. Select which ad group you'd like to add your keyword to. Add keywords
  5. Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words).

    Tip

    You might see a list of keyword ideas to the right of the keyword box. Click the add link next to any keyword you'd like to add to your ad group. You can get an instant estimate of how many people use each keyword you add by clicking the Estimate search traffic button below the text box.

  6. Click Save.
New experience

To add keywords follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click Keywords from the left page menu.
  3. Click Keywords on the top.
  4. Click the plus button .
  5. Click Select an ad group and choose the campaign and then the ad group you want to add keywords to.
  6. Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words).

    • To add broad-matched keywords, you'll need to add the plural version of these keywords in addition to the singular version, such as wine and wines.
    • To add a phrase-matched keyword, surround the term with quotation marks.
    • To add an exact-matched keyword, surround the term with brackets.
  7. Click Save.

To get ideas for keywords:

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above.
  2. Fill out one or both fields in the “Get keyword ideas” section:

    • Enter a related website
    • Enter your product or service
  3. Click a keyword suggestion to add it to your list. 
  4. When you’re ready, click Save.
Do it now: Add negative keywords
Previous experience

Guided tour: Add negative keywords

Click the "Guide me" button below to go to your account and be guided through each step to add negative keywords.

Guide me
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab.
  3. Click the Negative keywords tab.
  4. You'll see two tables: "Ad group level" and "Campaign level." Ad group and Campaign level
  5. Add negative keywords at the ad group or campaign level by clicking the +Keywords button above either table.
  6. Use the drop-down to select the ad group or campaign that you'd like to add negative keywords to.
  7. Add one negative keyword per line in the text field.

    • To add broad-matched negative keywords, you'll need to add the plural version of these keywords in addition to the singular version, such as wine and wines.
    • To add a negative phrase-matched keyword, surround the term with quotation marks.
    • To add a negative exact-matched keyword, surround the term with brackets.

    Keep in mind

    Make sure that your negative keywords don't overlap with your regular keywords, because this will cause your ad not to show.

  8. Click Save.
New experience

To add negative keywords follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click Keywords from the left page menu.
  3. Click Negative keywords on the top.
  4. Click the plus button .
  5. Click the drop-down menu and choose whether you want to add negative keywords to a Campaign or Ad group.
  6. Click Select a campaign or Select an ad group and choose the one you want to add negative keywords to.
  7. Enter your negative keywords, one per line.

    • To add broad-matched negative keywords, you'll need to add the plural version of these keywords in addition to the singular version, such as wine and wines.
    • To add a negative phrase-matched keyword, surround the term with quotation marks.
    • To add a negative exact-matched keyword, surround the term with brackets.
  8. Click Save.

Automate your bidding to get more clicks and conversions

Managing your bids effectively is a big part of maximizing your return on investment.

If you're new to online advertising, we recommend letting AdWords manage your bids automatically to help bring you the most possible clicks within your budget. The automated Maximize Clicks bid strategy is the simplest bid strategy. It's ideal for advertisers who want to maximize clicks to their website but don't want to spend a lot of time setting bids.

Better yet, once you've set up conversion tracking, you can use automated bidding that uses your conversion data to bid even more effectively. AdWords will adjust your bids to get you the most conversions, while still staying within your budget. This can help you maximize your ROI even further.

To help you choose the right type of automated bidding, choose the option below that best applies to you:


I want to get the most possible conversions for my budget

Recommended for you

To help drive more conversions, consider using Target CPA bidding, an automated bid strategy that sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you set. Based on your conversion history, it adjusts your bid to get you as many profitable clicks as possible. It sets higher bids for more valuable clicks and lower bids for less valuable clicks, while still staying within your budget.

With Target CPA bidding, you set a target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) — the average amount you'd like to pay for a conversion.

Ready to go? Set up Target CPA bidding now.

I want to get more conversions, but still control my CPC

Recommended for you

To help drive more conversions, consider using Enhanced CPC, a bidding feature designed to get you more conversions at a lower cost. It raises or lowers your max CPC bid, based on how likely that click is to lead to a conversion.

If you'd like to increase your conversions, but still have control over your manual CPC bid, then Enhanced CPC is a good choice for you.

Ready to go? Turn on Enhanced CPC now.


Do it now: Set up Target CPA bidding
Previous experience

Before you start using Target CPA bidding, you need to have conversion tracking enabled. For better performance, your campaign should receive at least 50 conversions per month. This conversion history enables the system to make more accurate predictions about your future conversion rate.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Select the Campaigns tab.
  3. Select the campaign name.
  4. Select the Settings tab.
  5. Next to "Bid strategy," click Edit, then click Change bid strategy.
  6. From the drop-down menu, click Target CPA.
  7. Enter your target CPA amount.
  8. Click Save to finish.

Do this now in your account

New experience

Before you start using Target CPA bidding, you need to have conversion tracking enabled. For better performance, your campaign should receive at least 50 conversions per month. This conversion history enables the system to make more accurate predictions about your future conversion rate.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Choose the campaign you want from the left navigation panel. 
  3. Click the Settings page.
  4. Click Bidding.
  5. Click Change bid strategy.
  6. From the drop-down menu, choose Target CPA.
  7. Add your target CPA amount.
  8. Click Save.
Do it now: Turn on Enhanced CPC
Previous experience

Note: Your campaign must have conversion tracking enabled in order to use ECPC.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. From your Campaigns tab, click the name of the campaign you want to work with.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Find the "Bid strategy" section. Click Edit, then click Change bid strategy.
  5. If you’re not yet using Manual CPC bidding for this campaign, choose Manual CPC bidding from the drop-down, and check the Enabled Enhanced CPC option.
  6. Check the Enable Enhanced CPC option.
  7. Click Save.

Do this now in your account

New experience

Note: Your campaign must have conversion tracking enabled in order to use ECPC.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Choose the campaign you want from the left navigation panel. 
  3. Click the Settings page.
  4. Click Bidding.
  5. If you’re already using manual CPC bidding, check the Enable enhanced CPC option. To switch to manual CPC bidding, click Change bid strategy and choose Manual CPC from the drop-down, then select the Enable enhanced CPC option.
  6. Click Save.

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