Google Adwords Trickery – Be Relevant

20 Comments Written on October 2nd, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords

On the face of it, Adwords is a pretty simple system. You bid for keywords, visitors pay per click, and the aim is to get the most visitors for the least money.

However, as anyone who has used Adwords will know, there are a number of tangles and traps, mostly designed to maximize revenue for Google.

The Google business model for Adwords must simultaneously achieve two – seemingly contradictory – goals. It must keep the bid prices high, whilst also keeping the relevance of the advertisements high. Google will not relegate relevance for higher bid prices.

Because Google Adwords works this way, this provides the bidder with opportunities to maximize value from the system, without bidding excessive amounts. One of the best approaches to Adwords is to simply “be more relevant”.

Here are five tips to help you, keeping relevance in mind.

1. How To Increase The CTR Of Individual Keywords

If you’ve got a keyword that matches the following criteria:

  • High number of searches
  • The Ad text is too general

You can quickly raise the CTR of the keyword by simply moving it into it’s own new group and writing an ad specifically for it. This makes the ad more relevant for the keyword, as opposed to getting lost in more general group. Experiment with the Ad copy until you hit the sweet spot.

2. Play To The Known, Not The Unknown

You’ve got to get your message across very quickly, and you only have a few words to do so. To make matters worse, many others links are competing for visitor attention, and the SERP results display more words than you advertisement is permitted.

So go with the familiar. Be hyper-relevant to the visitor by talking about concepts they already know and understand.

If you need to introduce a brand new concept with a test ad, you’re going to find it tough going. Instead, repeat the keyword term in your ad title, and then use ideas and concepts that the searcher is already familiar with. If your concept takes a lot of explaining, then the place to do it is on the landing page.

Focus your efforts on getting the click first.

3. Significantly Reduce Your Bid

Not getting much, if any, response from campaigns with high bids?

Drop ’em.

This will refocus your attention on the campaigns and ads that actually do work – the terms that are most relevant to your bottom line. If you put most of your effort into what is working, rather than what isn’t, you stand to benefit more. It’s the old 80/20 principle at work. Focus on the productive, not the non-productive.

Secondly, your poorly performing words might not be worthwhile, in terms of ROI, at $2.00 per click, but might do just fine a 0.20 cents per click. Traffic numbers might drop, but so too does the cost of acquisition. If you can make that equation work for you, then it can often pay to get out of the bidding war.

4. Watch the Time

Do you monitor the time of your conversions? You should, mostly because many other advertisers won’t bother.

Use Ad scheduling to display your ads at times of the day when you’re converting the most. This technique works because chances are you’re addressing slightly different needs at different times of the day.

For example, people might not feel comfortable pulling out their credit card in the office to pay for a personal online purchase, but they will do so at home. The relevance of an ad might differ for the same visitor, depending on the context – in this case, at what time of day – they see your ad.

5. Hang Out Where Your Customers Do

A lot of advertisers have problems making the content channel work for them. But this is mostly because the content market requires more effort. The advantage are that the click prices are substantially lower.

Search on the keywords you target, and look at the top sites in the main search results. You want to make a list of all those sites that run Adsense.

Next, you need to isolate those sites where the visitor is likely to have commercial intent.

For example, if site A is about buying electric guitars, as opposed to, say, the history of electric guitars, site A is more likely to deliver real buyers. The advertisements are appearing in a more relevant context for purchasing.

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20 comments “Google Adwords Trickery – Be Relevant”

Great post, agreed with all the poitns above.
I would however add to #5 that once you have found these sites that run adsense, try targetting them with a placement campaign. You cannot target every adsense site with placements (they might have opted out of placements if they are savvy :D) but you should be able to target msot of them. If not, content target them and site exclude loaaaaads of irrelevant sites 🙂

For content targeting, you can sign up for the beta of the adplanner tool from Google (, which will not only give you a list of relevant, high-traffic ads, but will also tell you which of those sites are running AdSense.

As a bonus you’ll also get to see some really interesting stats on each site.

In my personal opinion high number of searches is not necessary mean high CTR- in order to obtain a higher CTR find keywords with higher PPC and lower search results (people is actually searching for an specific product and buying it.

I’m still somewhat new to PPC. Doesn’t Google place your ad high on the viewing list based on how much you’re willing to bid for a keyword?

Or are you saying that if I sell guitars and have a bid price of 1.00 per click on “buy guitars” while another company has a bid price of $9.00 but my landing page is much more relevant to my ad then my ad will appear above theirs?

Also, do you have a subscribe to comments option so I can keep up on this conversation?

Gio, I think you’re knowledgeable about PPC, but at a rate of 1 post a month, it’s gonna be hard building this site up, no?

Hi, I love this blog very much. Gio, I have sent an email asking a question. Please check your email and reply soon. Thanks..

Nice tips.

Might I just add that you can also make significant improvements by increasing the relevency of the landing page to match the keywords & ads. It also helps Quality score.

I agree. The best way to become profitable is to NOT try and reinvent the wheel again. Check what the competition is cashing in on, copy, tweak, improve and earn. Imagine if this could all be automated.. I have seen it myself, it can. Thanks for the other great tips. There are people who sell these kind of tips for top dollar. So, praise your efforts here.

Hi Giovanna. Great post! Only thing I would add is to be sure to watch quality scores on keywords. Poor account quality can be a disaster. I always like to delete keywords altogether after they have had a chance. If no clicks after a while, I kill them regardless, especially if the keyword QS is low.

Very clear and easy to understand. Content and target two key points that people should think about.

I have canceled my adwords but after I read your blog I want to actived it again.
Thanks for your lesson

Yeah – top tips here. Quite often people just rush in and set up an account thinking this is easy! Another trap people fall into is auto opting into the content network when setting up a campaign – when everyone knows you need seperate campaigns for them.

Regarding point 1 – I did not see you mention match types. Moving a highly searched term into an ad group (or even a campaign of its own) makes sense – but so does placing it on exact match. Unless you have a ton of negatives, highly searched terms could have ‘dangerous’ levels of different variations – all of which could drive further irrelevant traffic.

Regarding point 3 – as well as bid management – ad optimising is also really important. Reducing bids will simply save money – if you are trying to grow volume, constantly refining and optimising that keyword’s ads might do the trick…


It is really a great posting. This 5 points tells clearly how to be in relevance with the Google Adwords. The #4 point as you said surely no one would consider the time of the conversions. This #4 point was really amazing to me and it seems to be a good idea.

The new Site Relevant Keyword tool is a fantastic new feature that will help you create a keyword list that is relevant. I also use this tool after I have a list of keywords just to check with google if the keywords are seen as relevant.

thanks great read –
Question does google store contextual info on your sites content. to help it determin what ads go on your site.
If so how long would it store it. before it refreshes.

great tips! Relevancy is such a huge issue in ppc – and we see it all the time, relevancy is more important in ppc than in traditional advertising.


It’s crazy to think how much things have changed in just the past few years. I remember having excel files just loaded with thousands of keywords and dumping them into a campaign that would turn into complete success overnight.

It’s refreshing to read someones thoughts who undertands the way things are now. Keeping your campaigns and ad groups “tight” are a must.

Thanks for the awesome points and insight. Keep up the good work.

J.R. Farr

Focus on what works…the best advice you gave that works for me. Figure out what works best, and keep tweaking it making it work even better. Great ads not only get clicked more, they convert more.

Hi Giovanna,

Completely agree that relevance both works in the favour of Google and the advertiser. Well-researched keywords, tightly themed ad groups, tailored ads and highly relevant landing pages will always be a winning formula. And despite many advertisers saying, “I’m doing this already”, we’re actually a long way off this high-relevant approach.

There are loads of other tips and techniques that can help achieve great results in AdWords, but what it ultimately comes down to this: if you give the customer exactly what they are looking for, with highly relevant ads and landing pages that cater for their needs, they will reward you with their wallet. Relevancy has been around for years, and will continue to stay around for years to come.

You need to give the visitor a reason to click through to your site. This is where being clever with your clicking triggers will be really useful. What problem does your ad solve for them, answer that and your CTR will go through the roof.

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