Simple Ways to Improve Google Ads Click-Through Rate

improve click-through rate

When you are running Google Ads search campaigns, you need an above-average Click-Through Rate (CTR) in order to make the most of your budget. In this article, we will show you how to increase clicks without spending more money. I will give you my top Google Ads CTR optimization strategies.

In addition, you can watch our corresponding video tutorial below or watch our video on the Surfside PPC YouTube Channel for a visual explanation. Improving your Google Ads Click-Through Rate is not an easy task, but there are some quick fixes, hacks, strategies, and ideas that will improve your campaigns and increase your quality score.

Improve Google Ads Click-Through Rate

The first video below is geared towards beginners. The video if you scroll down will include some more advanced strategies to improve your Google Ads CTR.


Advanced Google Ads Click-Through Rate Strategies


1 – Add Negative Keywords

Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns and help you focus on only the keywords that matter to your customers. Better targeting can put your ad in front of interested users and increase your return on investment (ROI).
negative keywords

At Surfside PPC, we usually aim to have a 3% or above CTR, so when you are looking at your low-performing ads, review the list of keywords associated with the campaign and eliminate irrelevant or too-broad keywords and mark them as negative keywords. These keywords can decrease your CTR drastically and have a negative impact on your campaign. All of this can be done in Google Ads in your search terms report. Watch our video on negative keywords below for more information.

2 – Understand Auction Insights

The auction insights report for search campaigns provides 6 different statistics: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, top of page rate, and outranking share. You can generate a report for one or more keywords, ad groups, or campaigns (as long as they meet a minimum threshold of activity for the time period selected), and segment results by time and device.

The auction insights report is designed to show you how you compare to your competitor sites. One item to focus on in this report is the position above rate. Position above rate is how often the other participant’s ad was shown in a higher position than yours was when both of your ads were shown at the same time. For example, if one of the other advertisers in your Auction insights report is showing “5%” in the Position above rate column, this means that the other participant’s ad showed in a position above yours in 5 out of every 100 times your ads showed at the same time.

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If you are below most of your competitors, then you need to organize your campaign and continue to keep updating content to remain relevant and targeted. This will improve your quality score and CTR.

3 – Optimize your Ads

One of the best ways to improve your quality score is by using the latest ad formats and making them as relevant as possible. Using the latest formats, especially expanded text ad formats, you can create relevant ads based on the keywords you are targeting. We recommend that you create at least 3 ads per ad group. Google will automatically serve the best performing ads, so there is no downside to creating multiple ads to see what your customers interact with the most. Watch our video below on Google Ad Copy and Copywriting tips for more information.

To begin, we recommend that you pause your lowest performing ads and click on (+) to add a new text ad. Google will automatically fill in some of the copy for you; but make sure to go through the different text options to make sure you are using relevant copy in order to continue campaign testing. Be sure to fill in all of your headline and description information in your new ad; and also go through your other current ads to fill in missing headlines and descriptions. Making sure you have three headlines, two descriptions and relevant display paths will help you increase your CTR.

4 – Increase Your Bids to a Competitive Level

If your bids are below the first-page bid, you are going to have trouble competing in the Google Ads ad auction, regardless of your quality score. If you are in a competitive industry, you will need to increase bids to even enter the ad auction. In your keywords report in Google Ads, you can review any error messages based on low bids or quality scores. In the status column, Google will typically let you know if your ad is running. If your bid is not high enough and your ad isn’t active, they will give you a notification in this column. You can watch our video on bid strategies below for more information.

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Fix Google Ads Not Triggering Due To Low Ad Rank

You can edit your bid for an entire ad group or for individual keywords. Editing your bids based on how your campaigns perform may influence the amount of traffic your ads receive, as well as the return-on-investment (ROI) you generate. You can identify the ads that aren’t running based on low bids and raise the amount to get your advertisement on first page. With certain bidding strategies, you can still set a max bid limit to protect your budget. Once you have your bids high enough to land on the first page, you will want to continue to improve your quality score over time.

Google Ads Bid Strategies

5 – Optimize Your Ad Extensions

Implementing and optimizing ad extensions can provide an immediate and highly impactful way to improve CTR. An ad extension provides value to potential customers by being present and providing additional relevant information. Google shows the highest performing and most useful combination of formats from among those eligible in the available space. Since there are so many moving pieces, there’s no way to prioritize which extensions you want to show. Enable the ad extensions that makes sense for your customers and let the Google Ads system decide among those options. The specific extensions that are displayed are a function of previous performance, user context and available space on the page.

Specifically, we recommend at least 4 sitelink extensions per ad group; and the more targeted you get, the better your ad rank and quality score will be. Watch our video above for more detailed information on the different Google ad extensions.

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In Summary

In order to optimize your campaign, you need clicks, impressions and campaign data. Once you start driving conversions like sales or leads, you can see what works best within your campaign, what is getting the best ROI, and what is negatively impacting your campaign. Once you start getting PPC data from Google Ads, you can easily start to optimize your CTR and improve your click-through rate with the tips we have outlined above.

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