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Optimizing your AdWords

Back to AdWords.  If you’ve been following along, you’ve now a set of ads and keywords, which you can enter, bid on, and generally have at it. 

So now what?

Now – you reduce your spending.  One way to do that is to improve your quality score.  And one way to do that is to improve your click-thru rate.  Click-thru rate is a percentage – the percent of the time that an ad was shown that someone actually clicked on it.  More people click on our ads, more opportunity for us.  We improve our click-thru rate by improving our keywords and our ads.

You’ve probably got 3-4 ads running for the same feature, all selling it in a slightly different manner, different wording.  Google will take those ads and start rotating through them, displaying them one at a time, until it starts to notice that people like to click on one ad more than the rest.  And then Google starts to show that ad more often than the others – after all, Google wants to show ads that people like to click on.  So it starts to prefer some ads over the rest.

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Within my account, I can see which ads are preferred, how many times the ad was served, how many times people clicked on it, and the click-thru rate (CTR).  Once I see which ads seem to work better or worse, I’m going to disable the losers and try new variations – use different words, different offers, see if I can’t figure out through some intelligent trial and error, which ads get the most amount of attention and clicks.

Now – just because an ad doesn’t get clicks doesn’t mean it’s a terrible ad. You just might be using the wrong keywords for that ad. So I also need to look at my list of keywords and my ads, and reevaluate whether you’ve properly gauged the users intent or not. That may be a great ad – for a different set of keywords.

I can also go back and look at the keyword performance.  In my AdWords dashboard, it tells me the number of clicks, impressions, the CTR, the average cost, the average position on the page, my current bid, all manner of information.  I can bid more to appear higher on the page, maybe.  Or I can look at the keywords that get more impressions and clicks and try to include more similar words to those, and disable keywords that aren’t getting any impressions.  I can see what keywords have high impressions but no clicks – which may mean my ads aren’t working or appropriate for those keywords. 

You have to play around with it a bit, see what works for you.

Depending on how much traffic you have for a campaign, you might come back to your account daily, or once a week, or once a month and see how things are performing, see if you can’t boost the performance of your keywords and your ads.

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Of course, click-thru rate is just one aspect of quality score.  We’ll revisit quality score in more detail later.  Click-thru rate is easier to wrap your mind around.  And remember that if you improve you click-thru rate, it should improve your quality score.

And when you improve your quality score, you pay less for the same click.  Which is always good, no?

Written By

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.



  1. Missy Caulk

    December 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Improving your click through rate saves money. Yes it does. I am enjoying your series, and now you see why I have someone run my campaigns….

  2. Ozarksagent

    December 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks Kelley, appreciate all the help I can get, there is so much to learn and everything seems to be changing so fast:)

  3. Nick Nymark

    July 31, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for the info!

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