Seven Ways to Stop Wasting Money on AdWords

Stop Wasting Money on Google AdWords with These Simple Tips

Seven Ways to Stop Wasting Money on AdWordsWhen I saw a free webinar that promised to double my return in 90 minutes, I was intrigued.   This particular presentation is not available as a recording and won’t be repeated, so I’ll share my notes with you here.

Visit the website of AdWords Trainer Claire Jarrett for more information and updates on future AdWords webinars. She puts on great presentations, and didn’t pay me to say so!

Match Your Keywords to your Ad Headlines

Have you ever searched for something really specific, like, “Should I outsource my social media?” and noticed AdWords sending back sponsored results with that exact question right in the ad headline? Or, maybe the ad asked, “Wondering if you should outsource your social media?” It got your attention, didn’t it? This is not merely a strange coincidence. Someone set up an ad group and an ad based on that exact query – just for you! The idea is to very specifically address what the potential customer is looking for.

Another benefit to the “Wondering if…” question is that it causes the reader to answer to themselves, “Yes!” Thereby further increasing the chances of a click.

Create One Ad Group for Each Keyword

Have one AdGroup for all your keywords? It’s impossible to make your Ads address the needs of peple searching for all those keywords. It takes time, but creating an ad group with a few ads for every single keyword will allow you to much more specifically target customers based on exactly what they want.

Review Your Quality Score by Keyword

Having a low quality score costs! In fact, if your keyword has a quality score of 1 (out of a possible 10), you are going to pay about four times more per click than the average (average score is a 3). On the other hand, a quality score of 10 will save you about 50% per click.  Go to Campaigns>Columns>Keywords>Custom and add in Qual Score to see how yours look. Improve your quality score by matching your keyword and your ads more closely. This brings your click through rate up, your quality score up and your costs way down.

Some industries, by nature, have lower quality scores for their keywords. For instance, “SEO”. People wanting to improve their SEO are usually more interested in organic SEO than paid advertising, so they will be more interested in companies who rank high in the organic results.

Stop Competing for Irrelevant Keywords

Run a search query report to see related keywords you are matched with. For instance, you may want to target people looking for how to generate more leads from their website using the keyword, “get leads” (as I did). A review of the search query report revealed that  people searching for “were to buy lead shot by the ton” were seeing my ad. Not ideal. I changed the broad match keyword to a phrase match. You might find something even more irrelevant. For example, if you are targeting “social media training,” you may be surprised to find that your ad is triggered when someone searches “dog training.”

What can you do if you find your ad is showing up for keyword searches that don’t apply? Either change your match type or add negative keywords. For our second example, you could add the negative keyword, “dog.”

Another benefit to regularly running your search query report is that it may reveal related keywords you might not have thought of, but might give you a great quality score and results with the right ad.

Here’s how to run a search query report:

  • Sign in to your AdWords account at
  • Click the Campaigns tab.
  • Click the Keywords tab.
  • Click the Keyword details button above your statistics table.
    • Select “All” from the drop-down menu to analyze the search terms for all your listed keywords.
    • To only see search terms for specific keywords, first select the checkboxes for the keywords you’re interested in, then choose “Selected” from the menu.

Stop Paying for Job Seekers and People Wanting a Freebie

If you find that your ads are being triggered and clicked on by people looking for employment, consider adding negative keywords such as, “help wanted,” “jobs,” etc. – unless, of course, you are trying to attract job seekers! You can also add the negative keyword “free” to cut down on ad clicks by people who don’t have the budget for your services or product.

Try Some Strange Ad Creation Tactics That Work

Try capitalizing every word in your ad copy. For some reason this seems to increase click through rate. Don’t type in all caps, though – it won’t get approved and it’s just obnoxious 🙂

Ask a question that makes the reader subconsciously answer, “Yes!”

Experiment with adding numbers, dates, prices and your company name.

Get Traffic for Free, Instead

OK, well, nothing is really free, but when you have a fabulous website with a lot of great, useful content, you will gain visitors to your site without shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month to Google. Blogging at least twice a week is our favorite way to increase traffic in a way that continues to bring in the leads. AdWords stops sending traffic the moment you shut off your AdWords! Sharing your awesome content to social media platforms also increases the number of “free” visitors you’ll bring to your site.  Following up via email is another cost-effective way to increase leads (MailChimp offers a free plan, but even paid plans are very reasonable).

Whether you are looking to increase website visits and leads immediately via Google AdWords or Facebook ads,  you want to take a longer-term approach with content, or you want both – we can help. You’ll find tons of DIY blogging and social media tips here. We can also help with social media support, PPC, and content marketing, including HubSpot management.

Have any specific AdWords questions? Let us know in the comments!


About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. Thanks for the review Alison! I appreciate it!

  2. Alisa Meredith

    You’re so welcome, Claire – I really enjoyed the webinar! ~ Alisa

  3. I am searching something to optimize my Google Adword account and this blog gives me informative information. Thanks for your Write Up.

  4. Safety and Quality of Private Data

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