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AdWords Tips for Small Businesses: Easy Changes, Big Results

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Google AdWords is a valuable tool for small businesses to promote themselves to customers online. However, SMBs still frequently encounter obstacles when trying to grow their business through AdWords.

With so many responsibilities on their plate, most small business owners simply don’t have the time to effectively manage their AdWords account. And let’s face it, AdWords can also be quite confusing. SMBs may not have the resources or know-how to ensure their account is winning them as many conversions as possible.

Fortunately, experiencing success in AdWords doesn’t mean investing all your time or making full-scale changes to your strategy. Even small tweaks and adjustments can produce significant improvements in your ROI. Consider the Pareto principle, which states that for many events, about 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

We’re going to share a few easy changes you can make right now to optimize your performance in AdWords. But before any house is built, you must start with a solid foundation.

Set Your Account Up for Success

Prior to making any adjustments, you should make sure your AdWords account has a strong setup. Check each of these tasks off your list before proceeding.

  • Focus on your top-performing products: You likely don’t have the budget to promote all your products, so stick with the bestsellers. These should include your top 20% best performers and those with a higher average order value (AOV).
  • Campaigns and ad groups should be closely related: Organize your campaigns and ad groups in a way that makes sense. This will help you better control your budget and provide more insight into performance.
  • Optimize your ad copy: Follow ad copy best practices to make sure you’re communicating effectively with potential customers. Request a copy of our PPC Copywriting 101 guide from samantha.keller@lxrguide.com.
  • Keep your budget in mind when doing keyword research: When adding keywords, you can determine how many clicks you’ll be able to get per day based on average CPC. Set your bids correctly and consider different match types.

Once you’re cooking with quality ingredients, you can begin refining your AdWords recipe with the following tips.

Regularly Adjust Keyword Bids

You should adjust your keyword bids once a week based on performance. This involves increasing bids on top-performing keywords to maximize success. Decrease bids on keywords that aren’t profitable so you don’t waste resources on what isn’t working. These bid changes should be gradual, about 15-30% at a time.

Don’t forget to identify keywords that haven’t received any impressions, as well. Increase bids on these to give them a chance to be seen. (See below.) You never know – a small push could jumpstart a lucrative keyword.

Give your keywords with no impressions a chance to succeed.

Adjusting your keyword bids regularly will help increase conversions while keeping costs down. It will also boost the overall visibility of your ads.

Regularly Add Negative Keywords

When it comes to your AdWords account, going negative can be a very good thing. Negative keywords specify the search terms for which you don’t want your ads to show up. This ensures that your ads aren’t surfacing for unrelated searches or products you don’t offer. For instance, you wouldn’t want your ads for wine glasses to show up when someone searches for eyeglasses.

Negative keywords also allow you more control over which ad groups are triggered for certain search terms. (See below.)

Negative keywords give you more control over which ads are shown.

Some common negative keywords to add include: “free,“ “career,” “jobs,” “contact us,” “phone number,” “videos,” “pictures,” “how do i,” and more. Check out the Search Terms report for additional negative keyword ideas.

By keeping your negative keyword list consistently updated, you’ll minimize your wasted ad spend and attract more qualified traffic to your site.

Google Shopping: Don’t Just Set It & Forget It

After setting up a Google Shopping campaign, you might think you can just let it take care of itself. Not so fast! Google Shopping needs plenty of love and attention, just like your other PPC ads.

You should get into the habit of updating your Shopping Feed regularly, at least once a month. This means adding as many fields as possible beyond the mandatory fields. Make your product feed as detailed as you can. The more detail a feed has, the more often it’ll show in search results.

Another way to bolster your feed is by adjusting your product bids. Raise or lower bids based on product performance. Doing so will increase your profitability, as top-performing products will appear more frequently.

Give Your AdWords Account a Lift Today

Revamping your AdWords account doesn’t need to be a massive, time-consuming project. Making a few small changes and getting into some good habits can generate noticeable results quickly, which is great news for small business owners with nonstop schedules.

The tips we’ve shared here provide a great place to start, but there are plenty of other ways you can improve your digital marketing efforts. Check out our free library of on-demand webinars for helpful tricks and insights about a wide range of ecommerce topics!


If you’re a small business managing your own AdWords account, we have five small changes that can show big results. Find out more in our blog and webinar.