Setting up a Google AdWords account is easy but I am not going to tell you that creating a Google marketing strategy is. It takes time and hard work.

Any good PPC company will tell you this.

I hope this guide will teach you how to put the correct building blocks into place to help you create that perfect, profitable campaign. This will also drastically reduce the time spent working on your campaigns.

This guide will also teach you how to manage your campaigns in a timely manner and what aspects to focus on when optimising them for success. One note of caution, be prepared for your campaigns to cost you more at the start as this is all part of the teething process. By following the information in this guide you will have your clicks costing you less and more sales via your website.

I’m sure you have fired up AdWords and wondered where to start. Worry not as in this guide I will give you a clear path on how to make your campaigns profitable.

Identifying your maximum cost per click

Stop! Before you even fire up AdWords you must avoid the mistake that most people make when managing a PPC account and that is not identifying what their maximum cost per click, and cost per acquisition is.

If you do not establish this as early on as possible you will be sure to lose money.

maximum cost per click

Figure 1. Identifying cost per click

cost per acquisition

Figure 2. Identifying cost per CPA

If you are a new business you may not know these numbers but try and find it out as quickly as possible, even if it is an estimate. If you do know these numbers, then the worst that will hopefully happen is your PPC campaign will break even.

If your campaign is new, Google will not allow you to select a CPA (cost per acquisition) seen in figure 2 above. So you will need to select maximum cost per click instead (see figure 1). So let’s begin by working out your maximum cost per acquisition.

How to Identify your Maximum cost per Acquisition

Let’s say that you sell Nike trainers at £120 per pair and your profit on each pair of shoes is £40.  Basically this is your target number for each conversion. You need each conversion to be less than £40 for you to make a profit. Like I said, if you have a new campaign you will not be able to set your CPA in Google to £40 until you have around 15 conversions.

Once you have these conversions you need to go to campaign settings> bidding and budget> bidding options> Focus on clicks, manual maximum CPC bidding then select focus on conversions seen in the example in figure 2.

How to Identify your Maximum cost per Click

You can add this number into your account at the start and the way to work this out is simple. Multiply your CPA (£40) by your current conversion rate of your website. Now if you are a new business and you don’t have any idea what your conversion rate will be ,I would suggest setting this at 1% for an estimate to get started.

You can easily adjust this once you have a more accurate figure. So, CPA x conversion rate (40 x 1). This would be 40p per click.

Now I know you are thinking there is no way I will only be able to get a click for 40p and you would be correct, but like I said in the beginning your PPC account will not be profitable. It will take some PPC optimisation and conversion optimisation to make it profitable.  I will help you with all of these things in this guide.

Mirror your Website not your Keywords

Another big mistake people make is first they create a big list of keyphrases then build their campaign around the keyphrases. You are sure to run into a great deal of problems when you do it this way as you will be trying to send Google to landing pages that don’t fit the keyphrases.

A far more sensible way would be to build your campaigns and Ad Groups on themes or categories of your website.

campaign structure

Figure 3. How to structure your campaign

Take a look at the campaign structure in figure 3 above. This is a website that sells cars. The campaign structure mirrors the website structure. This way you will find it a lot easier to identify which landing pages are best. These pages will also be more relevant.

So when you are doing your keyphrase research, do so for each AdGroup within each campaign. For example when performing keyphrase research on BMW cars, find keyphrases based on each type of car. These will be far more relevant and have a higher chance of converting because you are sending people to the most relevant page. More on keyphrases and ads a little later.

Creating your campaign structure within excel will really help you to get a better understanding of how your campaigns will look. Hubspot created a great free AdGroups template you can use.  Download it from their website.

Identifying the Best Keyphrases

Getting your keyphrases right is a very important part of the success of your PPC campaign. Far too often people try to use keyphrases that are too broad or are not targeted or relevant to what products or services they sell.

I would first of all like to talk about keyphrase match types and the positive and negative side of using each kind.

Exact match keyphrases []

This match type is less risky as you will only show up for the exact keyphrase that is used. The down side of this is you will receive less traffic and may be missing out on so many other keyphrases that could cause conversions.

Phrase match keyphrases “”

Phrase match is a little bit more flexible than exact match and only keyphrases typed in the exact sequence will trigger your ad. For example if your keyphrase was “inbound marketing companies” you could potentially show up for “inbound marketing companies costs” but not “marketing companies”. The problem also with this match type is you could still be missing out on valuable keyphrases and show for keyphrases that aren’t as targeted.

Broad match keyphrases

Broad match keyphrases are the match type that is by far the scariest to use, as you can show up for a lot of different keyphrases. This match type is the one that usually generates the most traffic. This can also sometimes mean disaster and can kill off your budget very quickly because you could show up for really irrelevant keyphrases. The example I always use is the keyphrase transformers.

Let’s say you sell electronic transformers and you use the broad match type, you would show up for transformers robots in disguise. If unchecked this could spell disaster for your PPC budget.

Later on in this guide I will show you how to best use this match type.

Modified broad match keyphrases +

Modified broad match is very similar to broad match but does have some added benefit. This match type is similar also to phrase match as the keywords have to appear in the same order. For example, a modified broad match keyphrase of +inbound +marketing +agency would not be eligible to show up for inbound marketing because it is not in the sequence. However, if you were using just broad match you could potentially show up for that keyphrase.

Negative keyphrases-

Negative keyphrases are the most forgotten keyphrases and can be really effective to weed out the irrelevant words. If you are using exact match keyphrases then you really don’t need to worry about negative keywords. The only downside from using negative keyphrases is you may mistakenly add a negative keyphrase that totally stops your ads from showing.

What is the best match type to use?

Well this is up for much debate and it depends on who you ask. The truth is experiment with all match types but we would recommend using modified broad match to start with but you need to monitor it closely. More on this in the day to day running section.

Selecting the best keyphrases

Now that you know how to work out the CPA and cost per conversion for your campaigns you can begin to select the best keyphrases. So you need to head on over to the Google keyword tool to find the best ones. Make sure you are signed in as you will see a wider range of keywords. You also may want to select the only show ideas closely related to my search terms to show the most relevant keyphrases.

only show related keywords

You will also want to make sure you have the correct match type selected as this can really affect the popularity of the keyphrase.

keyword match types

It’s a good idea to have a list ready before you visit the keyword tool. You need to brain storm and find the keyword that you think your target market will be using when looking for your products or services.

For an ecommerce website this is slightly easier as you can just take all your product and category names and try adding them to the tool.

If your customers are mainly business to business then you may want to sit down with your sales team and come up of a list of the services you offer. Try to avoid jargon and industry terms as most people won’t understand what they are and won’t use them to search. But this is not always the case so make sure you research as many keyphrases as possible.

You can also add your website into the tool and Google will give recommendation based on your website content like in the image below. You could even add a competitor’s web address to see what that brings up.

keywords based on web content

Make sure you pay attention to the estimated average cost per click for each keyword as this is important. Take the estimates with a very large pinch of salt as you may find the cost of the keyword a lot different when you are actually using it.

Now head on over to the traffic estimator by clicking on view in traffic estimator.

Here you will be presented with two boxes, one for your maximum CPC and one for your daily budget. Once you enter these two numbers you will be presented with estimates on clicks, ad positions and daily costs. As these are just estimates I would again take them with a large pinch of salt. Select the ones that fall into your budget and you’re done.

Adjusting Campaign Settings

Now that we know how much we can spend and have found the best keyphrases, we are ready to build our campaigns. Here I will walk you through the campaigns settings screen so we can set up the campaign for optimal results. Go to campaign>settings


In network settings make sure include in search partners is not checked. This can sometimes lead to a lower CTR (click through rate) because this is the group of websites that use the Google search function. Head on over to to see an example of one of these sites. There is no way to see which networks are working and which are not so this feature has its limitations. Take note of this and you can test switching this on once your campaign is performing at a good level.

campaign settings


This setting will have a huge bearing on where you will show up geographically. What these setting should be really depends on your business. Does your business only serve a particular city or area? Then set as such. Even if you do want to market to large locations I would start with a small location until you get your campaign up and running. You can then spread to different areas.

In fact, it can be a great idea to have campaigns based on cities or countries as costs, and user behaviour will be different.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *