Setting up a Google AdWords account and campaign seems incredibly straightforward. You just pick a few keywords and search phrases preferred by your potential customers, write a compelling ad, set a strong bid, and watch the pay-per-click profits roll in… right?

As millions of small business owners and marketers have discovered, the concept of search advertising might be simple, but the execution isn’t. In reality, there is a touch of nuance involved in setting up a winning campaign, especially if you don’t want to find yourself wasting large amounts of money on wasted clicks and missed opportunities.

To give you a sense of how we manage things for our clients, and to help you avoid making some of the common mistakes we see again and again, today we want to share five proven methods you can use to improve the ROI you get from any Google AdWords campaign.

#1 Focus on Searcher Intent

Newer marketers tend to choose keywords on Google AdWords by evaluating search volume. That’s an important factor to look at, but it’s only one of many. The best search terms your PPC are the ones that indicate specificity and buying intent. Those phrases might not get as much traffic, but they are less expensive and convert into leads and sales at a much higher rate.

#2 Find the Searchers You Don’t Want

Every bit as important as identifying your most important customers is taking the time to screen out the buyers you don’t want. Make use of negative keywords and campaign restrictions that keep prospects who were a bad fit for your products or services away from your campaigns. That way, they won’t hurt your click through rates by passing over your ads… or worse, click on them and waste your advertising dollars.

#3 Bid for Efficiency, Not Clicks

First-time Google advertisers like to outbid their competitors in an effort to secure more visits to their websites. That’s not a bad idea, but it could involve paying more than anyone else in your market, particularly when your account is new and your AdWords Quality Scores haven’t been raised yet. A better strategy is to find out which ad position gives you the best cost-to-return ratio and adjust your bids for maximum profits.

#4 Use Targeted Landing Pages

When a searcher clicks on your ad, they should be taken to a landing page on your website that matches their needs perfectly. They should also see content that emphasizes your credibility and encourages them to take the next step in the sales process. If you send first-time visitors to generic pages, or even your company’s home page, then you’re going to miss out on sales that could have been won if you are more focused.

#5 Split Test Your Ads

No matter how well or badly an ad is doing, never assume you can’t come up with something better. Split-testing different components of your campaigns – like keywords, landing page headlines, and especially ad messaging – can help you double or triple the returns you see over time. Small improvements add up pretty quickly, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your approach.

Don’t let anyone tell you Google AdWords isn’t a fast, effective, and affordable way to bring targeted traffic to your website. The key to making it work is having your accounts set up for efficiency and profits. If you haven’t been getting the search advertising results you expected, now is a perfect time to talk with the Biondo Creative team and see how we can help!