Although every Google AdWords campaign has a different strategy, the framework for most successful campaigns is the same. No matter what your business is or your market, you essentially begin with many of the same settings.

Search terms related to Google Adwords
The various elements of Google AdWords

Here are some things you need to do when setting up any successful Google AdWords campaign. Keyword Research

Use Keyword Planner to develop a keyword list. This should be your first step so you know how

the campaign will be set up. Depending on your business, the keyword list could be quite extensive.

I won’t go into all what is needed here, but assume you have some understanding of how to find phrases. Once you have your list group the words into Ad Groups that have a similar theme. It seems obvious but don’t put dog clothes and cat clothes in the same ad group. Or emergency plumbing and sewer line repair. It helps to plan all this out before you begin your campaign. This way you’ll know how to set up the Ad Groups in your campaign.

Landing Pages

Now that you have your list of phrases and have grouped them according to theme, determine where you’ll send them. Ideally you’ll be able to take prospects to landing pages designed for each ad group. If not, determine what pages on your current site would work best. Too often people use the home page, but this seldom is the best idea. Most likely your home page is designed for a number of types of visitors and people who’ve clicked on your ad may not see what they’re looking for right away. If your campaign starts to show a good profit, however, then begin to invest in landing pages, especially for your big ticket items. It will help tremendously with conversions.

Campaign Settings

Campaign settings

This is where you determine where your ads run and when. If your market is national or a small radius in a community, it’s imperative you put this right when you set up the campaign. Except for your time zone and type of campaign, most of this can be adjusted later. Choose Search only and not Search and Display. One thing to remember to do is to click All Features, so you can take advantage of all the features AdWords offers. After this under advanced location settings look for Locations options. Then click People in my Targeted Market. This will avoid people from other areas seeing your ad and who might not really be in your market.

Another important setting is under Ad Rotation. Especially starting out you want to be testing your ads so you want them to Rotate Evenly. This way you’ll be able to test the ads you create. You can always switch this to one of the other options when you have some data with which Google can work with.

Ad Groups

By the time you’ve gotten to this step you should have a good idea of how the Ad Groups are going to be. Copy and paste the words you’ve assigned to each ad group. Then incorporate the main phrase from each Ad Group in the ads you’re creating. Create two ads for sure, possibly three, but no more than that. This way you can get data on each ad to see which has the best click through rate. After you’ve been running them awhile begin pausing the lower performing ads and create new ones to compete against your best ad. Hopefully these will overtake that one.

Match Types

Provided you have enough keywords in your list, make sure to put them in as phrases match, modified broad match or exact match. Only if you have a very small list should you use broad match. This could help you to develop a larger list, but this should only be a temporary solution. With broad match you’ll most likely get a lot of words that don’t apply.

No matter the keyword match type you use, there are almost always going to be words that don’t apply to your campaign. For example, people might be looking for a career in your field. So Chicago lawyer might be a targeted phrase, but Chicago lawyer salary most likely wouldn’t be. When you’re doing your keyword research you’ll most likely notice a few words that don’t apply. So add words like careers, jobs, etc. to your negative words list. This will prevent your ads from showing for these phrases.


You set the bids at the Ad Group level, although you’ll quickly find each word may require its own bid adjustment. The Keyword Planner will have given you suggestions on what the average bid is for a word. This can be helpful, but you’ll find it’s not entirely accurate. Still it will give you an idea on what to bid. I bid low to start out just to see what placement each word has. You’ll get data rather quickly on where the words rank so you can adjust. But by bidding low you don’t overspend.

Ad Extensions

What makes Google AdWords so successful are the ad extensions they provide businesses. These are features that help to further make your business stand out, from call extensions to sitelinks and call outs. Incorporate any of these that seem to apply to your customer base. Sitelinks especially are an effective way to add more information about your business and take them to more appropriate pages depending on their needs.

Most businesses fail with their Google AdWords campaign because they set it up quickly and didn’t put any thought into their objectives. Then after a few weeks they wonder why they’ve blown through their budget with little in return. Then they give up. Avoid their mistake and take some time in developing a strong campaign from the beginning. Knowing what goes into a successful Google AdWords campaign will help you eliminate wasted spend and provide a better opportunity for successful conversions.

If you don’t have the time or someone on your staff to be responsible, then consider hiring a professional. Their costs will be more than offset, by their getting business for your company. There is no better way to market a business today then Google AdWords.