How Do I Improve PPC Conversions on Google Ads?

Thinking of running Google ads? Read this Q&A from The Brand Auditors to find out how to improve PPC conversions.

June 27, 2023

How do I improve PPC conversions?


We recently completed a project with a client in the health care industry. In our initial meeting, the company’s marketing manager expressed disappointment with their current pay-per-click (PPC) ads campaign. They also asked several questions specifically related to Google ads, such as:

  • What’s the average PPC conversion rate for Google ads?”
  • “What should our cost per conversion be?”
  • “How can we avoid wasting money on accidental clicks?”
  • “How can we prevent competitors from clicking on our ads?”

PPC marketing is a complex process. There are a lot of things to consider—negative keywords, quality scores, cost per click, conversion metrics, and the list goes on.

If your current campaigns aren’t converting as well as you’d like them to or feel you’re wasting money on ads that aren’t working, you’re not alone.

Many businesses struggle to get the most out of their PPC strategy.

In this post, we’ll explore how to boost PPC ad conversions, from crafting ad copy to optimizing your landing pages.

Here’s an important point I’d like to make before you read on:

I won’t overwhelm you with technical jargon or complicated tactics. This post isn’t a step-by-step “how-to-run-ads” guide. Instead, it has been designed to help you manage successful digital ad campaigns.

We created this post because many of our clients are business owners and in-house marketing teams who hire advertising agencies to develop and run campaigns. But, in our experience, they struggle to manage the agency and those campaigns successfully because they aren’t sure how.

To figure out whether their ad campaigns are working, most companies simply look at whether they’re making money on the ads. But for your digital ad strategy to be profitable, you must know what to track, when to make changes, and what it takes to help you improve your PPC conversion rate.

That’s what you’ll learn in the sections that follow.

Now, let’s get started.

The Key to Increasing PPC Conversion Rate

PPC ads are a powerful way to increase your reach and connect with potential customers. But in many of our brand audits, we discover the client is wasting a lot of money on ads. The issue often stems from a conflict of interest between the client and search engines.

The conflict is tied to goals.

Clients and search engines both have ROI goals for paid advertising.

But positive ROI is not the same for both.

The search engine makes money when a user clicks on your ad.

The client only makes money when a prospect who clicks on their ad buys something.

Search engines don’t care if you make a sale.

So, here’s my first suggestion:

Focus on conversions, not clicks.

To get more leads and conversions, focus on a highly targeted audience.

Small, niche audience segments are easier to target. Ads directed at these segments will be more effective because it’s easier to write ad and landing page copy for a group of people who are looking for a specific product. It’s also easier to position your product or service as the ideal solution for their problem or desire.

Many companies are afraid of getting too specific with audience segmentation. They believe narrowing their audience might put them in a small market that can’t support sales goals.

But the marketplace is saturated. There are too many distractions to filter through. Your customers are no exception. Brands can increase the average conversion rate across all marketing channels with targeted messaging.

Target customer segments can be organized into ad groups. These groups contain keywords that can be used in ad copy to attract potential buyers.

I’ll discuss keyword strategy in a section that follows. But for now, remember that niche audience segments are easier to target. Ads will be more effective because it’s easier to write ad and landing page copy for a specific group with similar characteristics. It’s also easier to create a call to action that will get more ad clicks.

Now, let’s look at the path to purchase and how to leverage it to increase PPC conversions.

The Path to Purchase

Plotting the path to purchase (also called the customer journey) is one of the best strategies you can use to increase your conversion rates.

You can improve PPC advertising results when you understand how potential customers discover your brand and what they want when they find it. The customer journey conceptualizes the buying process. It begins when a prospect in the target audience realizes they have a problem or need.

That’s when they start looking for potential solutions. Once they find a few possibilities, they evaluate each. Once they’re satisfied that they’ve done enough research, they purchase the product or service they like most.

Customer Journey Map
Customer Journey Map

Marketers often use the traditional sales funnel (sometimes called a conversion funnel) to illustrate the customer’s buying journey:

Traditional Customer Journey Model
Traditional Customer Journey Model

Using these models, you can get inside the customer’s mind to understand their thought process as they look for your product and research it. Each customer journey phase represents where consumers are in the buying process.

For example, someone in the awareness stage just discovered your brand. Someone who is comparing the features of your product to competitors is in the consideration stage.

Brands with a well-developed customer journey are better equipped to understand the consumer’s search intent. Search intent relates to the customer’s mindset as they browse online for products and services. Intent is a critical factor when it comes to developing PPC campaigns that convert.

Keywords are the search terms and phrases used by shoppers to research and buy products and services online. PPC campaigns have different types of keywords that advertisers use to target potential customers online.

It’s crucial to identify the searcher’s intent for each keyword in a PPC campaign to increase conversion rates.

Now, we’ll walk through an example to see how search intent and the path to purchase affect conversions.

Let’s assume we sell a joint pain supplement.

If someone searches for “what causes joint pain?”, they’re probably suffering from joint pain and want to find a solution. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy our supplement—at least, not yet.

On the other hand, if a person searches for “best joint pain supplement,” it’s likely that they’re suffering from joint pain and are interested in buying a supplement to help them.

Another important point to remember is that keywords with stronger buying intent cost more per click.

Here’s a snapshot from Google’s ad platform:


Here, we see two keywords:

  • Joint pain
  • Best joint pain supplement

A few observations:

  • The term “joint pain” has a much higher search volume and is a less competitive keyword. In fact, this keyword gets roughly ten times more search volume than “best joint pain supplement”. It’s also likely that you’ll pay less for this keyword because there are fewer brands competing for it.
  • There are several reasons people may use the term “joint pain” to search. For example, maybe they want to know more about the types of joint pain or to find out what causes it. But that doesn’t mean they’re looking for a joint pain supplement.
  • Given a choice between the two, we would be better off paying for “best joint pain supplement” if we want to find potential customers. Even though the search volume is lower, and the competition is higher, it’s safe to assume people use this keyword to find joint pain supplements.

Now that you understand the concept of user intent for keywords, we’ll look at how to use the customer journey to identify search intent for each target customer segment. This will help you place your ads in front of the right people at the right time.

Staying with our current example, customers who search for “what causes joint pain?” are most likely in the awareness stage.

So, if wanted to run campaigns to generate brand awareness, our joint pain supplement company might use the following keywords for an awareness campaign:

Awareness Keyword List Example

  • Muscle and joint pain causes
  • Joint pain in fingers
  • Joint pain in elbow
  • Knee pain common causes
  • Bone and joint pain causes
  • Knee pain causes without injury
  • Joint pain and chronic fatigue
  • Joint pain in hands
  • Joint pain causes in adults

I’m using a small list of keywords here. An actual campaign might contain dozens of keywords.

Here’s an important point: the deeper into the customer journey you go, the more complex (and expensive) keyword selection is for paid ads.

Looking again at the list of keywords above, we know that the user is investigating potential causes of joint pain. But there are several potential solutions for joint pain. Some are medical, others are homeopathic, and still more consist of home remedies.

At this stage, a joint pain supplement brand has many competitors within its own sector, as well as many more outside of its industry (i.e., alternatives and substitutes).

So, while the supplement brand may find value in running paid awareness campaigns, it might be better to focus on potential buyers who have joint pain and have already decided they want a supplement solution. These buyers are already in the consideration stage. Our brand could target these customers by choosing keywords like:

Consideration Keyword List Example

  • Joint pain supplement
  • Natural joint pain supplement
  • Joint pain relief pills
  • Supplement for joint pain
  • Muscle and joint pain supplement
  • What supplements help joint pain
  • Knee joint pain supplement

This list of keywords would help our supplement brand connect to potential buyers who are looking for a joint pain supplement. However, we must be prepared to pay more for these keywords because they’re more competitive.

PPC Consultant for Supplement brands
IMAGE: Supplement label example

To narrow the field even more, our supplement brand could run paid ad campaigns that target people who are looking to buy a joint pain supplement with specific ingredients.

Here are some examples of keywords that could be used:

Conversion Keyword List Example

  • Best glucosamine chondroitin supplement on the market
  • Best glucosamine chondroitin supplement 2023
  • Best glucosamine and chondroitin supplement
  • Chondroitin joint supplement
  • Most effective glucosamine chondroitin
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin dietary supplement
  • Glucosamine chondroitin 500mg

This sample group of keywords is much more specific than those in the Awareness and Consideration groups above. There’s a strong possibility that only potential customers who are serious about buying a joint pain supplement would use the terms in the Conversion Keyword List example.

Conversion keywords usually have lower search volume, and almost all are more competitive than awareness keywords. These keywords also cost more than those in the awareness or consideration categories.

In our experience, we’ve found that many brands don’t go deep enough to uncover customer pain points. So, they’re unable to target the keywords potential buyers use to describe their problems and solutions (i.e., the user’s search intent).

As a result, they use sub-par keywords for ad campaigns and get below-average PPC conversion rates.

For example, brands often use keywords for conversion-stage ads that are better suited for the consideration stage. Others use keywords that are too expensive for the profit potential they offer.

Creating keyword lists based on your brand’s customer journey is one of the most critical steps in pay-per-click advertising. That’s why you must review your ad keyword lists and assess them for user intent, competitiveness, and profitability.

You can use the Google AdWords platform or hire an expert to help you.

Internet Traffic Statistics Tell a Story

Internet traffic analysis can help you get more qualified leads and optimize conversions. By looking at the trends in online activity, demographics, and conversion flow, you can learn more about your customers and what they might be interested in most.

For example, website traffic data (i.e., Google Analytics) tracks age, gender, and location audience groups that have the highest response rates for ads. You can use this information to develop personalized marketing campaigns that target these specific audiences. Some businesses have seen conversions increase by 50 percent or more when using customized ads.

Web traffic data also reveals search queries used by the audience to find your products and services. This information helps you create a better keyword strategy for Google ads campaigns (see The Customer Journey, above.)

Now, let’s look at how increasing conversions for organic traffic can help you reduce paid advertising costs.

Organic vs. Paid Search Traffic

For those who don’t know, organic traffic is usually acquired using an SEO strategy. The goal is to achieve a high search ranking for organic keywords.

Organic traffic is sometimes referred to as “free” traffic, but this is a misnomer. “Earned” traffic is a more accurate description.

Organic traffic is not free because it requires an investment of time, money, or both. Blog posts, for example, are the most common source of organic traffic. But someone had to write the post, and that person got paid. If you’re a business owner and wrote a post for your company, you may not have paid anyone, but your time has value. That’s still an investment.

For this reason, ROI is just as important for an SEO strategy as it is for PPC campaigns.

An organic traffic strategy offers several advantages. For example, it’s easy for competitors to outbid you for the top ad spots. But it’s difficult to overtake your brand if it holds the top ranking for an organic keyword. And once content starts getting traffic, it will probably continue to do so. So, a one-time investment can generate an infinite return.

Using a real-life example, one blog post I wrote for my company’s website in 2019 still draws over 500 monthly visitors. This trend has been consistent although I’ve only made a few slight edits to that post since it was written.

Rising ad spend is another reason to have an SEO strategy. As time progresses, it will cost brands even more to advertise online. An organic traffic strategy is an effective way to offset a higher ad spend.

Businesses invest thousands of dollars in SEO to grow organic traffic. But to do the job right, it isn’t enough to simply “get traffic.”

Like paid advertising, for an SEO strategy to yield a positive return on investment, it must attract qualified traffic. Qualified traffic separates good SEO strategies from the average.

Companies often focus on traffic without thinking about audience quality. But this is where audience segmentation again becomes crucial.

It’s best to start qualifying the traffic you want now. I would rather get 100 qualified website visitors each month than 1,000 who are just curious to learn more about what I do.

To get qualified traffic, you must clearly define your ideal customers. Think of them every time you create a piece of content. Every time you create an offer for your product or service, make it for your ideal customer. In time, you’ll rank for the right keywords that will bring potential buyers to your website.

Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic
Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic

How Does an SEO Strategy Help Improve PPC Ads?

While SEO and PPC are separate tactics, they should be part of an integrated marketing strategy.

SEO does not directly increase your PPC conversion rate. But an SEO strategy can increase the success of all your digital marketing.

Here are a few reasons:

  • An SEO strategy strengthens your brand’s online authority.
  • You can combine an SEO strategy and paid ads to develop remarketing campaigns.
  • SEO gives your business an opportunity to collect more data on the target audience. You can use SEO traffic data to optimize PPC ads.
Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic over time
Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic over time

Tips to Increase PPC Conversion Rate

Before we get into specific tips to spark an increase in conversions, let’s look at the three primary metrics you’ll want to monitor:

  • Impressions: Your ad’s frequency of appearance is measured by impressions. Each time your ad is displayed on a Google Network site or search result page, it counts as an impression.
  • Click-through rate: This metric is a ratio that measures the effectiveness of your ads. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. For instance, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, your CTR would be 5 percent. A higher CTR indicates better keyword and ad performance.
  • Conversion rate: Conversion rate, expressed as a percentage, is the average number of conversions per ad interaction. To calculate it, divide the number of conversions by the total number of tracked ad interactions during the same period. For instance, if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 interactions, your conversion rate would be 5 percent. Remember, conversion rates are the most crucial metric in measuring ad performance.

There are several other analytics you can track to improve PPC results. But these three metrics are the foundation of most online marketing campaigns.

These metrics basically tell you everything you need to know about the performance of your ad campaigns. Over time, you can create benchmarks for each campaign using these metrics to figure out what is working and what isn’t.

If your goal is to get one conversion every day, then you must track the CTR needed to get one conversion. Then, when you have a benchmark for CTR, you should be able to determine how many impressions it takes to get those clicks.

For example, using the numbers above, let’s assume you get 50 conversions in one month with a CTR of 5 percent. Let’s then say that to reach a 5 percent CTR, your ads must make 20,000 impressions.

Here’s the math:

20,000 impressions x 5% (click-through rate) = 1,000 clicks x 5% (conversion rate) = 50 conversions

Using these numbers, you can create a reliable ad budget. Without these benchmarks, it will be difficult to know how much money you need to spend to hit your ad goals.

Test Ads to Set Benchmarks and Optimize

Not all PPC campaigns are created equal. That’s why you should test them.

By testing your ads, you’ll find out which ad copy, keywords, and landing pages perform best. This will help you optimize ads for ROI and eliminate the underperformers.

You can also test different demographics, locations, and devices to see which audience is responding the most to your ads. This information can help you refine audience targeting.

Testing your PPC ads can help you identify any technical or design issues with your website or landing pages. For example, if you notice a high bounce rate, it could be linked to your website’s load speed. Low conversion rates might indicate that the landing page’s layout needs improvement.

A/B testing is a common method used test ads.

A/B testing involves creating two versions of an ad and running both to see which one performs better. This is a simple way to find out what works and what doesn’t. It also allows you to make decisions based on real data, which is a reliable way to improve the performance of your PPC campaigns.

Before testing, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to your campaign goals. These might include click-through rates or cost per customer.

When creating your test ads, it’s important to change only one element at a time. This might include the headline, the ad copy, or the call-to-action. By changing only one element, you can be sure that any differences in performance are tied to that modification.

A/B testing allows you to set performance benchmarks for your PPC campaigns. Once you’ve established baselines, you can ramp up the advertising budget with confidence.

Ad Quality Score

Another critical component of digital advertising is ad quality score. Quality score is an indicator of how relevant an ad is for a particular keyword. So, in theory, ads with higher scores should also have higher click-through rates.

One way to increase the quality score is to focus on creating well-crafted, targeted ads that are relevant to the audience. Ads should be clear, concise, and include a call-to-action customized to the viewer’s desire (i.e., “Get joint pain relief now”).

Make sure all the ad components—such as copy, visuals and headline—align with the overall message and tone of the ad.


Read this article from Google to learn more about ad quality score.

Optimize Landing Pages

Optimized landing pages can boost your PPC conversion rate. The process for optimization includes several critical page components, such as:


Each page should have a primary focus and prompt users to take action. More than one focus topic per page can confuse site visitors.


A page’s headline directly impacts whether visitors will stay on the page. The more interesting a headline is, the more likely someone is to read it. Be sure that the headline matches the expectation you set with your ad.

For example, if your ad’s call to action is, “Get joint pain relief now,” the headline of the landing page should be related. A headline like, “You’ve just discovered the best joint pain supplement money can buy,” might be a good way to capture the visitor’s attention.


People assess the quality of a web page within 15 seconds. The images you use set the tone for the quality of your landing page. Be sure to use professional (and if possible, original) images that align with the topic.

Social Proof

Testimonials and customer reviews displayed on landing pages also increase Google ads conversions.


Calls-to-Action encourage users to take a desired action. CTAs are usually buttons or links and should be obvious on each landing page. They should also contain words relevant to the action you want users to take. For example, “Get a free trial” is an example of a common call-to-action.

Consider creating special offers, such as “buy-one, get-one”, or free trial to boost conversion rates.

Signals of Authority and Expertise

Certification badges and logos from prominent organizations are examples of trust-builders that can be displayed on a landing page. These provide credibility and reassure the visitor that your brand is stable.

Load Speed

Each landing page should load in under 2.5 seconds and each element of a page should be optimized for SEO. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to test your landing pages.

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Ad Groups

Ad groups contain one or more ads that share similar targets. This allows you to set a bid or price to be used when keywords trigger an ad to appear. This is known as a cost-per-click (CPC) bid. You can also set prices for individual keywords within the ad group.

Ad groups let you organize ads by a common theme. This ensures that your ad groups are small and focused, which will probably result in a more relevant keyword list for each.

By focusing on smaller ad groups, you can develop the right messaging for each ad group and increase your click-through rate (CTR). It’s easier to track results for a small ad group than it is for a large one.

When creating ad groups, refer to the buyer’s journey. This will help you develop ads for audience segments in each stage of the sales funnel.

Keyword Lists

The keywords used in digital advertising campaigns are the difference between a good PPC conversion rate and a low one. But managing and optimizing them can be tricky.

Ad keywords should be highly relevant to your product or service, and to the search terms people are using to find it. Once you have your list, it’s important to organize it in a way that makes sense. Group similar keywords together into ad groups and create specific ads for each group. This will help you target specific audience segments more effectively.

Focus on quality over quantity. So, choose a smaller, more targeted list of keywords. This will improve traffic quality and get better results.

Another important factor to consider is negative keywords. These are the terms you don’t want your ads to show up for. For example, if you sell luxury watches, include words like “cheap” or “discount” as negative keywords to avoid attracting people who are looking for low-priced watches.

Tools like Google Analytics can help you track campaign performance and identify which keywords are driving the most traffic and conversions. Then you can use that data to adjust your bid strategy and budget.

Finally, don’t forget about long-tail keywords. These are longer, specific phrases people use to search for products or services. Even though these terms have lower traffic levels, they often have higher conversion rates because they are more targeted.

Other Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

Ad optimization is an ongoing process that never ends. It requires constant monitoring, testing, and tweaking to ensure that your ads are performing their best.

One of the biggest mistakes many businesses make with advertising is to set it and forget it. They create their search ads, set their budgets, and then sit back and wait for the results to roll in. But that approach is a recipe for failure. Pay-per-click advertising requires constant attention and optimization if you want to see real results.

It’s also important to stay up to date with the latest PPC trends and best practices. The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday may not work today.

How The Brand Auditors Can Help You Improve PPC Conversions

Are you tired of wasting your advertising budget on ineffective PPC campaigns?

The Brand Auditors uses a data-driven approach to optimize your campaigns. This will help you reduce the advertising budget and get higher conversion rates. Our process is designed to be simple and straightforward, so you can start seeing results almost immediately.

We understand how important it is to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies in the industry. That's why we're constantly updating our process to make sure we're delivering the best possible results for brand executives, marketing directors, and business owners.

If you're interested in learning how The Brand Auditors can help you improve PPC conversions, click on the button below to set up a free discovery call.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Brand Strategist | Managing Director

Chris Fulmer is a professional brand development manager who provides expert insights on brand strategy, media channels, and other essential information required for marketing success. This includes market research, analytics analysis, and digital design best practices.

Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies increase ROI and reduce marketing expenses.

  • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
  • Reduce marketing expenses.
  • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

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