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How to optimise a PPC campaign

First, a little bit of background about me – My name is Tom Andrews, and we offer internet marketing services. We provide SEO solutions for many companies, including Top Left Design. We work with our clients to make sure that their amazing websites are seen by as many people across the internet as possible!

Welcome to my first guest Internet Marketing blog!

In this post I will attempt to explain how to ensure that your PPC campaign is well optimised. I’m notorious for going into far too much detail so I will try to be as brief as possible!

Based on PPC re optimisation for a Top Left Design client:

The first thing to ascertain is most profitable areas / most potentially profitable areas of the business; these are the areas to target using PPC. PPC is generally more expensive per click than SEO, so it is important to ensure that paid visits will send potentially profitable enquiries. The next step would be to get to know the types of PPC channels available to you and learn how to choose the right PPC channel for your campaign.

If the aim of your site is purely to give people information as opposed to sales, selling a service, etc – I would advise sticking to SEO as it is more cost effective long-term.

As a former PPC sceptic myself, there is a lot more to PPC than meets the eye. It can be very effective when all of it’s features are utilised, although very time consuming, it can also be good fun and get very addictive!
Fortunately, (without being biased!), Richards Casson’s site has been very well designed and developed initially. This makes the life of an Internet Marketing Optimiser a lot easier.

NOTE: I would advise pre-pay billing so that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises if mistakes are made.

Step One

Break the site down into microsites, for example:

Dental Hygiene –

Teeth Straightening –

This makes campaigns much easier to manage when possible.

Step Two

Edit settings for all online campaigns, at this stage have general settings encompassing all microsite ad groups.


Locations: If based in a particular area its best to target just the local area for relevant visits, this would be appropriate for a dentist.

Networks and devices: Test on all initially for first week or month and then edit accordingly based on those that perform well.

NOTE: There are potential issues with click-fraud, where competitors click your links to waste your budget. If suspect this could be a problem, best to set just to Google search.

Bidding and budget: Use manual max bidding so that you can control yourself and adjust accordingly – remember that you can decrease as well as increase max bids to find optimum position on page.

Budget: Ensure that you set max daily budget based on no conversions initially. It is important to test the campaign initially to get best long term results however it can take some fine tuning before leads to conversions.

Position preference: Display ads in any position at this stage.

Delivery method: Display ads evenly over time.

Ad extensions: Use address from local business centre and add phone number.

Advance settings: It might be best initially to test the campaign for 1 month, so set an end date.

Ad scheduling: Set to appropriate times of day for site. In case of dentist example, we discussed with client and agreed 7am to 10pm at night would be appropriate.

Ad rotation: Display better performing ads more often!

Frequency capping: No cap on impressions.

Demographics unless obvious, too advanced for this stage.

Step Three

Create a new ad group: Dental hygiene.

Add content to your ad.

Destination URL:

Research your keywords. For example: Dental hygienist.

Test using:
Broad match – Higher impressions but less specific.
[Exact match] – Exact phrase only.
“Phrase match” – Terms used anywhere in a phrase.

For example:
Dental hygienist
[Dental hygienist]
“Dental hygienist”

Initially for at least a week, but ideally a month. This will give you an idea of which terms bring the most visits, impressions, best CTR, and you can then edit accordingly to those search terms which perform the best as the project progresses.

Select a default bid.

Start low: 30p for example. Once ads start running you’ll soon be able to check status for potential minimum bid to get on page 1 of results.

Save ad group.

Step Four

Select the ad group just created.

If you have the time create a new ad, this means that you can test each ad against one another and select which performs best.

It can be an ongoing process – the level of detail to go into depends your time and budget.

Step Five

Select keywords – negative keywords:

You can edit for each ad group or campaign in general.

Arguably one of the best things about PPC is that you can select keywords which will not trigger your ad – something that is not possible using SEO when your site can appear for all kinds of bizarre search queries!

For a dentist, quite a few which could bring the wrong impressions, for example:

Crowns – could apply to dental crowns but also to terms such as Royal, Royalty, King, Queens, etc.

Have a think about possible negative keywords, using the top 30 results of search engines as a guide.

Step Six

Once campaign is running, you can run reports to test the quality score.

It will show under status if very poor, however it is best to check for all. The higher the quality score the lower each click will cost.

Quality score links into landing page optimisation which links to SEO. If you follow the principles above, the relevance of keywords to page content should be good.

However, it might also be search terms which could bring conversions but are not included on the site – this is where quality score could be lower and site’s content would need to be edited.

Also as paid advertising, PPC companies such as Google Adwords can object if you use claims which although can be true, are not referenced and backed up by fact.

For example, positive psychological effects of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Step Seven

As your project progresses, check the status of each ad group and keyword. A top 10 – 30 position in SEO can often lead to visits. However with PPC, it is often best to aim for the top 5, although this can mean a higher max bid, if high quality score does not necessarily equate to the amount each click will cost.

PPC optimisation is a surprisingly large topic. I hope that this post helps but I would advise further reading to improve your knowledge.

From a former PPC sceptic and champion of SEO, I have now been well and truly converted! As long as the campaign has been thoroughly optimised, it is potentially money very well spent!

Further reading:
Google Books :

Numerous sites to have a look at:

April 2020 update:

Alexis from Affiliate Ghost wrote about how they created a super detailed and updated guide on “What is SEM: An Introduction to Organic & Paid Search”.
What is SEM: An Introduction to Organic & Paid Search

August 2020 update:

Ann from Omologist – wanted us to share their Google Ad copywriting guide here:

Tagged in:
  1. Pay Per Click
  2. PPC
  3. SEO


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  1. Mana Wetmore

    Love the design of your blog. You mind telling the name of the themeyou are currently using? Thanks a bunch, Joanne.

    • Keren

      We created this design ourselves, it’s not a theme, but thanks for the compliment!