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Paid Strategy

The Do's and Don'ts of Paid Search Marketing

You want your brand to get found, but what's the quickest way to boost your search ranks? We'll give you all the dos (and the don'ts) for paid search marketing.

7 mins read time
Joe Martinez
Joe Martinez

Apr 14, 2022

Is it possible to flip a switch and get instant traffic to your website? It is when you use paid search marketing. It's the fastest, simplest way to get the targeted traffic you want. Unlike organic search, you won't wait months — as soon as your ad goes live, you'll see the results. Paid search is a great tactic for a quick growth injection. Just remember, it's always more effective when paired with a strong organic strategy.

With a paid search marketing campaign, your ad appears above the organic search results. The average CTR of the first ad in Google SERPs is 2.1 percent, which is much higher than the average search network CTR of 1.91 percent. So, paid ads definitely offer a lot of value in terms of search impressions, clicks, CTR, and brand awareness. 

If you are planning to run a paid search marketing campaign, there are several things that you must do (and NOT do) to make it a successful venture. Here is an overview of the dos and don’ts of paid ads:


Paid Search Dos

Here is a list of things you must do to stay on the top of your paid marketing game:


1. Create an Account Structure

The first thing you need to do is create an account structure to keep your ads, ad groups, and campaigns organized. In the absence of a proper account structure, it will get challenging to manage your ads and campaigns.

Here is what an ad account structure looks like:

google ads account structure


Follow these rules when creating your account’s structure:

  1. Have no more than 10 ad groups in a campaign.
  2. Each ad group must have 20 keywords.
  3. There should be 2-3 ads per ad group.

Keeping ad groups, keywords, and ads manageable helps you in monitoring and performance analysis.


2. Cap Your Daily Budget

If you are running a paid search marketing campaign for the first time, it is strongly recommended to start with a small daily budget.

Setting an unlimited budget or a very high budget for a new paid ad campaign might backfire. You'll end up exhausting your budget in a few days if proper limits aren’t set. The first thing you must do is set a reasonable daily budget to test the waters.

And then gradually increase your daily budget as you find a winning ad.


3. Use Targeting Smartly

Google Ads, the leading search ad network with the highest market share, offers you tons of targeting options ranging from demographics to affinity to remarketing and more:

smart targeting google ads


You can target users in a specific radius for your physical store ads. The way you reach your target audience via search ads makes all the difference.


4. Have a Keyword List for Your Ads

Search ads are triggered based on search queries, so targeting the right keywords is crucial. Focus on commercial and transactional intent keywords as they have a direct impact on ROAS:

High Intent Keywords: What They Are & How To Find Them


Transactional keywords are the ones that people use when they're at the bottom of the funnel and most likely to buy. This should be your top priority. Screen the most important keywords from your keyword list and prepare a separate list of keywords for ads.

Spying on competitor ads via a decent tool like SpyFu can help you pick the most appropriate and profitable keywords.


5. Ensure Ad-Landing Page Relevance

The ad must be relevant to the landing page. This isn’t just great for UX and conversions, but it is related to the quality score that determines your ad position and CPC. Your ad and ad copy must represent a true picture of what you are selling on your landing page.

Here is an example:

paid search dos and donts


Don’t ignore this relevance between ads and the landing page. The promise you make in the ad should be fulfilled on the landing page. This is the key to high conversions, low CPC, and high ad quality.


Paid Search Don’ts

Here are the things that you shouldn’t do when running paid search marketing campaigns:


1. Don’t Use Smart Campaigns in Google Ads

When you create a Google Ads account for the first time, Google lets you create a smart ad campaign, which is the most simplified version of creating ads. The purpose is to make it easier for new advertisers to create an ad campaign automatically.

This seems to be a good idea, but there's one problem:

Smart campaigns are the least flexible and come with basic settings. You don’t have control over bidding strategy, targeting, and other variables. And this type of campaign is least likely to deliver results quickly — avoid it.

Instead, create custom campaigns and try to learn how Google Ads works.


2. Avoid Using the Default Bidding and Targeting Settings

Even when you create a search ad campaign from scratch, a lot of advanced settings are kept hidden by ad networks. This is to simplify the process for their users.

Avoid using default settings for bidding and targeting.

For example, you can use bid modifiers in Google Ads to automatically increase or decrease bids based on ad performance:

google ads modifiers


These bid adjustments are extremely handy and help you adjust CPC and conversions. And you can optimize the ad budget based on ad performance.


3. Not Testing Ads

One of the key mistakes advertisers make is that they don’t spend money on A/B testing and experimentation. Creating a campaign and running ads without testing isn’t a good idea because you won’t be able to see what variables impact clicks and conversions.

A minor tweak in ad copy can change clicks and conversions. Google Ads lets you run A/B tests that help you compare the performance of two different ads:

a/b testing conversion


Google Ads automatically splits traffic between two ad variations when you run an experiment. If you are running ads without experimentation and testing them, you are making a big mistake.


4. Ignoring Ad Extensions

Ad extensions provide additional information with your search ads. Don’t ignore them when running a paid search marketing campaign. Here is an example of how ad extensions make your ad prominent and information-rich:



Google Ads has both manual and automatic ad extensions. Automatic ad extensions are added automatically by Google Ads if it thinks adding an extension will improve ad performance. You can’t control automatic ad extensions, so don’t rely on them.

You have, however, full control over manual ad extensions. You need to set up these extensions manually and then you can add relevant ad extensions with your search ads. This is highly recommended because ad extensions have the power to increase CTR significantly.


How to Get Started with a Paid Search Marketing Campaign

Getting started with paid marketing requires planning and strategic resources. You need to choose the right ad network, set clear objectives, decide advertising budget, and kickstart your campaigns. The best approach is to use paid search marketing with inbound marketing. This will help you generate traffic while you wait to see substantial organic traffic.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you in setting up your paid marketing strategy coupled with an inbound marketing strategy for exponential growth. 


Ready, Set, GROW  Ready to bring in more organic traffic, leads and grow your revenue through  inbound marketing? See what First Page Strategy can do for your brand.  Learn More

Joe Martinez

Joe Martinez is the Co-Founder of the Paid Media Pros YouTube channel. He is a regular contributor to WordStream. He has also written for Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, PPC Hero, SEMrush, Unbounce, Leadpages, Optmyzr, and AdStage. He has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, Quora and Microsoft Ads. He regularly speaks at conferences such as SMX (Advanced, Munich, East, West), HeroConf, Inbound, Pubcon (Pro, Florida, Austin), SMXL, SEMPO, and more. Finally, he was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero in 2017-2020.

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