Having trouble with Adwords? I manage over $3M in annual Adwords spend!

I had been working full-time in search engine marketing (ppc) and decided to start building an agency on the side as well. Recently 2 others that I work with in the industry and I teamed up to work on building a digital agency together. We manage over $3M/yr (and growing) in ad spend.

Q and A

I struggle with improving quality scores for keywords. What’s a good strategy to fix that? Should I be making more ad groups to cater ad copy to keywords or adjust website content? My quality scores usually range from 5-7.

How specifically do you make your keyword lists? Do you not use broad match at all? I’m also in the service industry.

A/Great question! Your quality score depends on multiple factors: CTR, landing page experience, the relevance of ad text, etc.

I’d focus on restructuring your account so that each ad group follows a specific theme so that you can tailor ad copy directly to the keywords in within that ad group.

I’m not sure what type of service biz you have, but for example, let’s use home inspections.

If you have the knowledge/desire to drive conversions and the budget to warrant a complex build, I’d recommend ad groups like:

  • Home Inspection – Company
  • Home Inspection – General
  • Home Inspection – Service
  • Residential Inspection – General
  • Etc…

Within the first ad group ‘Home Inspection – Company’ I would have keywords with various appendages, ‘find’, ‘best’, ‘certified’, ‘cheap’, ‘near me’ BUT never the appendage word ‘service’ (we’ll save that for the Home Inspection – Service ad group)

Keywords would be:

  • home inspection company
  • the best home inspection company
  • certified home inspection company
  • find a home inspection company
  • local home inspection company
  • Etc…

Now, ad copy can mirror those searches:

H1 – Home Inspection Company

H2 – Objective Based Evaluation

D – Don’t Hire Just Anybody. Schedule A Home Inspection From Us Today!

An ad that mirrors and directly answers what the searcher is looking for will help raise CTR, raise your quality score and of course, drive more conversions.

1.) What are the best steps to learn SEO and SEM? 2.) What would be the best ways to attract people into apparel through AdWords? 3.) I know this is not your field but from your experience, how important is the brand name to attract new customers through the use of SEM?

A/SEO – I would check out some blogs like backlinko.

SEM – Start by reading the Google’s AdWords Guide

What kind of apparel? I’d look into shopping campaigns.

I think it depends on what you’re selling, but unless you are a big brand, (i.e. Nike, Gucci, Adidas, etc) I don’t think it matters that much.

I’m working on a startup that will rely on ads to drive traffic, but I don’t know much about adwords yet. I’ll be the only player in the space. The only way for people to buy what I’ll be selling is on eBay or Craigslist, which comes with risks and is not particularly popular.

What should I be thinking about to drive the most targeted traffic for the lowest cost?

My model is a new one in this space, so I expect most people will come to the site but not buy immediately. How do I track the efficacy of ads if a sale takes days or weeks after the initial click?

How do I start to guesstimate how much a click or sale will cost me so I can start planning costs?

A/What are people searching on eBay or CL? Build ad groups around those keywords.

Think specific in terms of driving targeted traffic. When it comes to cost per click there’re so many variables (max cpc, quality score, competition).

When setting up your conversion actions you can choose a conversion window of up to 90 days. A conversion window is the period of time after a customer clicks your ad during which a conversion, such as a purchase, is recorded in AdWords.

What does your profit look like? What are you willing to pay per conversion? These are important questions to know the answers to.

I’d start with reading Google’s AdWords Guide.

1.what is your single best advice to people running ads?

2.How does one set up ads to test an idea using a landing page?

3.Key things to look for before hiring an AdWord agency?


  1. Don’t go crazy with extremely long tail keywords because they’ll likely below search volume, but at the same time keep it specific. Focus on users who are further along in the buying cycle. Make sure you have keywords that show intent to purchase.
  2. Can you elaborate here? May be helpful if you give me a specific example. But, I’d create an Adwords account, do some keyword research (again, with focus on users who are further along in the buying cycle), create compelling ads and give it a go. Of course, add your location targeting, negative keywords, ad extensions & more.
  3. Ask as many questions as possible. How transparent are they? Do you get access to your Adwords account? Are they overcharging? How well do they speak on the topic? Do they have any experience with clients in your vertical