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What to Consider Before Upping Your AdWords Bids


One of the most confusing things about AdWords is knowing when it’s time to adjust bids and spend a little more on a particular keyword.

Conventional advertising runs on a very simple equation.  More money, larger reach.  In AdWords this is rarely the case.  Throwing more money into bids or budgets can often make little difference in performance and lower your ROI.  Google wants to keep its end users happy, and if they’re not clicking on your ads Google is less likely to show them, no matter how much you boost bids.

There is indeed a time and place to increase your bids.  But before you ever start increasing bids, always check the state of your account, and at the keyword level the quickest health check you can perform is your Quality Score.  This is pulled straight from google:


In a nutshell, higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. The AdWords system works best for everybody – advertisers, customers, publishers and Google – when the ads we show are relevant, closely matching what customers are looking for. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position and bring you the most success.”


What you can infer from this is if “high quality scores lead to lower costs” then low quality scores will lead to higher costs.

Factors that will increase your quality score

Ad Copy

Ad Copy can affect two factors of your quality score.

  1.  Ad Relevance – use the keywords in your copy in a sensible, legible manner.  Read some useful tips in doing so here
  2. Improving CTR – Make your headlines stand out by outlining benefits or pain points.  Make sure there is a call to action in there too!

Landing Page

Make sure your landing page is appropraite to your ad.  If your ad is talking about spray tans in your salon, make sure the landing page isn’t going to your eyelash extension offer.  If someone clicks on your ad and gets to a page that isn’t exactly related, it’s very easy to hit the back button.

Ad Extensions

These do the job of extending your ads.  They become that much larger on the page and give people more opportunity to click on your ads.  Call extensions, location extensions and sitelinks will help increase your CTR in those top 3 positions.  Ad copy on your sitelinks will help too and may offer the user an option they hadn’t considered when they typed in their search query.

Negative Keywords

Adding negative keywords will reduce the number of irrelevant impressions, therefore increasing your CTR.  This will have a positive impact on your quality score.  The best approach to this is by adding a few negative keyords at a time so you don’t inadvertently remove a high value keyword.

When increasing your bid, consider…

Impression Share

Do check impression share to see if your increase in bid will push you from 4~5 positions on the right of the search results page, to the top 3 positions over the organic traffic.  Read how to check that here.

Keyword relevance

Is the keyword you’re bidding on a very broad term that may not be a term worth chasing?  For example, lets say you’re a clothing company selling mostly lumberjack style flannelette shirts.  To go after the term ‘shirts’ is going to be expensive, with lots of competition and whats worse – lots of traffic you don’t want.  The term to spend your efforts on would be “flannelette shirts”, a term much more relevant to your business.

Keyword Importance

When you do go to adjust bids, Google gives you the option to raise to estimated top of page bid or to first page bid.  If the keyword you’re increasing bids for is your brand – then immediately choose the top of page bid.  Likewise if it is a keyword vital to your business.

Some keywords are going to be very expensive.  Industries like insurance and law can cost upwards of $50 per click, so do be careful when using Google’s estimates.

When looking at increasing bids, first look to see if you can improve on the quality of your ads.  Also make sure that the keywords you do increase bids on are important, increasing bids at scale may not be too profitable.  Increasing the cost per click isn’t always terrible, as long as that increase in cost makes those clicks worth more to you!  If all this seems beyond your scope, or you want some direction – WebSavvy can audit your account and help you get it going in the right direction.


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