How to improve click through rate for Google Ads

Laptop showing Google Analytics


If you’ve ever run a Google ad yourself, you know there are dozens of metrics to master to accurately measure success. From effective audience targeting to measuring clicks and conversions, a lot goes into making your ad investment pay off. One of the biggest indicators of ad performance is Click Through Rate, which describes what percentage of people who see your ad actually click it to learn more. This is important because you can show your ad to 30,000 people a day, but if it’s not effective at funneling people to your site to make a sale, it’s not helping you win business. With that in mind, here are a few clear-cut tips that anyone can follow to improve click through rate right now:

A lot goes into making your ad investment pay off. One of the biggest indicators of ad performance is Click Through Rate.

1  |  Develop focused, relevant keyword targeting.

Keyword targeting is the key to successful ad performance. This is what determines who sees your ad when they search for a related term, and gives you a chance to draw in traffic to your business. If your keywords aren’t resonating with your target audience, or if they aren’t specific enough to user searches, you’re missing out on traffic and sales. Here are tips for targeting effective keywords in Google ads:

Use long tail keywords for increased relevance.

Long tail keywords include multiple specific terms to make them as relevant to searchers as possible. For example, if you sell camping equipment, targeting a general keyword like “sleeping bags” means your ad will be shown to thousands of people whether they want gear for a sleepover or plan on scaling Everest.

It’s likely that your audience has more specific items in mind when they’re searching, so consider targeting more focused keywords like “insulated thermal sleeping bag”, “kids sleeping bag”, “2-person sleeping bag”. This will show your ads to fewer people overall, but your CTR will see a huge boost because it’s closer to what users are actually looking for. More than that, the clicks are more likely to become conversions and sales when you send people directly to the product or service they want, rather than routing them to a general category where they have to do more searching. 

Include the keyword in your landing page’s url.

When your ad shows up in a search, it displays the full link people are clicking to. Users will see their search term highlighted there, and it re-enforces that your ad will take them to a relevant source. Studies show that including your keyword in the url leads to higher than average CTR due to increased customer trust.

2  |  Use the sitelinks extension to your advantage

Google ads offers a host of useful tools to optimize your ad for clicks. One of these is the Ad Extensions option you have when building an ad. There are many different options to include, but sitelink extensions are especially useful because it can make a huge impact. Here’s what it looks like:

Basically sitelink extensions allow you to choose additional webpages to display under your ad as relevant links to users’ search terms. It’s a great way to increase the visibility of your ad by taking up more real estate, while also showing searchers that you have what they need.

This is your best bet for making general keywords work for you to increase click through rate. Back to our camping gear example, if you target a general keyword like “sleeping bags”, then use sitelink extensions to include product page links for more specific types (like “thermal sleeping bags,” “Kids sleeping bags” etc) you get the best of both worlds: more impressions (views) from general search terms, with more chances to convert to sales based on specific needs of your customers.

Sitelinks can be effective for any industry, including more service-based providers (like our digital marketing services, for example). If sitelinks doesn’t seem right for you, consider alternative ad extensions like user reviews and call extensions—these can vastly increase your click through rate by encouraging customer trust and interaction.

3 | Include a clear call to action.

Keywords are a huge part of ad success, but ad copy can make or break a click. The content of your ad has to be concise enough to show what you provide, and compelling enough to make someone click. Studies show a good way to improve click through rate is to include language that tells the user what step to take next.

Some common calls to action:

  • Contact us now
  • Schedule your free consult
  • Visit us today
  • Learn more here
  • Find a location near you

Notice a focus on direct verbs and time-sensitive suggestions (now, today). Decide the action you want someone to take when viewing your ad, and write a call to action that promotes that behavior. Here’s a good example for a local search for “collision repair”: 

They’ve paired a clear call to action with several relevant Google ad extensions: sitelinks (as discussed above), the call extension which adds their phone number to the top of the ad, and the locations extension to include their business address for fast directions. It’s worth mentioning that loading ads up with too many extensions can muddle your message.  So apply some commonsense for your particular industry and implement these tools wisely.

Parting advice for boosting your CTR

While the steps addressed here can bring you huge boosts in your click through rates, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Every click costs you money. High CTR is only effective if you’re optimizing your landing pages and site content for conversions and sales. Conversions can include everything from completing a call to scheduling appointments to buying products online, so conversion rate is always something to monitor in tandem with CTR.

If you’re looking to ramp up your online advertising efforts, it’s worth evaluating your current website for its ability to convert. We recommend reviewing these 5 steps to take before marketing your website to see what areas could use improvement, and seeking help from web design and marketing experts to ensure you’re getting the best results possible. 

That’s it for this week’s Red Arrow Blog. If you found these resources useful, let us know below! And be sure to follow our social media for weekly articles to help you make the most of your business.



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