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Many marketers still find themselves spending hours of time having to review raw query reports with the slight hope that keyword expansion tools might be able to help them identify those key terms that their campaigns are missing.

Adding new keywords and refining match types might be important for optimisation, but it’s not necessarily the fastest way to increase volume. Often, advertisers focused on growing their paid search programs pay too much attention to keyword expansion activities. 

This isn’t surprising, especially given the multitude of keyword tools out there such as Wordstream, Trellian, or Adgooroo, each promoting their own version of keyword data. 

However, once marketers have built out their core search programs, the process of adding long-tail terms can require a massive expansion and yet only return a slight impact on traffic volumes.

Before embarking on a long-tail keyword expansion effort, marketers therefore need to evaluate whether or not they have done everything they can to maximise the volume from their existing keywords.

As such, here are a few tricks outside of keyword expansion that we have seen have a great impact for search marketers:

Don’t let budgets constrain top performing keywords

You never know when a celebrity endorsement is going to increase traffic on a particular keyword four-fold overnight. Budget settings are important because they stop these situations using up a whole month’s worth of budget on poorly converting traffic.

However, on a regular basis, budgets shouldn’t be limiting volume for top performing campaigns. In general, if keywords are delivering positive margins, marketers should want to take advantage of all of the profitable traffic that is available. 

In order to maximise volume, they should be regularly reviewing top performing campaigns to ensure that impressions aren’t being limited by budgets. To identify campaigns that meet these criteria, they should pull a report that includes the previous month’s daily cost, budget, and margin. 

If campaign spend tends to be at or above the budget for strongly performing campaigns, increasing the campaign budget will most likely drive additional high performance traffic. 

Try out “Accelerated Delivery” for more volume

Many advertisers don’t realise that the Google delivery method setting can affect the rate of traffic that different campaigns receive, even if their budgets are significantly higher than expected traffic. 

With Google AdWords, we’ve noticed that selecting the “standard delivery” option instead of the “accelerated delivery” option results in fewer impressions – even when using the same budget.

So, after ensuring that top performing campaigns aren’t budget limited, turning campaign settings to “accelerated delivery” could provide incremental impressions and revenue.

Expand your reach with keywordless ads

Rather than trying to mine the long tail by adding keywords by hand, marketers should consider taking advantage of Google’s Keywordless Ads. 

While this feature is still in testing, we’ve worked with a number of retail advertisers who have opted into Keywordless Ads (now known as “Dynamic Search Ads”) and seen a lift in conversions and revenue. 

The feature basically turns Google loose on your website, allowing them to target your ads to those keywords they think match the content on your pages. Be careful when setting it up to apply negative placements to the non-commerce pages of your site such as support pages, careers and management pages, or 'about us' pages. 

Excluding these pages will help Google match your ads to the right queries, and save you some unwanted clicks.

Although continually adding keywords is important, marketers can’t forget to change the other settings and make tweaks that can impact volume on their SEM campaigns.

Taking some of the steps above could get marketers one step closer to unlocking the full potential of their campaigns. 

Ed Stevenson

Published 29 September, 2011 by Ed Stevenson

Ed Stevenson is Managing Director (Europe) of Marin Software, a paid search technology firm, and a contributor to Econsultancy. He also writes the Big Search blog. 

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Comments (8)

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Very interesting - I'll give it a go !

over 5 years ago

Cleo Kirkland

Cleo Kirkland, Digital Strategist at Blue Fountain Media

I've used all the other methods (and they are great!) expect for "keywordless ads". Some of my coworkers, however, have complained that some of the keywordless ad headlines end with "at com", and so they end up having to go through all the ads manually. Anyone else have this problem?

over 5 years ago


Nick Stamoulis

I haven't used keywordless ads before. Has anyone seen real success come from them? It look like an interesting option.

over 5 years ago


Edwin Hayward

Depending on your circumstances, you could also acquire the exact match domain name for your biggest keyphrase.

Two unrelated case studies have shown that having an exact match domain name in an Adwords ad has a positive effect on CTR, and therefore decreases CPC and brings more traffic (all other factors i.e. ad copy, keywords, bids etc. were kept constant for the case studies).

Case study comparing DivorceLawyer.com vs a branded domain name

Case study comparing ElectricBicycles.co.uk vs a branded domain name

The best thing about making this particular improvement is that it's a strategy your competitors will be unable to match, because by definition only one entity can own any particular domain name, so once you've acquired it you're simultaneously benefitting from it, and basking in the knowledge that you've just locked the competition out.

over 5 years ago



keywordless ads is like using broad match but 10x worse... great way to waste money on traffic that is only remotely related to your business.

over 5 years ago



I been trying everything to get traffic it been tree month since I open this website and so far no luck with traffic thank you this information i'm going to give a try ;-)

over 5 years ago



I open this other website a the same time and no luck too with traffic I going to try to do my best to use this information and make it happen thank you again :-(

over 5 years ago


Gatlin Fernandes

So far, I've been focusing on the process of elimination rather than addition. Keep the keywords that convert, discard the ones that don't.

over 5 years ago

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