5 Small Business Pay Per Click (PPC) Tips

small business pay per click

I recently attended Pubcon Las Vegas 2013, an event that spanned 3 days and featured keynote addresses from Jason Calacanis, Matt Cutts and Scott Stratten.  While there, I made it a point to look for small business pay per click (PPC) tips to immediately improve your PPC efforts.

Below are the best small business pay per click tips I could find.

Watch Out For AdWords Default Settings

When creating a new account, follow these steps to ensure you don’t have a campaign that is “defaulted” to fail:

  • Don’t choose “Standard.” Make sure to choose “All features.”
  • For keyword matching, don’t include close variants. Intent changes even in close matching queries.
  • Rotate ads. The speaker recommended the “rotate indefinitely” option. At the very least, choose “rotate evenly for 90 days.” By then you should have come back to make changes and reset the clock.
  • Include a mobile bid modifier. Unless a phone call is your primary conversion, event mobile ads will be less valuable. If you have no idea, go with -30%.

This will help you create a campaign that’s in your control, not Google’s.

Add Negative Keywords

If you didn’t know about negative keywords, this is your lucky day. To find where you add negative keywords, find your regular keywords. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the small “+” sign:

small business pay per click

You’ll see an interface like this:

small business pay per click

Add negative keywords and prevent your ads from showing on queries you don’t want.

For example, if you’re a plumber in Denver you might have the keyword “Denver plumbing” in your account, but you don’t want to show for someone searching “Denver plumbing jobs.” Just add “jobs” as a negative keyword and you’re done.

Don’t Overdo the Keywords

Many small business accounts have far too many keywords in each ad group. Create ad groups that have a specific theme. The goal should be to have ad copy that is relevant to those keywords alone.

Mona Elesseily (@WebMona) offered the recommendation of 20-25 keywords/ad group (and keep all the match types of the keyword in the same ad group).

Set Up Remarketing

You may have noticed how ads seem to follow you around the Internet. This is done through retargeting/remarketing. You can easily do this with AdWords.

First, you need to add the remarketing tag to your site. Then you can build a display campaign and target the remarketing audience you created. This way your ads will only show to people who have been to your site previously.

Use Ad Extensions

Have you ever seen an ad that seemed larger than the usual headline, two lines of copy and a URL? Something like this:

small business pay per click

The above ads feature several ad extensions:

  1. Call Extensions:  Geico has a phone number displayed along with their ad.
  2. Social Extensions:  The number of followers on Google+ is being displayed.
  3. Sitelinks:  These 4 additional links go to more specific pages that might be of interest to the user.

As you can imagine, having all those extra things not only allows you to be “bigger” and occupy more of the page, but you have more ways of conveying your value to a potential customer.


The small business pay per click tips above will help you improve your PPC advertising. Take a few minutes today to make sure you’re using them. If you’re not, then get started – consider it a mini-audit.

PPC Photo via Shutterstock


Robert Brady Robert Brady is Senior Manager: Software, SMB, Strategy at Clix Marketing, a Google AdWord Certified Partner. Robert helps small business owners and large companies just getting started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) get better results from their PPC advertising.

17 Reactions
  1. Great insights, Robert! Thanks for focusing on PPC while you were at PubCon. I heard it was a great event, including a bit of a debate between some of the speakers…

    • Yeah, I couldn’t believe how much Jason Calacanis went after Matt Cutts in his keynote. Of course Matt was much more tempered in his rebuttal in the keynote the following day, but I think the discussion was a good one.

      I would also love to see more PPC sessions at Pubcon. The platforms are constantly changing and some platforms like LinkedIn are becoming major players in the space.

  2. Hello Robert,

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing these helpful tips with us. It really helps to create effective and robust PPC campaigns. Great job.

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