How To Eliminate Unproductive Traffic

Get the Flash Player to see this Google Ads tutorial about building your keyword list.

The paradox of Google Ads is that by limiting who sees your ads you can increase your ROI.

A mistake many people make is thinking that the more impressions their ads get, the better. That the more visitors to their website, the better. However, with PPC advertising that’s not always true.

You can increase your ROI when the traffic you send to your landing pages is highly targeted, and you can lower your campaign costs by getting rid of the internet users less likely to convert.

There are at least 6 ways to get rid of unproductive traffic:

1. Use Keyword Matching

The keyword matching options available in your Google Ads account are:

  • Exact match
  • Phrase match
  • Broad match
  • The use of negative keywords
  • A combination of broad match and exact match

In Google Ads the default option is broad match, which makes it even more tempting to make many or all of your keywords broad match type. However, this is not advised as you can end up targeting many users that don’t fall into your target market. However, combining broad match keywords with negative match keywords can be a recipe for success.

A negative keyword is usually a word/phrase that you don’t want your ad to be found with. For example, if you don’t want to target users at the beginning of the buying cycle and are searching for product reviews you can make “review” a negative keyword. You avoid targeting the wrong users by stopping your ad from appearing on those searches. There is  no limit to how many negatives you can define. Whenever you include another good negative keyword in your list you lower your costs. At the same time, you maintain your sales. That’s how you improve ROI.

It also an advantage to use the phrase match and exact match options. Once you are comfortable with these you could also try broad match modifier, which is a great way to further target the right audience for your product.

We discuss keyword matching in more detail in our article “How To Plan Your Google Ads Campaign (The Smart Way)“.

2. Use Geotargeting

Google Ads allows you to reach people in 250 countries, but if you don’t deliver to all 250 countries then why would you waste money on all those clicks?

Define your target geographically. You have the option to choose the places you want your ads to be shown. Don’t put your budget at risk, target exactly where your potential customers are.

3. Use Language Options

Adwords allows you to target 38 different languages. This is helpful in two ways:

  • When your product or service can only be used by people that speak certain languages.
  • When you want to write more effective ads, by using the language of your potential customers.

It helps to choose the language both you and your customers speak. For instance if your website is only available in English you should only target English speakers. The language you choose for each campaign should also be the language in which your ads are written. Google will not translate your ads for you, but will show your ads to users whose Google interface language matches the language that your campaign targets.

4. Decide Whether You Want Your Ads to Run on the Google Display Network

By default Google Ads uses both a search network and a display network.

The search network is the Google search results and other Google search pages such as Google Maps. The display network is the sum of webpages that participate in the AdSense program. So you have the option of having you ads appear on other websites, not just the Google search pages. You also have further options to choose which sites your ads will appear on, but where your ads appear is usually decided through contextual targeting. Contextual targeting uses your keywords to match your ads to sites with similar content or themes.

With the display network your ads have the potential to increase the relevance of the content where they are displayed and thus you will get targeted exposure. However, it could be argued that people who click on ads in the Display Network are not really motivated with an urge to buy.

Our recommendation would be to test out the display network first. Do this by having separate campaigns, one for the display network and one for the search network, making sure to use conversion tracking to help you measure conversions. If the display network under performs for you then it might not be suitable to your product, or you may need to look into taking a different advertising approach for the display network.

We discuss the display network in more detail in our article “How To Use Image Ads and the Display Network“.

5. Use conversion/keyword tracking

There’s no way to know what works and what doesn’t unless you go through the process of the 3T’s:

  • Testing
  • Tracking
  • Tweaking

You need to perform tests on your ads, keywords and landing pages on a continuous basis. You need to track results for each test and learn from the results. Learn how to track your conversions, and then do the tweaking.

We discuss tracking in more detail in our article “How To Track Your Results“.

6. Write the Price in Your Ad

Advertisers of all kinds share a common problem – pricing. On the other side of the fence, the first thing we ask as potential buyers is “how much”.

Price is usually the most important buying decision. Therefore advertisers should filter their potentials through price in the first place. The best way to do this is by creating ads that quote the price (when possible). People that are willing to pay that price will click on the ad and users that aren’t willing to pay won’t click the ad. In the long run this will save money on clicks.

Remember, you can watch this and other Google Ads Tutorials on our Youtube channel too.

Further Reading: We recommend reading How To Get More Traffic From Google Ads next, or select from one of our growing number of tutorials below.


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