You may be tempted to think that generating lists of additional keywords and throwing them into your account is a good way of making more money with your campaign. But are you getting the best performance out of the keywords that are already there?

Deal with your lowest quality keywords

If some of your keywords have picked up poor quality scores, then they’re like to to be showing in lower ad positions and could – potentially – not be showing at all. The first thing you should do is clean up your account to try and bring the quality of these keywords up. It will not only increase your traffic, but will ‘raise the bar’ for new keywords that you’ll want to introduce to your account at a later stage.
First, go back to some of the fundamental advice shared previously. You should have started your account with highly relevant and narrow terms, and gradually built campaigns with broader, less targeted terms as you establish a strong account history. If you didn’t, it’s not too late, and you should start thinking through structuring your account in a more logical and granular way.
Sweep through your account, looking for keywords deemed to be low quality. Running a Placement/Keyword report is the best way to sift and single out the ones with poor scores (I’d say anything below 5 needs some attention, but you should study the very poor quality keywords first). Don’t delete keywords if they seem relevant to you, but do be ruthless if the meaning of those keywords don’t really sync up with the service the associated ads are leading the searcher to. You’ll find that in the process, you’re regaining that tight theming that you (hopefully) started out with, and any polluting effect those poor quality keywords had on the account will diminish. Tossing unrelated keywords into your account doesn’t help searchers and, ultimately, doesn’t help you.
The bottom line? Any keyword that shows up as poor in your account for an extended period of time is a symptom of deeper problems. In some cases you may want to keep running with them in the hope they’ll turn around, but it’s best to fix the underlying problem, such as:

  • Poor relevance
  • Lack of ad testing
  • Insufficient granularity
  • Irrelevant or poor landing pages

…or delete them altogether.

Did you know…

Google’s machine learning can actually measure the dissatisfaction consumers feel when they feel they have been misled by an ad, by measuring the speed at which the searcher hits the back button? Such behaviour will lower Quality Scores on those keywords, and can also lead Google to stick predictive low Quality Scores on words in new accounts that have a high probability of dissatisfying users in a similar way.
So before expanding your campaigns, focus on improving what you’bve already got. It’ll stand you in much better stead (both mentally, and in the eyes of Google) when you come to adding new keywords.