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10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Google Ads Click Through Rate

6 min read

Increasing CTR is the single most important thing you can do to lower your cost per click and get more ad impressions. Here’s how to do it.


The Importance of CTR

When running Google Ads campaigns, you need to pay a lot of attention to Quality Score, which plays a major role in determining:

  • How much you pay per click 
  • What your Ad Rank is
  • How much exposure your ads get

While there are many elements which have an impact on Quality Score, there is no other factor that competes with click-through rate (CTR) for importance. The CTR of an ad can account for up to 60% of the given quality score.

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That makes it vitally important to work hard on improving the CTR of all your ads. Even a modest improvement means lower costs, more ad impressions and so more leads for your money.

Let’s start with the basics - what is click-through rate exactly? CTR is a simple measurement of the percentage of people who click on your ads. If a Google ad is seen by 1000 people and 10 of them click the ad, the ad has a 1% CTR.

Here are some quick tips on how to improve your CTR:

Your CTR should definitely be one of the key performance indicators you use to measure progress in your campaigns. So let’s dig into the the 10 best ways to take your click-through rates to the next level

1. Abandon Broad Match Keywords

Using broad match keywords seems like an easy way to extend the reach of your campaign. After all, if you are in, say, the pest control business in Dallas, then you want your ads to show for any searches related to ‘Dallas pest control,’ surely?

Not necessarily. The problem with broad match is that it’s too broad. For the phrase ‘pest control,’ you might find your ads showing for searches containing any of the words in the phrase, such as:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • PEST analysis
  • Crowd control

None of these are likely to convert well for you, and they will drag down your CTR. So in most cases, general broad match is best avoided.

Google has responded to criticism of broad match by introducing modified broad match. With this option, if you put a plus sign (+) in front of any keyword, then that keyword must be in the search.

That’s a big improvement, but you still need to take care. If you use modified broad match, you need to monitor the keywords that trigger searches. You may still find some odd ones in there.

In most cases, you are better off using a balanced mix of phrase match and exact match. Then you can really home in on the keyphrases that bring you the best results.

2. Optimize Your Display URLs

Each ad can have its own display URL, and Google gives you a great deal of freedom in how this is presented. It does NOT have to be an actual URL on your website. On the contrary, Google is providing you with another option to creatively increase CTR.

There are three great ways to use your display URL to increase click-through rates:

Include Your Keywords

This works especially well if you are using Single Keyword Ad Groups (recommended). Inserting the exact keyword used in the search can indicate to searchers that the landing page will offer exactly what they are looking for.

In this search for ‘plumber’ in Seattle, the top ad is the only one to include the keyword ‘plumber’ in the display URL. The resulting boost in CTR may explain why this ad is ranking #1:

Highlight a Benefit

Another option is to highlight a benefit. While some aspects of your ad will be truncated when shown on small devices, your display URL will always be shown. So this is a great place to highlight a key advantage you offer.

Think about the conversation your potential customers are having in their heads. What is the hot button you need to press to get a response? Include this in your display URL to maximize CTR:

Include a Call to Action

Your third option with your display URL is to include a phrase that motivates your prospect to act. If you want them to pick up the phone, then put that call to action in your display URL:

3. Include Keywords in Ad Copy

When any of the keywords used in a search appear in your ad copy, they will be shown in bold. So that means there is a double benefit to including these keywords in your ad text.

Firstly, searchers will feel more confident that your ad is relevant, as the ad copy clearly matches their search intent. Secondly, the bold text makes your ad stand out, attracting greater interest and more clicks.

Use the exact keyword where you can, but don’t overdo it. There is no need to put the keyword in the headline, body copy and display URL. Use synonyms where appropriate to give your copy some variety.

This is another reason why Single Keyword Ad Groups are a great idea. They make it much easier to include exactly the right keyword text in each ad.

4. Expand Your Negative Keywords

The negative keyword tool is an important asset to use in ramping up CTR. Most businesses under-utilize this tool, and end up with many poorly-performing keywords.

Once a month, go through your Google Ads report for the last 30 days and check to see which keywords are producing good CTRs and conversion rates, and which are falling short.

If a keyword is performing sub-par, then consider adding it to your negative keyword list. There is no point in paying for keywords that drag down the performance of your account.

5. Deploy Symbols and Numbers

Searchers are impatient, and tend to scan through results, noticing only the elements that stand out. This is particularly true on mobile. And with mobile searches now dominating, this means you can’t afford to have bland ads.

One easy way to get attention is to include numbers or symbols in your ad copy. These stand out in amongst a sea of text and demand attention:

Symbols can be even more effective than numbers, as they are more unusual. But they need to relate to your ad - you can’t just stuff random symbols in to get attention.

Simply adding an exclamation point can give you a nifty boost in CTR. While you are not allowed to use these in your headlines, you can include one (and only one) in the ad copy. That’s an easy tweak that make a real difference!

For more tips on quick fixes like this, schedule a call and we can discuss some ideas that work:

6. Insert Keywords Dynamically

If you haven’t yet got as far as implementing single keyword ad groups, then dynamic keyword insertion can be a fast and effective way to boost CTR. It’s easy to implement, and can get impressive results.

This might sound complicated, but dynamic keyword insertion is actually very easy to use. Here’s how to get started:

You can set up an ad using this strategy in just a few minutes, and the effect may be immediate. Searchers will be seeing the exact keyphrase they used in their search, which will increase their confidence in clicking.

7. Set Up Countdown Timers

Google Ads also provides an option to include countdown timers in your ads. This feature is not used as often as it could be, so taking advantage of it can give you an edge over competitors.

This tool is great if you have time-sensitive offers such as sales and end-of-month promotions. It’s also perfect for other businesses with a built-in deadline, such as tax preparation.

8. Write Killer Ad Copy

If you don’t have a natural talent for writing ad copy, then it’s time to hire someone who does. Because the quality of your ad text has a massive impact your CTR.

Your headlines are particularly important. And now that we can test multiple headlines in responsive ads, it’s important to make the most of the possibilities. You should always be testing new ad copy and aiming to improve on your results.

Every ad should state the benefits you offer in clear, concise language that makes sense to the reader. And always include a strong call to action that makes it easy to take the next step.

Looking for an easy way to improve your ad copy? Try this…

Write All Your Ad Copy in Title Case Like This. It’s Easy to Do and it Works Nearly Every Time!

9. Adjust Bids by Device

Most advertisers bid in exactly the same way across all devices. This can be a big mistake as your conversion rate can vary greatly by device.

A local services business may get a higher response on mobile devices, where potential customers can easily click to call. But a travel company may get a better response on desktop, where people can leisurely browse through destination images and videos.

You should monitor your conversion rates by device to see how your prospects respond. Make bid adjustments by device, to ensure that you get the best return on your ad spend.

10. Change Your Bid Strategy

We’ve put this at #10 because while it’s the easiest to implement, it’s also the last option you should try. Do your best to improve your CTR using the methods listed above, to get all the lift you can without increasing your spend.

But at the end of the day, the Google Ads system is an auction. If your bid is not high enough, you will never beat your competitors’ ad rank. The amount you are prepared to pay for a click is one of the biggest factors influencing your results.

You should experiment with smart bidding strategies to see if these can help you get a better return on ad spend. But if you are still not getting the right results, you will have to spend some more money.

The ad in the #1 spot gets the highest click-through rate by far. And to claim that spot, you will probably need a high bid plus a great quality score.


Are you paying too much for clicks? You can slash your advertising costs by getting good at improving click-through rate.

Keep Improving

Enhancing your overall click-thru rate is an ongoing process. Don’t think you can fix things up once and then forget about it.

At least once a month, you should review your campaigns and consider how they are performing in terms of CTR. Where are there opportunities for improvement? How can you squeeze a little more performance out of every ad?

The investment of time and energy is well worthwhile. By improving your click-thru rates, you will improve the overall standing of your account. That means cheaper clicks, more leads and lower-cost conversions.

If you’re ready to really dive in and fine tune your CTR, here are some advanced tips that can really give you an edge:

Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to improve your Google Ads campaigns is to continuously improve your CTRs. Google will love you for it - and so will your bank manager!

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Rob Palmer Helping you get more sales through killer copywriting, better advertising and optimal digital marketing:
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