Difference Between Keywords & Search Queries In PPC

When it comes to PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, the key to success is maximizing your efficiency and understanding exactly how keywords and search queries can work together. Before you dive into the world of pay-per-click, it's important to understand the differences between keywords and search queries. Here is a break down of the main distinctions between these two tools and how you can use them in your marketing strategy.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the terms or phrases that you want to your ad to show up for in the search engines. When someone searches for a keyword that you've targeted, your ad has the chance to appear. These are the actual keywords you put into Google Ads to tell them the keywords you want to show up for when someone is searching Google. 

Targeting the right keywords is essential for any successful PPC campaign. But it's not enough to just target keywords - you also need to make sure that your ads are relevant to the searcher's query. If your ad isn't relevant, it won't matter how good your keywords are - you're not going to get clicks or conversions.

What are Search Queries?

Search queries are the actual terms that people type into search engines when they are looking for something. A search query is what a user types into a search engine and keywords are the phrases you have selected to have your ads shown for in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword Targeting

Targeting the right keywords is essential for any pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, but it is only part of the puzzle. Once you have targeted a group of keywords, you need to make sure that your ads and landing pages are relevant to those keywords. Otherwise, you will end up paying for clicks that don't lead to conversions.

To ensure that your ads and landing pages are relevant to your keywords, you need to perform keyword research. This research will help you understand how people are searching for your products or services and what kinds of keywords they are using. With this information, you can then create ads and landing pages that are tailored to their needs.

Keyword research can be performed using a variety of tools, including Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends. There are also a number of third-party tools available that can help with this process. Once you have gathered a list of relevant keywords, you can then start creating your ad groups and targeting these keywords.

Difference between Keywords and Search Queries

When it comes to online marketing, the terms “keywords” and “search queries” are often used interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between keywords and search queries that you need to understand in order to create an effective PPC campaign.

Keywords are the foundation of your PPC campaign and should be given careful consideration. Keywords are the terms or phrases that you want your ad to show up for when someone searches on Google or another search engine.

When choosing keywords, you should think about what potential customers might search for when looking for a business like yours. For example, pet store owners may target keywords like “dog toys”, “cat food”, and “reptile supplies”.  

Once you have chosen your keywords, you need to create ads that are relevant to those keywords and include them in your ad text. Your ads will only show up when someone searches for one of your keywords, so it’s important to choose keywords that are closely related to what you offer.

Search queries are the actual terms that people type into the search engine when they are looking for something. Search queries can be very specific, long-tail keyword phrases that include multiple words (e.g., “where to buy dog food online”) or they can be more general single-word terms (e.g., “pets”). They do need to relate to your keywords, but can vary more widely than your keywords.

Examples of Keywords and Search Queries

Here are some examples of keyword match types you can utilize in your PPC campaigns and how they are used:

Make the Most of Your PPC Campaigns by Understanding How to Effectively Use These Terms

There is a distinct difference between keywords and search queries in PPC. Keywords are the terms that advertisers use to target their ads while search queries are the words or phrases used by users when searching online. Understanding and utilizing both of these components is key to developing effective targeted campaigns in PPC marketing.

PPC Landing Page Best Practices

For Increased Conversion Rates

Picture your current PPC or Paid Social landing page with a conversion rate twice as high, going from the industry average of 2.35% to an impressive 4.7% performance. That's double the number of leads going to your business. Alternatively, you could get the same number of leads with half the ad cost.

In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the most effective PPC landing page best practices we've seen after working on hundreds of landing pages and spending millions of dollars in advertising. These strategies cover the critical few things we've found that can make a big improvement on almost any PPC landing page.

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

If you only do one thing right with your landing page, make it abundantly clear what you want the visitor to do. Call, email, chat, buy, etc. One way to accomplish this is by having a form or phone number right at the top of the page. Don't force your visitors to have to scroll in order to find a contact form - have the form or phone number higher up on the page so it's clear how they can get in touch with you.

Clear call to action on PPC landing page
Clear Call to Action

Also consider making the button and phone number a completely different color to help it stand out. Again, make it as easy as possible for a new visitor to contact you and find your main call to action. You'd be surprised how many client landing pages will have the phone number at the bottom of the page or not mobile "click to call" friendly. You're working hard to get people to your site, make it VERY easy for them to contact you!

PPC landing page phone number and CTA
Phone # and CTA in Different Colors

Don't concern yourself with using something different from your "brand colors". That's the whole point. If your brand is blue, having your button colors as orange, red or green will stand out and get someone's attention.

Don't obsess over what color it needs to be, as we've found there's no one universal recommendation. As long as it sticks out from the rest of the colors, you're good!

Clear Call to Action for PPC Landing pages
Clear Call to Action

Clean, Not Cluttered

One of the main reasons PPC landing pages work so much better than the main website or service pages for clients, is that landing pages have a more stripped down and simple design that focuses the user on the main goal you want them to accomplish when they visit the site.

Too often, homepages and other pages of a website have too many distractions: news stories, blog posts, menu links to less important pages, and many other distractions that take the user away from your main goal - for them to contact you or buy something.

Think of a well-designed landing pages as a "one-pager" of your business that helps sell your products or services in a concise and clean design. They shouldn't have to go anywhere else except that single page to learn enough about your business, and why they should work with you.

Take a look at LiveChat's.com homepage. Clean, uncluttered, lots of white space, easy to read headlines and text, call to action buttons that stand out, and more. This page just makes me want to sign up for their service. Is your landing page this clean and uncluttered?

Live Chat Landing Page
Live Chat's Clean and Uncluttered Home Page

Chat Boxes

Speaking of chat, having a chat box is a great way to increase conversions. Visitors each have their own preferred way of communicating. Some people prefer calling. Some prefer emailing. And some like to use a chat box to get their quick 1-2 questions answered. In fact, 73% of customers find live chat the most satisfactory form of communication with a company.

PPC Landing Page Chat Box
PPC Landing Page Chat Box


Use Chat Automation

You may be thinking... "but we don't have internal resources to chat with visitors all day." No problem! Chat software is very sophisticated these days. You can automate and answer a lot of frequently asked questions with a bot. Then, if their question doesn't get answered, they can chat with a human. Or you could send them to an email form. Or you could outsource chat entirely.

For example, if you're a lawyer, there are a few law-specific chat services where they have people on-staff that can answer basic law questions.

No doubt about it, if you are able to find a way to have a chat box, it gives you a competitive advantage and helps increase conversion rates.

Have an Enticing Offer

After having a call-to-action that's easy to find, having a great offer is the next thing to make a huge different in conversion rates. Think about it... if your offer was to give out $1,000 to the next 50 people that submitted the form, your conversion rate would go way up! But it doesn't have to be that extreme.

Discount Offer eCommerce PPC
Discount Offer for an eCommerce Site

Lead Gen Offer

On the lead gen side of things, it doesn't have to be a cash offer, but think about what would help compel your prospective client to enter their information. Would it be a free consultation, a call with an expert, or perhaps even a free whitepaper to help them in their initial decision making?

We've even found there can be a dramatic difference between having just a regular "schedule consultation" vs. a "schedule a 15-minute call with an (insert industry name) expert". The latter is more inviting for a prospective customer and provides them the confirmation that someone is there to help them. Help visitors understand what actually is going to happen next if they give you their email and phone number.

15 minute call CTA
Schedule Consultation PPC Lead Form

Social Proof

Anyone can set up a website and claim they offer products and services. What differentiates established businesses is the fact they have credentials and (hopefully) have had happy customers.


Having social proof increases trust and boosts credibility. Social proof includes things like "badges" that confirm you are a legit business. This could be a BBB A+ rated business, a 5-Star rated business on Google My Business, a Chamber of Commerce member, a member of X Industry organizations, or even "as featured on..." If your client has been featured on TV, the news, or other major publications, these are all great things to feature on your PPC landing page. All those "social proof" badges and indicators let clients know that you are a legit, credible business and help instill trust.

Landing page badges social proof
Landing Page Badges Social Proof

Trust Signals for PPC Landing Pages
Trust Signals for PPC Landing Pages

Trust seals for PPC Landing pages
Logos from Major Companies - Social Proof


Another form of "social proof" are testimonials or reviews of your business online from either Google My Business, Facebook Reviews, Yelp or other areas where clients regularly review your work. People can have skepticism with reviews, so make sure you utilize several reviews and find reviews that are more detailed oriented and specific to the work you assisted with. This will go a long way to establishing trust in your brand, when your prospective clients read detailed oriented reviews.

PPC landing page testimonials
PPC Landing Page Testimonials


If you've had a lot of customers, don't be bashful. Let people know about it!

PPC landing page social proof

Call Out Your Core Benefits

There are at least 2-3 core reasons why you're a better option than competitors. Many landing pages fail because they give too many reasons, or go way too in-depth about why their special, their company background, etc.

If someone asked you to tell them in 10 seconds or less what makes your business stand out from the competition, make sure your landing page does that quickly and towards the top of the landing page. You want people to instantly understand why you are a better business than your competitors - because your prospective customers are likely checking out multiple businesses to see which ones resonate best with them.

PPC Landing Page Core Benefits
PPC Landing Page Core Benefits

Most times, we'll help clients put those core benefits at the top of the landing page next to the contact form in the form of bullet points that are easy to read and quickly digestible.

Mobile Friendly

In today's digital landscape, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity. With the majority of users accessing the internet via smartphones and tablets, it's crucial to optimize your landing pages for mobile devices to maximize conversion rates.

When visitors encounter a site that's not optimized for mobile, they're more likely to bounce due to difficulties navigating or viewing content. By ensuring your landing pages are responsive and easy to navigate on mobile devices, you can keep users engaged, increasing the likelihood they'll convert.

One mobile-specific strategy to consider is having a "sticky nav". That's where you have a top or bottom section that's locked into place as you scroll. This is a great place to have an offer or a phone number always there...

mobile sticky nav for ppc landing pages
Mobile Sticky Nav


As someone is reading through the mobile site, as they scroll down the page, the header "sticks" to the top and allows them to read the rest of the page - but also allows them to call or contact you easily - no matter what section of the page they are on.

This is an extension of our #1 tip to have a clear call to action. If, for example, a phone number button is following you around everywhere you navigate to on the page, it should be pretty obvious that you're wanting them to call you.

Imagery & Video

People are visual creatures and "seeing" what and how you do things, can really help close the deal for a prospective customer. Using both images and videos can help to improve your PPC landing page conversion rates.

Use Real Photos

If possible, use real professional photos of your business instead of stock photos. People want to see real legitimate imagery of the company they may be investing in. It provides a more personal touch and helps people connect with the company behind the landing page.

Use images that show what a person receives after using your product or service. If you're a landscaping company, show the brilliant green yard the user will get after using your service. If you're a dentist, show the perfectly white teeth that a person will have after becoming a regular patient. If you're a law firm, show the relief that someone will feel after they've utilized your professional services.

Working with PPC Clients
A "Real" Two Wheels "in action" Photo - So Exciting!


Videos really help a person connect with your business, especially if the videos show your company in action or your product or services in action. Words and imagery can only provide so much context, a video really helps someone see how you work and why they should work with you.

In fact..."marketers who incorporate video into their campaigns experience 34% higher conversion rates (Aberdeen Group)." (source)

In the video below, this painting company has a 45 seconds long video that quickly shows the work they can do on an exterior house painting job. This really helps a user "see" what type of service and professionalism they will receive. Bonus tip - Add a testimonial like they do, near the video:

Videos for PPC Landing Pages
Video for PPC Landing Pages

Exit Popup

Having a popup right as someone is about to leave the page is an almost guaranteed way of increasing conversions. An "exit popup" is a form that "pops up" as your about to leave the page or hit your back button. This works effectively because sometimes people just need another nudge or another reminder to contact you.

Add An Asset

A best practice for exit pop-ups would be to provide the user something of value as they are leaving like an eBook, Whitepaper or other "asset". In the example below, the person trying to contact this PPC Agency may not be ready to contact them for a free quote, but a useful guide on saving money on Google Ads would be useful to them immediately, and provides this agency with the ability to follow up with that interested party later.

PPC Landing Page Exit Pop-Up Example
PPC Landing Page "Exit Pop-Up" Example

Use Pop-Up Triggers

Many popup tools have lots of advanced features on when they'll show up, so you can reduce the "annoyance factor" to suit your preference. These are called "triggers" and provides you the ability to customize "when" a person will see the pop-up.

ppc landing page exit popup options
Exit Pop-Up Triggers

Minimize Form Fields

One of the most common PPC landing page mistakes we see are contact forms that are WAY too long, that require a person to enter more information than is absolutely required. We know that the sales teams out there are cringing, because they want a lead to come in already pre-qualified and ready to go, but if you are paying for traffic or working hard with your website to generate traffic - the HARDEST thing to accomplish is getting a new lead. The LAST thing you want to do is scare them away with a contact form that is way too long.

We know there are reasons where you may need to require a few more fields to weed out low quality leads, and that's totally fine. There's always a balance between too many fields and not enough. The point is to experiment and find the right amount based on your particular business.

Landing Page Contact Form Examples

In the below examples, if you were looking for a quote from a company, which form would you rather fill out? Note that these two forms are actually 2 different companies in the exact same industry.

This one?

Long PPC Landing Page Form
Long PPC Landing Page Form

Or this one?

Short Contact Form Submission for PPC Landing Page
Short PPC Contact Form Submission

Conclusion on PPC Landing Pages

There are certainly additional tweaks and improvements you can make to your PPC landing page that aren't listed here, but we've gone over the most important ones that we've seen improve PPC conversion rates. There is not a one-sized fits all approach to landing pages, as it depends on your industry, your goals, and your individual business limitations.

Ideally, you would want to work with a PPC Agency that can help you to navigate both a successful PPC campaign and the associated landing page strategies to help meet your business goals.

The bottom line is, if you're going to pay to acquire targeted traffic to your website, ensure you have a strategy to capitalize and maximize the number of leads or sales you get from those campaigns. This in turn will help provide a positive return on your PPC investment.

Other PPC Landing Page Best Practice Resources

Why Don't My PPC Ads Convert?

A successful PPC campaign requires a number of different elements to make it successful; whether you need more leads, sales, or brand exposure. In this discussion, we'll talk specifically about PPC "lead gen" campaigns which are designed to capture someone's email address or encourage a phone call to your business.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to generating leads is converting those visitors once they land on your website. Hopefully your PPC ad campaign was set up effectively and targets the right keywords, the correct locations, and uses ads that accurately reflect your business. Let's say you have all of these things in place and you're getting great search traffic that is landing on your website for your desired keywords, yet the majority of your traffic isn't converting.

Why does this happen?

It's normal !

Please read and memorize this: A MAJORITY OF VISITORS FROM PPC CAMPAIGNS WILL NOT CONVERT! In fact, a 1 in 4 conversion rate (25%) is extremely good in most industries and cases.

Leading campaign landing page company Unbounce (who specializes in providing landing pages that convert at better levels than your normal site) reported that of their clients, a 12% conversion rate was better than 90% of competitors' conversion rates. In fact, in the eCommerce industry, the average conversion rate is historically between 2-4% of all traffic.

So, before you begin freaking out that 9 out of 10 visitors do not "convert" for your lead gen PPC campaign, know that it is normal and you may see this type of data.

Now, some campaigns we run have much better conversion rates -- 25% or more -- and some have been worse than that -- under 10%. And it certainly varies by industry and client.

Average Lead Gen PPC Conversion Rates by Industry

Average PPC Convesion Rates by industry from Unbounce.com
Average Lead Gen Conversion Rates by Industry - via Unbounce.com

This study (conducted in 2017) and graphic courtesy of Unbounce.com.

If you are a university, your average PPC conversion rate is 2.6%, with "best" conversion rates in the 11.5% range. Granted, you have to remember here that this report is done by a lead gen landing page company, so the pages that campaigns are being sent to are already better than the average website or page a person sends their campaign traffic to.

If you are in the legal field, the average conversion rate is 3.2%, with the "best" conversion rates in the 15% range.

Other Average PPC Conversion Rates by Industry:

Reasons Why Your Campaigns Aren't Converting

Just because most people don't convert from PPC to leads, it doesn't mean that you (or your PPC firm) can use this as an excuse for having low conversion rates. We've worked with many clients in different industries and are always working to help them improve the landing page experience to convert more users -- especially if they are paying for the traffic. Below are some reasons why you may not be converting, and considerations for improvement.

Here are some common reasons why your PPC campaigns may not be converting well:

1. You're sending traffic to your homepage vs. a dedicated landing page. Most companies don't realize how cluttered and unfocused their homepage is. It can have many items on it that distract a user from doing what you want them to do: contact you! A dedicated landing page helps to reduce clutter, simplifies the messaging, and provides an easy way to contact your company via a mobile click-to-call, or an easy form for them to fill out. This simple landing page makes it a breeze for potential clients to contact this attorney:PPC landing page - family law attorney2. Your website is not mobile friendly. This is a huge one. Many companies assume that most of their traffic comes from those searching on their desktop or laptop computers. In some cases, this may be correct, but when it comes to many service-oriented businesses (especially locally), most people will conduct their searches using a mobile device. You need to ensure that your website is mobile-optimized, easy to read and navigate, mobile click-to-call functionality works, and the website contact form works well on a mobile device. Is your website mobile-friendly? Google has a free tool you can use to check the friendliness of your website or landing page.

mobile friendly landing page test - google
Mobile Friendly Test - Google

3. Your website takes forever to load. Many people don't have the patience to wait for a slow webpage to load. In fact, if they get frustrated with the load time, they will simply click back to the search results page, then click on the next best result because they don't have time to wait around.

Don't just take our word for it. Make sure your website and mobile version of your website or landing page loads as quickly as possible. Every millisecond in delay can have a negative impact on your conversion rates.

4. Your Adwords campaigns are not set up correctly or are targeting the wrong things. Half the battle is converting someone when they get to your site, but the other half is actually driving qualified traffic to the site in the first place from your PPC campaigns. There are a ton of default settings on your Adwords or Bing Ads' accounts that may not be ideal for your campaign. This could be another blog post in itself, but some examples of incorrect settings could be:

There are many additional settings and considerations within the campaign setup for your PPC campaigns, so you may just be getting a lot of un-targeted traffic that would have never converted in the first place!

Google Adwords - Ad Scheduling
Adwords Ad Scheduling


5. Lack of Branding. Why do Fortune 500 companies invest so much into branding? Because they know how much branding influences purchase decisions. For a company doing PPC marketing, having a well-established brand makes it easier to convert those visitors into leads or customers, because branding influences how you think of that brand. You likely trust them more just because you have heard of them. A virtually unknown brand (in any industry) will have a harder time converting a new visitor simply because the person hasn't heard of them before. When shopping for car insurance, do you inherently trust Progressive Insurance more than Quote Wizard?

Industry SEO/PPC thought leader MOZ indicated that lack of branding is the #1 reason Paid ads on search or social fail.

6. External factors. A searcher may just simply be in "research" mode and not ready to contact someone. When someone conducts a search on Google, there are varying levels of search intent. Someone searching for a "Subaru Forester 2018" may just be starting their journey on looking for a new car, and subsequently, visiting a lot of different websites in their initial "discovery" stage of search. So, they may not convert right away.

A person searching for "best price for 2018 Subaru Forester" is a much different person. They are actively looking for the dealership that will give them the best price on a car they have already done research on and likely test-driven.

The point is, depending on your campaign or keyword, many people are just "kicking the tires" and are in research mode. They may not be ready to contact someone or add their name to a mailing list. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just means they aren't ready yet. At the very least, this person now knows about your company.

7. Other external factors, like their kid spilled milk on their keyboard. This is not really a joke, but the point is, any time someone conducts a search online via their computer or their phone, they may get distracted during the process.

How many times has it happened to you? You are doing research on something, you click through on this site, you click through on that site, you go back to the site you were at three pages before, and then your dog barks and you have to take them out for a walk. You totally forget where you were or what you were doing, much less the website you were on. This happens all the time and so if someone clicks through and doesn't convert, they may have just been distracted. That's just part of the cost of advertising.

Conclusion on Non-Converting PPC Campaigns

It's a simple fact that most PPC campaigns have conversion rates at or below 10%, with many outliers in either direction. And that makes sense, not every person is ready to commit to contacting you for your services at that time and there may be a number of other website-centric issues at play as mentioned above.

However, this is not an excuse for settling for low conversion rates. You or your PPC firm should always be looking for ways to improve conversion rates -- whether it's through improved campaign optimizations, a better landing page, or better offer.

Another strategy (and another article for later) we use to increase conversion rates collectively are "remarketing" campaigns, where we remarket to people who have visited your site  -- while they are visiting sites other than yours -- with ads directing them back to your website. Clients like to call these ads "the ads that follow you around."

Because of all the reasons above, you want to ensure that you set up and run "remarketing" campaigns to remind people of your brand and website and encourage them to come back. Who knows, their child may have just spilled milk on their keyboard while they were on your website!


Why Aren't My PPC Ads Showing?

Why Aren't My PPC Ads Showing?You've spent hours and hours to conduct keyword research to identify the keywords you want your ads to show for. Then you had to spend several more hours constructing your highly-organized campaigns with tight geotargeting and awesome ad extension variations. And finally you've activated your PPC campaigns to start driving that targeted traffic to your site. Only now you aren't seeing your PPC ads at the top of Google for the keywords you bid on. But, why?

We'll discuss some of the main reasons why you might NOT see your PPC ads at the top of the search results once you push your campaigns live.

1. Geotargeting

Your ads might not be showing because you are searching from outside the geographic area you are targeting. Let's say you are a local dentist who is looking for new patients within your area, so you set up some campaigns to target "Dentist in (Cityname)" and related keywords. But perhaps you are visiting a vendor or running an errand and do a search to see how your ads look, but you are outside the targeting area that you set for your ads to run in. Your ads would not show when you did a search for your keywords, because you are outside that area.

Google Adwords uses a few ways to determine a user's location: the IP Address of the device a user is searching on, or a user's location settings (GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth).

Google Adwords Geotargeting Locations Settings
Location Settings

2. Your Bid is Too Low

PPC campaigns are a search auction, so you are likely competing for ad space with a number of other companies for the same keywords. One of the main factors in determining where your ads are listed on the page is your keyword "bid." This is the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for a click for a given keyword. If your bids are too low, your ads may not show at the top of the search results or even on the first page of search results. If this is the case, you will need to raise your bids, or improve the "quality score" of the keywords you are bidding on. You can read more about quality score here.

Google Adwords Below First Page Bid - Dentist

3. Ad-Scheduling

When setting up your PPC campaigns,  you have the option to define and set your "ad schedule." The ad schedule is basically the days and times you would like your ads to run during a given week. For many service-based businesses (like dentists), this is a wise strategy, because you likely have certain days and times your office is open where you or your staff can answer phone calls. Running ads during off-hours without a call center or someone to answer the phones directly can lead to some wasted clicks. If someone clicks to call you or dials your number, they usually want to speak to someone directly, and may not leave a message on your answering service.

If you searched for your ads outside the times you set for your ad schedule, you would not see your PPC ads showing.

Google Adwords - Ad Scheduling

4. Budget Constraints

This is a big one as we see this happen quite a bit with small businesses that don't have large budgets. Let's say you are a (that's right, dentist) and you only have a budget set for $25 per day on your campaigns. With PPC campaigns, you are charged a CPC "cost per click" (each time someone clicks on your ad). If your budget is $25 for the day, and an average CPC is $5 (which is not uncommon for dentists by the way), then your budget for the day would allow for around 5 total clicks to your website or calls to your phone number. ($25 budget divided by $5 cost per click = 5 clicks)

If it's a Monday and there is a lot of demand for people looking for dentists, you may get those 5 clicks in the first hour or two of the day. That means, the rest of the day, your ads will not show because you have exhausted your total budget for the day.

5. Platform Bidding

On Google, you can choose to advertise to people on particular platforms they are using: desktops/laptops, mobile phones, or tablets. In some cases, you may have set up the campaign to target just desktop or just mobile searchers and have excluded the other variation. Depending on your targeting, you may not see your ads show because of your platform targeting settings.

Another slight variation to this would be if you use "bid adjustments" on those targeting methods. You can actually bid up or down based on the platform someone is using when they search. Let's say that you see much better performance from individuals that search on mobile phones. You can bid up (perhaps increase your bid by 25%) when someone searches on their mobile phones. Subsequently, you can bid down on platforms that don't perform as well. If your bid adjustments are lowered too much, your ads may not show up or on the first page of results.

6. Disapproved Ads

Google has a number of advertising policies which you need to adhere to, or your ads will be "disapproved" and won't show. This might range from incorrect punctuation, to offensive or inappropriate content. If your PPC ads are not showing, check your ad statuses within the account to see if any of your ads are disapproved.

7. Negative Keywords

In Adwords campaigns, you can use negative keywords to ensure that your ads don't show for keywords you know you don't want to show ads for. Negative keywords basically tell Google not to show your ads any time someone searches with a particular word.

If your ads aren't showing for certain keywords, make sure to check your negative keyword lists both at the campaign and ad group level, and in the "shared library" where some people may keep negative keyword lists to apply to multiple campaigns.

Google Adwords - Negative Keywords in Campaign

8. Billing

Make sure to set alerts or check the billing/payments section if your ads are not showing. Sometimes there can be issues with your credit card or payment method, which can prompt Google to stop your ads from running.

9. Your Campaigns Just Started

If you just pushed your campaigns live and you are not seeing your ads, you may just have to wait! It takes some time for Google to approve ads, keywords and other variables within your campaigns. Most campaigns when pushed live, will start fairly quickly, but practice patience give Google time to approve your campaigns.

Other Reasons Your Ads Are Not Showing on Adwords

The above 9 items are some of the main reasons your ads may not show for a given search on Google, even though you may be bidding on those keywords. There are a few other reasons such as having disapproved keywords, or inadvertently having a paused ad group or campaign that you didn't notice originally. If your ads aren't showing, run through this list and check your settings. Likely it's not showing for one of these reasons.

PPC Advertising for Lead Generation vs. Other Advertising Channels

Lead generation is a key business goal for many companies, especially in the professional services industry or home services industry. Referrals, word-of-mouth, emails, web forms and even traditional marketing tactics like direct mail or radio ads are all tried-and-true ways to generate leads. But, for us and many of our clients, there’s nothing quite so powerful as a well executed PPC campaign for lead generation.These types of ads can help even the smallest businesses with the smallest budgets generate qualified leads to grow their business. 

What is PPC Advertising?

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a type of internet marketing used on search engines where advertisers pay each time their ad is clicked by a user. These ads can be highly targeted toward users and potential customers who are searching for particular products and services. They can also be extremely effective in driving the right people at the right time to your website or store.

When you perform a search on a search engine, PPC ads are the first few results on the page, just above the “map pack” and before organic results. This prime placement makes PPC ads coveted real estate for business owners. For example, your service business could be the first listed result on Google with a well targeted PPC ad. (more…)

How to Integrate Keywords in Blog Posts for Maximum SEO Value

How to Integrate Keywords in Blog Posts for Maximum SEO Value

Writing SEO-friendly blog posts for a business website can be confusing. While you may already know that keyword research is an important part of acquiring new leads and customers online, you may not know how to use the right keywords effectively.

Publishing blog posts is just one small part of the big SEO blogging puzzle. In order to rank well, search engines need to see that your blog articles are both SEO-friendly and engaging to your readers. Once you figure out how to integrate keywords within your blog posts, more of your website pages can be indexed and then found by your target audience on search engines.


Shopify Upsell Conversion Tracking for Paid Ads

Are you using a 3rd party post-checkout upsell tool for Shopify? Are you using the standard "thank you page" conversion tracking

If so, could be missing out on A LOT of conversions... around 30-50%!


When someone gets to your upsell page, they're given the choice of...

  1. Accepting the offer
  2. Declining the offer / visiting the confirmation page
  3. Doing nothing / closing their browser

Upsell Options Shopify Example

As it turns out, around half of people choose option 3!

This means they never make it to the Shopify thank you page, and your conversion tracking code never gets fired!

How Important Is This?

To be clear, you're still getting sales. It's just that ad platform reporting like Google and Facebook ads aren't an accurate reflection of performance.

Also (and perhaps more importantly), if you're using automated bidding on Google Ads or pretty much any paid social platform (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.), this makes it more difficult for their algorithms to optimize and find customers. Their algorithms are primarily built on giving them a goal, and once they see conversions they try to match more people with those similar characteristics.

If you're getting purchases that aren't being tracked, then these ad platforms may not target likely customers.

What Can You Do About It?

Fortunately, Shopify has a built-in feature where you can add tracking code.

Shopify Post Purchase Page Code

Problem solved, right?

Not exactly!

First of all, if you fire a purchase conversion on the upsell page, you wouldn't want to fire a purchase conversion on the thank you page or that'd be double tracking.

Ideally, you fire a conversion purchase on the upsell page. Then, if (and only if) they get the upsell, it sends an updated conversion value only and not a separate purchase conversion.

How Can You Set Up Ideal Tracking?

I wish this was the part where I told you to copy-paste magical code and it gets everything to work, but as it turns out, it's much more complicated than that. The best solution we've found so far is a third-party tool called GetElevar.

It's not the simplest set up for upsells, but if you dedicate a couple hours or so you should be able to get it installed.

Get Elevar Tracking

It does save a lot of time, and their connectors add A LOT to Google Tag Manager. Here's just a sample...

Get Elevar GTM Setup

Something to keep in mind, testing conversions is a bit tricky on this. That's because Google Tag Manager's preview mode doesn't work on Shopify's post-checkout page.

Problems With This Set Up

This all sounds great a wonderful, but there's a problem. It's buried deep in the Shopify fine print which states that Shopify only allows a marketing tag as little as 500 milliseconds to fire.

According to GetElevar's support...

"Universal Analytics & Facebook seem to be fine firing in that little timeframe. But GA4 & Google Ads tags don't seem to make it in that short time frame."

If you're to take them on their word, this basically means it's currently impossible with any tool to track Google Ads upsells properly. This may or may not be true, but we haven't found a solution that states otherwise.

Hopefully this is something that can be resolved by Shopify in a future update.


Effectively tracking conversions when using a post-checkout upsell tool on Shopify can be challenging. About half of the customers don't make it to the Shopify thank you page, causing conversion tracking codes not to fire.

While Shopify has built-in features to add tracking code, there's not a simple, clean solution to avoid double tracking.

Setting up ideal tracking is complicated, but tools like GetElevar can help. However, with Shopify's time limit on firing a marketing tag, currently, it seems impossible to track Google Ads upsells properly. In the future, Shopify may make things easier but for now this is the best solution we've found.

Google Ads - You Cannot Negative a Search Query with an Apostrophe

As PPC marketers, we are constantly reviewing our client's campaign performance to help them achieve their goals - typically more leads or more sales - at the lowest costs to achieve those goals. Among the many tasks and optimizations we conduct for our clients each month, reviewing search query reports is one of the most consistent. When we are bidding on keywords that we believe will perform well for our clients to bring them the most business value, we want to ensure that those keywords are delivering the right traffic for their goals.

Quick side note for non-PPC marketers, when you bid on keywords, you are telling Google the keyword phrases you would like your ads to show up for on Google search results when someone is searching. For example, if you are a home remodeling company and are bidding on the keyword "home remodeling", Google may also serve your ad for related queries that are closely related like:

You can see how it helps you as the advertiser show up for terms that you may not have considered, but are still very targeted for your business. However, many times Google does NOT serve your ads for the right searches and you end up showing up for searches that are NOT great fits for your business. For example, on that same search for "home remodeling", Google may serve your ad for queries like

These searches aren't necessarily bad in general, but if you are working with a client who is looking for home remodeling leads, they want people who are using terms in the first set of searches compared to the last set. Someone looking for "trends" is probably not ready to call a home remodeler right now, and likely the same thing with someone searching for "pictures".

So when we review "Search Query Reports" to see the ACTUAL keywords people are using who then click on our client's ads, we want to ensure that we "negative out" any searches that are not good fits for our clients, so that we can save money on likely non-converting visitors. When we negative out a keyword, we tell Google - hey, don't serve an ad for a query that contains this keyword.

One thing we noticed with one client of ours who owns a regional painting company, were the number of times we would see competing painting companies show up in their search query reports - when we weren't bidding on the competitor's brand names. This is not uncommon for a business targeting a local audience, but we saw people clicking on our client's ads after they had originally searched for a competing painting company. Through our call tracking solution, we were able to listen to the calls that came in from people who were originally searching for competitors and we found that the majority of them were low quality leads or not good fits, because the searchers were clicking on the ads for our client mistaking it for the competitor who they originally wanted to call for a quote or to follow-up with something. So we made the decision to "negative out" a number of these competitors so that we could save our client money and focus on the searches that would bring them in legitimate leads.

Over the course of several months, we noticed many of these competitors searches would still show up in the search query reports, even after we "negatived" them out (telling Google we didn't want them to show for those searches). Interestingly, they were all competitors with apostrophes in their brand name. In the painting industry, there are A LOT of local painting companies with the name of the person or their last name and "painting company". i.e. - Hector's painting, Ben's Pro Painting, etc.

What we tried to negative:

In the examples above, take the company "Hector's Painting", we tried adding these as negatives:


Search Engine Marketing Basics - eBook

search engine marketing ebookAre you a small business, startup, solo-preneur, marketing manager, PR professional or anyone else - and confused about search engine marketing (SEO, PPC, SEM)?

As a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing (PPC/SEO) and paid social media advertising, we receive many questions from businesses on how they can use search engine and digital marketing to help grow their business.

Most people are confused on the basics of digital marketing and don't realize the full potential of what is possible. We found that people were asking the same types of questions each time we met with them.

We created this eBook to help answer those questions, and as a way to share much of our expertise to help businesses better understand the basics of search engine marketing and some of the fundamental and relatively simple ways to help their business grow by utilizing basic search engine marketing strategies.

We are offering it for free so you can apply some of your learnings here to begin the process of improving your digital presence and reach your online goals. As with any "guide", this is just the tip of the iceberg - we could have written 100 more chapters. We felt this introductory guide was a good place to get started.

Introducing: Search Engine Marketing with Training Wheels.

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Why Your PPC Lead Gen Campaign Isn't Working

PPC Lead Gen Fails

ppc lead gen fails

If you’re spending money on PPC (or paid social), you could be making common mistakes that are costing you thousands of dollars each year.

Most of our clients come to us to help them generate more leads or more sales for their business, and one of the most effective ways to do that is through PPC campaigns - particularly Google Ads and Microsoft Bing Ads. A person "actively" searching for your product or service has already prequalified themselves as a potential client/customer and having an engaging ad directing them to your website is an effective and quick way to generate more leads.

PPC Ads for Remodeling Lead Gen
PPC Ads for Kitchen Remodeling Lead Gen

Our team are experts at developing the strategies and campaigns to deliver that targeted and quality traffic to your website, but just driving traffic from our Google Ads to your website is not enough to convert a lead into a qualified lead and into a new client/customer.

PPC Led Gen Campaigns Need to Have:

  1. A good website experience that helps convey their unique selling proposition and how they can help their customers
  2. Clear actionable steps for someone to take once they get to their website.
  3. An internal sales process designed to capture and close leads

Even if you can convert someone into a lead from your website, your sales team or sales intake process has to also be very good to help close those leads.

Having run many PPC Lead Generation (Lead Gen) campaigns over the years, we've learned what works well and what doesn't work well in converting those website visitors into leads, and then converting those leads into new clients/customers.

Here are a few PPC Lead Gen fails and things your company should NOT do during the lead gen process.

Landing Page Lead Gen Fails

Your website or landing page (where you send the paid traffic to when they click you ad) should be very clean, concise, and provide the prospective visitor with a clear understanding of what you do, how you can help them, and then a clear actionable next step they need to take in order for you to help them.

PPC Landing Page for Dentist
This Landing Page Does Not Fail

All too often we take over PPC accounts or consult with clients on poor landing page experiences, which then results in lower conversion rates (less people will call/contact you after clicking on your ads).

Cluttered Page

Sending traffic to a homepage that is cluttered with an overload of information (News articles, blog posts, social media links, etc.) will distract a user from what you want them to do (contact you). If someone is searching for a service you offer, provide them a clean and concise page that quickly shows them your expertise, how you can help them, and a way for them to contact you. Having them surf a page with social media links or links to top blog posts just distracts them from the main goal - for them to contact you.

No Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Make it easy for someone to contact you when they get to your website. Don't have them hunt for your contact information or where to contact you. Instead, have an easy to find phone number or contact button on EVERY page of the website, so no matter what they are reading, they can easily find your contact information. On the example below, the "contact us" buttons are hard to find and the Facebook "follow" button is the button sticking out. There isn't even a phone number to call the business from this homepage.

No CTA for PPC Lead Gen
The Facebook "Follow" button is more prominent than the "Contact" link

sticky nav call to action on mobile
Mobile Site with "Sticky Navigation" at the Top

We could go on and on with additional landing page fails that hurt your chances of converting more of those visitors, but let's take it to the next step in the lead generation process - once someone actually contacts you.

Phone Call Lead Gen Fails

Not Answering the Phone

I know this sounds silly, but we've had clients we've audited during the lead generation process who do not have someone answering the phone at all times (at least during business hours) - thus missing out on potential immediate leads.

Someone calling your business after searching for what you do - wants to talk to someone RIGHT AWAY. They don't want to leave a message - they want to get answers to their questions and learn more about your business. We all know that resources can be limited, but all things equal - a business answering their phones during business hours will have a much better chance at closing a lead.

Phone Prompts

phone prompt

We have heard from clients that having prompts (you know, dial 1 for sales, 2 for existing customers, 3 for billing) helps their internal processes and saves them time. You know what else it can do? Lose leads for your business!

Imagine a person with a dental emergency that calls the dentist after Googling "emergency dentist open near me" and gets a 1-2 minute phone prompt system. Most people are not going to have the patience to wait and they'll hit the back button and go to the next dentist in the search results. This can go for any business though. Think of the last time you called a business for a service and needed to walk through prompts to get to where you wanted to go - would you stick around?

Have the Wrong Person(s) Answering the Call

Answer the Phone Leads
*Should Not Answer Sales Calls

Real Life Story: We had heard from a client that the leads we were sending through PPC advertising were not converting into actual sales. Having gone through our usual checks and balances, we started listening to recordings of sales calls of the leads we had sent through PPC using our call tracking software. In a couple of the calls, the wrong person was answering the phone!

We heard something to the effect of "Um, our sales team is out to lunch, do you want to try to call back in about an hour?" Call back? Do you think that potential new customer called back after that? No, never. If your sales team needs to eat, have them stagger their lunch! Needless to say, we could see why our leads weren't closing. (face palm).

Not Getting Name/Number/Email Immediately

When you're paying to drive people to your website, you don't want to waste money, and once you do get someone that calls, you want to take full advantage of that opportunity. All too often sales folks will wait to grab the prospective customer's name and contact information later in the call and then lose a chance if they drop off.

It's imperative that sales intake teams record name, number and emails as soon as possible to ensure that they have the ability to follow up with those prospective customers later in case there's a dropped call or the client has to get off the phone.

Real Life Story: In one instance, we had a client who's salesperson told the prospective customer that they were booking out their remodeling services 5-6 months down the line and didn't get the customers name/contact information before they hung up. This prospective customer might still be a great lead, but they failed to grab the information, thus losing the potential customer to the wind (and another company!).

Internal PPC Lead Gen Fails

Not Getting Back to Leads ASAP

Often, clients get leads and don't respond to them within a reasonable amount of time. Think about if you were doing research for a local landscaping company and you contacted 3 companies - the first one got back to you within 15 minutes with an overview of their company, how they can help you, common landscaping services with pricing and an offer to come out to your house the next day and provide a free estimate.

One of the other companies followed up with you later that day after work, and the other had someone call you the day after. Those last 2 probably lost out on a new customer simply because they were slow to respond. If you are spending money on generating leads, make sure you are responding to leads quickly.

Not Using Multiple Platforms to Follow-Up with Leads

Multiple Platforms Follow Up
Lead Gen Marketing Automation Flow

Think about the ways you communicate on a daily basis and which methods of communication you prefer. It can differ by person - some people just like to talk to someone on the phone, it can differ by time of day (if you're at work, you likely don't want to jump on a sales call at 9am in the morning at the start of the company-wide meeting. There are multiple ways to follow up with leads and you should take advantage of each one of them. (Phone, Email & Text)

Don't Forget About Texting! Phone and Email are the most common ways to follow up with leads, but if you're not texting to follow up - you could be wasting a great opportunity to engage with your prospective customers. 90% of people open a text within 3 minutes and response rate on text is 8 times higher than email. (source).

lead follow up texting
I totally forgot, I do need a quote on landscaping services, thank you for reaching out!

Not Training Your Team On How to Respond to Common Objections

A lead could come in from your PPC campaign and call your sales team directly, but if your client intake specialist or sales team is not armed with GREAT answers to the most common objections customers typically have, they could lose them. Make sure whomever is answering the phones or replying to emails with questions and concerns, has a list of the most common objections along with resourceful and honest answers. If your team is not prepared, they may not do a great job of closing the lead.

Not Scheduling Time to Monitor Your Team

Your sales team or sales intake person(s) are some of the most important people on your team. You can't actually provide your services or do your work if you don't have actual customers to service. But too often companies are not reviewing their team to critique and improve the intake process to better close leads into customers. Make sure your team is continually monitoring the sales intake process to refine and optimize the process to improve close rates. The littlest things could be turning away customers from working with you - and that may likely be on the front lines during the sales intake process.

PPC Lead Generation Conclusion

Successful lead generation campaigns consist of:

  1. Driving targeted traffic to your website
  2. Converting those visitors into leads
  3. Having a sales process to close those leads into new clients/customers

It's not enough to just do 1 or 2 of the 3 well - each step of the lead generation process must be optimized and testing must be done on each step in order to improve and grow your business.

Let us become an extension of your team as we work together to increase traffic to your site and, ultimately, grow your business. Contact us today to start discussing your goals.