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Top 5 Ways to Improve Google Search Impression Share

Top 5 Ways to Improve Google Search Impression Share

google search impression share

The Importance of a Strong Impression Share

Impression share is the basis for any successful paid search campaign. When comparing a Google Ads account to building a house, think of impression share as the home’s foundation. You wouldn’t paint or hang curtains when the foundation is cracked. Just like you wouldn’t test new ad copy or keywords when your impression share is “cracked.”

A good starting point is to aim for a search campaign-level impression share greater than 50%. This indicates that your ads are served more than half of the time in the Google search results in relation to how often they’re eligible to be served. Eligibility is based on bids, quality scores, approval statuses, and targeting settings.google search impression share

Impression share is impacted by budget and ad rank. Most advertisers naturally want to increase ad spend to improve impression share, but we have shared our top 5 ways to improve impression share below without increasing spend.

1. Lower Your Max CPCs

Lower your max CPCs to immediately help impression share. Yes, this will hurt your average ad position. However, we would rather our ads serve in the 3rd-4th position 70% of the time vs. 1st position 20% of the time. Keep in mind that you can’t get a conversion without a click and to get a click your ad needs to serve! So, instead of targeting the first position go after first page.

2. Build A Strong Negative Keyword List

At Forthea, our paid search team is obsessive about negative keywords and for good reason. Having a strong negative keyword list ensures that you’re eliminating wasteful spend that ultimately hurts impression share. The secret is to be proactive. Don’t wait for the negative queries to come through, negate them before the campaign ever launches. You can’t rely on your search query report to pinpoint all of the negative terms your ads are being triggered for. The best thing you can do is build out a negative keyword list using Google’s Keyword Planner, conduct manual searches in Google and communicate with your client. Your client knows their business best and can tell you what keywords they don’t want. For example, if you are running ads for a luxury apartment complex, you can proactively negate “section 8” and “cheap” so you never waste spend on those searches.

3. Tighten Up Keywords

A quick way to improve impression share is to tighten up your keywords. Look for keywords with high impressions and low CTRs. Start by changing up the match type. For example, switch from broad to phrase match to help weed out irrelevant searches that could be driving up your ad spend. Also, you may need to pause keywords entirely if they are simply too broad, especially true for single-word keywords. If you sell industrial stainless-steel springs, you may want to pause the keyword “springs.” That could trigger all types of irrelevant searches as well as top of funnel informational searches. A better keyword to target would be “industrial springs” or “stainless steel springs.”

4. Implement Bid Adjustments

Bid adjustments are a great way to prioritize spend in various areas including device, age, gender, household income, hour of day, zip code and more. To improve impression share, look for areas to implement negative bid adjustments as a way to save budget. For example, if you sell luxury custom homes, you may find that the 18-24 age bracket is not your target. In that case, you could implement a negative bid adjustment for that age range or negate it entirely. Another method would be to analyze zip codes with high spend and no conversions over a longer date range and, again, implement a negative bid adjustment or negate entirely.

5. Get Selective About Campaigns

Budgets are set at the campaign level. This means that the more campaigns we have running, the thinner our marketing budget is spread. We’d recommend prioritizing the focus on the campaigns that drive the highest number of conversions. There is definite value in running mid to top-funnel campaigns, but with a limited budget, we need to focus on the lower funnel campaigns. So, yes, go ahead and pause your Smart Display campaign with a .05% conversion rate.

To get in contact with a team of experts that can help improve impression share, contact Forthea today.


Jennie Purser
Jennie is Forthea's PPC Lead, with experience in all aspects of SEM. Her results-driven work ethic has helped her successfully manage dozens of paid search programs. When she's not in the office Jennie is obsessively updating her cat's Instagram (@koopathemunchkin) or spending way too much time watching YouTube vlogs.

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