10 AdWords Myths That Should’ve Been Forgotten Ages Ago

A big part of an online marketer’s day is spent trying (and hopefully succeeding) to figure out how to improve campaigns and minimize costs per result (hmm… yep…). At times, we even hesitate taking a totally rational decision just because we dread being “punished” by Google Almighty, and as it happens sometimes, we pass on opportunities for reasons we can’t really explain or establish. In this post I’ll try to bust some of these AdWords myths I’ve heard and dealt with over the years. Buckle up!

1. Decreasing Your Bids Lowers Your Quality Score Due to Lower CTR.

If I had a penny for every time I heard this one, I were probably be the honorable owner of at least half a dollar. Addressing this myth accrued to me while writing an article for PageWiz Blog, “How to Trick Google into Upgrading Your Quality Score“. 
You see, when Google calculates your QS, they actually compare your CTR with your competitors’. But what many marketers miss is the fact that Google doesn’t compare your CTR with all of your competitors, but only with those who are sharing a position with you.

“While it’s great to have a high position on the page, doing so doesn’t increase the expected CTR rating of your ads. The expected CTR is normalized for your actual position on the page. The top position is expected to receive more clicks than the third position on the top, and so on. We also normalize for other factors that affect visibility, like ad extensions and other ad formats” Source

2. Don’t Use The Same Keyword More Than Once in The Same Account, It’ll Make You Compete Against Yourself.

I have no idea where did this come from originally, it might even be true at some ancient point in AdWords’ history. But think about it for a second, what’s the mathematical logic in that?
Really, it’s like saying that buying more than 1 lottery ticket hurts your winning chances. Having the same keyword more than once in your account gives Google more opportunities to show your ads. How can it hurt you?
Just remember that it’s on you to pick the best place for every keyword after going over your data.

3. You Should Only Use Live Text In LPs Because Google Can’t Read Images.

To crack this one, we’re gonna break it into 3 mini-questions:

I. Can Google Read Images?

The technology used by Google (and everyone else) to read images is called OCR, it stands for Optical Character Recognition.

II. Does Google Care About What Your Landing Page Says?

Probably not as much as you’d like to think, and even less than that. As much as it may sound weird, Google doesn’t care that much about almost anything that happens after the click (except for really terrible UX issues, policy issues, regulation issues and 404 Errors). As you know, CTR is the unbeatable metric Google uses to determine your QS. I also did some experiments about how much LPs affect quality score. They never did. Not even when one of my LPs was replaced by a beautiful blank page.

III. So, Should You Use Images Instead of Live Text?

No, and this is why:

  • Loading Time: Images take a lot of time to load compared to text. Improving your LPs’ loading time can massively increase your conversion rate (Here’s a great article by Chris London, explaining how your site’s loading time affects it’s conversion rate).
  • Responsiveness: Live text can be rearranged in a way images just can’t. A responsive LP helps you convert mobile, tablet, desktop and even Smart TVs users without the need to redirect then into a landing page that suits their device.

4. Exact Match Keywords Costs More

Well, they do if their bid is higher. But there isn’t any thumb rule about that. If you really want to check your Max CPC compare to your Avg. CPC per match type, you can do it easily by:

  • Multiply your max CPC by the number of clicks every keyword got
  • Open a pivot table and sum up that number and the total cost per match type. You should have something like that:

Potential cost calculation

  • In a new column, divide your Cost by the sum of (Max CPC * Clicks) and you’ll get the percentage you pay out of your bid. As you can see from my data, in this account the Avg. CPC for phrase match keywords was the closest to my Max CPC.

Thing to remember: Google shows you your current Max CPC but the cost per keyword depends on your past Max CPCs as well. This is only made to prove a point, not to get into your reports. To get more accurate result, use a short time frame in which you didn’t change your bid so much (or none at all).

5. You Should Never Include Search Partners in Your Search Campaigns Because They Don’t Convert As Well As The Google Network.



I have a small confession here: until not very long ago, I too, never ran on search partners. My boss was the one who told me that I should consider including it again. When checking the data from his campaigns I was amazed. Search Partners got them higher conversion rate, at a lower CPC and higher lead to sale rate – The holy trinity of a PPC Manager. The fact that it worked for his campaigns doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll work for others, but it does prove that it’s worth trying.

6. Be First Or Die Trying

be first or die trying

Even though there are different theories regarding CPA per ad position, I always prefer to bid based on ROI. You can always run tests to find out which position gives you the best ROI, but it takes a lot of time to collect and analyze the data. Here is the way I do it:

  • Pass the {position} parameter in your URL
  • After collecting enough data, Pivot it using analytics and you’ll be able to see results per keyword/position.

Simpler way to do that is using this parameter in your CRM:

  • Download the data from all of your leads
  • Pivot it to calculate you Lead / Sale rate by ad position.

By the way, check out this post about Marginal Cost Per Lead, it should help you find your most profitable spot (spoiler alert: it isn’t that easy).

7. AdWords is Too Expensive for Small Businesses

One of the coolest things about AdWords is that you can choose your budget and bids. My rule is that if you can get clicks for 25$, you can also have clicks for 1$. It’s true that some keywords will get you literally 0 impressions for a low bid, but that’s where your creativity comes to the rescue. There are tons of opportunities in other marketing directions you can try, longtails that will get you great traffic for a lower bid and many more (and this is all without even mentioning the display network). After getting some “credit” from conversions you got for low price, you can try to go for more expensive core keywords that’ll get you the volume you’re really looking for.

8. Below First Page Bid / Top Of The Page Bid Estimates

Take a campaign, any campaign. Then look for keywords with one of these messages and check their Avg. Position. The fact that you got the “below first page bid” message doesn’t mean you’re on the 2nd page. Your ad just don’t appear for every search. Check your Impression Share Lost (Rank) column for an estimation on how many impression you can get, and make a decision based on the keyword’s performance. Never increase your bids without a profit related reason.

9. The Higher Your ROI, The Better

It makes sense, but it isn’t always true. Take a profitable campaign and decrease the bids by half and your ROI will double itself. Yet, in 95 out of 100 times it’ll cause you to lose too much traffic, it isn’t worth it. It’s all about the built in differences between Maximum ROI and Maximum Profit.

10. Raising Bids Always Raises your Average CPL.

A logical claim that isn’t true. Take a keyword that converts cheaper than your average CPL and raise its bid (if you have a reason to). At this point this keyword is getting more traffic, little more expensive though, but most of the time the extra volume will affect the CPL downwards more than the increasing of the bid.

11. (Bonus Myth): You Shouldn’t Use Bing Ads Because They Have Less Traffic Than AdWords.

So what? Your longtail keywords, also, have less traffic than your core keywords and I don’t see you delete them. My point is that every profitable traffic source is good enough to stay. Bing has great traffic and is usually much cheaper than AdWords. The fact that it has less traffic shouldn’t bother you. Consider that, if you’re running a low budget PPC campaign in AdWords, you don’t even appear in most searches.


That’s it for now guys, see you next time, and as always, feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Cheers 😉

By Roy Danino

PPC Team Leader at a leading financial company, and author at PPCNinja Blog.


  1. Thank you Roy for a great article about 10+1 AdWords Myths
    I want to refer to number 7: “AdWords is Too Expensive for Small Businesses”
    I see small business owners that sell BIG products, but still they are concerned about Cost Per Click, but it is NOT the only parameter.
    What is more important is the CPO or CPA. If a small business owner wants to enlarge his mailing list, his CPA will be low compared to the CPA that he is willing to pay Google, when he advertize to sell a product or service.
    So the question is NOT only what is the Cost of a click but rather: “How much it cost me to close the deal? How many clicks I need to buy from Google to make a deal?”
    Here is a conversion between a client and I:
    client: The Cost of a click in Google AdWords is too high?
    me: Do you know the CPC?
    client: yes, it’s about $10 on average per click!
    me: If I will bring you a customer that close a deal with you, how much will you pay me?
    client: 10%
    me: How much is 10% from you average sale?
    client: It’s about $400 per sale, something like that
    me: so, if the CPC is $10 that mean you can buy 40 clicks from Google, right? ($400 / $10 = 40)
    client: yes, but the cost…
    me: If you will advertize on Google AdWords and find out that on every 20 clicks that cost you only $200 you get a paying client, is it OK for you?
    client: yes, but the cost…
    me: If you will advertize on Google AdWords and find out that on every 50 clicks that cost you $500 you get a paying client, you probably re-calculate your path, right?
    client: yes
    me: so, in order to figure out if Google AdWords works for you, you have to buy many clicks and than analize them, because this is the only way to establish what is right for you.
    Zohar Amihud

    1. It’s always nice to see different ways PPC Marketers use to get from A to B. I would probably bid low on a lot of keywords in order to get enough traffic in the first days. Consider that bid low on 1000 keywords can cost around the same like bid high on 30 keywords. The difference will be the amount of traffic you’ll get for your money. And let’s not forget the GDN, which is a great tool to use in these cases.

  2. Great post thank you. I can certainly agree with the landing pages issue. I have tweaked my landing pages many times and never had a quality score jump.

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