7 Ways to Get High Quality Paid Traffic with Rock-Bottom CPCs

I’ve said it before: a successful PPC campaign boils down to two things:

  1. Increasing click-through rate (CTR)
  2. Lowering cost-per-click (CPC)

Pretty simple, right?

But I want to add one more point to that statement. It’s not complicated.

You also need to get high quality traffic.

This means reaching your target audience and bringing in visitors who are ready to buy. What you don’t want is lukewarm traffic with only a vague interest in your product/service.

You want leads who have one hand on their wallets, ready to whip them out and make a purchase.

Now, allow me to point out a brutal truth about PPC marketing.

It’s a slippery slope, especially if you’re new to the game.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can chew you up and spit you out.

Many “noobs” quickly find their budgets depleted with only a handful of sales to show for it.

Some even end up spending more on their PPC campaigns than they get in return from sales. It’s not a good situation.

In order to get a favorable ROI, you want to ensure that 1) you’re driving high quality traffic to your landing page and 2) you’re not overspending on CPC.

In fact, you want rock-bottom CPCs.

To accomplish this requires a bit of an out-of-the-box approach.

You need to zig when other PPC marketers zag.

Let me show you seven ways to get high quality traffic while spending the absolute least amount of money on it.

1. Look beyond Google AdWords

When you hear the word PPC, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

I would bet that for at least 90% of you, it would be Google AdWords.

And why wouldn’t it be?

It’s had a stranglehold on the PPC market for years.

In fact, a fairly recent study from Smart Insights reports that Google controls 67.78% of the search engine market:image00

Of course, this is the natural choice for an average PPC marketer.

The logic is that it receives the most traffic, so it’s the perfect PPC platform to target.

But I would have to disagree.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Google AdWords.

In fact, I’ve pulled in a massive amount of high quality traffic from it over the years, and it has netted me thousands in sales.

But you should by no means pigeonhole yourself and think that this is the only platform there is.


Because it’s uber-saturated and highly competitive.

This means one thing: a high CPC.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most expensive CPCs according to industry:


I’ve even heard of some keywords costing as much as $100 a click. That’s crazy!

So even if you bring in a lot of high quality traffic, your ROI will be minimized because you’re spending a fortune on each click.

This can quickly eat away at your profits.

The bottom line here is that it’s smart to explore alternatives to Google AdWords.

Here is a list from PPC Hero that highlights some specific platforms to check out.

Although you may not get the same volume of traffic, the CPCs tend to be much lower on average.

2. Lower your max bids

This is perhaps the simplest way to reduce your CPC.

Lower your max bids, and your CPC will diminish as well.

But there’s a catch.

If you lower your CPC too far, the positioning of your ads can suffer (e.g., they fall down the page, and fewer people click on them).

The trick to pulling this off is to find the sweet spot, where you lower your bids without your CTR taking a hit.

Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Identify a handful of your top performing keywords
  2. Lower their bids slightly (you may even want to start with just a cent or two)
  3. See what your new CTR is
  4. If those keywords still perform well, lower your bids again

Repeat this process until you find the sweet spot.

Just be sure not to make any monumental changes right off the bat, and keep a close eye on things.

If you notice a drastic drop in performance, increase your max bid to a number that’s closer to the original bid.

3. Do manual bidding

There are two types of bidding on most PPC platforms: automatic and manual.

While automatic bidding is more convenient and can be a good way for beginners to test the waters, it can definitely lower your CPC.

If you’ve primarily been sticking with automatic bidding thus far, I suggest switching to manual (at least for a little while) to see if it has a positive impact on your CPC.

This gives you a greater level of control and you’re not at the mercy of an algorithm that may not always have the best interests of your ROI in mind.


But here’s the deal.

It can be overwhelming if you’re doing manual bidding across several campaigns at once.

Start with just one campaign initially until you get the hang of it. Then you can expand to others.

4. Target long-tail keywords

You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of long-tail keywords in the past for organic SEO.

There’s no doubt that long-tails get results.

In fact, long-tail keywords account for 70% of all keywords.


But the truth is that they’re something you should implement in your PPC campaign as well.


It’s simple. You’ll pay considerably less for a click from a long-tail keyword.

Here’s an example…

Let’s see what the suggested bid for a broad keyword is. I’ll use “running shoes.”


As you can see, it’s $2.66.

Now let’s see what the suggested bid for a long-tail variation is.


It’s only $0.61. So you can save over $2 per click by simply using a long-tail keyword.

Just think of how much you would save for 100 clicks or 1,000.

I recommend looking at your ad groups to see if there are any broad keywords that could be revised and made into long-tail keywords.

It will take some trial and error, but this is a great way to reduce your CPC dramatically.

Of course, you won’t receive the same volume of traffic. But you can maintain higher quality standards with the traffic you do get and save a boatload of money in the process.

5. Add negative keywords

One way some PPC marketers get themselves into trouble is by forgetting to include negative keywords.

What exactly is a negative keyword?

White Shark Media defines it as “a word or phrase that allows you to filter out who your ads will be served to in the search results page.”

In other words, it minimizes the odds of the wrong person clicking on your ad.

Using negative keywords is important because it ensures you’re not wasting your money on irrelevant clicks from unqualified people.

Implementing negative keywords can really help you cut costs in the long run, thus lowering your CPC.

But how do you come up with negative keywords?

One of my favorite tools is Wordstream’s Free Negative Keyword Tool.

Allow me to show you how it works.

Start by entering your keyword phrase in the search box. We’ll stick with “running shoes” as an example.


You’ll then get a list of potential negative keywords.


Just choose which ones are irrelevant by clicking “No,” and they’ll be moved to the right hand side.

If I’m selling men’s running shoes, I would want to use “women’s running shoes” as a negative keyword.

Keep clicking on keywords that are irrelevant to fully populate your list of negative keywords.

Then add these to your campaigns and ad groups on your PPC platform.

6. Keep devices in mind

Here’s the deal with devices. Each one has a different CTR.

For instance, smartphones may outperform tablets and desktop computers.

In fact, that’s exactly the case according to a study from MarketingProfs that analyzed Google AdWords CTR by device:


By looking at this data, you can conclude that you would want to put an emphasis on reaching customers who are using smartphones.

However, this is just an example and doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the best course of action for your campaign.

What I’m saying is that you should keep devices in mind when looking over your reports.

If it’s clear that a certain device is outperforming the others, make it a focal point of your campaign.

You’ll also want to scale back or even eliminate other devices that aren’t carrying their weight.

7. Check geographic locations

Finally, there’s the issue of location.

You want to make sure you’re only reaching people in locations your business can actually serve.

Otherwise, you’re basically throwing money away.

Let’s say you’re a brick-and-mortar business located in Dallas.

The only customers you need and want to reach are those located within the greater Dallas area.

In this case, you wouldn’t want to spend money on a click from someone from Charlotte or Miami. It just wouldn’t make sense.

Your best bet is to select a radius so you know for sure you’re only paying for clicks from a relevant audience.


There’s a lot that goes into a well-run PPC campaign.

This makes it one of the more challenging marketing strategies, and there’s plenty of room for error.

But at its core, your end goal is to get high quality paid traffic while keeping your CPC to a minimum.

This is the key to maximizing your ROI and getting the most bang for your buck.

Although there are a lot of different ways to go about this, the following techniques I mentioned are some of the more practical ones.

Figuring out the ideal formula for you requires perpetual testing and plenty of trial and error.

But once you’ve got it pegged, you can rinse and repeat until you’re running a rock-solid PPC campaign.

What’s the most you’re willing to pay for a click?


  1. J. Ustpassing :

    The PPC sector has pretty much the same issue as the SEO sector – there is a serious trend to “follow” others.
    You do your research, you find your competitors, you monitor competitors, you see their target terms, you see their ad-wording – then you target the same terms and similar wording.

    So – break away from the crowd!

    #1 – Go where there is less competition.
    I know, that often means fewer people seeing the ads – but who cares.
    The whole idea is lead-generation. Whether you are tapping a pool of 5K or 5Mill, you pay by the click. Better still, smaller platforms are usually far less competitive and far, far cheaper because of it. Why not claw in some missed leads and sneak some conversions that are off the competitors radar?

    #2 – Break the copying behaviour.
    Most people cannot help it, they have a perspective. They have a channel of thought, and you can see it in their target terms and their wording. As many folk monitor each other, that pattern is replicated. This resorts in a large degree of polarisation.
    See if you can figure something different. Look for terms and phrases that can reach those being missed. They may be seldom sought terms, but chances are, they will convert better because of it.

    #3 – Qualify (and/disqualify) with your copy.
    There are certain things people are looking for – ensure that you give them the pertinent information as early as possible – and that includes your ad-titles and text.
    Look at including things like price, age, compatibility etc. Anything and everything that is part of the purchase decision.
    Yes, you may see a decline in clicks – but the result is that your CTR-CRs should go up in contrast. This is because you get less people clicking through your ad and deciding that the purchase isn’t for them. You’ve filtered them before the click!

    #4 – Pay attention to search and purchase patterns.
    In almost all industries and at most levels, there are shifts, fluctuations and variations that occur somewhat regularly.
    This ranges from search volume through to purchase volume. Make sure you know what is high/low, when it’s high/low and if possible, why it’s high/low.
    Armed with such information, you can forecast and plan ahead, targeting terms as they should become cheaper, and/or when they should convert better, and/or before they get more expensive/competitive.

    #5 – Restrict/Refine your campaigns.
    Location, timing, wording – these can all make a difference. Different people search at different times of day, using different language, phrasing certain ways.
    See if you can see the variations, and adjust the campaigns to suit. If you know that people in one area use a specific wording, push for that and exclude the rest. If you see that after X o’clock, people seem to switch to a different phrase, push the two phrases at different times.
    Alternatively, if you see your competitors are monitoring and adjusting, consider going for the inverse and see if you can scrape what they opted out of.

  2. Neil,

    What’s the name of the theme you use on neilpatel.com (i.e., the WordPress template or whatever it is that you use)?

    It looks like the same one from visual.ly, the infographics site. Both really look good.


  3. Gaurav Heera :

    Hello Neil,
    Every time your articles are amazing and helpful. I always follow your articles and really these articles help me. These 7 ways are awesome because in paid advertisement we need to take right decision and do quality work and you have described everything in descriptive, simply yet effective too. You’ve done a great job with this. Thanks to share this informative article.

  4. Hello Neil

    Great article…

    The point about negative keywords was a real eye opener and something I will be incorporating into future campaigns…

    Wordstreams Free Negative Keyword Tool has already been added to my bookmarks.

    As someone who has in the past been a tad naive with regards to PPC marketing, I fully get your point about bringing in quality leads.

    Too often I have run a PPC campaign that has brought it plenty of traffic but of a disappointingly poor quality…

    The ‘tyre kickers’ of the internet if you like.

    I’ve recently been exploring alternatives to Google adwords for the simple reason the cpc seemed to be expensive for the returns I was getting, I felt there had to be a different (cheaper) alternative out there.

    And I’m also taking into account the devices used by potential customers and geographic location.

    So it’s good to know, I’m already using some of the tips you mention.

    Keep up the good work


  5. I am planning to do cpc for my website http://www.orofacialdental.com/ on my own so started to do research i find your article is very helpful. thanks for the post

  6. Wonderful post a usual!!!

    I’m one of your biggest fan, You have a fantastic writing skill which is simple to read and easy to understand. I made a blog http://mybloggersguide.com after motivated by reading your articles.

  7. Angelina Grey :

    great sharing..find some good points to implement.

    But i got stuck over Long tail keywords…are you sure for that…Because as per my analysis,it should not be too long…I had done same on https://www.techykeeday.com/. Share your view please….

    i bookmarked your site…:)

  8. Clara Daniel :

    Hello Neil,

    Great topic & had good time going through it, found some good points also.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. I agree that we always think beyond Google adwords. that is highlighted in the very first point of this article. But you didn’t recommend any other channel or platform that can replace the adwords.

    Second thing, after denying adwords, whole content is focused on the tips that are helpful to run a adwords campaign. You were talking about device, long tail keywords, geographic locations, adding negative keywords etc.

    Honestly, I didn’t get this content up to the mark. Even I would say it could be a guest post that is not written by Neil 🙂

  10. Hello Neil,

    Thanks for sharing! I ever read your article. Most of the article are very helpful for me. I want to know more about some helpful and easy tips for SEO.

  11. jasdeepsoloads :

    Nice Thanks for sharing…………

  12. I have followed you in some site and learned from you alot about SEO as well as Maketing. Every your post gave me many useful things and I so thank you for that. I hope I will become a great SEOer and Maketer like you. Waiting for your next post!
    This is my site http://beaujournal.page.tl/

  13. Upendra Gusain :

    Thanks Neil!

  14. Davs of Cool Marketing Packages :

    Hi Neil, Great post!. You contributed a lot on my SEO strategies on our website
    Cool Marketing Packages
    . Thanks.

  15. Rylee William :

    Hello Neil,

    Thanks for sharing! I ever read your article. Most of the article are very helpful for me. I want to know more about some helpful and easy tips for PPC & Email Marketing.

  16. James Oliver :

    Hello Neil,

    Interesting topic. Had great time going through it. Will definitely come back again for more information

  17. Hello Neil

    Great article…

    The point about negative keywords is really something very good and which I will be incorporating into future campaigns…

  18. Thank you for your article, Neil.
    It’s important you use negative keywords in your PPC to bring the most appropriate customers.
    I use Google Adwords Keyword Planner before launching my campaign. I find the most common negative keywords, but it’s not enough for the best conversion.
    Then I use Google Search Console My website has much organic traffic. I usually find many important queries in Console and improve negative keyword lists in Adwords.
    And the third tool I use is Kparser It helps me to generate a big list of negative keywords depends on a specific query.
    As the result, I have a broad list of negative keywords ready to be used for my campaign.
    Do you find this strategy good or you may advice better ways to bring more traffic?

  19. b2bmarketingpartners :

    hi Neil patel,
    the technique suggested by you about digital marketing it helped me a lot
    thank u lot

  20. Niel,

    Thanks for sharing one of the key aspects of successful PPC campaigns and the negative keywords play a prominent role in successful campaigns.

    Karen Louis

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