Creating a successful AdWords campaign can be a battle of trial and error. Through perpetual and almost never-ending refinement, you can continually give an edge to your ad campaigns. But just what to refine and how to do it isn’t always obvious. Of all the advice worth giving about AdWords optimization, the following five tips are probably the most important.

1. Refine Your Budget
For most people, AdWords campaign optimization inevitably means budget optimization. One easy way to think about AdWords campaign budgeting is to ask a few simple questions about your campaign. What is its goal? What is your expected conversion rate? What’s the average value of a sale or lead? How many clicks do you need to obtain your goal? What’s the expected cost for each click? Doing the math to figure out some of these questions might not be a thrilling way to spend an afternoon, but getting these gritty details worked out is the best way to squeeze the most out of your ad dollars. Thankfully, when used correctly, Google AdWords can be an inexpensive way to market to your business.

2. Using Geo-Targeting
If you spend a few minutes reviewing your back-end data, it is easy to figure out the most profitable geographical regions for your business. This can be incredibly valuable information for your campaign, because it allows you to redouble your efforts in areas where you’re seeing success and reevaluate for regions where you’re not.

3. Stand Out
One of the more daunting bottlenecks for advertisers using AdWords is the strict character limit. Not only because it requires the advertiser to be terse, but also because it causes many AdWords ads to look very similar. While there’s little you can do about the character limit, there are many things you can do to make your ad stand out. Ad extensions are one of the best tools AdWords offer to get the most out of your screen estate. There are several types of ad extensions, including website links, reviews, locations, social extensions, and click to call; and each offers a unique opportunity to make your ad more distinct.

4. Schedule Ads
Just like a 24-hour gas station does different amounts of business at different times of day, ad campaigns perform in much the same way. Obviously it makes little sense to spend money on advertising at times of day when you’re not creating as many conversions. Spend a few minutes digging around in your campaign data to determine when your peak sales hours are. You might also ask yourself questions like when your phone lines are available, or when your staff is otherwise capable of responding to inquiries. With these considerations in mind, it’s easy to take your traffic and purchase data to figure out the best schedule for your ads.

5. Positioning Ads
Everyone knows that ads placed at the top of search results generally produce more traffic. Nevertheless, capturing all the keywords you’d like for the top search results can be very expensive, especially for the modest budgets of smaller businesses. Consequently it’s important to find a steady balance between keeping your budget and finding an ad position that will keep your site visible. AdWords offers one solution to this problem through the AdWords editor and “Advanced Bid Changes,” which enable users to set automated bid rules and can help you keep your site visible for valuable keywords at the lowest possible cost.