5 Simple Steps to Reactivate Inactive Keywords in Google AdWords

Since the recent Quality Score updates have been put in place a lot of people are seeing keywords being marked as inactive for search with a message: “increase quality or bid $X to activate” The costs to activate the keyword vary but can easily be $1, $5 or $10 per click. These costs are just not feasible for most advertisers, but getting these keywords back online is important.

Here’s my 5 step process for getting those keywords active again at the same or almost the same cost.

1) Delete the affected inactive keyword from the Ad Group.

2) Create a new Ad Group and name it something relevant to the keyword you’re working with.

3) Create a new ad which specifically targets that keyword. If you can include it in the title and description, great! If not, at least the title should be good enough. Make sure that the destination page also has that keyword present on the page if possible. If it’s an important enough keyword think about creating a dedicated landing page.

4) Add this keyword and only very close variants to the new Ad Group. For example, if the keyword you’re working with is red widget, only add phrases like red widget and red widgets. We want to keep this as focussed as possible for now, we can always add other variants later. Also be sure to add the necessary negative keywords.

5) Set the CPC way above what you’d normally bid and let it gain a few clicks, then you can back it down to the usual cost. This will give it some history and help get it established.

If your account is poorly structured, you may have a lot of inactive keywords. If this is the case, perhaps this would be a good time to hire a pay per click consultant to help you restructure the account. They should also be able to help you with writing the ad copy, analyzing the destination page and help with conversion analysis.

About reuben 109 Articles
SEO consultant from Columbus OH.


  1. I got to this from google. Its good to know that your website has come to the google sandbox. Keep up the good works. Soon mine too would come up. Watch out for it.

  2. I’m glad your article comes up on the first page. You do a good job! I got my answer quickly. Also, this is some great advice for anyone else. It reminded me of some valuable lessons to be learned about organizing your adwords account!


  3. I have been using Adwords for the last 2 years and i can only say that it increased my online sales by about 20%. The pay per click cost of Adwords is even cheaper than Adbrite. I love Adwords.

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