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Patricia O'Loughlin
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Word concubine since 1989.
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7 Common AdWords Mistakes That Could be Costing You

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AdWords – or pay-per-click advertising – can certainly be a fantastic way to secure those precious search engine rankings and drive relevant visitors to your website. However, if you’re not clued up on the ins and outs of PPC management, you risk falling foul of some super common AdWords traps that could be heavily chewing into your ROI.

To lend you a bit of a helping hand, we’ve outlined some of the most popular Google PPC AdWords errors we tend to encounter, and illustrate how to avoid them.

1. Bidding on the wrong keywords

Simply put, if you’re choosing keywords that mislead your audience, you’re basically throwing away money. Users will click on your ad expecting one thing, only to quickly bounce from it after realising they have little interest in the actual products or services you’re offering. It’s important to get specific with your keywords, and to ensure your chosen keywords are high-converters.

2. Not grouping keywords correctly

When it comes to AdWords, you have the opportunity to create and manage different types of campaigns – for instance, product campaigns versus content campaigns. This is done by breaking down your keywords into ad groups. Unfortunately, many people fail to take advantage of this nifty tool and as a result, all of their products or services fall under the one ad. To ensure a much closer match between ad copy and keyword search, you should be segmenting your ad into groups based around similar types of keywords.

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3. Using the wrong keyword matches

Plenty of people forget to specify keyword matches in their Google AdWords campaign, which means their ad is set to “broad match” by default. This means your ad could be showing up even if the relationship between your keywords and the search terms a user has entered is very weak. Unless you work in an incredibly niche industry, you’ll most likely want to employ “phrase matches” and “exact matches” in order to narrow down your audience and those subsequent clicks.

4. Not bothering to define negative keywords

PPC advertising allows you to further filter out your audience by telling Google when you don’t want your ad displayed. The AdWords search terms report gives you the chance to enter “negative keywords”, which are those words that you don’t want to trigger your ad to appear when a user punches them in the search bar. Again, this is another extremely handy tool that can save you from pointless, cash-wasting clicks.

5. Setting up an AdWords campaign and walking away

Google AdWords services require constant monitoring. Real-world data is perpetually changing, meaning that any PPC advertising campaigns should be treated as ongoing – you need to ensure you are frequently adjusting and optimising your ad accordingly. Simply put, taking a stagnant approach to PPC management is like pouring money down the drain.

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6. Prioritising creativity over numbers

Yes, compelling and creative ad copy is certainly vital in engaging consumers, but to truly garner success from Google AdWords, you need to be paying attention to those numbers. It’s important to always test your copy with a few different versions – once you have an ad that is generating between 20-40 clicks, you know you’re onto a winner. Unfortunately, many AdWords creators forget to trust those numbers and instead, fall victim to pushing out copy that ultimately won’t convert.

7. Ignoring the need to test optimal ad position

Not only do you need to test your ad copy, you should also be testing the position of your ad according to the action you want users to perform. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the number one position is the be-all and end-all; in reality, this kind of ranking might not elicit the particular results you’re after. Audiences tend to get click-happy with the two highest-position ads, which is great for branding; however, sitting pretty in position three-five can be better for generating more authentic and serious clicks.

So, in summary, PPC advertising requires some serious strategising if you want to really reap in that ROI. You need to be smart about your keyword selection; you need to take advantage of the tools offered by Google AdWords; you need to track your campaign, and you need to consistently test its success.

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By Patricia O'Loughlin


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