5 Top Google AdWords Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

Google AdWords is a great way to drive traffic, capture leads, and makes sales. But the success of any AdWords campaign depends on the correct implementation.

If you aren’t achieving the desired results, you may be committing some common Google AdWords mistakes. Here are 5 of the top mistakes as well as solutions to fix them.

Mistake # 1: Not Using Ad Groups

AdWords lets you create targeted ads. You can run different campaigns, create different ad groups for those campaigns, and assign keywords to those groups. Assigning keywords to different groups lets you create ads that match search queries and improves click-through rates.

Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of creating one ad group and assign all their keywords to that group. For example, imagine if Company X who sells toasters, fridges and washing machines didn’t create ad groups. They would now have to create a generic ad – with all keywords lumped together- that reads something like, “Buy Company X’s Products at The Lowest Prices”. If I’m searching for electronic toasters, that ad wouldn’t match my query, and I probably wouldn’t click it.

Kissmetrics recommends you assign no more than 20 keywords per ad group.

Mistake #2: Incorrect Keyword Matches

Another top Google AdWords mistake is using the incorrect keyword matches. Before we get into why your choice of keyword match, matters, let’s look at the keyword match types.

When you create a campaign you can add three type of keywords: broad, phrase or exact match.

Broad match means your ad will show regardless of the order of the keyword in search engines. For example, if you choose “Adidas training shoes” as your keyword, your ad will show for searches such as “Adidas training shoes”, “best Adidas training shoes”, “Adidas free training shoes”, and “training with the best Adidas shoes”.

Phrase match means your ad will only show if the order of the keywords typed is an exact match e.g. “best free Adidas training shoes”. It won’t show for “training with the best Adidas shoes”

With exact match, your ad only shows when the exact phrase is typed into search engines i.e. “Adidas training shoes”. It won’t show for “best Adidas training shoes” or even a variation of that phrase as part of a larger phrase.

Your choice of match is important because it impacts the performance of your ads. Broad match offers more impressions, but less targeted ads. Phrase and exact match, however, offer fewer impressions but more targeted ads.

If you have too many broad match keywords you may find that your ROI is poor. If you have too many phrase and exact match keywords you may find low traffic to your site.

So what is the correct mix of keywords for your business?

There’s no right or wrong answer; it depends. Finding the right mix requires experimentation. A good place to start is with exact matches and over time you can add broad and phrase matches.

Mistake #3: Failing to Use Negative Keywords

A negative keyword is a keyword that lets AdWords know, not to show an ad when that keyword is typed in Google. For example, if you specified free as a negative keyword, your ad wouldn’t show for any searches containing the word “free”.

According to Neil Patel, not using negative keywords is one of the biggest AdWords mistakes he sees people making. But why? Your ad shows up for irrelevant search queries. Visitors who click on that ad aren’t likely to convert because the page they visit isn’t relevant to them. You in turn waste money on clicks.

Let’s look at it in action. I typed “free copywriting courses” into Google and received the following:

When I click on the second ad I see that I actually have to pay for the course. Because it’s not relevant I leave. City Varsity can avoid this by adding “free” as a negative keyword.

You can include negative keywords for entire campaigns and specific groups in those campaigns. Visit the AdWords Editor Help Section to learn how to add Negative Keywords.

If you’re struggling to find negative keywords, use Google Analytics.

Step 1: In Analytics click, “Acquisition”, “Adwords”, then “Matched Search Queries” in the left menu bar.

Step 2: Click on “Query Match Type, followed by “Broad Phrase” or “Exact Phrase” to see what people are searching for.

Step 3: Analyze what keywords aren’t converting.

Step 4: Determine whether you can use a negative keyword without affecting current high-performing ads.

Mistake #4: Failing to Direct Visitors to The Right Pages

If you’re someone who has an e-commerce store then pay attention. Some e-commerce site owners make the mistake of directing traffic from their ad to their home page instead of the specific product.

Don’t make it hard for visitors to find what they’re looking for; chances are they’ll leave and you’ll lose a sale. So, review your ads and fix what needs fixing.

Mistake #5 Not Understanding The Competition

Many business owners also fail to analyze their competition to see what keywords they’re ranking for and what their ads look like.

You need to put yourself in your customer’s position and ask yourself: What ad would I click on? If your answer is your competitor’s ad, then it’s time to improve your ad. Refine your copy and make it more appealing.

Smart Insights provides valuable tips on how you can write better ad copy:

Tip 1: Be relevant by choosing the right keywords

Tip 2: Fulfill your customers’ needs by focusing on benefits over features. What problem does your product solve?

Tip 3: Create a strong call-to-action to encourage clicks.

Tip 4: Focus on Ad Extensions. Ad extensions let you show more information about your business and increase visibility in search engines. Read The Complete Guide on AdWords Ad Extensions by Bobby Stemper.

Tip 5: Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to show searchers a relevant ad that updates according to the searcher’s search query.

Tip 6: Concentrate on improving your quality score to rank higher in search engines. Your quality score consists of your ad copy, keywords, and landing pages.

Tip 7: Split-test your ad copy. Create two versions of an ad to see which one performs better.

Wrapping it Up

There is no doubt that Google AdWords is a powerful way to increase traffic and sales.

But, the results you achieve will always depend on the correct implementation. If you’re using AdWords, but not seeing results, you may be making one, some, or all of the AdWords mistakes listed above. If you are, fix it, and see a marked improvement in your ROI.

Are there any other AdWords mistakes I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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