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Common Google Ads mistakes to avoid

Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) allows users to get more out of their online advertising. The benefits include advanced targeting, controlled costs, and the ability to measure the success of a PPC campaign as it runs. As a digital marketing agency – we’re always looking for ways to get more results from our marketing efforts, and Google Ads is one of our most used tools.

Understanding how to get the most out of Google Ads will lead you towards your goals faster, drive more targeted traffic to your site and improve your ROI (return on investment). So, we’re going to take a look at a few of the most common mistakes we’re aware of and how you can avoid them. We’ll start off with keywords:

Mistake 1 – Poor Keyword Research

This is one of the most common Google Ads mistakes you can make – but also one of the most crucial. When it comes to keyword research – you can’t just rely on choosing the queries you think people will be searching. You might have come across our previous blog where we highlighted our top 7 keyword research tools… We recommend using a reputable keyword research tool before selecting your keywords. For example, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest will all be able to help determine the most relevant keywords for your account.

As well as keyword research – it’s essential that you select the right match types for your keywords. Understanding keyword match types is an important part of any Google Ads campaign – so, we’ll summarise the four main types below, starting with broad match:

Broad Match

A keyword setting meaning your ad will show when a user searches for your keyword or a variation of it. For example, if your keyword is “PPC Agency”, your ad could still appear for “PPC Agency near me”. “Experienced PPC Agency” or Agency offering PPC”.

Modified Broad Match

This is a slightly newer match type that lets you create keywords that are more targeted than broad match – but with greater reach than phrase or exact match. It works by adding a (+) sign before any terms I your broad match keywords you want to be modified. The words you choose will appear when typed specifically or as a close variation. Any terms with a (+) sign will trigger ads only on significant variations. This is a way of controlling your traffic and ideally finding more qualified users.

Phrase Match

This setting means that your PPC ad will appear when a search includes the exact phrase of your keyword, or close variations (i.e. with additional words either before or after the phrase). For example, if your phrase is “digital marketing agency”, your ad may appear for “local digital marketing agency”, “how to choose a digital marketing agency” or “digital marketing agency in London”.

Exact Match

With exact match, your can show your ad to users who search for your exact keyword or a close variant. A close variant might be a search with he same meaning, or a different spelling. This is helpful because users are likely to have variations when it comes to the way they search – but could still be looking for your business and what you have to offer. Once Google know exactly what you are looking for – you can use exact match to specify this.

Mistake 2 – Not Using Negative Keywords

A negative keyword is any word that you do not want to appear for a search query. When adding a negative keyword, you are informing Google that you do not want search engine users to find your PPC ad when typing a specific term or phrase. When using Google Ads, it’s essential that you continue to expand your negative keyword list throughout any running campaign – starting based on your search term reports.

You can start off by adding a standard list of negative keywords. This means that no matter what your business offers or what industry in you’re in – you will probably have some general words that you wouldn’t want to appear against. We suggest using tools like SEMrush Keyword Planner to find suggested negative keywords. This is a really simple yet effective way of saving money on Google Ads and reaching more qualified leads – i.e. people who are likely to convert!

The next step would be finding out the exact keywords that people are using to find our PPC ads. You’ll be able to do this by clicking on the Search Terms tab in Google Ads. You might be surprised at how many keywords you find, that have little to no relevance to your campaign. We would recommend a minimum of about 50-100 keywords to make sure you’re not wasting any of your digital marketing budget on unwanted clicks.

3 – Not Adding Extensions

Google has made it easier to drive more relevant users to your ads through extensions. PPC ad extensions offer advertisers a way of driving more qualified traffic to your site by providing extra pieces of important information to an ad. Extensions are a way of making sure your ad is standing out amongst the competition.

There are different types of extensions available – depending on what you’re hoping to achieve. Let’s take sitelink extensions for example, these allow you to add a hyperlink to different pages of your site and send users to exactly where they want to be. Another example is callout extensions – which are a way of showing any USP (unique selling points) you can offer as a business. Other types include structured snippet extensions, location extensions and price extensions. We’ve got a page all about ad extensions and how to use them in paid search, which you can read here.

One thing to remember with extensions is that you can’t control exactly how they will appear on search engines. Google will decide what appears, for which ads. We suggest keeping a close eye on your extension tab within Google Ads – to determine which extensions are leading to the highest conversions. Once you begin to notice patterns, you’ll be able to pause or replace the lowest performing versions.

4- Not Optimising for Conversions

Without conversion testing, it’ll be difficult to have an understanding of which keywords are generating sales and how much of your budget it takes to drive a sale etc. We recommend adding any relevant conversion actions to your campaign, depending on your business goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Sale
  • Newsletter signup
  • Form submission
  • Phone call
  • Download of digital asset

Adding any conversion actions is a way of understanding customer journeys, improving your ROI (return on investment) and driving sales/conversions.

What Next?

As a digital marketing agency –we can assure you that what you do before a campaign is just as important as what you do throughout. These are a few of the first essential things to consider when creating an ad. Avoiding some of these simple mistake can prevent problems later down the line when your PPC ad goes live. If you want to speak to us about a Google Ads campaign – feel free to get in touch.