If you work in marketing, you know that increasing brand awareness through organic methods, social or search engines, is quite a challenge. It can be seen as a playground for paid search advertising. However, paid search advertising isn’t precisely an immediately effective problem-solving solution for your marketing strategy. It’s a complex, time-consuming job and requires constant optimization. The pitfalls of paid search are many. In this post, we’ll round up the five most common Google advertising mistakes that affect your business’ Pay-per-click strategy.
1. Only use broad match keywords
It is a common mistake made by many people who are new to Google Advertising. Broad match is the default match type for all keywords. If you use a broad match, your ad may appear when users search for synonyms, related searches, typos, and other variations (as determined by Google).
Although a broad match sounds like a good idea. You can appeal to a wide audience. Using it with care, as it can be expensive. A broad match is set up to reach a wide audience, your ads can appear for relevant and completely unrelated searches, which means you’ll pay for irrelevant clicks.
While the broad match is risky and expensive because it’s not a precisely targeted strategy, it can be helpful when used strategically. One way to do that is to run a small, separate campaign to find new keywords through the broad match. Google will show your ad along with keywords it deems relevant, possibly giving you a list of keywords you wouldn’t have thought of. You can then create a group of targeted keywords based on your findings.
Similarly, you can also discover keywords where you don’t want Google’s ads to appear. For example, if you sell electric skateboards and have broad match enabled, Google may think it might be appropriate to show your ad for “electric scooters” that you don’t sell. You can add scooters to your negative keyword list, so you won’t have to pay for clicks from unrelated searches.
2. Don’t use negative keywords
Speaking of negative keywords, not using them strategically is a pretty big advertising mistake by Google. Negative keywords are keywords where you don’t want your ad to appear. They are key to any successful advertising campaign, as they help you narrow down your target audience and save money on clicks because you reduce the number of irrelevant clicks your ads can receive.
As with “affirmative” keywords, negative keywords can be a broad match, a phrase match, or an exact match.
- Negative broad match: This is the default match type for your keywords. Your ad won’t show if the search contains all of these negative search terms in any order.
- Negative phrase match: Your ad won’t show if the search contains your keyword phrase in its exact order.
- Negative exact match: Your ad doesn’t appear if the search contains the precise keywords in the order you specified without the additional words.
Solution: Start by searching for your target keywords, and you’ll quickly find search results that aren’t relevant to your ad.
For example, if you’re advertising headphones (just regular over-ear headphones), when you search for “headphones” yourself on Google, you’re likely to find a lot of unrelated results. You may see results for sports headphones, wireless headphones, etc. That can help inform your negative keywords including “sports” and “wireless” in the negative keyword book. If you sell a service, make sure you add words like ‘free’ and ‘try’ to your negative keywords if you don’t offer those as options.
3. Ignore Google Advertising Extensions (or Don’t Use the Right Extensions)
Ad extensions enrich your ads with more options and information, making your ads more appealing to users. Extensions also take up more space, making your ads more noticeable. According to Google, “Google Advertising Extensions increase an ad’s click-through rate by several percentage points”. Not to mention using Google ad extensions is free, so they are a good way to increase your CTR.
There are two categories of extensions: those that Google automatically adds, and those that you have to add yourself. A Google advertising mistake is not adding any manual extensions to your ads.
Solution: Like all things on Google Advertising, make sure the extensions you use are highly relevant to your ad and business goals. You can use extensions at the campaign or ad group level. So make sure you adjust your extension for each level appropriately. For ads that are targeted to mobile traffic, use the click-to-call ad extension or the app download extension.
4. Send all paid traffic to your homepage
Sending all your PPC traffic to your homepage is arguably the worst Google advertising mistake you can make in SEM. Why? Because the user’s search journey will go like this:
User searches for something specific > User clicks on an ad that matches their search > User is taken to a page that has exactly what they’re looking for.
When you send paid traffic to your homepage, you’re not addressing user-specific searches, you are driving them to the most general page you have. Not only will that annoy users, but Google will penalize you for it too. When Google sees that your landing page (in this case, the homepage) is not too relevant to your ads and keywords, they lower your Quality Score, which in turn increases your CPC.
Solution: Create landing pages specific to each set of keywords, then tailor those landing pages to suit user intent. Think about the questions users have when searching for keywords: are they looking for FAQs? Are they looking to buy? Are they interested in pricing information, product details, etc.?
5. Do not use advanced location settings
You might think that location settings are only for businesses with a physical store or a local presence. However: Google’s ads are geo-targeted for everyone. Even if you sell products or services online, location settings can help you target your ads and more. When it comes to Google Advertising, the more targeted, the better your click-through and conversion rates.
Solution: Start by excluding locations that aren’t relevant to you: countries or cities you don’t ship to, or places you don’t offer your service
Pay attention to the Location and Advanced Search options in Google Advertising. Here you can specify a location radius and, more importantly, who can see your ad. By default, your ads will be eligible to show people based on their location or places of interest.
Google Advertising is complex and time-consuming. However, taking the time to customize settings and optimize Google landing pages and ads can be hugely profitable for your business.