The mission of marketers is always to drive more traffic and, ultimately, generate more sales.
Google has much to be credited for when it comes to PPC advertising but it’s not all plain sailing. There are certain mistakes that you need to be aware of when navigating your Google Ads account; mistakes that could be fatal to the success of your business.
- Not Using The Right Keywords
Keywords are responsible for your business showing up in the SERP when people search for a product or service like yours.
We won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty, as you’re likely already aware. But what we will say is that you must consider keyword matches, of which there are three types:
- Broad – search contains any word in your keyphrase, in any order, and words that Google thinks are relevant
- Broad Match Modifier – slightly more specific than broad, the match modifier allows you to specify exact keywords that should appear in the search terms that trigger your ad by using a + before the word e.g. +adult +swimming +lessons
- Phrase – search contains your exact keyphrase but may have other words before or after the phrase
- Exact – search contains your exact keyphrase only
If you’re bidding on the keyword “interior design consultation” then your money is being spent every time those words show up in a search term either as a broad, phrase, or an exact match.
For example, if you have a broad match for “interior design consultation” then you might be paying to appear under the search term “free interior design consultation”.
Now, unless your consultations are free, you won’t be wanting to appear under this search term. Ultimately you’re spending money to appear in front of people to whom your product is irrelevant and under a search term that is irrelevant to you.
Seriously, you may as well appear under “glow in the dark fishing rods for kids”.
Here we refer to our good friend, negative keyword research!
This is something that many people overlook but doing so can be detrimental to your business, as exemplified above.
In terms of the previous example, you would want to make “free” a negative keyword. The result being that you wouldn’t show up for any search terms that use the word “free”.
Negative keyword research can be quite time-consuming. To help you get started, Nigel Patel’s blog on 7 Deadly Adwords Mistakes provides a list of likely negative keywords for small business.
It’s also worth mentioning the risk of bidding on too many keywords.
Obviously, the goal is for your ads to show up as much as possible under the relevant search terms but using too many keywords means you’re having to create a ton of ad groups, write a ton of ads and optimise a ton of landing pages.
You can see how this might be costly in time, not just money.
This brings us nicely onto the next mistake that people often make…
- Bidding Too Much On Popular Terms
The temptation, of course, is to bid on keywords that will get your ads seen by as many people as possible. But in addition to this being time-consuming, this just isn’t a smart use of your budget.
Popular search terms will be dominated by your biggest competitors and it’s likely been that way for years and years… and years.
So, unless you have a really big budget and you’re on a mission to increase your brand awareness, popular search terms are not your friend.
You will be far more effective bidding on specific keywords that are more relevant to your brand and will attract the most relevant people, rather than desperately trying to establish yourself in a big old pond full of big old fish.
And due to the rise of voice searching you’re far better off bidding on long tail keywords that show up in specific search terms in a more conversational tone.
Far fewer people are searching “weather London” and far more are just asking Google “what’s the weather like in London today?”
In fact, it’s thought that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the end of 2020.
- Not Using SKAGs
SKAGs or single keyword ad groups are, you guessed it, ad groups that only contain one keyword.
SKAGs allows you more control over your ad account by removing the risk of burning your budget on irrelevant searches meaning Google will view your metrics as more relevant and you will rank higher in the SERPs.
Using one keyword in an ad group allows you to write better quality targeted ads that are relevant to what the searches are searching for. And create high-quality landing pages specific to each ad group.
Generally, the idea of SKAGs is to remove any disparity between search terms, keywords, ads and landing pages – ultimately improving the experience for the user.
Creating ads that are super relevant to your users will increase your CTR and Quality Score and eventually decrease your spending. Jostle Corporation found that after implementing a SKAG strategy their CTR increased by 33% and their CPC decreased by 15%.
Using strategies such as single keyword ad groups in your ad account can be hugely beneficial which brings us to our next mistake…
- Poor Account Strategy
A clean account structure allows you to streamline your user’s experience and increase your Quality Score by ensuring that the searches triggering your ads are relevant to your audience.
A poor account strategy denies your authority and relevance in relation to search terms thus decreasing your visibility in the SERPs.
A great blog from Wordstream sets out the 6 main components of a Google Ads account as follows.
- Ad Groups
- Negative Keywords
- Ad Text
- Landing Pages
The important thing to think about is how your bids are placed throughout your account structure.
As we have discussed, your bids should be low on generic, highly competitive keywords and higher on specific long-tail keywords.
For example, if you have a jewellery company then you should have a low bid on “gold necklaces” because this is a very common search term with a large volume. You should have a higher bid on “gold astrological pendant necklace” because this will have fewer searches and be more relevant to your product.
It is then important that your ad account is optimised so you have high-quality landing pages that correspond to your keywords.
So if your keyword is “gold astrological pendant necklace” then you want your landing page to be a page about gold astrological pendant necklaces.
A solid account structure and a streamlined user experience is the best way to increase your Quality Score, reach and ultimately sales. Focusing on optimising your ads account is often a better use of your effort than focusing on say one type of ad.
This leads us on to our fifth and final mistake.
- Spending All Your Money on Display Ads
In recent years, display ads have been held up as the ultimate ad for achieving a wider audience reach and a lower cost per click. However, there are serious cons to using them, particularly if it’s where you’re putting most of your budget.
Display ads have undergone impressive development since its inception which means that currently, Google can display ads on external 3rd party websites. In doing so publishers earn a cut of the CPC and the ads have a far more vast user reach.
Obviously not being confined to Google search traffic is beneficial. A wider audience reach across multiple platforms means that bidding on popular keywords will cost less and the competition will be lessened.
That being said, there is a lack of control that comes with display ads regarding where they are shown. Google does have certain algorithms in place to match your ads with relevant sites, but this isn’t always reliable and there is a risk that your ads will appear on sites that are not relevant.
Optimising your ads account is really the only way that you can fine-tune your audience. With display ads, it’s far harder to target specific users which can have negative effects on your conversion rate.
That is to say, you’re much more likely to convert if your ads are targeting people who are ready to buy your product, rather than people who may have only just heard of your business. There’s less awareness with display ads of the user’s intention as the display network has no reliable way of distinguishing between a user who is ready to purchase and a user who is essentially uninterested.
PPC Protect has written a really great article about the Google display network that delves deeper into the pros and cons of using display ads.
We’re not saying display ads are a total dud but it’s worth resisting the temptation to put ‘all your ads in their basket’.
When it comes to your budget strive for balance!
Like we said, as a Digital Marketing Agency in London, we know Google has a lot to be credited for when it comes to PPC and advertisers are able to reach millions of users worldwide through Google Ads.
That being said, understanding the mistakes that are so often made can save you a lot of time and probably a lot of money.
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Bio – The Good Marketer is a Marketing Agency in London which drives more traffic, generates conversions and increases sales for Small-To-Medium Sized Businesses.