If you’ve ever run pay-per-click ads on Google AdWords, then you can probably attest to the initial frustration that can come when you first begin your campaigns. Getting past the learning curve is not only a goal but also almost a necessity depending on your advertising budget. No one wants to throw money at advertising that produces zero results, but unfortunately, mastering Google AdWords may mean initially making a few mistakes that may very well cost you money.

Here are four of the most common Google AdWords mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Not Focusing on the Best Keywords

When doing keyword research, it’s common to want to try to rank for those top-notch keywords that are pulling in tons of web traffic each month. However, unless you have big marketing budgets for your monthly campaigns, you may want to stay away from such high-budget targeting. Instead, consider focusing your campaigns on groups of low-competition keywords, long-tail keywords (which are just more descriptive keywords), and single keyword ad groups (aka SKAGs). Even if you have a big budget, targeting low-competition keywords can help you to quickly and easily catch the low-hanging fruit.

  1. Having Bad Follow-ups

When visitors click on your ads, they expect to see what you mentioned in your ads. Setting up poorly written (or designed) landing pages, or pages that don’t deliver what the viewer is looking for will result in high bounce rates. For example, if your ad reads “used car parts on sale,” it shouldn’t send visitors to a page full of used cars; it should show the car parts. It seems simple and straightforward, but you’d be surprised by how many advertisers miss the mark by assuming that related content will keep visitors on a page. It usually won’t.

  1. Not Including Negative Keywords

Utilizing negative keywords can offer a great way to avoid paying for search terms that are not applicable to your keyword bids. They help to weed out keyword variations and related words that aren’t a part of your SEO strategy. For example, if you’re bidding on the phrase “acoustic guitars” and you only want to attract visitors for that term (as you may only sell that specific type of guitar), you may want to use terms such as “electric guitars” as a negative keyword so that you don’t accidentally bid on it.

  1. Not Knowing Visitors’ Search Goals

Business owners and webmasters often spend lots of money bidding on keywords that apply to their business, but that may not necessarily result in quick or high conversions. That is because they aren’t considering the intent of the web searchers when creating their keyword list. Buyers search for different things during each stage of the buying process. They could be searching for general product information, brand or price comparisons, or direct products that they can purchase as soon as possible.

For example, search terms such as “buy now,” “on sale,” “deals,” “cheap,” and “discounts” are a good indicator that searchers are looking to make a purchase. Terms such as “product A vs. product B,” “the best,” and “reviews” typically imply that searchers are looking for more information about specific products or solving a problem related to your product. Be sure to base your keywords on your buyer’s intention, as it can save you lots of advertising dollars.

Using Google AdWords can provide your business with a steady stream of web traffic and fresh, qualified leads. Creating the best campaigns may take some time, as AdWords offers lots of options, and sometimes you don’t know what the best one is until you run the ad and analyze your conversion data. However, studying your analytics and making the necessary adjustments will always lead in the right direction.

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