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5 common Google Ads mistakes to avoid

by Anthony
by Anthony O'Donoghue
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A well-managed Google Ads campaign can be very profitable, but there are some common mistakes that need to be avoided if you're going to maximize your revenue.

Not targeting the right keywords

Selecting the right key terms to target is integral to any successful Google Ads campaign. When someone types your keywords into Google, they should be looking for a business just like yours. If you get it right, the people clicking on your ad will be far more likely to buy from you.

It’s not all about volume; it doesn’t matter if lots of people are searching for a word if its so competitive you’ll never get anywhere near the first search engine results page. Targeting that word would most probably be uneconomical. Low volume phrases that bring people more likely to convert are far more valuable than a keyword that produces a large volume of worthless traffic. It’s quality over quantity that you want.

Don’t be too broad in your choices, Google Ads is about getting relevant clicks from qualified customers. If a term is too broad then chances are  you will get a lot of irrelevant traffic. For a company specialising in the repair of French cars, the term ‘car repair’ would be too broad to return relevant enquiries.

Google offers several ways to match keywords.

  • ‘Broad match’ is the default setting for keywords. Your ad may be triggered when someone searches for any words related to your keywords. If your keywords are ‘website design and optimisation’, your ad may come up if someone types ‘website design’. Synonyms like shop/store and plural forms may also trigger ads.
  • ‘Broad match modifier’ is similar to broad match but more targeted. You can specify one or more words by putting a plus sign before them. Your ad will only show for searches using these words or close variations of them (such as plurals or incorrect spelling).
  • ‘Phrase match’ is more targeted. Your ad only appears when someone types in an entire phrase match, such as ‘website design and optimisation’. So if someone was to type ‘financial website design and optimisation’, the ad would be triggered. You can use quotation marks to indicate that your “keywords” should be phrase-matched.
  • ‘Exact match’ means searches must be identical to your keyword phrase, or a close variation with the same meaning, or with the words in a different order.  Put your [keyword phrase] in square brackets to get an exact match. This should produce higher click-through rates (CTRs) as your ad only appears when searches are specifically relevant to your keyword phrase.

Going forward, to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach more customers, both phrase and broad match modifier keywords will have the same matching behaviour.

It’s a good idea to utilise negative keyterms, where you can specify what keywords are not a good fit for your product or service. By telling Google what your product is not, you prevent your ads from showing on keyword searches that don’t align with the customers you want. Think about where your customers are and your area of operation. You can set target different locations, countries, regions or cities and customised targeting can be very precise. Your ad will only appear to people in the area that you specify – such as everyone within a twenty mile radius of your business. This is ideal for businesses such as restaurants or local shops.

Make sure your keywords are reflected in your ads and the web page you are directing traffic to. Remember that Google likes relevance and your customers do too.

Sending traffic to the wrong page

Many businesses still send traffic to their website home page, rather than a specifically designed landing page. This is far less likely to produce solid enquiries as content on a website home page tends to contain broader content and does not focus on the topic of your ads. A good landing page should be free of distraction and laser-focused on the offer you are promoting with your ads. A pay-per-click landing page should show specific details about your particular offer. It serves a clear goal and everything on it is designed to achieve that goal, which increases the likelihood of conversion. It shouldn’t contain general information or many external links that distracts visitors from the action you want them to take.

When a potential customer uses Google Ads to search for something, they have a specific intent. Often they will have a particular problem and are searching for a relevant solution. So if they can’t find what they want on your generic page, they’re going to disengage and head to another website. This then tells Google your landing page experience isn’t good. However, if someone clicks an ad and gets sent to a landing page with highly-relevant content and strong calls to action, Google will see that your ad quality is high. If you present a relevant solution that is focused on the nature of their enquiry, you are far more likely to convert.

Not having a competitive offer

A compelling ad will produce a higher click through rate (CTR) and boost your Google Ads Quality Score. This will lower the cost-per-click of your keywords. So your ads directly affect how much you are paying per click. In short, a compelling ad with a competitive offer will lower your costs, whilst poorly constructed ads will raise your costs.

The composition of your ad also has a huge bearing on results. Make your headline compelling and relevant to the keywords your targeting. This is the element that Google will make bold, so make sure you make all 25 letters count! Try asking a question or focusing on a specific benefit/niche. Using your brand name as the heading won’t have any congruence from keyword to the ad and user is unlikely to care who you are at this point. The description in your ads should focus on explicit benefits rather than implied benefits. You may be established since 2005 but this is not a specific benefit. There’s an implied benefit if the prospect puts two and two together and believes longevity equals good service, but it’s not as compelling as an ad that has a discount offer or same day turnaround. Finally, add a clear call to action to direct the user to take specific next steps.

Not making it easy for a visitor to take the next step

Creating clarity around the next steps is vital when creating your ad campaign. Calls to action (CTAs) guide visitors to specific content and to take specific action. Once you have presented a compelling offer, it should be easy for the user to take the next step and make an enquiry. If there is no assertive call to action then they are less likely to engage and will seek a solution elsewhere.

A few tips for an effective call to action would be:

  • Make it eye-catching so it pops off of the page.
  • Give it a prominent position on your ad and above the fold on a landing page.
  • Make it action-based. Use verbs like ‘Register’, ‘Download’ or ‘Call now’.

Not testing different offers

If you’re operating under assumption and not on solid data, chances are you could be missing out on opportunities to enhance your campaign. Google Ads is a cost-effective way to test and identify demand for new products and services. You can uncover data such as demand volume and use micro-testing to gain insight in to how best to market. Just ensure that you give campaigns a chance to produce enough data to inform a solid decision. See if impressions, clicks and interest are consistent. Review which areas and terms produce the interest before stopping the campaign. Businesses often turn off campaigns too early to save money, but it can lead to a far costlier mistake in launching a product or service with limited demand.

Make sure you utilise Google tools such as Google Trends to analyse approximate trending search volume for topics and search terms. This is very useful for revealing potential seasonal demand and low periods for certain types of products or services. Google Analytics can be used to review traffic on your website from test campaigns and give you insight into user behaviour. Remember to link your Google Analytics and Ads account before starting the tests.

If you need help putting together and managing a successful Google Ads campaign then a member of our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Just get in touch by clicking here

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  • Author Anthony O'Donoghue
  • Position Director
  • ID #0009H