July 17, 2018

More Common AdWords Mistakes

AdWords mistakesOk much has happened since last I updated, so I’ve decided to finish the remaining ‘adwords mistakes’ in one giant post!

Mistake #5 – Not monitoring bids at the keyword level.

Don’t fall into the trap of just setting bids at the ad group level and forgetting about individual keyword bids – success is in the detail guys, so pay attention to what’s happening in your accounts at the most micro level possible.

I spoke with someone the other week over the phone who couldn’t work out why their average CPC was 2 x what ‘they were bidding’. A few questions back and forth and we realized that while the ad group bid was set at $0.12, the individual CPC’s for keywords were all set at $0.25. Ouch.

Anyway – easy fix, but pays to remember this.

The thing is though that, depending on your ad group structure, setting the bid ‘just’ ad the group level may well mean you’re missing out on opportunity, or paying too much for some phrases, and not enough for others.

To illustrate, you could have an ad group for ‘compare home loans’ and in that group you have the following keyword with 2 match types.

History of this keyword – you already know this terms converts well…

What would happen if the bid was set only at the ad group level? Say at $2.50.

compare home loans
phrase match
conversion rate 18%
compare home loans
exact match
conversion rate 26%

Well chances are you will end up paying either too much for the Phrase match term, or not enough for the exact match term. Eg. The better converting ‘exact match’ phrase should be treated differently than the phrase match variant, simply because it converts better. But if you’re not controlling at this level, then you may be leaving opportunity behind.

Mistake #6 – Not using different keyword ‘Match Types’.

I started going into this above… and while I’ve covered negative keywords in an earlier post, and another great write up can be found over at PPCHero, today I want to go through broad, phrase and exact match in a little more detail.

Broad match, according to a Google rep at SMX Sydney who said  ‘Broad Match is your friend’….  I disagree!

Broad match may be Google’s best friend, but it’s not yours. Think of it more as that annoying friend on facebook that always takes things too far and is often inappropriate.. yeah that’s Broad Match!

Reason? Well BM is designed as a ‘catch all’ in the adwords system. You can set one key phrase on broad match and bam – your appearing for all sorts of crazy stuff (hence why negatives are important too!).

Let’s go back to the example above ‘compare home loans’.

If this is set on BM then you could match for things like

  • compare home loans
  • home loan compare
  • loan compare
  • compare home loans in melbourne
  • do not compare home loans
  • compare home loans for dummies
  • compare mortgage insurance for home loans
  • home loans
  • home loans suck
  • home loans for dummies

See what I’m getting at – it’s dangerous. Goes to far, and is inappropriate at times

That’s why we have ‘phrase’ and ‘exact’ match.

That same list again using phrase match:

  • compare home loans
  • compare home loans in melbourne
  • do not compare home loans
  • compare home loans for dummies
  • compare mortgage insurance for home loans

Getting better – phrase match tells google ‘we only want to match in the specified word order.’

The same again with ‘exact match’:

  • compare home loans

Simple as that – exact meant ‘exactly as I’ve written it!’

Match types allow more control and flexibility, but… and more importantly,  you’d be amazed at how much the intent of a search query changes with just a few words added.

Take the following where it matched on Phrase Match..

  • compare home loans in melbourne
  • compare mortgage insurance for home loans

If you were on broad or phrase match for ‘compare home loans’ and did not have these terms in another ad group – chances are that they would trigger you generic ‘compare home loans’ ad. However, if you were smart you’d see straight away that these terms should be directed to a specific landing page – one addressing ‘melbourne’ and the other incorporating ‘mortgage insurance information.

Powerful stuff when done well.

Mistake #7 – Not splitting out Campaigns to target Search and Content Network separately.

This was going to be a big rant about not separating out your campaigns between search and content… but you know what, I’ve written about the google content network quite a bit, and this really is the most basic of the basic step.
Simply put, you must always break up your campaigns into one targeting Search / Search Partners and another (potentially) targeting the content Network. Ever have the one campaign targeting both because it just makes things harder for you.

Targeting Your Geographic Region in AdWords (7 AdWords Mistakes – #4)

7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.geo_targeted_world_small

Mistake #4 – Not Targeting Your Geographic Region.

In the last post we talked about using Negative Keywords and how to best utilise these to cut out on unwanted and un-targeted AdWords traffic. Pretty neat huh?

But there’s another fatal mistake that I’ve see all too often and this one can be even more costly in the long run – Geo-Targeting.

The PPC engine such as AdWords allow the advertiser to be very selective in where they want to show their ads, eg. which countries, cities, regions or languages to target.

Most common targeting that an advertiser would use would be the country level, i.e. Australia, and for an online business that does indeed ship products country wide, this probably makes sense.

However I’ve also seen, time and time again, US merchants targeting Australian ‘eyeballs’ with their ads, and after investigating realise they only ship within the US and Canada! I’m sure there are a few Australian merchants that have done the same and accidentally targeted the US and other English language countries without realising. Can be costly!

I’d like to take this a step further however, think about the current targeting for your campaigns, then think about your target market, delivery constraints, serviceable regions, etc…

Does your product or service really cater to everyone in the region your are currently targeting who search using your keywords? If it does then great, keep your geo-targeting broad, but if it doesn’t think again.

If you’re a small business that only services a specific region, then this is especially important. Rather than target your PPC ads to the whole country or state, perhaps you would be better off targeting your city, or even a region within that city. Sure this will vastly cut down on the impressions and clicks that your ads will potentially receive, but we’re after quality, not quantity in cases such as this so there is not point in wasting hard earned dollars on visitors  who will never buy your product or service.

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Sending All Clicks to Your Homepage (7 AdWords Mistakes – #3)

7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.man_on_arrow

Mistake #3 – Sending all Clicks to Your Home Page.

Let’s start this post with a question. What is one of the single most powerful features of search engine marketing? The key to why PPC and SEO work so well?

Quite simply, the user is actively broadcasting their needs and desires to the world every time they search for something.

‘Useful’ is an understatement… The ability for us to promote products and services in the targeted manner that Pay-Per-click allows is incredibly powerful and profitable when done right.

The key (excuse the pun) to being successful is choosing the right keywords in the first place (to be covered in separate posts) which will not only target the users when they’re ready to buy, but also target users when they are at other stages of the buying cycle – research, comparison etc.).

Once you have developed your master keyword list, you then need to break this up in to campaigns & ad groups, write your ad copy and select your targeted landing pages…
This is where many advertisers let themselves down and ultimately pay the price in the long run.

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Are You Making These 7 Google AdWords Mistakes? (Mistake #2)

7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.

Mistake #2 – Not using negative keywords.

Google AdWords (Yahoo and Bing) allow advertisers to select words or phrases that you do not want your PPC ads to appear against. They call this adding ‘negative keywords’.

The idea is pretty simple, but often overlooked.

Let’s just assume you have added in your list of keywords to AdWords using the default ‘broad match’ match type. What this means is that Google will show your ad for not only the keyword you’ve chosen, but also for any other potential phrase combination that includes your original keyword.

Let me use a real world example.

My father is an owner of an organic olive oil business called Donkey Hill Organic Products. They’ve decided to run a small PPC campaign on Google to hopefully attract some wholesale enquiries and potentially a retail client or two. The main focus however remains B2B.

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Are You Making These 7 Google AdWords Mistakes? (Mistake #1)

Series: 7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.AdWords mistakes

Mistake #1 – Too many keywords per ad group.

I see this mistake all the time and, as a new AdWords advertiser, it’s not exactly 100% your fault. I’ll explain why.

Google (and Yahoo and MSN) pretty much lead you down a path of adding way to many keywords per ad group right from the account set-up stage when they ask you to add your keywords. How many of you had a list of 100 or so and just added them into one ad group to get going? See what I’m getting at?

Well I’m here to tell you that it most definitely is a big mistake, but it is understandable given the way the account set-up process works.

While there is no single correct answer when it comes to the number of keywords per group, the aim of the game is simple – each ad group should only contain highly targeted, related keywords that focus on a specific product or service.

Take a look back at all your ad groups and ask yourself, “Are these groups individually targeting a single product, service, or action?” If not then you have some work to do.

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The Anatomy of a Google Search Results Page (Mind Your Own PPC)

I thought it would be a good idea to briefly describe the various elements that make up a Google Search Engine Results Page or SERP as it will help later on if you clearly understand what each piece of real estate is all about.

I also decided that there’s no better way to show this than with pictures – so here we go! minimalistic but pretty self explanatory.

(Tip: click on any of the images to view the full size image).

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

The Anatomy of a Google Search Results Page

Below is the Google result page for the search phrase ‘florist melbourne’ – Fairly generic but with a local search / small business intent.  Lets see what we got….

Google Search Engine Results Page

(click image to enlarge)


What ‘result’ would you click on first?  Keep the answer to that question in your head while I break out the various elements below:

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PPC – What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising? (Mind Your Own Pay-Per-Click)

While it may seem obvious to some of you what pay-per-click advertising actually is, you are not alone in this world if you are still a bit confused.

I believe it is always good to take a step back and look at the big picture, so I wanted to define PPC and briefly explain where and how it relates to the many other online marketing channels you may have heard of.

Also as you may have noticed, another issue that we in the online marketing world are guilty of is acronyms, so if you are just starting out you’re probably completely and utterly confused by the sheer volume of 3 letter abbreviations we have in this space. From me, and hopefully I speak for other seasoned internet marketers, I’m sorry about these little things (acronyms) that make it harder to understand than it should be. We’re guilty as charged, but believe me, pretty soon you’ll be emailing your close ones using terms like “PPC”, “SEM”, “CPC”, “CPA”, “SEO”, etc. and do you know why? Well quite simply, because, like me, you will get tired of always typing out the full word! As simple as that!

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MYOPPC Basics – Defining Marketing Goals and Setting Targets.

Mind Your Own Pay-per-clickThis next topic in the MYOPPC Series deals with Defining Marketing Goals and Setting Realistic Targets.

Note that we’ve not even looked at AdWords, Yahoo, Campaign Structure, Set-up etc.  this will come, but as I mentioned it’s important to get the foundations right and have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.

I’m also assuming that you already have a web site and a product or service to take to market. If not, no problem – we can cover that stuff later. Additionally some of you may already have an Adwords account running and are keen to get onto the ‘good stuff’.  Great!…

Drop me a note in the comments section at the bottom of this post – Say Hi! – And if you like, let me know what the biggest challenges are that you are facing with your online marketing or PPC Campaign at the moment.

I can try and work some ideas into future updates that may help you!

Moving on to ‘Conversions’ and ‘Success Events’…

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MYOPPC Basics – Defining Your Business Goals

Mind Your Own Pay-per-clickDefining your business goals and understanding how search marketing may help achieve these.

As a business owner or marketing manager this post may be nothing new to you however I wanted to start this series with the fundamentals and work up from there as a strong foundation is the key to future success.

With a strong foundation come clear and precise goals and targets. So let’s get going!

Your Business Objectives

As I hinted at above, understanding your business objectives is a must if you hope to successfully implement and optimize a PPC marketing campaign. Without a clear focus, you will run into many hurdles along the way that would have otherwise not been an issue.

Defining Your Goals & Objectives

So, what is your business model? What pays the bills?
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New Series: Mind Your Own Pay-Per-Click (MYOPPC)


If you are  a ‘Do it yourself’ kind of person then this new series is definitely for you. Each week I will be posting new articles on how to manage your PPC campaigns yourself.  It doesn’t matter if you are a small local business, large corporate, or online e-tailer, there is sure to be something here for everyone.

Why am I doing this? Well honestly, I’m pretty tired of all the small to medium business’ out there (quite possibly you!) who are getting ripped off by sub-standard service providers in the online marketing space who charge too much and deliver too little to their clients.

And by too little I mean in some instances only ~ 50% of the money the client spends goes in to actually buying ads on Google, Yahoo, or MSN.

This is certainly not the case across the board, and there are many PPC providers in the small business and Local search space who do a great job, and can justify the ~50% margins that they charge… After all, they too need to pay the bills.

But I’m here to tell you that with a little bit of time, maybe 30 minutes a day, you can actually manage your own Pay-Per-Click for your business and ensure that 100% of you money goes into buying search ads, not just 50%!

So, if you would like to learn PPC and keep up with all the latest and greatest techniques on running PPC campaigns for yourself then please sign up to my newsletter here!

See you on the other side!


Leigh Hanney