the top 3 ppc mistakes, and how to fix them

Clients often ask us to fix their PPC campaigns. They’ve tried doing it themselves, but haven’t seen returns.

Digital advertising isn’t plug and play. Google AdWords isn’t a refrigerator: you can’t simply something plug it in and let it turn.

While it’s true that any business owner knows more about their industry than the average PPC specialist, PPC specialists know how to use Google Ads to their fullest extent. And this is usually the difference between a pay-per-click campaign working or not.

Here are the three most common mistakes in underusing Google Ads, and instructions on how to fix them.

structure, structure + more structure…

The single most common error by PPC DIYers is the lack of structure employed in campaigns. Google Ads values good structure, and good structure also enables easy analysis.

The structure of an effective account starts with Keywords, Ad Groups, and Campaigns. It is not a best practice to have only one Ad Group in one campaign, with hundreds of keywords, as we have seen so many times. Not only can this kill the Quality Score of your top-generating keywords, it can cause you to pay for keywords that have nothing to do with your Ad Group and affect your ability to determine which group of related words is performing best.

Fortunately, though, this is an easy fix:

  1. Add all the keywords in the Ad Group to a spreadsheet
  2. Group the like words into their own separate columns
  3. Create a new Ad Groups for each column of like words
  4. Create new ads tailored to the keyword theme of each Ad Group

going too broad + not using match types

It seems PPC DIYers skipped the part of the lesson about match types.

Just because a business sells books doesn’t mean it should consider “books” as a broad-matched keyword! Think of all the searches including the word “book” that have nothing to do with selling the product, like “matchbook” or “book a DJ for a party.”

One client’s account had broad-based keywords from “peace” to “education,” producing queries like “peaceful demonstrations in the Middle East” and “Texas Board of Education.” Neither search warranted an impression, but since it was broad-matched, it displayed.

This is a wasted effort that kills your click-through-rate, one of the greatest factors in Quality Score, as well as your conversion rate.

Thankfully, the fix is relatively simple:

  1. Delete most or all one-word broad-matched keywords; they are practically useless, so focus on more long-tailed keywords
  2. Test your long-tailed keywords for Phrase Match and Exact Match, and see which boasts the best numbers

For our “peace” and “education” client, we combined the two words into “education for peace,” which tested well; the exact-match had very few numbers to analyze, but the phrase match brought in some conversions.

negative keywords

One of the most underused and most important aspects of an effective ad campaign is using negative keywords, which filter out searches a campaign wants nothing to do with.

A good example is a company that exclusively sells used cars. Since they don’t sell new cars, a perfect negative keywords would be “new cars.”

Adding negative keywords is a must and, fortunately, easy to accomplish:

  1. From the Campaigns tab, click Keywords
  2. Click the “See search terms” box under the graph, and select “All,” displaying all the keywords that users searched before clicking on your ad
  3. Click the box next to each keyword that should not be included for your PPC campaign; a box titled “Add as negative keyword” will appear
  4. Click the box to adjust the search query and save the it as a negative keyword

better google ad campaigns = more conversions

If you properly structure your account, use match types correctly, and employ negative keywords, you’ll significantly improve your chances for success.

Be sure to note the stats before making these changes, and use them as a baseline to measure the results.

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