In evaluating hundreds of pay per click campaigns I've often seen the same mistakes over and over again. Even with the clients I’m working with, they do things that often loses them money, either in wasted clicks or missed opportunities.

Examples of PPC mistakes

Here are the 10 most common mistakes I see clients make in setting up their pay per click campaigns.

Not Setting a Realistic Monthly Budget

When someone is attempting to develop their campaign, they often imagine what they want their budget to be and then divides it by 30 to set a daily budget.  There are two problems with this. First it’s better to begin lower until you’ve determined what the cost per click will be for your targeted keywords.  Second, Google can over as much as 20 percent each day so your total budget for the month may be 20 percent higher than anticipated.

Sending Everything to The Home Page

Ideally its best to have landing pages you can tweak for an AdWords campaign, but for many businesses this isn’t practical. Still, to simply send everyone to the home page isn’t practical either. If you sell a variety of products than develop ad groups based on each product or category and then have the ads link to these pages instead. By getting prospects as quickly as possible to the product or service their looking for, the better the chance for success.

Not Adjusting For Mobile

Another problem with many web sites is that they aren’t mobile ready. Yet, advertisers with no mobile sites have bids set to the same level as for desktop. This could be a lot of wasted clicks if prospects go to your site on their mobile phone and can’t navigate it or worse, it takes forever for it to load. If having a mobile site isn’t an option (even though it should be), then lower your bids for mobile.

Not Using Site Links

If your ads consistently run in the top of the page and you’re not using site links, you not only missing out on opportunities, but also most likely cost your company money. Sitelinks are calculated in your Quality Score and because of this not having them lowers your Quality Score. This means you could be paying more for clicks then necessary.

Not Using Negative Keywords

In almost any campaign there are going to be searches that occur that don’t apply to a business. It could be someone looking for a job in your industry, free products, or maybe it’s from someone looking for something in a city in another state that has the same name. Look through the search terms people used to trigger your ads and single out the words that don’t apply. Chances are others will perform similar searches unless you use negative keywords to prevent this from happening again.

Checking Often To See If Ads Are Running

Nervous business owners often worry that their ads aren’t running, especially if they’re not getting results. So they perform a search on their laptop or their cell phone. This adds to the number of impressions that your ads accumulate and will lower your click through rate (unless you make the mistake of clicking on your ad, which I’ve also seen).  Instead use Google AdWords Preview Tool. Not only will this not count against your campaign, but if your ads aren’t running it will tell you why.

Letting Your Campaign Run on Autopilot

Even the best designed campaigns need tweaking on occasion. Simply setting up a campaign and then leaving it to run on its own is a mistake. Some of the reason’s I’ve already listed, but Google and Bing are also constantly rolling out new features.  Many of these can improve a campaign and not taking advantage of them gives your competitors an edge.

Bidding on Broad Match Keywords

In the beginning there might be some value to using broad match keywords in order to generate more keywords to target.  Yet, you should make the transition pretty quickly to either modified broad match or phrase match. With broad match you’re going to see a lot of searches that are totally unrelated to your business.

Getting Attached to One or Two Words

Many business people have a pretty strong idea of what search terms their prospects are using.  The problem is that it’s often a one or two word term.  This means it can be very broad. I have clients all the time tell me to focus on words like these and while we can incorporate them into a campaign. It’s almost always better to have longer phrases that might contain these particular words. Many advertisers like these words because they appear to have a lot more searches.  Yet, it’s very rare anymore that a searcher types in one or two words.

Putting All Words into One Basket

Once people begin setting up a campaign, they begin to add words to it. Google has might even suggested some terms. The problem is they begin to put them all in one ad group. It might not be long before they have dozens, then hundreds of keywords. Keep an ad group to 10 to 20 words at the most. If you have more than that begin moving some out to new ad groups.

Targeting Search and Display

There can be value in advertising on display, but almost no value in ever putting them together. Even though Google AdWords has made improvements with the targeting options on display, it’s better to have two separate campaigns. As the name implies people are searching on one format, but with display it like a billboard that people come across. They're not expecting it, but if you do display right you can capture their attention. Just remember they're two different formats.

Many of these mistakes can seem like simple fixes and often are. But not doing them costs you money and business.