On the face of it, Google Ads seems relatively easy to set up.
Choose a few keywords, pick your target market, create some ads and your campaign is running.
For all the ease in getting it set up, however, it takes more work than a few simple steps to succeed. And you certainly can’t take a set and forget it approach to your campaign.
If you're disappointed in your results with Google, then most likely you're making some of the following mistakes, if not all.
The critical mistakes I focus on are ones that are easy to correct. They don’t require changes to your website.
If making changes were an option, then I'd have included not using a landing page. Incorrectly tracking conversions would also be on the list.
Targeting Search and Display
By default, campaigns are set to both search and display. This is a horrible combination.
Search and display are two quite different platforms.
With search your targeting people actively searching for something.
With display, you’re trying to attract the attention of someone who might be a prospect but are on a page for some other reason.
By putting them together they both pull from the same daily budget and often display gets more of your funds. As a result, you miss out on the people typing in your keywords.
You’ll show up on a lot of websites you never heard of and probably would never visit on your own. Click on placements and you’ll be surprised and a little disturbed by where your ads ran. And your likely to see no conversions from them.
Using Broad Match
This is another default setting designed to cost you money and make more profit for Google.
With broad match you’re not targeting the words you type in. Instead your bidding on words that only slightly resemble your words. And often you see words that aren’t even remotely similar to the words your targeting.
For example, you might target the phrase golf pro. You could be showing up golf ball, Caddyshack, croquet, or golf cart.
In the example below a plumber shows up for a phrase that doesn't benefit his business.
Look at your search terms you’ll be surprised at all the words people actually typed in and that then clicked on your ad. From some its apparent they didn’t even read your ad before clicking on it.
Edit your phrases so you’re using exact or phrase match. You’ll still get some unusual variations, but not to the extent you will with broad match. There are a lot of nuances to keyword match types.
Using Exact Match and Thinking You Don’t Need to Monitor It
At the opposite end of the keyword spectrum is exact match. In this phrase choice, you are seemingly telling Google that your ad should only appear for a specific phrase.
If you're using exact match you might think you don’t need to monitor what terms you show up for. This is a mistake because of the changes Google has made to exact match.
Exact match doesn’t mean what it used to mean.
Google felt exact match was too restrictive. That marketers weren’t showing up enough in search results. They decided to open it up, not just to misspellings, but also close variants. In fact, they might even switch around your words.
Some of the variations seem to make sense. Personal injury attorney would also appear for the exact match personal injury lawyer. That’s not a stretch.
Many results might not be too apparent or as beneficial. For example, your term is carpet cleaning, but Google is showing you up for carpet cleaner. These are vastly different searches, with the second not likely very profitable for a business that cleans carpets professionally.
The moral of the story is that no matter what match type your using you need to consistently review your search terms.
Not Using Negative Match or Worse, Doing It incorrectly
When reviewing your search terms, you’ll come across words that obviously won’t benefit your business. Phrases that you were charged for, but which have no benefit.
In the search below the person is looking for a job, but the ad is for someone needing a website.
By adding negative keywords, you can prevent this phrase from happening again.
The problem is that when you select a phrase to be added directly from the search report, your adding it as exact match. And exact match in negative match is very specific. So you’re only blocking the exact phrase that you came across.
Examine the phrase and see what term or terms made it a bad match. Then add them as either phrase or broad match negative keywords. This will ensure that any instance in which a word or phrase you added as a negative will block any phrase containing them.
Not Paying Attention To Quality Score
Quality score might not be a term your familiar with, but you should. Google doesn’t apply a strict auction format. The highest bidder doesn’t always get the top spot.
Ad position is based on your bid times your Quality Score. I’ve written previously on Quality Score, so will only briefly address it here.
If your seeing Quality Scores of 1 or 2 for a phrase it’s a good indicator you have a problem. That your ads or your landing pages might be ineffective. Either way, you’ll have to pay more to get those words to show and even then, they might not last very long there.
Take notice of your keywords that have low Quality Scores and either do something to remedy them or pause them.
Don’t be consumed by Quality Score, but don’t ignore it either. If you have a 5 or 6 its still a low mark, but your ad should still be appearing. It’s when your QS is at the low end of the spectrum, that you should really be concerned.
And with any Quality Score below 10 see what you can to improve it
Putting All Your Keywords in One Ad Group
One common reason for low Quality Scores is the tendency to put a large number of keywords into a single ad group. You might be reviewing Google suggestions and then click on any that seem appropriate. Before your done, you have a lot of keywords in a single ad group.
In the beginning it might be fine to throw them all in a single group just to see which phrases get impressions and at what cost.
Over time you’ll need to break your phrases into smaller groups so that the ad is more relevant to the keyword. The more relevant the ad is to the word, the better response you’re likely to get.
Bidding to Be Number 1
Is your goal to have your ad to be at the top of the search results? Unless you have an unlimited budget, this is a mistake.
It costs to be number 1 and trying to get there and stay there can consume your daily budget.
Google recognizes that many marketers want to be number 1 and as a result offer Target Impression Share. You literally choose Absolute Top of Results Page.
Why is this such a bad objective? Because it results in you getting fewer clicks for your budget. And if your competitors have the same objective, then you're in a bidding war.
If you bid lower and still show up in top group of ads, you’ll get more clicks. Thus having a better chance to convert.
Be more concerned about getting the most relevant clicks for your campaign. Not about where your prospects see you.
Bidding on the Competition
This is also where you can see a lot of wasted spend if you’re not monitoring your search terms. You might be showing up for specific employees at one of your competitors or people who are searching for their address.
You think you might be stealing away prospects from them, but in many cases, you’re simply depleting your marketing budget, which helps them in the long run.
Since you can’t use their name in your ads, your Quality Score will be lower.
There can be some benefit to bidding on competitor names, but there are also risks. If your intent on targeting competitor's names put them in their own campaign. This allows you to control your daily spend on them.
Not Using All Available Ad Space or Relevant Ad Extensions
When you first set up your Google campaign, you might have rushed in creating your ads. You put an ad up but left a few parts blank. If that is the case then go back and fill everything in from all 3 headlines to both descriptions, as well as the display path.
You may have added a few extensions such as site links and click to call. Yet, there are other extensions that could also apply to your business if you looked them over.
There are a few reasons that you want to make sure you fill in your ads completely and utilize as many extensions as you can. Even if they aren’t used all the time.
One reason is that using as much of these as possible is that it allows you to include more information about your business or about your offer.
An expanded ad will also help you stand out, even if your ad is running in the second or third spot.
You also want to take up as much real estate as possible. If your ad shows at the top, the bigger your ad is, the further down the competition is.
Finally, just the use of extensions will also help to influence your Quality Score.
Not Paying Attention To Your Campaign
Are you feeling pretty good about your campaign? That it's getting your phone to ring or forms are being submitted. Then maybe you feel you can just let it run on its own. Especially if you're using one of Google’s automated bidding strategies.
No matter how successful your campaign is, there is likely room for improvement. And if you're ignoring your campaign, over time your results are going to diminish.
Most likely your competition is making changes to their campaigns. Changes that could be vaulting them above you in the results.
Also, Google is constantly introducing new features and you want them to be incorporated into your campaign if they are appropriate.
You need to update your campaign on a regular basis.
As I mentioned, at the very least, you need to be reviewing your search terms, looking for wasted spend and new opportunities.
For a campaign to succeed you need to get everything correctly in place and then build on this. If your not having success with Google Ads or don’t have the time to properly manage it, consider hiring a Google Ads Consultant to either assist or manage your campaign.