6 Mistakes That Lose You Money on Google AdWords

6 Mistakes That Lose You Money on Google AdWords

Do you use Google AdWords? If not yet, might want to check it out. It can be one of the most cost-effective channels for small businesses. If you do it right, that is.

A lot of people make these 6 mistakes over and over again, and just give up on AdWords. If you’re making one or two of these mistakes, you’re needlessly burning money.

Mistake #1: You don’t “get” Quality Score

In AdWords, Quality Score is the alpha and omega. If you don’t know what it is, you’re doing it all wrong.

For every keyword you use in your campaigns, Google assigns a quality score to it – from 0 to 10 (best). You should always aim to get 7 or better. If you don’t know what the score is affected by, you don’t know how to use AdWords.

High quality score reduces your cost per click, while raising your ad position at the same time. This results in more (and cheaper) clicks.

To get a high quality score, you need to:

  • create a dedicated ad group for every keyword and make sure that keyword is in the headline of the ad text (ideally on the next lines too),
  • create awesome and relevant ad copy that makes people want to click on them (the higher the CTR, the higher the quality score),
  • add the keyword to the display URL,
  • optimize the landing page (where the user is taken after clicking on your ad) for the search keyword (title tag, headlines, content),
  • make your initial max CPC higher than suggested.

There are actually over a 100 different factors, but if you do these things right, you will get a quality score between 7 and 10 every single time.

Google also remembers your account general history. If you’ve create low quality score ads for a long time, Google knows. Now when you do it right suddenly, Google is suspicious of you and gives you a lower score based on your history. It might be better to create a brand new account.

You can see the quality score for each keyword in the ad group level, when you click on Keywords. If the quality score columns does not appear, click on Customize Columns and check “show Quality Score” box.

Mistake #2: The same ad for lots of different keywords

This is related to the previous point, but I want to emphasize it. Every keyword has have its own ad group and ad copy!

If somebody is searching for a leather office chair, your ad should be about a leather office chair (not just office chair, chair etc). If somebody is searching for a Canon 5D camera, your ad should be about that particular product (not just Canon, cameras etc).

The more relevant the ad, the more clicks you get for a lower price.

Mistake #3: You are not split testing your ads

When you’re writing text for your ad, you will not know which copy will work the best. You can have a hunch or a hypothesis, but you will not know.

Luckily, AdWords helps you out by enabling you to split test more than one ad at the same time. So for every ad group, always have 2 competing ad texts running at the same time. I don’t recommend creating more than 2 – you can test much faster with just 2 versions.

When will you know which ad is better? Google recommends you wait until both ads have at least 100 clicks during a certain time period. My experience shows that 25 clicks is already good enough most of the time, and enables you to test more ads quicker.

Once you’ve established which ad is better, create a new one to compete with the winner. The testing should never end.

Mistake #4: You are not tracking conversions

Clicks are good, but we’re not advertising on AdWords to get clicks. We want sales, signups, actions.

In order to measure whether people coming from your ads are doing what you want them to do, you need to measure conversions. Without it you’re blind in a situation where you don’t need to be.

Which keywords are making you money and which are just burning your money? Conversion tracking will tell you.

Mistake #5: You use ‘broad’ match keywords

In your ad groups, you can choose whether you use broad, phrase or exact match for your keywords.

Never use broad match. It produces too many irrelevant people to click on yours ads, which loses you money. It also causes your ad to appear for too many irrelevant searches, which reduces your CTR which reduces your Quality Score. Which loses you money.

Whenever you can, use exact match. For 2-3 word keyword phrases you can sometimes use phrase match, too.

Mistake #6: You send people to your home page

When people click on your ads, where will they be taken to? If your home page, you’re losing money.

You need to create a dedicated landing page for your ads. The best landing pages focus on a single call to action, have no distracting links or navigation and sell the one thing people clicked on your ad for. It should repeat the same message you had on your ad.

How long should the landing page be? According to this research, short copy performs better when there is low perceived risk, low cost, and low commitment. Also, when the customer has an emotional, impulsive, and “want-oriented” motivation.

Long copy is the better performer when there is a rational, analytical, need-oriented motivation. Think consumer insurance products or many complex B2B offerings.

Get to work

Fix the mistakes and see your results improve. Enjoy.

Image credit: Magnus Bråth

Join the Conversation Add Your Comment

  1. You provide highly meaningful content. I found you through Tim Ferriss, who I found through my new trainer. Damn ~ Should have gotten back to the gym sooner. I’ve been missing out on great free information! Thank you. rob

  2. Hey Peep just fyi the advice to “add the keyword to the display URL” got my ads rejected by google:

    here is their disapproval reason:

    ====================
    Disapproval Reason
    ====================
    [Display URL] Inaccurate Display URL: Your display URL must accurately
    reflect the URL of your website. Please follow the guidelines below.

    1. Use the same domain name in your display URL and destination URL.
    For example, if you’re advertising example.com, you can’t use
    google.com as your display URL.

    2. Use the same domain extension in your display URL and destination
    URL. For example, if you’re advertising example.com, you can’t use
    example.co.uk as your display URL.

    3. Don’t redirect users to a different destination URL. For example, if
    you’re advertising example.com, example.com can’t redirect users to
    google.com. Redirects used for tracking purposes are fine if the final
    destination URL uses the same domain as the display URL.

    4. If your site’s hosted on a domain that hosts other sites, include a
    domain and path. For example, if you’re advertising
    mycompany.blogspot.com, you can’t use blogspot.com as your display URL.
    Use mycompany.blogspot.com instead.

    5. If your destination URL is too long for your ad, use a shortened
    version — like your homepage — that meets the character limit for
    this field. Check your spelling and symbols for accuracy, and make sure
    your display URL doesn’t contain an extraneous “http://” or “https://.”

  3. Some good info in your article. I would recommend against your suggestion to “create a brand new account,” to combat poor account level metrics. This can and likely will cause you to get a lifetime ban from AdWords. I have read numberous forums with people complaining about such.

    Have a great day!

    Kory Prince

    1. Peep Laja

      The rule is one account for one business entity. So you can open a new Adwords account if it’s for a different business.

  4. I guess my website URL is wrong in the above post. It’s good on this one.

  5. Great article! Thx so much for sharing, Peep!

  6. Great article, thank you for your sharing…

    So to be clear… you’re saying you would never recommend using broad keywords, in any circumstance? Would it ever make sense to simply set up different ad groups for broad match only? My only concern is my traffic quantity will go down significantly… Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

  7. So glad I found this article – great information, and it’s already made a huge difference on my quality scores. Many thanks!

  8. You are right Peep sir but google adwords require experts to configure it properly. Thanks for sharing this.

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6 Mistakes That Lose You Money on Google AdWords