I have started the certification process for Google AdWords with the goal of Image Media Partners becoming a Google AdWords Certified Partner. As I have been attending workshops and studying the online material I have noticed many similarities between inbound marketing and paid search marketing. Many of the common mistakes marketers make with inbound marketing they also make with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and wonder why they are not more successful. Here are ten very common mistakes.
- Using the wrong keywords: Many people think if they choose a keyword that gets lots of traffic then the high volume of searches will result in clicks to their ad. Searchers are generally very focused so even if they see your ad if they are not looking for it they will not click. For example, the keyword “cheap purses” gets 2 to 3 times more traffic than the keyword “Gucci purses” but someone looking for a cheap purse will not click on a Gucci ad.
- Too Many Keywords: In Google Adwords you can associate your ad with as many keywords as you like. There are for example, over 700 keywords that can be associated with the word “purse.” However, not each of those words would be relevant for someone searching for a cheap leather purse. Restrict your keywords to about 10 or 15 per each ad. This will also help you see how well that ad is doing with that set of keywords.
- Too few Ads: When you set up a Google Adwords campaign you set up your budget for a group of ads so the cost remains the same if you have one ad or ten ads. The advantage of 10 ads is that you can quickly see what is working and what is not working so you can drop unproductive ads and promote the productive ads.
- Keywords not in ad title: When someone searches on a keyword those keywords are bold on the results page, including keywords in the ads. So if you are bidding on the keyword “leather purses” make sure your ad title reads: Sale on Leather Purses.
- Not Targeting Ads: Again, if you are selling leather purses you will do better picking keywords such as: leather purse, leather purses, woman’s leather purse, leather handbag, as opposed to: women’s purse, tote bag, laptop bag, unique purses and bags.
- Bad User Experience: What happens when someone clicks on your ad? Do they go to a landing page with the information they are looking for? Can they buy the product or find the information they are looking for? If not they will leave, you will have paid for the click but lost a customer.
- Not paying attention to Quality Score: The quality score is a grade between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each keyword associated with your ad. If the ad does not get very many clicks or if the clicks do not result in a conversion or sale then Google will give it a low score. If it has a low score your ad will not show up on future searches or it will get a low position. Pay attention and optimize your keywords and ads to get a higher score.
- Ad on wrong platform or time: Advertisers on Google have a lot of options on where and when their ads show up. For example, a downtown restaurant that is busy on Friday and Saturday nights can target ads to show on computers within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant on Friday and Saturday afternoons when people are planning their evening. In the evening when folks are out on the town the ads can be targeted to mobile phones within 5 miles or even within one ZIP code. The mobile ads can even promote late night happy hours or specials that are time sensitive.
- Not investing the time: One of the great advantages of Google Adwords is the opportunity to get almost instant results and see what is working and what is not working. Too often a company will set up a pay-per-click ad campaign, make the mistakes listed in points 1 through 8 and conclude that paid search is a complete waste of time. If the ads are not working figure out why and fix the problem.
- 10. Not checking results: Worse than coming to the wrong conclusion about your Google Adword campaign is not coming to any conclusion at all because you are not following the results. It is possible to follow the results and make corrections almost immediately to maximize your results, but not if you are not paying attention.
Using Google Adwords is not an automatic process and profitable results do not come just by the fact that you have an ad. Too many companies have tried paid search and when they failed they blamed Google and not what they were doing or not doing. Marketers need to pay attention just as much with paid search as they do with inbound marketing. Paid search and Google Adwords does not take the place of good search engine optimization and should be used in conjunction with a good inbound marketing strategy.
Photo Credit: FindYourSearch