Have you put your heart and soul into SEO but still struggle to rank high with Google?

Chances are you’ve done something wrong.

The reality is that good SEO will only get you so far.

Sooner or later, you’ll have to invest in paid advertising as well.

Cost-per-click (CPC) or Pay-to-click (PPC) marketing is a great way to promote your product or service.

But that’s not too simple either.

Sure, setting up a Google Ads account and running your first campaign looks easy enough, but are you doing it right?

Keep reading to find out what you mistakes to avoid when setting up a new Google Ads campaign.

Generic Keywords

With SEO, you can afford to try many different keywords, analyse traffic data and figure out what works best.

When you run an ad campaign on Google Ads, you should be a bit more careful.

Investing in the wrong keywords could cost your company thousands of dollars.

So what do you do?

Well, you first need to perform keyword research to find keywords that rank high on Google’s search engine.

Once you identify a few keywords that you think may work well, take a step back and think about your marketing campaign as a whole.

Investing in generic keywords that rank higher may seem like a good idea at first…

… but such practices usually only work for brands that are already well-established in their respective industries.

Paying more for highly-competitive keywords will not necessarily increase traffic and sales (despite what Google says).

Just like keyword research in SEO, you need to find keywords that are less competitive but still generate good amounts of traffic.

Focus on keywords that are more likely to lead people to your product.

Don’t just pick the most competitive and expensive keywords thinking you’ll gain more in return.

Keep your ad groups nice and tidy.

If you have different irrelevant keywords in the same ad group, consider splitting those keywords into more ad groups.  

Stick to keywords that describe your product as accurately as possible:

Even if they don’t rank as high as other more generic keywords.

Wrong Keyword Match Type

What’s up with all those different match types anyway:

broad match, phrase match, exact match…

… Google offers many different keyword match types and doesn’t offer any in-depth information on how they all function.

Broad match types show your ads in more searches, while exact match types will only show ads when users search for the keywords you’ve specified.

The truth is that Google wants you to use broad match…

which is exactly why broad match is set as the default match type when you create a new ad group.

Broad match modifier is a bit better than regular broad match as it only shows your ads on search terms that you designate with the + sign.

It’s still dangerous if the keywords you’ve used are still very broad.

Keyword order matters, which is where phrase match comes into play.

Phrase match is great for when you want to run a targeted campaign that’s focused on smaller audiences and select keyword groups.

Some marketers don’t ever use phrase match in their campaigns, but it does have its uses.

Exact match is the go-to match type for most campaigns, and marketers love it.

Exact match works only if you spend a significant amount of time researching the best keywords for your product.

It’s the most cost-effective match type when utilised correctly as it allows you to reach audiences that you know will be interested in your product or service.

Also, keep in mind that exact match is not true to its name.

Exact match may trigger ads for searches that match the ‘intent of the keyword’.

Your ad may trigger for a search that doesn’t match your keyword word-for-word but is, according to Google, somehow semantically related.

This includes misspellings, plurals, as well as implied words and paraphrased words.

Utilise negative keywords to exclude Google’s engine from showing your ad when a specific, unwanted term is searched for.

Too Few Ads or Ineffective Ad Copy

For Google to properly prioritise ads that will do better, you need to have more than one ad in each group (Google recommends at least three).

When you add more ads, you give Google’s machine learning technology the chance to focus on those ads that are expected to perform better.

You may trust Google to display your ads, but Google can’t really write the ad for you.

Your ad copy needs to be short, clear and compelling.

Make sure you include a CTA and that you know your audience well.

You don’t have too much space to work with.

Make an impact by using emotional triggers and by emphasising why users should choose your brand over others.

If you’re not sure what your ads are supposed to look like, you can always do a few quick Google searches to see what your competitors are doing.

What are they offering and what language are they using?

If something’s working well for them, don’t be afraid to adjust your ad copy accordingly.

Not Taking Advantage of Extensions

You may have created your ads, but you’re certainly not done!

Google offers many extensions that make your ads stand out:

  • Callouts: Additional descriptive text that can help your brand highlight important features or benefits. Free shipping? Fast Service? Include it here!
  • Sitelinks: These are links that lead to other relevant pages on your website (e.g. contact page or pricing information). Getting people to click on your main link and end up on your landing page should be your number one priority, but sitelinks provide people with much-needed relevant information.
  • Call: This one’s great if you want people to call your business and works really well on mobile (people can click on the link and call your right away).
  • Location: Connect Google ads with My Business to include your location in your ads. Users will have access to your address, phone number and opening hours. They can also click on your location to view it on Google Maps.
  • Price: This is a controversial and much-discussed topic. However, if price offers your brand a competitive advantage, you may want to include it and make it visible right away.
  • Promotion: Highlight any offer or promotion by letting users know what’s on sale and for how long.
  • App: A really useful extension that’s unfortunately not used often enough. If you have an app make sure you use this extension to let users know they can click on the link to download it from the play store.

Setting up your ad extensions shouldn’t take long:

But make sure you review and test different functions and extensions to find out what works best for you!

  • Google will keep the ‘Include Google Display Network’ checked when you set up a campaign. That’s good for them; not so good for you. If you include display with search you’ll be sacrificing control. You’ll also only be showing text ads on the network (image ads perform much better).
  • Don’t just set your campaigns target location and leave it at that. Always remember to click on ‘Location options’ to gain access to an important feature that can save you money. If you don’t want people outside your targeted locations to be seeing your ads (which is most likely), click on the ‘People in your targeted locations’ option under ‘Target’.
  • Don’t forget your landing page. It doesn’t matter how good your ad is, if your landing page is not easy to read or is cluttered with useless information, no one will convert and your ROI will be low. Focus on an easy-flowing design that keeps things simple and accessible. Your CTA should be effective and the page itself must load fast and be mobile-friendly.
  • Track your conversions and do it correctly. Don’t track page views and other actions that don’t make you any money as conversions. Without conversion tracking, you can’t know which keywords work and which ones don’t, which means you won’t be able to optimise your campaigns.
  • Be wary of ‘recommended’ settings. Just because Google says it’s the best choice, it doesn’t mean it is! Do some research and test out different options yourself.

And that’s it!

If you’re just starting out with Google Ads or have not used Google’s ad platform (formerly known as Adwords) in a long time, you’ll definitely want to check out our Ultimate Google Ads Guide!