The Google Adwords platform is a great tool because of it’s complexity and ability to give you complete control over so many parameters. But, because of this many advertisers get themselves into trouble… Here is our list of the top 5 keyword specific mistakes that are easy to make on this platform.

1) Keyword Paralysis

Google Adwords is a great tool if you know what you’re doing for online advertising campaigns.  It has plenty of tools to allow you to make educated guesses on your market and expected response rates of your ads.  But, with that said, it often does more hurt than good for new advertisers.  Part of the challenge of becoming a Google Adwords expert (whether self-proclaimed or certified), is that you need to understand the art that is keyword use.  For example, if I was trying to sell mortgages in Vancouver, an amateur Adwords advertiser will likely add the following terms to their ad campaign:

Vancouver Mortgages

Someone who is a little more adept when it comes to the in’s and out’s of Google Adwords would know to take these two simple keywords and come up with a list like the following:

Vancouver mortgages

“Vancouver mortgages”

“Mortgages Vancouver”

[Vancouver mortgages]

[Mortgages Vancouver]

+Vancouver mortgages

Vancouver +mortgages

+Vancouver +mortgages

And this isn’t even including variations of plurals, and adding the word “in” (as in “Mortgages in Vancouver”). See how quickly this tool can become quite complex?  Let’s move on the to the next mistake.

2) Keyword Overload

Using the above as an example, you can see how keyword lists can get quite large quite quickly if you’re trying to target a host of keywords. The challenge is to stay relevant at all time.  Google gives it’s advertiser scores based on their relevancy – called Quality Scores.  The higher your score, the cheaper your ads will ultimately cost you compared to the competition.  Staying relevant is very difficult if you are trying to target thousands of keywords, even if you get as targeted as I did in the above example.  50-100 targeted keywords per ad group are plenty, and any more, and you can likely separate them cleanly into two or more ad groups.  Here’s an easy example:

Say I was trying to sell solar powered security lights, here are some potential keywords I’d target:  Solar flood lights, solar LED flood lights, solar security lights, solar security spotlights, garden LED lights, garden flood lights. I would build three distinct ad groups for this ad campaign – one using “flood lights” as it’s major focus, another “security lights” and finally “garden lights”. Using the keyword paralysis example above, it’s easy to get 50+ keywords for each ad campaign using this technique.  The result? More relevant ads, cheaper clicks, higher CTR and more conversions.

3) Useless Keywords

Using the above two examples, the following words sitting solo as keywords would be utterly useless: Vancouver, mortgage, lights, security, garden. It doesn’t take a genius to consider why.  For someone searching the word “garden” how likely is it that they are looking to buy lights?  Not so much.  To truly take advantage of Google Adwords targeting tools you need to be as precise as possible.  Be specific, use long, multiple word keywords and you’ll see results.

4) Negative Keywords

This easily overlooked (because it’s slightly hidden) part of Google Adwords is your knight in shining armour. The negative keywords list can quite literally be a life saver, and is a must for all Adwords campaigns.  No matter how amazing you are at keyword selection, it’s likely that some inappropriate search terms will trigger your ads.  This is where negative keywords come in.  For example, if I was a used car salesmen in Miami trying to run a campaign, some of my keywords may include the following:

Used cars Miami

Seems accurate enough doesn’t it? Well consider this search by a car chase enthusiast: Cars used in Miami Fast and the Furious scene.  Oops, your ad just showed up. By using Google’s host of tools you should be able to weed out a majority of terms that you would want as negatives… now you can understand why this is a must.

5) Keywords & Landing Pages

Okay, you’ve got a hyper-targeted campaign on the go for smartphones, an enthusiastic clicker clicks and goes on to your landing page… and then they see nothing but news about “mobiles”. You dropped the ball.  If you’re targeting the word “smartphone” your landing page should use the term “smartphone”.  I’d highly recommend building unique landing pages for each and every one of your ad groups to help take advantage of better quality scores.

What are some keyword mistakes you’ve faced on Google Adwords?  We’d love to hear what you think.  Share your thoughts and comments below…

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Post Written By:

Brian Siddle

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