7 PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Mistakes to Avoid


Search engine marketing can be an incredible addition to your advertising arsenal. However, if you’re not working with someone experienced with Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) or Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads), you could easily fall victim to one or more of these common paid search mistakes.

Set It and Forget It

You’ve done your due diligence and identified keywords, written your ad text, organized your ad groups. So you’re done, right? Sorry to say, but you’re just getting started. This is where all that hard work is put to the test and you should be paying very close attention. Your campaigns need regular maintenance to produce the results you’re looking for.

You can start by checking the actual search terms triggered by your keywords and look for any words you should be excluding (adding to your negative keywords). For instance, if you’re selling garage doors and see that your ads are triggering for ‘garage door openers’, you could add ‘openers’ as a negative keyword to keep your ads from showing for irrelevant searches.

You should also be actively reviewing your ad text. Look for ads that are producing clicks and conversions- is there something about that ad that makes it a better performer? Regularly testing ad variations and pausing your underperforming ads will ensure you are putting the best messaging in front of searchers.

Regular check-ins and optimizations are essential to making your campaigns the best they can be.

Using Broad Match Keywords

One way to quickly eat up the budget is to bid on broad match keywords. Setting your keyword match type to broad tells Google that they can come up with their own interpretation of matching keywords. It casts a wide net allowing a variety of likely unrelated searches to trigger your ads. You can combat this with negative keywords, but the number of negative keywords you would need could be atrocious. You are better off using Broad Match Modified which tells Google that the keywords you are targeting must be included in the search (not variations). Phrase Match and Exact Match are always good options as well.

Broad match keyword chart

No Ad Variations

If you have one ad per ad group Google won’t stop you from launching your campaign, but you’re not doing yourself any favors. By loading your ad groups with various headlines and descriptions, you can narrow down messaging that grabs the searchers attention best. You’re competing with other advertisers that are likely offering the same service or product you are- don’t you want to make the best impression? Your ads should include the specific keywords that triggered the ad but also short, punchy text that grabs your audience’s attention and offers them clear value.

Improper Ad Group Setup

Every good search engine marketer knows that a good quality score is imperative to a campaign’s success. The easiest way to lose placement to a competitor is to ignore proper ad group setup by lumping keywords together that are not related enough to apply to the ad text being triggered. This can be tricky if you have a product that can be referenced by many terms but it is in the best interest of your campaign to avoid grouping unrelated keywords just for the sake of keeping your ad groups to a minimum.

Driving to the Wrong Landing Pages

Another major contributor to your quality score is your landing page. Driving to the home page when your ad was triggered by a specific product keyword is just a poor experience for the searcher. Think about it… if you’re searching for the Thingamajig 5000 and the ad says ‘Buy a Thingamajig 5000’, you would rightfully expect to click through to the page specifically for the Thingamajig 5000. Don’t make your searchers work too hard to find what they are looking for on your site. Your landing page bounce rate will reflect if you have work to do in this area.

Google results example

No Remarketing Campaign

Everyone should be running a remarketing campaign. These are people that have been to your site and may still be actively searching for the product or service you offer. You NEED to keep your brand in front of them if they are still researching a purchase. There are two ways to do this- through a search campaign or a display campaign. Targeting them through search brings up your search ads when they’ve entered your targeted keywords into a Google search. By remarketing, you can manually bid higher on this audience knowing they are potentially more qualified leads. Adding a display remarketing campaign puts your banner ads in front of them on sites offering display advertising space. For instance, if you’ve noticed an ad for the exercise bike you checked out last week showing up on other sites, that’s no coincidence.

No Ad Extensions

Ad extensions come in many forms, but essentially, they are additional text for your ads. They can be as simple as a phone number or as detailed as a list of model numbers. The three most important ad extensions you should have set up are Call Extensions, Sitelink Extensions (pictured below) and Callout Extensions. The other types of ad extensions have their place but don’t always work best for the account depending on the product or service. When this additional text serves with your ad it helps your ad to stand out against the others and often leads to more click-throughs. Just remember to assign your ad extensions where they make sense for the ads they are serving with (account level, campaign level, ad group level).

Ad extension example

Running a search engine marketing account takes commitment and proper technique to get the absolute best ROI. Do your best to avoid these 7 deadly sins of PPC and you’ll be well on your way to a successful campaign. Although, if you decide you need professional management of your PPC account, we are here to help. Contact us to effectively manage your search engine marketing.