10 Common Google AdWords Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Every business, agency and individual has their own approach when it comes to AdWords, and despite managing campaigns on a daily basis, it’s not at all shocking to see some of the rookie mistakes many people make when it comes to running a PPC campaign. Today we are going to outline the top 10 rookie mistakes that could be affecting your paid search campaign performance.

1. Duplicate Keywords

Whether your account has just a few 100 keywords or 10,000’s of keywords I’d bet money on that fact that a few duplicate keywords have slipped through those campaign optimisations and search query reviews.

If you are relying on Broad or Phrase Match keywords, I’d hope you would be checking over these from time to time, finding those keyword gems to bid on exact match, for a more cost-efficient campaign. But, have you already added this gem of a keyword elsewhere previously? The majority of the time, when faced with a search query report, along with the sheer number of queries you are having to crawl through, means that it’s so easy to quickly add those terms, without checking that it hasn’t already been added somewhere previously. Check, check, check before you go ahead and unnecessarily expand your keyword universe.

This leads on to another question if you have already added that Search Query as a keyword, why is appearing in the search terms again, and not displaying as added? Time to visit you cross match negatives and ensure these are also bulked out as you continue to optimise your campaigns.

Now, if that has motivated you to check your account for dupes, the best way to check would be to download AdWords editor and use the find duplicate function, to weed out the dupes and make your account more efficient.

Adwords Mistakes



2. No Account Optimisations

We understand, everyone is busy and sometimes remembering to optimise your account can slip your mind, however if your sole focus is PPC and you haven’t optimised your account in over 5 days, then my god – shame on you!

I can’t tell you the amount of accounts I’ve seen that have had no optimisation for months. It’s shocking. So many people are simply creating accounts and allowing them to run without any form of optimisations. Great for Google, not so great for your business.

There are tonnes of techniques for optimisations, bid adjustments, bid strategies, search query reviews, ad scheduling, device bid adjustments, demographic adjustments, I’m sure you get the picture by now, there are lots of things you can be doing to keep your account optimised.

Don’t have the time to keep on top of these? Then simple, get in touch with Rice today and see how we can help turn your PPC account around!  


3. Duplicate Conversion Tracking

Yes, this is a thing, trust me. Over the past few months and years that I’ve worked within PPC, it would shock you to know the number of accounts I have seen with duplicate conversion tracking.

Why, I hear you ask? Well, I have no idea why maybe to make the account look better? But at the end of the day, you can polish and turd, but it’s still a turd!

Duplicate conversion tracking can literally ruin your data. Imagine having to resolve this whilst dealing with the massive drop in Conversions and Conversion rates, and then trying to explain to your director that you’ve been lying about paid conversions for a month or more…  

Fixing the mess this creates is fairly simple. Think to yourself – what are we tracking? Should we count multiple factors as a conversion? Are we using both Analytics Tracking and AdWords Tracking in the account for the same thing? Is there an old conversion that may still be firing and messing up my numbers?

Check, check for the love of god CHECK!

4.  No Bid Strategy

Keywords delivering a CPA of over £1,000, whilst others returning a CPA of below £100? Here’s hoping the bids for those keywords are not the same, otherwise you are clearly wasting money on your PPC strategy and you should just give up now! No seriously, if this is the case, you really should be looking at the various bid strategies AdWords has in place to help you improve the effectiveness of your paid search account.

You can read up on some of the AdWords Bid Strategies here and go ahead and run a little test if you’re not doing it now and already have a ridiculously high cost-per-acquisition, what could a little test hurt? Or you could get in touch with one of our experts to help your account…


ppc adwprds mistakes you are making


5. Not Checking Network Performance

This is a sneak move by Google AdWords, whether you’re creating a new campaign in the AdWords interface, or setting up a new campaign within AdWords Editor, AdWords will take it upon itself to automatically set the campaign settings as Search Network ‘with Display Select’ – now hold up a minute …what?

In having this as your campaign setting, you set yourself up for driving a substantial amount of Impressions from your Search Campaigns, with poor quality Clicks and wasted spend as your search ads will show on the Display Network.

It is always best to run your Search and Display campaign activity in separate campaigns.

To check your campaign settings, look at the network option under segments. If you do find some of your campaigns with the Display Select setting, quickly head into your campaign settings and get this changed.

6. Missing Ad Extensions

If you are not taking full advantage of all the ‘Ad Extensions’ available and relevant for your business, then shame on you! If your agency has not advised to set them up for you, then shame on them and LEAVE them immediately, they clearly don’t know PPC!

So many times, I’ve seen accounts with just the odd Sitelink, maybe a Callout here and there in the odd campaign and completely missing ‘Structured Snippets’. There are so many extensions to take advantage of and increase your presence on the search engine results page.

Including extensions ensure a higher click-through rate as they make your ad more prominent. Not only that, they are beneficial in terms of CPC and Quality Score.


7.  Having 1 Ad Per Ad Group

First of all, this happens far too often and when it does, you are limiting yourself in potential and not allowing yourself to fully understand the types of messaging that works for your specific audience. Google recommends having between 2-3 ads per Ad Group, I personally believe having 3 ads per ad group is a fairly safe number and a best practice.

Having multiple ads on rotation allows you to see what kind of messaging works for your audience and conversions, and the types of text that, well doesn’t work so much, from this you can continuously optimise your ads throughout the year based on the metrics given.

It’s worth noting however that you will need to allow enough time for your ads for to accrue a decent quality score before even thinking about giving them a refresh.


8. Keyword Clutter

If a PPC account has been running for a considerable amount of time, it’s highly likely to have 100’s, if not 1,000’s of useless keywords, or terms that even return ZERO impressions, making the account literally one hot mess with clutter and making you the PPC equivalent of a hoarder, just let it go.

Pause or remove keywords that have not received a single impression over a 60-day period.

ppc mistakes

9. No Negative Keywords

Not using negative keywords is one of the biggest AdWords mistakes I see. Google processes over 6 million keywords every day and 15% of them are 100% new – that is, keywords that Google hasn’t registered yet. This means that some of these keywords will be high-quality, while others will be detrimental to bid and target.

By using a negative keyword, you can exclude keywords that aren’t a good match for your product or service. Doing so can lower your cost and increase your revenue. Many Google advertisers make the mistake of ignoring the importance of compiling a negative keyword list and then wonder why their ads aren’t converting the way that they’re supposed to.


10. Not Bidding On Brand


But this will cannibalise our SEO traffic. Why pay for branded when we can get it for free?

These are the push backs ever PPC marketer will face. I cannot count the number the number of times I’ve faced this battle, so here are some good reasons why you want to ensure you have some form of branded activity.

  1. Two Links are Better than one. Its great to be listed at the top of the organic search result list, but who’s above you? When you bid on brand terms you can dominate the search real estate by claiming the top two spots on the page. The paid search link is not likely to cannibalize the SEO link. In fact, two links are more likely to work together to drive even more traffic to your site.
  2. Dominate the Competition. What happens when the competition buys your brand term and starts showing up above you? It can and will happen. Secure your space with a brand keyword campaign before your competitors gets in on the game.
  3. Branding Matters. The largest and most dominant brands in any industry are asserting their presence by owning the top paid and organic search spots. This strategy can be successful for your brand too.
  4. Strategic Promotion. Paid search provides the opportunity for you to direct consumers to specific pages within your site. Use paid search to drive attention to new product offerings, promotions and special offers.
  5. Brand Keywords are Affordable. Typically bidding on brand keywords is less expensive than generic keywords. Lower CPC makes brand keywords effective and affordable.
  6. Brand Searches Indicate User Intent. Consumers are most likely to search on a product or service keywords during the research phase of the buying process. Once they’ve made their decision, searches shift towards brand terms. Position your brand to show up front and centre when consumers are ready to purchase.

PPC mistakes


Get in touch with one of our PPC wizards today!

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.