The top ten common mistakes with Google AdWords campaigns

By: Claire Jarrett

Date: 9 March 2010

When training others in setting up their AdWords campaigns, I have noticed that many will have made identical mistakes. My challenge to you is – how many of these errors can be found in YOUR AdWords campaigns?

1. Using just one advert to match to lots of unrelated keywords

Here's an example advert that is suffering from this mistake:

Virtual Office
temporary staffing, virtual office
registered office, mail forwarding

In this example, the advertiser is attempting to use one advert to advertise many of their products and services. To overcome this mistake, set up multiple ad groups, one for each product or service.

2. Sending people to the homepage

A common mistake is to send all visitors direct to the homepage of your website. You have just a few seconds to get and keep someone's attention on the web! Don't risk them leaving immediately as they cannot find what they are looking for – send them directly to the page about that particular product or service.

3. Incorrect capitalisation

Capitalise the first letter of each word in your advert (see the example in point 4 below) – this works by making the advert stand out more and increases the likelihood it will get clicked.

4. Using your company name as the heading for the adverts

This mistake is often replicated by web marketing agencies as well as individual advertisers. Here's an example:

Bristol Party Hire
Bouncy Castles in Bristol
Great Prices From £45

Your advert is NOT about you – it's about closely matching what the potential visitor is searching for. The advert heading should match the keywords the visitor has used as closely as possible. For example:

Bristol Bouncy Castles
Bouncy Castles in Bristol
Great Prices From £45

5. Not tracking the results

Make sure you track your results so you can test which keywords work best to generate leads and / or sales. You can do this by using Google's conversion tracking (found in the Opportunities tab).

6. Leaving the content network on

The content network is a large number of unrelated websites, all running advertising on their website. Visitors to their websites have the opportunity to click on your ad, costing you money. Turn the content network off to avoid these unnecessary clicks.

7. Leaving ads running 24 hours per day

For most products and services, it makes sense to only run adverts at certain times of day. For example, B2B advertisers will benefit from running adverts only during work hours.

8. Not using negative keywords

Negative keywords will prevent irrelevant searches. For example, you will probably want to cut out people seeking “free” things. Ideally build a large negative keyword list to save yourself money.

9. Failing to use broad, phrase and exact match keywords

These are the three different keyword types which all need to be included in your ad groups to cut down on costs. So make sure you include them all.

10. Underutilising the display URL

The display URL can be manipulated to increase Click Through Rate. For example, if advertising bouncy castles – instead of use

Claire Jarrett of MarketingByWeb