There are some common pitfalls we often see as we review the AdWords accounts of new clients. Watch out for the following common mistakes:
1. Location Specific Ad groups – In AdWords, we can’t set location targets at the ad group level, only at the campaign level.
Example: If you do business in Boston and Cambridge and set up two ad groups, each with city specific keywords and ads, Google will not always serve the most relevant ad. You could negate against each ad group – negate Cambridge from the Boston ad group and negate Boston from the Cambridge ad group, but what happens when the search query does not include the city? We still can’t depend on Google to serve the correct ad. If you want to target specific locations – set up separate campaigns for those locations.
2. Broad Keywords: Extremely generic, broad keywords that are not focused on exactly what the company is selling or providing can be dangerous. Mostly, it can quickly drive up impressions and generate too few clicks which will cause low click through rates (CTR) and that leads to low Quality Scores.
Example: If you sell bug spray, you don’t want to bid on “mosquitoes”. Although this strategy may not exactly fit for every business, think in terms of “buy terms”. Getting searchers to click on your ad during their initial research phase can be left to your organic efforts; keywords more specific or closer to the buy will convert better. Of course, there are some business reasons why every single keyword will not be a buy term but you’ll want to keep this in mind.
3. Duplicate Keywords: By having duplicate or keyword overlap you are essentially competing against yourself. This drags down the health of the account and goes against one of the main goals for every AdWords account – tightly themed ad groups. Think of it this way, just like your website: each page should do a specific job – each ad group should do a specific job. Using AdWords Editor, you can easily find duplicate keywords.
Note: If you are targeting different locations amongst various campaigns: these are not considered duplicates.
4. Account Structure: How you set up your account is very important. Often, when looking at an AdWords account, we see a classic mistake: few campaigns that each house too many ad groups.
Example: If you sell office supplies – having one campaign called Office Supplies with ad groups such as pens, notebooks, calendars, scissors, printers, ink, labels, tape, paper clips, rubber bands is the not the best strategy. A better approach would be to have a Pens Campaign with appropriate ad groups including the various types of pens you sell and a Notebooks Campaign, etc.
5. Too Many Keywords: We are no longer seeing a benefit to thinking of or researching every single keyword possibility. In fact, it just dilutes your ad groups and spreads out your data so much that it becomes hard to really get a handle on what converts. Over and over again, we have stream lined new client ad groups into just a handful of the top converting keywords per ad group and we have always seen an overall improvement in performance and ROI.