Tips for Google AdWords & Common Pitfalls


I’ve helped a number of clients over the years with their Google AdWords campaigns, either by taking over and managing their campaigns directly, or running an analysis for them and giving the steps necessary to increase their chances of success. The fact is Google AdWords, when done correctly, will drive quality traffic to your site, but that doesn’t mean Google AdWords is for every business. Whether you are evaluating the merits of Google AdWords or currently using it and looking to improve your results, my hope is the information below will help you. If you’re still not sure, please contact me so we can discuss.

Let’s start with Tips

1) Run a keyword analysis – Before you kick-off your campaign, make sure you run a keyword analysis to see what keywords are driving the most traffic. Sometimes businesses assume the keywords they use (ie. their own lingo) are the keywords their prospective customers use…this is not always the case. Running an analysis on how often keywords and phrases are “searched” is extremely important and will help your campaign perform better.

2) Use Keywords in your ads – After you’ve run an analysis and know the best keywords to use, make sure you ACTUALLY use the keywords in the title and description of the ads. This isn’t a Google thing, this is a common sense thing. If you run a Google Search right now, chances are you will read the page “description” from the search engine results page before you click on the link. If the description appears to align with what you’re looking for…you are more likely to visit that page (common sense). The problem is many businesses write ad copy that does not include the keywords, and therefore does not provide proper context for the ad. Because the ad displayed does not intuitively match what the user is looking for, the result is usually a low click-through rate, high bounce rates, and poor performing ads.

Now let’s talk some common pitfalls.

1) Using BROAD keywords – You’ve done the analysis and found some great, high-volume keywords that relate well to your products and/or services. But have you actually considered who else might be using those search terms and what else is show up in the search results? I’m not talking about direct competitors either…I’m talking companies in other industries that may be using the same keywords for completely different and legitimate reasons. Try to think like your customers and remember that you want make yourself stand out in those searches. Remember, the goal is NOT to get a lot of traffic, the goal is to get the RIGHT traffic.

2) Not using a landing page – I see it all the time, people run campaigns and then send the customer to their homepage, which in most cases, requires the user to navigate the site to find exactly what they’re looking for. Again, think like your customer…wouldn’t you want to land on a page that is exactly what you are looking for and then have the option to look around for additional information? It’s simple really…if people are looking for an answer to a question, and you have the answer within your site, then send them to that specific page! Don’t have a page dedicated to the topic you are using in AdWords campaign? Then create one or ditch the effort altogether because chances are you are wasting money.

3) Setting unrealistic expectations – If you sell products online, then using Google AdWords with an expectation to sell is realistic. However, most people using AdWords ARE NOT selling products online…they are selling services, information or products that are non-consumer based. In these scenarios, using “sales” as the sole method of determining whether or not your AdWords campaign is working is using the wrong measuring stick. If your customers require talking to a sales or customer service person BEFORE a purchase is made, then AdWords should be measured on how many “leads” it generates (one could argue failure to secure sales in that scenario speaks more to the person doing the selling than the mechanism used to bring the lead in). However, it is absolutely vital to determine if the “leads” being generated from AdWords are the right kind of leads. In this scenario, a closer inspection of the campaign, the landing page, etc would be in order.

What I’ve written above are the most common things I’ve run into when prospective clients contact me about AdWords. However, there is a lot more that what’s been mentioned above that needs to occur to make an AdWords campaign successful. Need help with your campaign? Contact me today and let’s get started together.

I have been fortunate to have spent my entire career in marketing, from my first job as a marketing assistant & graphic designer, to creating the strategic direction and overseeing a team of marketing professionals for a $200-Million company.

My marketing experiences, successes and failures are the foundation on which I started Ward Marketing Consulting, and it is my goal to take what I've learned and apply it to each and every one of my clients.

If you're looking for a marketing consultant to provide an objective look at your marketing efforts, need a strategy for your digital marketing plan, or simply need help executing the plan, please contact me today!

-Tim Ward