6 Google AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

Do you avoid Google Adwords mistakes? Google AdWords has been a major form of online marketing since 2000 and has only increased in use by businesses and individuals. In 2008 Google’s total advertising revenues through AdWords were $21 billion, and it’s still growing.

This increase in use by many users means that to succeed at use of AdWords requires more stringent use of it. Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing how to use it properly. Being careful with AdWords is worthwhile, to keep a solid ROI when using this tool.

There are some elements of AdWords to be cautious with – here are 6 mistakes you should avoid making when using Google’s PPC tool:

1. Create only one ad group for various keywords

It’s very tempting to just put all your keywords into one campaign and one ad group. However, this will only keep it difficult to target your keywords with the ads you use, since you’ll be trying to target multiple variations on keywords.

The best thing to do is create separate ad groups for each set of keywords. This way you can make unique ads that fit the keywords well, and stay relevant.

2. Make only one ad for your ad groups

You need to have an ad in place to communicate with the people searching for your keywords. However, having only one means you will never know for sure if it can be improved upon.

A better approach is to create at least two ads, this way you can see which ad performs better, keep it, and then revise the other ad. This is called “split testing” and is commonly used by professional AdWords users.

3. Leave all networks active for your campaigns

By default AdWords uses both a search network and a content network. However, leaving the content network active can make it more difficult to focus on pure keyword marketing through the search engines. Google is improving this, but even now it’s better to unselect the Content Network inside your Campaign Settings.

The Content Network is the placing of ads on websites instead of in the search results, and is a different advertising approach. If this is something that you want to do in addition to the Search Network, it’s best to create a separate campaign for the Content Network. This way you can adjust your keywords to be much more targeted for this style of advertising, and you can track each more easily.

4. Use only broad match keywords

When entering keywords into AdWords, the default listing for all keywords is “broad match”. To get more specific, place double quotes around your keywords to get “phrase match” (which will match all keywords that contain that phrase) and double square brackets to get “exact match” (which will match only searches that contain that exact keyword phrase, nothing more, nothing less).

When you use only broad match, your ads will show to a much broader range of keywords, in many cases keywords you would not specifically choose to advertise for. By using phrase and exact match, you can have much tighter control over what keywords will prompt your ad to show.

5. Never use negative keywords

Even though most AdWords users have heard of negative keywords, many don’t realize the power they contain. By using the negative keyword properly you can reduce your expenses on keywords you’re not targeting to a very large degree.

To use it, put a hyphen in front of any keyword you do not want your ad to show. This can also work with phrase and exact match keywords. For example: -keyword, -“two keywords”, and -[exact keyword] will all work to ensure that those particular keywords will never bring up your ad.

Often a word such as “free” will get a large amount of traffic that is not converting, and can cause a lot of unnecessary expenditure. By placing it as a negative keyword you can cut a lot of cost.

6. Don’t track conversions

Conversion tracking is a way to optimize your AdWords campaigns heavily. For example, if you want to keep the keywords that bring in the most opt-ins for your site, set up conversion tracking for your opt-in, to track how many people land on the “thank you for signing up” page.

When you do this you’ll be able to see specifically which keywords are bringing these conversions, and you’ll be able to drop keywords that don’t convert and expand on keywords that do. Not doing conversion tracking means you will never know which of your keywords are bringing the best results.

Making any of these Adwords mistakes can often cause a heavy loss of advertising expenses or an inability to improve well upon your PPC campaigns. Being careful about not making these mistakes can help improve your AdWords campaign (or campaigns), and it will increase conversions and make your spending more effective.

This guest post is by Eric Gesinski who does website design at tulsamarketingonline.com and internet marketing, including AdWords management. You can also become star guest blogger and get more exposure for your articles.


  1. yreadthis says:

    Good post with valuable things for each blogger’s…Even new blogger’s could easily grow up if they have the guldens like you people…

  2. Eric Gesinski says:

    That’s a good tip – you’re exactly right. What you’re referring to is Google’s Quality Score, a value that’s assigned to every keyword you bid on. Google looks at the keyword’s click-through-rate, relevance to the ad, relevance to the landing page, as well as quality of the landing page. And if you don’t have a high quality for any of these, you’ll get a lower Quality Score and have to pay more for your keyword(s).

    So yes – pointing your ad to a bad website will just crank up your costs. So make sure the site is one Google isn’t ashamed to have links to, and it’ll be easier to pay for those clicks.

  3. Steve says:

    Hi Eric, thanks for a great article. Negative Keywords can save you a lot of money, or if you are willing to keep your PPC spend the same, can make you a lot of money!

    Defining negative keywords can be a long, slow arduous task. Either by guesswork or by trawling through loads of enquiry data, most businesses just do not have the time to search for irrelevant keywords and simply end up with a few negative words in their campaigns.

    We’ve personally fallen foul of not implementing negative keywords which is why we built a great solution to automate the whole negative keyword process. You can check it out at KeywordTerminator.com and also pick up our Free White Paper, Be Positive – Go Negative.

    Cheers, Steve

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