Google Adwords is a great way to get in front of potential shoppers at the exact moment they’re searching for your product and services. With smart keyword targeting, compelling ad copy, and a relevant landing page you can be well on your way towards earning a solid return on your investment.

Changes in the way that Google displays ads have shifted more clicks away from the organic results which means that even with a winning local SEO strategy, Google Ads can still be a nice compliment to maximize your visibility and click-through rates for high-value searches. In order to make sure you’re getting the best value from your campaigns I’ve put together a list of 3 common ads mistakes so you can go inspect your campaigns right now and see if you’re making any of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re running your own Adwords account or paying a pay-per-click agency to do it for you, I’ve seen these mistakes made by beginners and professionals alike ( I’ve even made them myself ). Let’s get started!

1. Forgetting To Exclude Locations

You’ve gotten all caught up in building the most epic Adwords campaign. You have beautifully written ads and such well-executed keyword research that you could win the Olympics for it ( if that was a thing ). The cost per conversion isn’t as optimal as you hoped so you decide to look at your user-location reporting to see if something is dragging you down. To your shock and horror you realize that you’ve been spending money on hundreds of clicks from countries all around the world that you weren’t even targeting. How did this happen you wonder? Well, you forgot to or just didn’t feel like taking the time to exclude irrelevant locations that might be syphoning money away from your campaign and damaging your ROI.

How To Check

From you main Adwords dashboard you can navigate to settings then click locations. You should see a drop-down button that says “View location reports”. Choose the option that says “Where you users were (user locations)”. If you’re using the new Adwords you’ll see locations in the left hand navigation. Click the “more” dropdown and click user location report. From there you’ll see something like the screenshot below with a breakdown of locations, clicks, and the money you spent ( or shouldn’t have spent ).

How To Fix

In your campaign location targeting settings you can choose to exclude any of the unwanted locations you uncovered.

2. Not Using The Right Negative Keywords

Broad match keywords can be great – particularly if you’re just starting your campaigns – to get the most reach and uncover those juicy long-tail keywords that drive the best return. However, broad match modifiers have a dark side and you’re most likely going to also see a lot of clicks that are completely irrelevant to your campaign and therefore just wasting your budget.

How To Check

In your Keywords report you’ll see all the metrics for your keywords and keyword modifiers but this isn’t the whole story. Check out the search terms report to see which keywords shoppers actually used to find and click on your ads.

How To Fix

Identity any keywords that just shouldn’t be there and start adding negative keywords to avoid wasted budget in the future. For example if your product is running shoes but you don’t have any nike products then you wouldn’t want to spend money on the keyword “nike running shoes”. By using Nike as a negative keyword your ad would never show for searches that include the word Nike. Check out the Google support article for more information on negative keywords.

Make Sure Your Google Ads Campaign Includes Negative Keywords
keyword matches

3. No Conversion Tracking

Sure you might have your goals and conversions set up in your Google Analytics account to track how your campaigns are performing ( at least I hope you do ). However, to really get the most out of your Google Ads campaign you’re going to want to know which keywords are performing great and which ones just aren’t pulling their weight. This will allow you to spend more money on high performing keywords and less money on keywords that don’t perform as well. Seems like common sense right?

How To Check

Some users opt to implement the ads conversion tag on goal landing pages to track conversions but my recommendation is to simply import your goals straight from your analytics account into ads.

How To Fix

Go to your account settings and click on linked accounts, you’ll see an option for Google Analytics. If your account isn’t already connected go ahead and link up your GA account. From there you can navigate to the conversions page in your account and choose which goals you’d like to import.

Patrick Leonard | Owner, Brighter Digital

Author: Patrick Leonard

Patrick is the owner of Brighter Digital, he's an experienced digital marketing professional with a focus on local search to help small businesses grow.