Google AdWords - Top mistakes that are costing you money
by David Dwyer on 27/08/2015
Why Google AdWords might not be the answer for your business?
Before we start let me first say that we don't like Google AdWords as a concept, however, we recognise that it often is a necessary evil. Our preference will always be to have great ethical off-site Organic SEO allied with great content rich websites. That said we don't live in an ideal world and in many cases website owners are often playing catch up with competitors who have been better funded and better advised.
Google AdWords is an ever evolving and powerful marketing tool that gives businesses large and small the opportunity to carefully target their search advertising. Google AdWords democratised online advertising by enabling small businesses to compete alongside larger, more established businesses for search engine traffic. It can be as simple, or as complex a solution as you want, and its power and scalability is both its greatest strength and your greatest risk.
Used in the right way Google Adwords has the power to help grow your business, used in the wrong way and it can become a huge financial black hole where money simply vanishes.
Here are some of the top mistakes that rookies and pro's make.
Mistake 1 - Targeting Keywords that are too broad
Many Google Adwords campaigns fall at the first hurdle by selecting too broad a keyword. For example the keyword 'handbag' produces 101 million results on Google. That's a lot of handbags! If you are in the business of selling handbags online, bidding on that specific keyword is too broad, and you will face competition from the likes of Amazon, M&S, Debenhams and John Lewis. The net result - costs are driven up, and you will get a lot of browsers, but not a lot of buyers.
The solution - find a narrower, more focused keyword. Often referred to as 'niche keywords' or 'long tail keywords'. This is simply about finding as specific and relevant a keyword as possible. So for example if you sell handmade tartan handbags, the search results fall to 237,000. While this is still a large number, the crucial point is that there are far fewer advertisers vying for this keyword so the bidding cost will be lower.
Keyword selection is a particular challenge for local tradesmen. Many national companies now exploit Google AdWords so that they appear for searches in areas where they aren’t physically based. On rare occasions, those national businesses will travel, but only if it makes financial sense to do so. In other words, they’ll only travel if a profit is guaranteed. As a result, genuinely local tradesmen have to pay much higher rates to enjoy any success with Google AdWords. We strongly advise local tradesmen not to try this trick and to focus on a geographic area that they can genuinely serve. For this reason, we recommend that local tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers select long tail keywords.
Mistake 2 - Too many Keywords in an Ad Group
Another keyword related mistake is to include too many keywords within a Google AdWords Ad Group. Rather than having a hundred unrelated or loosely related keywords within a Group, we recommend having 5 to 10 closely related words per group. By doing so, you drive carefully targeted traffic to a specific landing page. If not you may well drive traffic, but converting that traffic will be difficult.
Mistake 3 - Sending Traffic to your 'Homepage.'
This is still one of the most frequent mistakes that beginners with the Google AdWords platform make. They may well do a great job in selecting keywords and have a great process to manage bidding, but ultimately that will be for nothing if the final destination for that hard earned click is your homepage.
There is nothing more frustrating for a seasoned web searcher than searching for something specific, but being taken to something generic. Using our handbag example - if I search for 'handmade tartan handbag' I don't want to arrive at a homepage, where I essentially have to start the search process again. I want, no, I demand, to be taken to a relevant page. Failure to do so will usually result in the 'Back' button of their browser being pressed very quickly.
Mistake 4 - Not making use of negative keywords
As mentioned Google AdWords is a very powerful platform, that has many clever features. One of the most under utilised of these is the 'Negative Keywords' function. In simple terms, this allows you to say what words you don't want to be found for. If our fictitious handbag entrepreneur sells high end and expensive handmade tartan handbags, it's unlikely that someone searching for 'cheap tartan bags' is going to turn into a client.
By simply using, '-cheap' you'll make sure that your adverts aren't served to anyone who clearly doesn't represent your ideal target market. If you don't use negative keywords, you're likely to get a lot of visitors that are browsers - not buyers.
Mistake 5 - Not measuring ROI
Google AdWords is one of the most accountable and measurable forms of advertising, yet so many businesses fail by not using the powerful analytics and reporting tools that are available. Even those that do can get carried away by defining their AdWords success by how much traffic they drive to their site. Of course, this is meaningless if you don't convert this traffic into paying customers or valuable leads.
If you spend £500 on an AdWords campaign and sell just £100 of the products your advertising, then you have lost £400. Your Google AdWords campaign becomes a cost, rather than a genuine investment. However if that new customer then becomes a regular client (Ed: do you have re-marketing in place, something we can also help with) you will have a lifetime valued relationship that goes way beyond the first £100 purchase.
There are many more mistakes that are made when it comes to Google AdWords, and there is no shortage of advice available online for those that want to manage the process themselves. For others, outsourcing part, or all of the process makes sense.
If you don't have the time, or the inclination we can help advise and manage all of your Google AdWords campaigns. As with everything, it starts with a conversation. Call us today on 01738 700 006 or get in touch through our web enquiry form.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
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Customer Lifetime Value, Digital Marketing, e-Marketing, Google Adwords, Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, Keywords, The Evolving Web, Web Consultancy