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Don't Make These 3 Beginner Mistakes With Adwords

March 1, 2012


How well is your Google Adwords campaign running?

Good? Bad? Could be better?

Absolutely no idea?

When learning a new discipline, it is not uncommon to make mistakes starting out.

However, if you are new to Google AdWords and running your own campaigns, beginner mistakes can be costly (or at worst just a downright waste of time and money altogether).

I've seen clients make the same mistakes time and time again. Most of time they had no idea - they were just stoked to see traffic and assumed things were running smoothly. In some of the worst-case scenarios I've seen, they were blowing 100,000's a year simply because of these basic AdWords mistakes. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to advertising on Google. Nevertheless, do not fret - if you are guilty of any of the following mistakes you are not alone; we were all beginners once. This post is the first in a coming series on common mistakes in PPC - so make sure you subscribe so you don't miss the future parts!

1. Bidding On Broad Match

When you add a keyword to an ad group, it will be added as broad match by default. Learn to understand the difference between keyword match types: broad, phrase, exact.

adwords match types

Broad match can be dangerous unless you have a very large negative keyword list to prevent your ads from showing for completely irrelevant queries. I like to use broad match to discover keyword phrases I may have missed in the keyword research phrase, but you must monitor the account very closely, otherwise you will waste a lot of money, and fast. When using broad match I always make sure I am bidding on phrase and exact matches of the most important keywords too. Better yet, if you are going to use broad match - use modified broad match instead

2. Not Using Negatives

Related to the first point - NEVER run an AdWords campaign without using negative keywords. Negative keywords can also be added using the above keyword match types (e.g. negative phrase match, negative broad match etc). Make sure you regularly check the triggered 'search terms' report found under the keywords tab in each ad group.

see adwords search terms


When bidding on anything other than exact match, you should be continually growing your negative keyword list to avoid wasting money on irrelevant clicks. Here is an excellent article on how to greatly expand your negative keyword list.

3. Not Grouping Based on Location

Another very common PPC mistake is targeting geographic locations too broadly. For example, if you are only a small local business operating in New Plymouth you definitely do not want to be targeting all of New Zealand. Sounds a little obvious but you would be surprised how many people do this.

 adwords mistake with location

Make sure you setup a different campaign for each geographic location you are targeting. This does requires more effort and management but it is very rewarding as it allows you to acquire cheaper bids, improve quality scores and accurately track the success and ROI of your campaigns according to geographic location. Here is a great example of using geo targeting well, which resulted in nearly doubling the conversion rate.

How Many Mistakes Are You Making?

So if you are guilty of any of these common PPC mistakes, now is a good time to jump into your account and tidy things up. If you find Google AdWords a little daunting or simply do not have the time to invest in learning PPC - we can help manage and optimise your AdWords account and we'll even will review it for free.

In upcoming posts I will be covering the following common mistakes: 

  • Not Using Conversion Tracking or Goals
  • Poor Grouping
  • Campaign Settings
  • Not Splitting Content Network
  • Increasing Bids instead of Quality Score
  • Choosing The Wrong Keywords
  • Not Using Landing Pages Correctly
  • Not Testing Ad Copy
  • Using Automatic Bidding
  • Not Monitoring Results

So don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss out. If you have any questions or know of other common mistakes in AdWords, do drop a comment below.

Other posts in this Google Adwords series:

  1. 3 Costly PPC Mistakes That Are Wasting You Money
  2. 3 More Beginner Adwords Mistakes
  3. 3 More Common PPC Mistakes
  4. 3 Final Google Adwords Pitfalls To Avoid
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Written by

Aidan has an intense passion for SEO and has worked in Search Engine Marketing industry for 5+ years, delivering results for a range of clients from corporates to small businesses.

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