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May 15, 2008

5 Common Mistakes People Make in Google Adwords

All too often I am horrified while reviewing a Google Adwords account. I run into bad campaign settings, large numbers of keywords with poor quality scores, and unappealing ad copy. Even the most studious of novices make what seem to be blatant errors.

Google originally created the Adwords interface as a user-friendly way for new advertisers and old-school veterans alike to be able to immediately jump into the wonderful world of online pay-per-click advertising. The tools that Google has provided are very helpful, and spending money has never been easier.

The idea of turning money into traffic has become extremely palatable to modern business users, but very simple mistakes can destroy any potential success an ad might generate. I thought a quick run-down of the common errors and a couple extra tips thrown into the mix would be helpful.

1. Language Preference Settings – This is accessible through the campaign settings. It is not good practice to select a campaign to display in all languages when the ad is written in English. Google will permit this circumstance to occur, but Google does not translate the ad. Non-English speakers will still see an English ad!

2. Display URL’s are part of the ad copy – A user’s eyes have a hard time distinguishing the words in www.myfavoritebusinesswebsite.com. The words in the URL all run together making it a non-selling point in an ad. The more effective solution is to type www.MyFavoriteBusinessWebsite.com. Now, it jumps out to users’ eyes and encourages them to click.

3. Keyword Relevancy - Including a bunch of keywords in one adgroup and writing an ad that sounds general enough to apply to all keywords is not an effective short-cut. All keywords must be closely related to each other in nature to be successful. Ex. Hammers may be used to put a crib together. They may also both be retail products. The may even be sold by the same manufacturer. Still, hammers and cribs don’t belong in the same adgroup.

4. “Free” keywords do not sell – If you’re trying to sell something, going after keywords with the word “free” is the easiest way to get a good click-through-rate and a terrible conversion rate. When users are searching for something free they are not looking to buy something.

5. The Content Network works – I frequently hear that the Content Network just doesn’t convert. That is simply not true, but the conversion rates are usually lower than search. The bids are usually lower though which frequently makes for an effective cost-per-conversion. My suggestion is to opt your search campaigns out of the Content Network and create a separate “Content Network only” campaign (credit my friend and sensei Brandy Eddings) This makes it easier to eyeball the general stats on the campaign summary screens, and to manage them separately (as they should be). It’s good to test different bidding on the Content Network by raising and lowering the bids until you find the optimum cost-per-conversion amount. I frequently find Google’s help sections inadequate, but their info on this subject is superb. Google Help

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