Google Ads mistakes to avoid to optimise ad performance

Google Ads mistakes to avoid to optimise ad performance

We’re always on the hunt to get more from our marketing efforts. Who isn’t? If you’ve never used Google Ads (Pay Per Click or PPC) to drive traffic to your website, then chances are you’re missing out on a massive amount of website traffic! More clicks to your website can easily translate into more visitors, leads, and customers for your business.

And, it can happen pretty suddenly… especially when you avoid all of these mistakes that leave advertisers broke.

Mistake #1: Not using the right keyword matches

There are three main categories of keywords that every Google Ads user should be familiar with:

  • Broad match

  • Phrase match

  • Exact match

The mistake people often make is using the incorrect keyword match type. Google allows you to run your ads with any of the keyword variations above. It’s vital that the correct ones are used. So, let’s explore each of the keyword types:

Broad match keywords:

When you add a broad match keyword, your ads are eligible to show when people search for your given keywords. Your ads will display regardless of the order of the words in the search.  So, if you run ads for “best graphic designer”, your ads will show for a broad match for “best graphic designers”, “the best graphic designer” etc. A broad match keyword also means that your ads will show regardless of what the user intends to do. Even if they aren’t ready to buy your product/service – as long as they mention a few of the words that relate to your keywords – your ads will display for them. In summary, don’t underestimate the power of a broad match keyword when creating your ads.

Phrase match keywords:

When you use phrase match keywords, your ads will appear when people search for your keywords in that exact order. Other terms can also appear around the term. For example, if your phrase match keyword is “best restaurant”, your ads will only show if people type in “best restaurant”. Sure, your ads can appear for other related keywords, but the individual words have to be in that order. So, your ads will also show for “best restaurant near me”, “best restaurant takeaway” etc. But they won’t show for “best chinese restaurant”.

Exact match keywords:

With exact match keywords, your ads will only display when the exact keyword that you’re targeting is typed in as a search term. Still using the “best graphic designer” keyword above as our example, your ads will not show up when people search for “best graphic designer agency” or “best graphic designer near me”.

According to some studies, exact match keywords convert better than broad match and phrase match keywords, but the number of average monthly keyword searches is usually lower.

Tip: If you want the best results, combine the 3 keyword match types.

Mistake #2: Lack of ad extensions (+poorly written ads)

Not having or using ad extensions is a  mistake that can be easily avoided. Google has made it easier for you to write better ad copy and adjust your ads to generate the best Return On Investment (ROI). With ad extensions, you can use sitelinks, call and location extensions to enhance your ad and its copy. Plus, it’s all on your Ad Extensions tab, when you log into your Google Ads account.

This simply means that you’ll add extra pieces of information or links to your ad. It’s like the rich snippet that you can add to your organic listings. You’re giving customers more reasons to click your ads and information about you as a company. Using ad extensions can be very effective at increasing clicks.

Mistake #3: Not understanding profit margins and conversions

When you’re running a business, you have to track your conversions and your profit margins. You need to do this to improve your revenue, not just your short-term profit. This also applies to your PPC ads. You should set up conversion tracking for inquiries or sales from your ads via the website landing page the ad has been setup with.You can actually save money when you understand how much you’re expected to make and what conversion rate will get you there.

Mistake #4: Not using negative keywords

This is one of the biggest Google Ads mistakes we see. Why would you allow your ads to be shown to people who aren’t really interested in your product/service?By using a negative keyword, you can exclude keywords that aren’t a good match for your product or service. Doing so will lower your Cost Per Click (CPC) and increase your revenue, as you can choose exactly what you want to show your ads for. Many Google advertisers make the mistake of ignoring the importance of creating a negative keyword list and then wonder why their ads aren’t converting the way they want.

Let’s say that you’re selling a service such as cleaning for small businesses. You would most likely include keywords such as:

  • Local cleaner

  • How to keep my office tidy

  • Office cleaners near me

If you include the words “free” and “cheap” in your ad, it means that your ads will show up for people who may only be interested in free information. On the other hand, if you add the same keywords (“free” and “cheap”) to your negative keyword list, when people search for free information in your industry, your ad won’t show up and you won’t waste your budget on pointless clicks.

Mistake #5: Not bidding on your own brand

You should bid on your own brand name keywords, in order to increase conversions. Along with that, though, you have to pay attention to your brand’s value. When you bid on your own brand, you’re promoting your business and reaching out to your social media fans and customers. There is no harm in paying to be at the top, even when the user has searched for your own business, as if they had searched for another one of your keywords, you would be happy to pay for that click. You may assume that your brand name keywords are organically ranking #1 anyway, so there’s no real need to advertise it? The fact is, that if you’re not bidding on your brand name keyword, others will. And, these people will probably be your competitors who wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of hijacking your potential website visitors.


In essence, your Google Ads should be targeted at the right people. This is the way to increase your traffic, generate better leads and ultimately increase sales. You’ve got to set a long-term goal for your campaign, not just one for the short term. If your goal is only to generate clicks to your landing page, you’re missing out. What are you going to do once you’ve completed this goal?

Remember that the customer lifetime value isn’t only on the initial conversion rate, but what happens after they become customers and whether they become recurring customers. Well worked out Google Ads boil down to targeting the right words and getting the correct match type, to reduce your cost per customer acquisition. Collating a list of negative keywords over time and driving potential customers to your site where you’ve set up a well-crafted funnel will improve conversions.

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