6 Google Ads Mistakes that Lose You Money

by Augustus Callen

For many businesses, Google Ads is one of the most powerful digital advertising platforms for driving up leads and sales. However, when the ads aren’t optimised properly they can burn a hole in your pocket without getting results.

Here are 6 common Google Ads mistakes which will waste your budget. Work on fixing these mistakes and you’ll likely find your ads become more effective.

1.   Overlooking Quality Score

Did you know your Quality Scores affect how much you pay for your ads? Understanding how they work and how to keep them nice and high can help make your ads more cost effective.

Quality Score is how Google rates the quality and relevance of your ads. A large number of factors influence your Quality Score, including your click through rate, the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page and your previous Google Ads performance.

There are two main reasons you should care about Quality Score:

  1. It affects your ad rankings.
  2. It affects your cost per click (and some say your cost per conversion too).

Good practices for increasing your Quality Score include:

  • Doing thorough keyword research to find relevant keywords
  • Organising your Google account well
  • Optimising your ad copy for relevance and readability
  • Creating relevant, user friendly landing pages
  • Utilising negative keywords to exclude irrelevant search queries

2.   Not using ad extensions

Ad extensions are bits of additional information or links that you can add to your ads. They are free to use and are almost always effective at increasing the amount of clicks your ads get.

Google offers many different types of ad extensions, the key is choosing the ones that make sense for your business and your specific ad.

Some of the most popular extensions are:

  • Sitelinks – links people directly with specific pages on your website
  • Call extension – lets people call you directly from your ad
  • Callout – highlights the benefits of your product or service such as “free delivery”
  • Location – shows people where your business is located and directions to get there
  • Structured snippets – showcases valuable information in list form

3.   Not using the right keyword match

Keywords are the words or phrases that match to search queries people type into Google. How precisely or broadly your keywords match the search query is called “keyword match type”.

Google offers three match types:

  • Exact match
  • Phrase match
  • Broad match

Unless you know what you’re doing, avoid using broad match. Although it will show your ad to the widest range of people, it will likely bring in too many irrelevant clicks. And too many clicks that don’t convert will cost you dearly.

Exact match matches your keyword with search queries that are exactly the same. For example, if your keyword is “Adwords Agency Sydney” it will only match to searches of those terms, in that order with no additional words or phrases.

Exact match tends to convert better than the other match types, but because the keyword has to match the search query exactly, it’s probably not the best choice for low volume searches. If in doubt, start with exact match and then move to phrase match if your reach is too low.

4.   Not using negative keywords

In some cases, your ad might show up for search queries that aren’t actually relevant to your keyword. This can increase the amount of irrelevant clicks your ad gets and waste your ads budget.

To prevent your ads from showing up when you don’t want them to, you should use negative keywords. Negative keywords tell Google to not show your ad when particular terms are in the search query.

For example, if you’re a car dealership that only sells new cars, you don’t want your ad showing up for “used cars” or “used cars for sale”.

By choosing the right negative keywords, you can make your ads more targeted and avoid losing money on irrelevant search terms. The right negative keyword strategy will also drive up your conversion rate and make your ads more profitable.

5.   Not having a dedicated landing page

Where you send someone once they click on your ad matters more than you might realise.

Sending people to the homepage of your website isn’t a smart move. Your homepage isn’t optimised to convert very targeted audiences coming from a specific ad and may even distract them from converting.

You should create a dedicated landing page for every ad. That’s the best way to make an impact and take the visitor on a very purposeful journey towards conversion. In other words, your landing page should make it as easy as possible for the visitor to make a purchase, fill out a contact form or perform another action you want them to.

Well optimised landing pages can decrease bounce rate from your website, improve your Quality Score and even positively influence the position of your ad.

To increase the effectiveness of your landing pages, you should make them:

  • Relevant to the ad
  • Focused, specific and engaging
  • Trustworthy and authoritative
  • Readable and easy to navigate
  • Fast to load

6.   Not split testing ads

Going with your gut isn’t always the best tactic when it comes to Google Ads. Instead, it’s best to base your decisions on data. That means you’ve got to test your ads, review your results and find out what really works.

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is a golden method of testing ads to help optimise them for better outcomes.

Basically, you make two ads which are exactly the same except for one variable which you are testing for. For example, you could change the headline, the call to action or the ad extension.

Next, you figure out what you should be measuring, based on what you want the ads to achieve. For example, that could be conversions, traffic or impressions.

Then you run both ads for a couple of weeks and then check the results. Which one performed better? With that knowledge, you’re in a better place to use your budget wisely.

Time to get to work fixing these Google Ads mistakes

If you want Google Ads to work for your business, you can’t approach it with a shot in the dark. Optimising your ad campaigns for success takes careful research, deliberate split testing and continual revisions.

Fixing the mistakes explained in this article will help your results improve but beware that there are plenty of other pitfalls you might encounter along the way.

If you’re having trouble getting good results with Google Ads, speak to an AdWords agency in Sydney who can offer a wealth of knowledge and skill to help you achieve your business goals.

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