5 Beginners Adwords Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by | June 23, 2013 | adwords management | No Comments


Avoid these mistakes and make more money from Adwords


Today I’m going to give 5 quick tips on mistakes to avoid with your Adwords account. Whenever I take over an account ran by a business owner there are always many issues to be fixed. Of course some accounts are better than others, but in the main I see these 5 mistakes (and many others) in most self run accounts.

Hopefully you’ll be able to compare these to your account and if you’ve made any of these mistakes then you can fix them quite quickly. Of course these are only basic optimisations and if you’re looking to really enhance your account then I’d of course suggest hiring me as your Adwords Consultant.

Here are 5 Adwords mistakes to fix which will save you money.


Opting out of the Display Network

This is the biggest and most common mistake I see all the time. By default when you create new campaigns you are opted into ads on Google search and the display network. The GDN (Google display network) if you don’t know about it is a huge network of sites with advertising blocks. The sites range from high quality sites such as national newspapers, to low quality sites made by spammers.

Unless you are a sophisticated advertiser you won’t want to use display, and even if you are very sophisticated, then you will want to keep display as a separate campaign. Either way the golden rule is to never to mix search and display.

If you’re going to create a new campaign make sure you select ‘search network only’ as shown in the image below.

Search Network Only


If you want to check your existing campaigns then just click on the setting tab for the campaign and you’ll see the following screen

Edit Campaign Settings


You need to make sure that ‘search network only’ is selected and also it would also be a wise idea to have all features selected while you’re there so that you have access to every feature Adwords has to offer.

So that’s the how you change it, but the why is very important. I’ve seen so many accounts that get most of their clicks from display when they think they’re getting them from Google search. You signed up to Adwords to have your ads show next to relevant keywords on Google search, right? So for the love of god, make sure that you are actually getting what you ‘think’ you’re paying for!


All keywords in one AdGroup

This is another very common mistake that I see all the time. Most accounts I see have one campaign and one AdGroup with all of their keywords in that AdGroup. This is a huge mistake and is definitely something that you’ll want to fix for multiple reasons. Let me explain……

KeywordsAn AdGroup is a group of ads connected to a group of keywords. Having a list of hundreds of keywords connected to 1 group of ads is never going to give you the best results. It’s all about relevancy. If you sell shoes and you have the keywords, tan shoes, black shoes, leather shoes, men’s shoes, and women’s shoes, all triggering the same ad, then it’s pretty obvious that your ad is going to be less relevant than other advertisers who have organised their adgroups more efficiently.

Our shoe seller will need to have ads talking about leather shoes when people search for leather shoes, and an advert talking about suede shoes for keywords for suede shoes. That’s the essence of how to structure adgroups. You could have 1 ad for every keyword so that each ad is super relevant, and that does sometimes happen in a professionally optimised account, but you can often have a mix of keywords which are very similar. As a rough rule, try to have no more than 10 keywords in each adgroup.

Making these changes in the long term will have a huge impact on your Adwords account. You’ll find that you get higher CTR’s for your adverts, which means you will get more clicks. CTR is the most important factor for Quality Score (QS) for your keywords, so you’ll also find that your QS’s will increase. Why should you care? Well for a start higher QS’s will reduce your average cost per click (CPC), increase your average positions bringing you more traffic, or a combination of both.


Not using negative keywords

I see so many accounts that don’t have any negative keywords. Without them you are literally throwing money down the drain. Many accounts I see just use keywords without any [brackets] or “inverted commas”, which is known as broad match. For these keywords you can show for many variations and unintended searches that are just not relevant to your business.

I recently audited an account and found over 300 keywords that the advertiser had been getting clicks on, and paying for, that he didn’t need to be advertising on. By adding these 300 negatives I saved him 100’s of pounds per month. For other clients I’m sure I’ve saved them thousands with this simple technique.

Not only this, but it also saves impressions that never had any clicks. Although these aren’t directly costing you money, indirectly they can cost you even more. By appearing for irrelevant searches your CTR will be lower which reduces your Quality Score, and as already explained, this costs you money by higher costs and lower traffic.

So what was the difference for the account that I recently added 300 negative keywords for? His impressions decreased by one third, his CTR increased by fifty percent, and he maintained the same amount of clicks. Wasted impressions and clicks were cut out, and more of his budget could be spent on more effective keywords. Over time his QS will increase and this will bring long term benefits.


Keyword Details


The image above shows how to get a keyword report. Just go to all of the keywords in an AdGroup, and click details > All, as shown.

Take a good look at all the clicks you’ve had and money you may well have wasted. Make a list of all the irrelevant keywords and add them as negatives to the AdGroup. All you have to do is scroll below the keywords and there is a link at the bottom to add them as shown here:

Add Negative Keywords

If you’d like to know more about this topic, I’ve written about negative keywords in more detail previously.


Not using relevant ad extensions

So this one is also a biggie and I almost never see people using ad extensions on accounts I audit. They are very easy to set up and make a huge difference to account performance. EVERY professionally run Adwords account will use them, so if you are in even a semi-competitive niche, then you are losing money as your adverts just aren’t as good as your competitors adverts.

There are lots of ad extensions that you could use, but as a minimum, almost every Adwords account should have Sitelinks extensions, Call Extensions, and Location Extensions.

Why would you not want extra links on your ad to other pages of your site, your telephone number, and your address?

Exactly, it’s a no brainer. Of course you want them, so hit the ad extensions tab as shown below, and set them up. The process is really easy and self explanatory.

Ad extensions


Once you’ve done this, you’ll now have better ads, which should increase account performance.


Not using conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to have on e-commerce adwords accounts. I’ve spoken about conversion tracking before here and also here.

If your website is a brochure style website and your conversion goal is to get somebody to phone you, then conversion tracking isn’t so important. You could, and perhaps should, use telephone conversion tracking of course, but here we’re talking about conversion for e-commerce websites.

Quite simply, if you sell products online and you don’t track conversions/sales in Adwords, then you will never be able to compete.

With conversion tracking you can directly track the value of sales compared to costs on an individual keyword basis. You will know exactly how much you can afford to bid on every keyword to continue making a profit. Conversion tracking is the very heart of adwords management. All professionally run accounts use conversion tracking, and if you’re not using it, you’re not going to have an effective campaign.


Contact UsSo there we are, that’s my 5 simple tips to improve your Adwords account. Making these changes will improve your account and make you more money. They are of course literally the tip of the iceberg compared to what can be done. Hopefully these tips will help, but I’d strongly suggest that you get in touch and get a free no obligation Adwords audit.

I can guarantee that almost every account would benefit from being professionally managed. Fees start from just £150 per month, and if you’re spending £500 a month or more on Adwords, then I promise that we can save you far more than our service costs.

If you’d like to know more – then just fill out the form below or at the top right, or give us a call. You won’t regret it.




Harvey Pearce is the owner of SEO Derby. I have worked in many of the most competitive niches online. I'm passionate about Digital Marketing, SEO, and Adwords Management and am always striving to learn more and be even better at my job. In my personal life I have an amazing little boy called Cameron who you can see in my profile picture and he is the reason for everything I do. Why not follow me on Twitter?
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