5 Google Adwords Mistakes Made by Small Business Owners


5 Google Adwords Mistakes Made by Small Business Owners

Google AdWords is a powerful advertising tool for Small Business.

But here’s the deal: If you don’t know how to use it, you’ll waste a lot of money for no return. I’ve audited a lot of Small Business Google AdWords accounts, and I see common trends. In this article, you’ll learn about the common Google AdWords mistakes that are made by Small Businesses, and I’ll provide you with ways that you can fix them.

Mistake #1 – Poor keyword match type.

Most Small Business owners make the mistake of only using broad match on keywords. To be fair, you’re not to blame. Broad match is the default match type, and Google sets it to all your keywords unless specified otherwise.

The problem is, this gives you no control over what your ad shows for and Small Business owners have small budgets to start with so choosing broad match keywords will chew through your budget like termites.

How to fix it:

Use more controlled match types.

Read Google’s support article on keyword match types to understand your options. I always give most of my budget to exact match when working with a small budget. I’ll use broad match and phrase match also to help capture the extra clicks I need.

Use negative keywords.

Negative keywords are my go-to if I want to reduce click waste from poor keyword match type selection. Look through your search term report and find any word or phrase that is irrelevant. Make a note of these and add them to your negative keyword list. This will prevent ads showing for anything you don’t want them to and make your broader match types more cost-effective.

Mistake #2 – Not using conversion tracking.

The biggest mistake made in Google AdWords is not tracking conversions. Excuse the cliché, but you can’t improve what you don’t measure. It gets worse; how can you bid on a keyword when you don’t know if it converts? You’ll end up wasting hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

How to fix it:

First be sure that you have Google Analytics set up, if not here is a handy guide to follow. Make sure you use an email address that has admin access to Google AdWords. In Google Analytics you’ll want to set up a ‘goal’ that you’ll use to measures success in Google AdWords. For example, when someone completes a contact form or buys on your website. Google has this helpful guide to set up goals you can follow. In most cases, you’ll set up the ‘goal’ as when a visitor reaches a page, such as your receipt or thank you page.

Now you’ve configured the ‘goal’ in Google Analytics the next step is to import it to AdWords. This involves linking the two accounts. Again in Google Analytics go to admin and follow this guide to link the two accounts.

Mistake #3 – Poorly structured campaigns and ad groups.

Small Business owners often have one campaign with hundreds of keywords. This approach will drive traffic to your website, but it will waste money.

How to fix it:

When setting up your Google AdWords account, you should answer these questions:

  • What are my main products or services?
  • What are the offerings under each product or service?

The answer to these questions will be how you structure your AdWords account. For example, in my case, I am a digital marketing consultant. One of my services is search engine optimisation (SEO) and under that is local, small business, consulting and packages. I’d structure the account based on this as follows:

  • Campaign: SEO
  • Ad groups: local SEO, small business, consulting and packages.

By doing this, I can create relevant ads for each ad group to match the keywords. And I’ll get a higher click-through rate to my website. As a nice bonus, my quality score will be better, and I’ll pay less for a click.

Mistake #4 – Not using settings for optimisation opportunities.

Small Business owners are often unaware that you can use settings to improve AdWords. When people search we know a few things:

  1. Their Location.
  2. The time of day.
  3. The device they are using.

Use this to improve your targeting and bid adjustments. Then use this data you collect over time to optimise your ad spend and improve performance.

How to fix it:

Location targeting.

You can use this setting whether you operate on a national, regional or even local level. Here are some examples:

  • If you serve a national audience try targeting each state.
  • If you’re regional try targeting each region.
  • If you’re local try using radius targeting based on kilometre radius you serve.

Watch the data come in. Once you have 20 clicks or more per target location, begin to set bid adjustments. Review these based on performance every couple of months.

Ad schedule.

Optimising your account to the time of day a prospect is most likely to convert is awesome. If you’re in B2B, you’ll want to spend more during business hours. And if you’re a retailer, you’ll want to pay more when your customers are buying more from you. Ad scheduling lets you do this. I recommend setting this up!

Device bidding.

With more people using mobile devices than desktop this is important. Is your website mobile responsive? If not, you don’t want to show ads on mobile! It’s not uncommon that your conversion rate changes by the device a visitor is using. You might want to adjust your bids according to your use case.

Mistake #5 – Not using ad extensions.

Ad extensions in Google AdWords are powerful. They increase your click-through rate and improve quality score. Google offers several options to choose from that work for most businesses. And by not using them you will take up less of the search results ‘real estate’ than your competitors.

Here’s how to fix it:

Consider which ad extensions are suitable for your business. You can view Google’s guide to ad extensions to learn about your options. The most common and useful are site links, callouts and structured snippets; as they help you get across your key messages and work for all businesses. I’d recommend setting up at least four site links and watch their performance. You can follow this guide to set them up.

Over to you.

Now you know the common downfalls of Small Business owners in Google AdWords, it’s time to fix them. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Good luck with fixing up your account!

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