Are you guilty of these three AdWords blunders?

If you are just getting started with AdWords, learn to avoid these three common mistakes and get higher returns from your investment.

Google AdWords is an advertising service offered for businesses who want to promote themselves through the Google Network. This program allows businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click on their ads. Specifically, Google Search ads are the sponsored listings that you see at the top and bottom of the search results page when you perform a keyword search on Google. If you are just getting started with AdWords, learn to avoid these three common mistakes and get higher returns from your investment.

1. Forgetting to use keyword match types.
Since this advertising model is largely focused on the use of keywords, you should be aware of how to effectively use them. A common mistake that people often make is using the wrong type of keyword match, or not using the different match types at all.

There are three categories of keyword matches: Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match.

A Broad Match means your ads will be triggered by any of the words in the keyword you choose, regardless of the order of the words in the search string. So if you use the keyword phrase golf clubs, your ad may also show for phrases such as best golf clubs or clubs for golf, as well as golf shirts and country club. A broad match keyword will deliver more impressions, but some may be to an irrelevant audience since it will show up for terms that aren’t a tight fit for your products or the ad.

A Phrase Match is when your ads appear to people who search for your keywords in that exact order. For example, if you phrase match the keyword “best golf irons”, your ads will only show to people who type in “best golf irons,” with or without additional words before or after (e.g. “best golf irons in Canada.” If you want to enter a Phrase Match, enclose “best golf irons” in quotation marks.

Lastly we have Exact Match Keyword, which means your ads will only display when the exact keyword that you’re targeting is typed into the search engine. If you type it in square brackets, like so: [best golf irons], then your ad will only show up to people who typed this exact phrase, without any additional text. According to research, the Exact Match Keyword is more likely to convert than Broad or Match.

A good approach is to start with a few exact matches that are specific to what you are selling and then expand to phrase and broad match types over time. With careful monitoring, broad matches will help you to learn more precisely what search terms your leads use to find your services, and can help you to find new keywords to target.

2. Not using Ad Groups effectively.
Instead of breaking up their ads into groups based on similar types of keywords, some people lump all of their keywords into one ad group to show everyone the same ad. The ideal situation is to show an ad that closely matches the keyword being searched. The closer the match between the ad’s copy and the keyword, the more likely it is that a viewer will click on the ad. For example, if a lawn care company offers season-long fertilization and insect control, creating specific ads for each service could be a better way to target potential clients who are searching for specific keywords related to each service.

If you make the mistake of lumping everything together under one ad group, this inhibits you from customizing the ad to be the best fit for the term being searched for. The more you break up your ads and keywords into specific themes, the easier it is to monitor and optimize your campaigns for success.

3. Not knowing your competition.
Another mistake is being unaware of the ads your competitors are using. You need to know who you’re competing against, what keywords they’re using, and what their ads and landing pages look like. Think about being in your customers’ shoes – which ad would appeal to you most? Take some notes and figure out how to improve your landing pages, whether it is through a better design, a fresher look and feel, testimonials, social presence, or something else. Your competitors can be a great resource for how you can improve your own business.

There are many strategies for effectively utilizing AdWords to your business’ advantage, and these three are just the tip of the iceberg. Good luck setting up your AdWords Search Network ads!