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Are You Wasting Money on Google Ads?

For many small businesses, getting to the top of Google is a key element in ensuring that they get seen by the right audience. However, if you’re just starting out, or are in a particularly competitive industry, doing this organically can be difficult.

Search engine optimisation can take time, and a lot of effort, so for many business owners, choosing to use Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords)  is a great option for your business to appear at the top of Google search results. For those who don’t wish to use a dedicated Google advertising agency, setting up your advertising account may seem to be the answer. 

However, while Google advertising can be extremely effective – if you get it wrong, you can waste hundreds, if not thousands on paying for irrelevant clicks. So without further ado – we explore some of the ways in which you may be wasting money on Google advertising.


You’re Paying For the Wrong Keywords

This is by far the biggest problem we as an agency encounter when undertaking Google Ads audits for clients. When you set up your Google ads account, it’s vital that firstly, you think very carefully about the keywords you wish to target.

By undertaking keyword research, you should be able to identify what your potential audience is searching for when it comes to your products or services.

If you’re just starting out, using Google’s own keyword planner can help, but you need to make sure that you are applying a good rationale. Let’s take an example – say we were setting up an advertising campaign showing our Google ads service. We could use the keyword planner to give us some ideas. You can either start with a keyword as below


Or you can start with a page on your website (note this can be a great way of checking how Google views your site for SEO purposes!)


Let’s look at the results when going from our website page. Many of Google’s suggested keywords are way too broad to be able to nail them down to someone searching for someone to manage their PPC advertising. In fact, if we look at the results below – the only real valuable result here is AdWords agency. Getting this wrong could be a very expensive mistake; a high bid on Adwords has a cost per click of  £77.50! 


When choosing which keywords to bid on, be specific and think about intent. Let’s say we bid on the search term “Google Ads”. We could generate clicks from any of the following…


  • Someone looking to log in to their Google ads account

  • Someone just investigating what Google ads are.

  • Someone doing research on Google ads for a content piece.

None of those clicks would be likely to convert and we would spend a lot of money in the process. 

To get the most out of your ad spend, it’s vital that you consider whether the keywords that you have selected have commercial intent (e.g the person searching is doing to with a view to purchase at some stage). Check out this great article from Wordstream on finding commercial intent keywords. 

Using the wrong match types

 So you have nailed down the search terms that you want to bid on and are happy that they are likely to lead to actual sales or enquiries, you’ve set your budget and all is well right? Wrong… If you’re using the wrong match types, it doesn’t matter how well selected your keywords are - the chances are that you may still be paying for clicks that are irrelevant. 

By default, when setting up a paid search campaign on Google, your keywords are set to something called “broad match”. This means that your ad can appear when a user searches any word in your keyphrase, in any order. It can also interpret your keywords with closely related keywords. This, in turn, can lead to your ad appearing in searches that are not relevant, or lack commercial intent. 

Learn more about Google match types here 

You Aren’t Tracking Conversions

This is something we encounter on a shockingly frequent basis. You’re spending money on your Google ads, but aren’t tracking your results! If you are not tracking Google ads conversions, you are likely to be wasting a lot of money on irrelevant clicks, or worse still - Google ads are not selling any of your product and you don’t know about it! 

Understanding conversion rates, and what works is vital to ensure that you are not throwing away cash on Google ads. 

Check out our blog on measuring ROI on adverting.


Using the Wrong Bid Strategy

One thing to always bear in mind – Google is there to take your money! It’s very easy when setting up a Google Ads account to see an objective of “conversions” and think – “hell yeah, that’s what I want – conversions” and tick the box.

A word of warning though, choosing automated bid strategies means that you lose control of your bidding amounts, and Google has to have data to work with. Therefore if you choose, for example, maximise conversions on a brand new account, Google has no data with which to know who is likely to convert on your site. This is why conversion tracking is so important – and choosing your exact goals.

At The Small Biz Expert, generally, we tend to avoid automated strategies to start off with and suggest, if you have the time to regularly check your account that you do too.


You’re Ignoring Auto Apply

When you log into Google ads, you often see a bunch of suggestions from Google that may not work for your business. For example, you may see suggestions for irrelevant keywords, a change of bid strategy or adding responsive search ads that aren’t going to work for your business.

When looking at Google recommendations, review them thoroughly and check whether they are applicable (hint – often they’re really not!)

Also, be careful of “auto-apply”. Auto apply basically makes changes to your ads after 14 days if you do not dismiss their suggestions. 

You Don’t Check Your Quality Score

When it comes to Google advertising, Quality Score can make or break your campaigns and seriously affect your budget. Googles quality score is a rating of the quality and relevance of your ads for any given keyword. It takes into account three main elements, namely

·        Your Click-Through Rate

·        The relevance of the ads in your ad group to your keywords

·        The quality of your landing page.

To get just an idea of how much Quality score could affect your costs, take a look at the photo below

You Don’t Check Your Location Settings

When setting up your Google account you would have considered what locations your business serves. You may offer a local service - where you can physically only get to customers within a certain radius of your offices. It may be that you sell products on a national or even multinational scale. You may wish to target only certain areas which are likely to contain your target customer. 

While you may have set up your Google ads to target a specific area - it’s important that you understand the different ways in which Google interprets area targeting. Remember, when you target an area - generally speaking you will also be targeting people with an interest in that area but who don’t necessarily live or work there, so make sure to exclude any areas or countries where you don’t want to do business. 

Take a look at this advice from Google on location targeting. 

If you’re worried about wasting money on your Google ads, why not get in touch with us for a completely free, no-obligation consultation. As a Google Partner Agency, we are more than happy to assist you and offer Google Ads training as well as Google Ads management.

This post first appeared on The Small Biz Expert, please read the originial post: here

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Are You Wasting Money on Google Ads?


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