Seven Google AdWords Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Google AdWords is the #1 way to test and quickly increase targeted website traffic.

Unlike most other sources used by the Mequoda Internet Marketing System to drive targeted website traffic, Google AdWords can be turned on and off quickly, and when managed properly, produce very predictable results.

That said, using Google AdWords and being good at it are two very different things. At last week’s first-ever Perry Marshall Google AdWords Seminar, Internet marketing experts Bryan Todd and Howie Jacobson shared the top seven Google AdWords mistakes they see people making who are new to this source of targeted website traffic.

Executive Summary

  • You can make big money fast using Google AdWords to drive targeted website traffic—if you avoid these common mistakes.
  • It’s harder than it looks and most novices leave a lot of money on the table.
  • Two Google AdWords experts share the top seven mistakes you should avoid when setting up and rolling out your own Google AdWords program.

Google AdWords looks easy enough. You pick a keyword phrase, write four short lines of copy (headline, line 1, line 2, URL) and point the clicks at a landing page that converts visitors to customers. What could be easier? Instant targeted website traffic.

Google AdWords expert Bryan Todd (co-author with brother Perry Marshall of The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords) says that while using Google AdWords looks easy, it takes knowledge and hard work to be good at it. And Bryan notes there is a big pay-off. Coaching clients who follow his advice and correct just one of the following mistakes often find their response and revenue double or even triple—overnight.

The Top Seven Google AdWords Mistakes

  1. Buying Google AdWords where there is no traffic.
    Todd counsels clients not to bother with keyword clusters that have less than a few hundred to a few thousand impressions per month. “It just isn’t worth the time and effort to do it right,” says Todd.
  2. Not split testing, or letting split tests run too long.
    The Internet marketer who gets the most profitable Google PPC traffic will be the one who tests copy and gets results the fastest. “The four lines of copy offer an almost infinite number of test combinations,” says Todd, “and you need to find the variation that pulls the best as quickly as you can.” Howie Long adds that while not testing is a major mistake, it’s almost as bad to let your tests run too long and thus delay the increase in response that will occur when you rollout the winning Google ad. To help himself and his clients avoid such complacency, Howie has developed a simple software solution called Winner Alert that emails you when a clear winner emerges from your test. The duo also heartily recommend, which will tell you the number of clicks per ad that correlate to a specific level of statistical confidence. Hint: Thirty clicks from the top performing ad is usually good enough to declare a winner and move on.
  3. Using the same Google ads for many different keyword clusters.
    In all search marketing, it usually pays big rewards to repeat the user’s keyword search phrase in the search results and to do you best to make sure the ad copy is answering the question they are asking. For example, if the user searches for “lower cholesterol” give them a Google ad like “Lower Cholesterol Today!” and not “Heart Attack Prevention Secrets.” The second ad may be relevant but it does not use the language you know the user considers important.
  4. Not tracking conversions is common and bad.
    The ad with the most clicks may or may not be the ad that generates the most leads, orders and customers. You need to make fully informed decisions—which means you must track the transaction through at least the conversion. Todd says he is constantly amazed at the money clients are wasting by not tracking conversions.
  5. Sending Google AdWords clicks to pages that don’t match the Google ad.
    If the Google ad said “Lower Cholesterol Today!,” it’s a good bet that a landing page headline without those three keywords will not convert as well as one that trumpets them proudly. A user takes less that a second to decide to stay when clicking from the ad to the landing page. Make sure they know immediately that the path is contiguous. Says Todd, “Repeat the promise and the words.”
  6. Not using the URL to boost CTR (click-through-rate).
    “Many Google AdWords users seem to think that they can’t change the display URL. That’s wrong. You can buy, create and use any valid URL in the display and it does not have to match the actual URL that receives the user.” Consider the impact of using “” versus “” or even “”
  7. Spending 20 percent of your time on your top performing campaigns.
    Time is money and you’ll never be done optimizing all the Google AdWords campaigns you’re managing. Says Jacobson, “Spend 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of the keyword campaigns that generate the highest levels of traffic—50 percent lift in response will mean much more when it’s attached to a high volume campaign.”

Our thanks to Bryan, Howie and Perry for all their insights and hospitality.


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