BLOG-Five-Common-Paid-Search-MistakesWe’ve had prospective clients come to us and say something like, ‘I’ve tried PPC before and it didn’t work at all. I spent a lot of money, really fast and got nothing out of it, but all my competitors use it, so it must work for them.’ It’s not that your campaigns didn’t work, but that you might be making some common paid search mistakes. Here are five, but by no means, all of them.

1. Not taking Time to Organizing your Campaigns:

Before you set up your PPC campaigns, take time and map out how you want your campaigns organized.  The more planning you do before you set up your campaigns, the more time and money you will save down the road.  You should organize your campaigns into specific themes and have your Ad Groups organized by specific keywords.  Organizing your campaigns from the beginning will allow you to have a clearer picture of your account as it starts to receive data.  You will be better able to manage budgets and bids.  You will also be able to cut down on wasted spending much easier.  A little planning before, can save you a lot of time and money down the road.

2. Wrong Landing Page: 

Your goal of a landing page is to take your visitor to the most relevant page.  A lot of people tend to take their visitors to their home page.  Now that’s OK if your home page is the most relevant for the search a user looked up.  However you don’t want your visitor to have to search through your website to find what they are looking for.  If a visitor is searching for “red shoes”, you don’t want to take them to your generic shoe page that shows all colors.  You want to take your visitor to the most appropriate landing page, a page that shows all your red shoes.  If a visitor has to search through pages for what they are looking for, then chances are they will just leave and go somewhere else.  A relevant landing page will keep your visitor more engaged on your site and lead to more conversions.

3. Not Using Negative Keywords: 

One goal of PPC is to get targeted traffic to your site and perform some sort of action, such as buying a product or service or filling out a lead form.  When an account is built, you need to take advantage of negative keywords.  Negative keywords can cut down on unnecessary spending.  As an example, say you sell hockey equipment.  Do you really want to pay for people to visit your site who type in the word “free”? Or what if you sell new hockey equipment, but the search is “used hockey equipment” or “hockey equipment craigs list”. It’s highly unlikely they are looking to pay for your good or services and I am pretty sure you’re not in the business of giving away free products, so why pay for that visitor? Here’s another example: you are a medical billing company, and you advertise on “medical billing” – negative the terms job, jobs, career, careers, employment, training, courses, at home to prevent people who are not looking for the service you offer. Save a lot of time, frustration and money by making use of negative keywords.

4. Not Giving Your Campaign Enough Time: 

Sometimes people can be quick to set up a campaign, only to shut it down after a week or two if they don’t see the results they were expecting.  Of course there are times when it’s appropriate to shut down a campaign after a week or two, but only if you have enough data to justify this decision.  However there are a lot of times that it takes a longer period of time to gather data and analyze your results.  When you gather data, you learn more about your visitors and how they are finding you and what actions they are taking on your site.  By knowing this information about your visitor, you can refine your campaign to build off the successful items and eliminate the money wasting items. You can also get an idea of what you might need to change on your website. By gathering more data, you can make more informed decisions.

5. Not Being Active in Your Account: 

This can be one of the most devastating actions you can do in your account.  While it might not always be on your top of your list and can be rather boring, it is necessary to be active in your account.  The way people search is changing every day.  What might be working today, may not be working tomorrow.  In return maybe you have a slow campaign that isn’t generating much traffic.  Maybe some outside factor is now causing people to search keywords in this campaign.  If your bids are too low, you can miss out on some very targeted traffic.  On the other hand if your bids are too high, your spending can jump through the roof.  Staying active in your account allows you to create a more efficient marketing approach.  You can easily cut down poor performing keywords, while increasing high performing keywords.  Staying active in your account can mean the difference between success and failure. (One caveat with that is being TOO active in your account. Making changes every day, without giving those changes a chance to perform can be just as bad, if not worse, than not optimizing your account.)

Paid search is surprisingly complex. And these mistakes above just scratch the surface of what to do. There are a lot of moving parts. It takes time to master and time to learn what to optimize, what to leave alone, which settings to take advantage of. If you don’t have the time to invest in paid search, then a PPC management company is money well spent.