5 Common Google Ad Mistakes That Businesses Make (& How to Avoid Them)

By Raubi Perilli

      Sep 3, 2021     Solutions    

When you want to drive new customers to your business, Google search ads can be a great place to start. By marketing to people based on the terms they search for, you can put your brand in front of audiences who are actively looking for a business like you.  

But, too often local businesses miss out on the benefits of Google search ads because they make mistakes that cost them traffic, conversions, and sales.  

Let’s look at some of the most common Google Ad mistakes that local businesses make and how you can avoid them so you can spend less and earn more.

Consider How Costly Google Ad Mistakes Can Be

Before we get into explaining which mistakes to avoid, let’s look at why it’s so important to pay attention to and optimize your PPC marketing campaigns. Consider this.  

When a gaming arcade reached out to MyArea Network, they were running PPC Google search ads through Google Smart campaigns -- and they were not impressed with the results.  

They were spending a lot without seeing much in return.  

So MyArea Network partnered with them to see how we could improve the performance of their Google Ads. By identifying a few common Google Ad mistakes and optimizing their campaigns accordingly, we were able to help them:  

  • Significantly lower their cost-per-click (CPC)
  • More than double their click-through rates (CRT)
  • Cut monthly spending in half -- while doubling their results

We helped them spend less and drive higher results.  

If you are running Google Ads, don’t assume you are getting everything you can out of your campaigns. Consider if you are making any of these mistakes -- and fix them to produce a higher return on investment (ROI).  

Related: A Google Ads Starter Guide for Small Businesses

5 Common Google Ad Mistakes That Local Businesses Make

If you are running PPC search ads for your local business, check to see if you are making any of these five Google Ad mistakes that could be causing you to spend more and produce lower results.

#1) Relying too heavily on Smart Campaigns

Because Google Ads can be a bit overwhelming for beginners, many small or local businesses resort to using Google Smart Campaigns.  

Google Smart Campaigns are a simplified process for setting up and managing PPC search ad campaigns. Google created this system to support smaller brands that want to be able to run ads without the help of experts.  

While on the surface, this can seem like a great system, it can also lead to problems. Because the process is automated and less reliant on human insights, it can lead to poor-performing campaigns and unnecessary spending. For example, Google will continue to advise you to make changes that lead to spending more, even if it isn’t necessarily leading to the results you want. Manually running campaigns will almost always lead to better results.  

Related: Search Marketing 101: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

#2) Not identifying negative keywords

You can’t set and forget your Google Ad campaigns. To get the best results, you need to regularly check in and optimize your campaigns. One way to do that is by identifying negative keywords.  

Negative keywords are search phrases or terms that you don’t want your ad to show up for, even though the keywords are related to the search phrases or terms you are targeting. They are terms that Google might suggest for you to use, but that you identify as irrelevant. An example would be “Italian restaurant jobs” if you are running ads for terms related to “Italian restaurant.”  

Optimizing your account includes identifying these terms and setting them as negative keywords so Google stops targeting them.

#3) Bidding on branded keywords when you don’t need to

Because it makes sense for some brands to bid on branded keywords (search phrases that include your brand name), some local businesses assume they need to follow this practice. But, bidding on branded keywords isn’t necessary for every business.  

If your business is already showing in the top organic search result for your brand keywords and no one else is bidding on your branded keywords, you don’t need to either.  

Keep in mind that not needing to bid on branded keywords today doesn’t mean you won’t need to in the future. Keep an eye on your search rankings and competition to see if things change and you do need to begin bidding on brand keywords.

Related: My New Website Doesn't Show Up in Search. Why?

#4) Driving all ad traffic to your homepage

One common Google Ad mistake doesn’t even have to do with the ads. It has to do with the page that the ads point to.  

Many small business owners set up their PPC search ad campaigns and direct all of the traffic to a homepage. It can feel like a way to keep things simple, but it is a mistake to point all of your ads to your homepage.

Instead of pointing ads to a homepage, create specific landing pages that are relevant to your ad content and then, optimize those pages. Create pages that are related to the ad copy, match search intent, and include clear call-to-actions.  

Related: Why Marketing Campaigns Should Drive Traffic to Landing Pages Not Homepages

#5) Failing to run tests and measure relevant KPIs

Many local businesses know that Google Ads can help their business. They set up campaigns, and consider the task done. But, as mentioned earlier, Google Ads is an ongoing strategy.  

Not only do you need to monitor and optimize existing campaigns, but you also need to experiment with new campaigns. Don’t assume that what you are doing with Google Ads is the best you can do. Always look for and test new ways to run ads to produce better results.  

Plus, take it one step further. Before you run ads, make sure you are measuring success by assigning relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to your campaigns. There is no way to measure success, let alone find more success, if you haven’t identified what success looks like. Set KPIs, measure results, and continuously iterate to improve.  

Related: Confused About Marketing Metrics and Analytics? Let This Be Your Guide

Improve Your Google Ad Performance Today

If you are running Google ads and aren’t satisfied with the results you are getting or if you are simply wondering if your PPC ads can produce more for your business, let’s talk.  

The MyArea Network team is eager to see how we can help you avoid costly Google Ad mistakes while identifying ways to improve the performance of your campaigns -- just like we did for our arcade partner.  

To learn more about how we can help you adjust your Google Ad campaigns or set up entirely new ad sets, schedule your free consultation with our team today.