The 7 Most Common Google Ads Mistakes In 2019

Google launched the Google AdWords platform back in 2000.

Over the years there have been many changes to the platform, and many extra features have been added. Last year, Google re-branded the platform to Google Ads.

Although (most) of the changes have been made to make Google Ads more beneficial to advertisers, it can be overwhelming for some. There are significantly more buttons to press on compared to the early days.

As a PPC agency, I do a fair bit of account audits. During these audits, I notice that a lot of advertisers are making similar mistakes.

Here are the most common Google Ads mistakes.

Mistake #1: not enough keywords

Keywords are the core of each search campaign. The more keywords, the bigger your reach will be.  Yet, some advertisers only add a handful of keywords to their campaigns.

Now, I definitely not saying that you should just blindly expand your keyword list just for the sake of it. The key is relevancy, so you only want to add keywords that are relevant to the products or service you are trying to sell.

However, even with relevant keywords, you can often create a large list. Think about the entire long tail, different word order, plurals and even misspellings. Most businesses are able to build a keyword list with a few thousand keywords.

For some large campaigns I worked on in the past we ran campaigns with roughly a million keywords!

Long tail of Google Ads keywords.

Mistake #2: keywords added in broad match

When creating new keywords, these are standard added as broad match. I personally don’t recommend using broad match keywords in your account.

No, let me re-phrase that: don’t use broad match in your account. Ever. Unless you’re using a lot of negative keywords, these keywords will trigger too many irrelevant search queries. This will lower your Quality Score and increase your cost-per-click.

Instead, expand your keyword list with broad match modifier, phrase match and exact match keywords.

I wrote a different article that explains everything about the keyword match types.

Explanation of different match types in Google Ads.

Mistake 3: only one ad group

Google is all about relevancy. The more relevant your ad is, the higher your Google Quality Score, the higher your rankings and the lower your cost-per-click. Which means you will be able to squeeze more conversions out of your budget. It’s a win-win-win-win (win) situation.

By adding all your keywords to the same ad group you won’t be able to write a relevant ad for your keywords. Instead, you want to split out your ad groups and write unique and relevant ad copy’s for each one of them.

You can split out your ad groups based on product/service, but also on the type of keywords (eg. you might want to a different ad copy if your keywords contain “freelancer” vs keywords that contain “specialist”).

Google recommends to use around 10-20 keywords in each ad group, so if you’re advertising on 1,000 keywords this means you end up having roughly 50 ad groups.

Mistake 4: low click-through rate (CTR)

Remember that Google Quality Score I have been bugging you about? It’s a way for Google to calculate how relevant your ad is for a particular search query.

One of the factors Google looks at to calculate the Quality Score is the click-through rate (CTR) of your ads. Not just of that one keyword, but also of your entire account.

Now, this means that the CTR of your account has an effect on your Quality Score and the cost per click that you’re paying. The easiest way to boost your CTR is to pause keywords that are getting you lots of impressions but no clicks.

Mistake 5: no conversion tracking

The great thing about Google Ads that you can track all of your results. You can see how many impressions you are getting, how many clicks, what your spend is and… how many leads or sales you got.

Most of this data is being pulled into the dashboard automatically when you launch your campaigns. However, your conversion tracking (leads/sales etc.) is something you will need to set up yourself.

It’s not hard. You can either use the tracking snippet from your Google Ads account or import any goals from Google Analytics. You do want to set this up before you launch your first campaign.

Mistake #6: no negative keywords

Back to the keywords. Yes, they’re still the core of your campaigns.

Negative keywords prevent your ad for being showed for irrelevant search queries. Think about search queries you definitely don’t want to be shown for. Like search queries that contain “scam”, “jobs”. You can also include locations that you don’t serve or even competitors.

For an advertiser, it is very unlikely if you don’t need any negative keywords.

Image that shows how negative keywords works within Google Ads.

Mistake #7: no ad extensions

Ad extensions are free. They will give your ad more real estate in the search engine. This will increase the likelihood of people clicking your ad.

Maybe not all ad extensions are applicable to your business. However, ad extensions like the sitelinks extensions and callout extensions will be useful for every business.

These are the most common mistakes we notice when doing PPC audits. Try to avoid these mistakes and you’re on your way to get more results out of your Google Ads campaigns.

Are you making any of these mistakes yourself?


What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google’s pay per click (PPC) advertising platform, formerly known as Google AdWords. By using Google Ads you can reach potential customers on the Google Search and Display Network.

What is the Google Quality Score?

The Quality Score is a number from 1 to 10 that shows how relevant your keyword to a particular search query. A low Quality Score shows that your keyword is totally irrelevant, while a high Quality Score means that it’s spot on and that you’re offering exactly what visitors are looking for.

How does the Google ad auction work?

Google uses hundreds of factors to decide the ad ranking and this is being re-calculated for each search query. In general, Google looks at the bid and the relevancy of each advertiser for a particular keyword.

How can I improve my Quality Score?

If you can increase the relevance of your campaign, you will get higher Quality Scores. This will significantly decrease your cost per click so that you can squeeze more clicks and conversions out of your budget.

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By Jeroen

Having worked as a PPC freelancer for many years, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.

He is the founder of Vazooky Digital, a Google Ads agency in Sydney, Australia.

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