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You’re Bidding on All the Wrong Keywords

January 6, 2020

Fact: Nobody likes wasting money.

Also fact: A ton of businesses waste money with Google Ads. Every. Single. Day.

Ironically, it’s often the businesses that are most focused on saving money that end up throwing money away with Google Ads. And it’s usually because they delegate digital advertising to someone who only knows enough to be dangerous.

There are a thousand ways to waste your company’s money on Google Ads, and Google isn’t particularly interested in warning you about them. Without the right campaign structure, targeting, and data tracking in place, you can easily be doing more harm than good. So if you need a Google Ads agency that does things the right way, we’d be glad to talk.

Ironically, it’s often the businesses that are most focused on saving money that end up throwing money away with Google Ads.

I have a suspicion you don’t want to read a blog that covers each of the thousand potential ways to waste money on Google Ads, so let’s narrow our focus to keywords and look at two common mistakes.

Your Keywords Are Too Broad

If I had a nickel for every time I took over an account where the keywords were too broad, I’d probably have 100 grand.

I mean, a 100 Grand candy bar. But still, that’s quite a few nickels.

(And an underrated candy bar, I might add.)

100 grand bar
I mean, look at this bad boy.

Google offers three different ways of match your keywords to user searches: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. They all have their uses, but generally speaking, broad match is your worst option. Coincidentally, broad match is also the default option.

If you bid on nike shoes as a broad match keyword, your ad might show up for anything from adidas coupon to nike basketball hoop—whatever Google deems “close enough” to trigger your ad.

If all your keywords are broad match, you (like this guy) are doing it wrong.

Your Keywords Are Too High-Funnel

The other common mistake I see with Google Ads keywords is that people don’t consider what their keywords suggest about user intent. The result? Spending most of their budget on high-funnel users who are unlikely to convert.

For example, let’s say you run a pest control company. You start brainstorming a keyword list based on your services and your customers’ needs, and you come up with something like this:

Spiders, ants, roaches, hornet nest, pesticides, mouse traps, rat poison

Sure, all those terms are relevant to your business. But they’re either too general (spiders, ants, roaches) or they’re focused on DIY solutions (mouse traps, rat poison). Those users may want your services eventually, but they’re nowhere close to making that decision.

Compare that keyword list to this one:

Pest control companies, pest control near me, exterminator reviews, pet friendly pest control company, best pest control for mice

Keywords like these reflect a user who is one good landing page away from making a decision. These are the users you want to spend your money on.


Now What?

When you combine these two mistakes (poorly chosen keywords that are set to broad match)…oof.

But now that you have a better idea of how you’re getting it wrong (potentially), here are 4 steps to getting it right:

  1. Audit the match type of your existing keywords.
  2. Audit the user intent reflected in your existing keywords.
  3. Perform keyword research to better understand what terms to target.
  4. Make sure you have data tracking properly set up so you can understand what terms are leading to conversions and optimize accordingly.

Some of those steps are easier said than done. If you need a helping hand to get your Google Ads campaigns running smoothly, we just so happen to know a Google Ads agency that can do the trick.

Have some questions about developing your paid search strategy?

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