Self-inflicted wounds in Google AdWords can lead to frustration, fewer customers and less money — not good things.

When used correctly, AdWords is a powerful, efficient advertising platform that brings scores of visitors to your business. However, campaigns are doomed to underwhelm when not properly optimized — and folks who are new to AdWords often make the same mistakes.

In this article, let’s review seven of the most common errors that can kill your Google AdWords campaign. As you’ll see, these easily made mistakes are also fairly simple to fix.

Mistake 1: Not Using Keywords in Your Ad Copy

People who search for products and services online are much more likely to click on your ad if it contains the exact phrase they were looking for.

Make sure at least one of the ads in your ad group includes your top performing keyword phrase. This will lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR), which means more potential leads and sales.

Mistake 2: Not Creating New Ad Groups for Different Keywords

Novice AdWords users often rush to set up campaigns. Rather than create ad groups for the different aspects of their businesses, they just throw all of their ads and keywords into a single ad group. This is a huge mistake!

The solution is to create different ad groups for all of the different keyword phrases you find during your keyword research. This allows you to write more targeted ads that will boost your CTR. Also, each of your ads can contain their most relevant keyword terms as we discussed above.


Mistake 3: Ignoring Negative Keywords

You not only pay for every click on your ad, but in a sense you’re also paying for folks who don’t click on your ad. Low CTRs lead to low quality scores, and low quality scores lead to higher costs. So you really want to make sure your ads are being seen by people who are most likely to click. Negative keywords can help here.

By adding a negative keyword, you’re instructing AdWords to not show your ads when a search query includes that keyword. How is this helpful? Imagine you own a garage door repair business, and you realize you’re getting an extremely low CTR from people who are searching for “garage door openers.” Most of those folks would have no interest in getting their garage doors repaired — they just need new door remotes. So why market to that crowd? Adding “openers” as a negative keyword solves the problem.


Mistake 4: You’re Not Advertising to Relevant Locations

Online advertising is amazing because people around the world can see your ads – but that is a double edge sword…

Sure, you may sell products that might be attractive to a global audience. However, if you run a laundromat, a landscaping company or a number of other local-centric businesses, then you’re throwing money away when far-away users click your ads.

So here’s the rule – start out small. Even if global domination is your goal, start by advertising near your home city or state. You’ll have an easier time optimizing other variables and you can always expand your reach later.


Mistake 5: You’re Sending Visitors to Your Home Page

You may like your website, and visitors may like it, too. But when people use Google, what they’re really after are solutions. The more directly you can provide your visitors with solutions, the better.

Unless you operate an extremely simple business, then your homepage is probably going to be too vague to offer a high-quality user experience. Let’s say you own an auto mechanic shop that handles brake repairs, engine tune-ups, oil changes and windshield repair.

Ideally, you should have a minimum of 4 different ad groups – one for each of your main services – and each ad should send visitors to pages of your site that deal specifically with those topics.

You only have fractions of a second to capture a visitor’s interest before he or she leaves your site. You must do all you can to make each visit count.

Mistake 6: You’re Not Trying Anything New

Testing new approaches to your ads and keywords can be stressful, especially if you’ve found combinations that appear to be working. Why risk wasting money on something that might not work, right?

On the other hand, testing can reveal new ad copy or keywords that take your campaigns to the next level. Also, you don’t need to ‘pause’ your existing ads to test new material – just run your test ads with a smaller budget or set them to appear less often throughout the day.

Remember to only test one thing at a time. Change more than one variable, and you won’t know which changes are impacting your ad performance.


Mistake 7: Not Optimizing Your Landing Page

Optimizing your campaigns within AdWords will only take you so far. You also need to adjust your landing pages.

First, make sure that anything you promise in your ad copy (i.e. “free shipping!” or “huge sale!”) is delivered on your landing page. Second, make sure your landing page is arranged logically; if you want users to fill out a form or click a button, then your page shouldn’t be cluttered with irrelevant content. Also, make absolutely certain your website functions properly on all devices including laptops and smartphone browsers.



It’s easy to set up an AdWords campaign, but it’s also easy to make rookie mistakes that will mess with your efforts. Don’t let that happen to you. Take the time to create your campaigns slowly rather than rush through them, and make sure to make your ads and ad groups as relevant as possible to your users.

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