10 Most Common PPC Mistakes Web Marketers Make

by Erick D. Smith

When it comes to pay per click (PPC) campaigns, small mistakes can make a huge difference. Whether you’re a PPC management company or a business that handles its own PPC campaigns, learning to avoid the following ten common pitfalls of PPC marketing will help you get the most out of your PPC ads.

1. Bidding on Broad Terms
It can be very easy to lazily bid on broad search terms, but by doing so you miss out on key traffic from people searching for more specific phrases. Look at your web statistics; find the exact variations of keywords that people are using to find the products and/or services that you also offer and bid on those variations.

2. Losing the Landing Page’s Relevance
The key to remember here is, if you have a keyword that appears in your ad, you should repeat that keyword on the landing page the ad takes consumers to. This is pretty basic, PPC training 101, but it’s amazing how many times marketers make this error.

3. Paying for Garbage Traffic
Every search engine you buy PPC ads from distributes your ads to a network. Unfortunately, some of the sites in these networks are fraudulent, delivering traffic with huge bounce rates. Look at your web stats and find the sites with high bounce rates. Google lets you put these in a “negative excluded sites” file. With other search engines, you’ll have to call them to remove the garbage.

4. Homogenous Ads
Don’t put up ads that are similar to other ads in the community you’re trying to reach. The goal of your PPC ad should be to stand out from what a member of the target web community expects.

5. Using Phone Numbers
Placing your phone number in your ad is a waste of valuable ad space that you could be using for something else. Bottom line: most people aren’t gonna call unless they’ve already checked out your site.

6. Not Bidding on Your Name
If you have a unique name, why bid on it? The answer is so that your competitors don’t end up bidding on it first and acquiring traffic that ought to be yours. It’s unlikely that they will, but why risk it?

7. Failing to Separate Search Results from Content Matches
It takes time and can be laborious, but it’s important to separate content matches from regular search advertising, as it will let you get a better picture of how each campaign is going and adjust your budget and strategy accordingly.

8. Paying for Negative Keywords
Google and other search engines will allow your ads to come up when people search for negative keywords, meaning things like your targeted keyword plus the words “free” or “jobs”. It’s a good idea to put all of these in the “negative keyword folder”. There’s no reason to pay for clicks from people who are not interested in paying for your products or services.

9. Not Taking Advantage of Seasonal Copy
People love special seasonal discounts, so take advantage of this. Change your ads when holidays and special time periods for your industry come around. Words like “holiday special” or “summer blowout” can be great for attracting traffic.

10. Failing to Perform Exact Tracking
Be sure you track exactly where each click came from. This means the exact keyword, campaign and ad that is used. Good PPC management tools and software helps. You should be able to integrate your PPC campaigns with analytics software to calculate the exact effectiveness of your ads.

About the Author: Erick D. Smith is a web marketer who lives in San Diego and blogs about SEO and PPC management tools.