Popular Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Pitfalls

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money jarWith each passing day, PPC engines grow more complex and feature rich. But even with these new enhancements, potential clients still believe that PPC doesn’t work. When I ask a few questions about their experience, these common pitfalls are often the reason between success and failure.

Here’s a short checklist of mistakes business owners (and some agencies!) make, and how to avoid them:

Bidding on irrelevant keywords.
If you don’t write about the broad category of keywords, don’t bid on them. Use Wordtracker to generate lists and permutations of phrases based on a root keyword, and then use Google’s Keyword Tool to get a suggested list of phrases based on the copy of your website or landing page.

Not segmenting ad groups.
Having few keywords, one campaign and one ad group is never the way to structure your account. To have the best relevancy, segment your ad groups based on your various landing pages. The search engines, and Google in particular, like to see clicks lead to a page appropriate for the query.

Not targeting your local market.
Make sure you target geographically both within the ad group’s settings and by including geographic place names within your keywords, ad copy and landing pages. For example, if you’re a divorce lawyer in Lubbock, TX, your keywords could be “divorce lawyer Lubbock” or “Lubbock divorce attorney”, etc.

Leaving content match on.
This is a default setting in nearly all PPC engines, and is designed for maximum profit for the search engines, not necessarily for the advertiser. Content match publishes your advertisements on non-search based pages, alongside relevant content (or within your targeted geographic location). Content targeting is best if you have “impulse” goods or services for sale. In your account settings, disable content match until you get a flavor for the types of traffic pure keyword-driven search brings. Only then should you consider expanding to the content network.

Sending all clicks to your homepage.
Unless the homepage is your only page, it’s almost never right for the first click, since it will require your visitors to navigate, search or do something before they can take your desired action, such as signing up for your newsletter, or requesting your whitepaper.

Poor account setup is very common, and is easily fixed. If you’ve made these mistakes, it’s never too late to restructure your campaign. In just an hour or so, you can be well positioned for better PPC success, save some money, and get more predictable results from your paid marketing campaigns.

Photo credit by spacey.