Adwords Mistakes – Getting to the Root of the Problem

    January 20, 2008

The numerous list posts you see on the most common mistakes made by adwords beginners don’t get to the root of the problem.

They focus on the use of adwords features like this:

  1. Too many keywords in one ad group
  2. Not opting out of content network
  3. Only using broad match keywords
  4. Not using negative keywords
  5. Not split testing ads

Adwords beginners do generally make these mistakes but the lists miss the main point that beginners often have no clue what they are trying to achieve or how the whole process works. And by the whole process I don’t mean how to log into adwords and opt out of the content network, I mean the process that starts with someone searching for something.

A lot of beginners have no idea of the absolute basics of what they are trying to achieve. They don’t understand the fundamental building blocks of search queries, keywords and ads and the relationship between them. This lack of understanding makes discussion on things like keyword match types and split testing ads pretty redundant.

I know this to be true and I’ve seen numerous examples. A while ago I reviewed a campaign set up by the owner of an entertainment website. The business is an entertainment booking service with a wide range of categories from clowns to bands to motivational speakers.

The campaign had one ad group with about 20 keywords and one ad. I explained the need to create targeted ad groups. He made some changes and asked me to take another look at the campaign. He’d created an ad group called “bands” with the keywords “rock”, “country”, “blues”, “world music” etc.

I think Google are at fault for giving the impression that adwords is easy. As Andrew Goodman said in a SEM group I follow, “It sure ain’t “five minutes and a credit card” – as the seductive sales pitch suggests”.