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10 Worst AdWords Campaign Management Mistakes

By Tyler Huston

On today's highly competitive Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) search engine, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your PPC campaigns are optimized to their utmost potential. You should be achieving maximum return on ínvestment (ROI) for the keywords or phrases that are most relevant to your business and are most likely to provide you with targeted traffïc to your website. With ever growing cost-per-click (CPC) prices throughout the various PPC search engines it is essential that you avoid certain mistakes that will undoubtedly result in poorly performing PPC campaigns.

The Mistakes to Avoid

Long list of less than targeted keywords
Not identifying unique aspects of your product or service
Lack of keywords in your ad text
Directing users solely to your home page
Creation of single Ad Groups
Utilizing single campaigns
Using broad match only
Failure to optimize Ad Serving for your ads
Not tracking results
Entering the content network without modifying bids

Long List of Less Than Targeted Keywords

When you first set out to create your AdWords campaign it is of utmost importance that you do not go "keyword crazy". What this means is that you must not create long lists of irrelevant and generic keywords. For example, if you were an automotive dealership then it would not be in your best interest to target the keyword "truck". The reason being is that the cost-per-click (CPC) for such a generic keyword would be incredibly high when compared to a more descriptive relevant keyword such as "T-Z783 Extended Cab". An example of an irrelevant keyword which would not produce conversions if you strictly conducted automotive salës would be "tail light covers". The phrase may bring visitors to your website but, if they do not find what they are looking for when they get there, they will be gone just as quickly as they arrived.

Not Identifying Unique Aspects of Your Product or Service

Before implementing your AdWords campaign you must first understand exactly what it is that makes you stand out from your competition. By identifying your unique products or services you will have a lot more clarity on how to rise above your competitors and zone in on the keywords or phrases that are unique to your business. I would recommend that you perform an analysis of your competition, have a look and see what they are doing and which phrases they are using. After conducting a competition analysis and after understanding what makes your products or services unique you will be able to come up with a strategy that will topple your competitors.

Lack of Keywords in Your Ad Text

When creating your descriptive ad copy it is imperative that you find a means to inject your keywords into your title and description while maintaining the delicate balance of clarity and relevance. Your ad copy should be tailored in such a way that when read by a visitor they know exactly what they are getting into when they clíck on your ad, which brings me to my next point.

Directing Users Solely to Your Home Page

Not taking the time to decide which destination URL should be designated to which ad is an oversight that I come across far too often. When you finish compiling your list of relevant keywords that describe unique products or services of your business, why on earth would you then send everyone to your homepage and let them navigate through your site in hopes of finding what it is that they are looking for. Instead why not send them straight to the page that contains exactly what was described to them within your ad copy. As an example, if you are an automotive dealership and your ad contains the keyword "T-Z783 Extended Cab", instead of sending them to send them to

Creation of Single Ad Groups

Categorizing ads that are targeting related keywords into a common ad-group will allow you to have a much higher level of control over your entire campaign. Let's say that you run a sporting goods store, start by grouping all ads targeted towards hockey skates into a single Ad Group. You would then create another ad-group which would be targeting hockey sticks and another containing hockey gloves and so on. Organizing your ad-group structure in this manner gives you the ability to create in-depth reports on the perförmance of each ad-group.

Utilizing Single Campaigns

Once you have your Ad Groups sorted out into easy to identify categories you may then move on to the next step of creating relevant campaigns. From the example above you have created Ad Groups containing separate products of hockey skates, sticks, gloves etc. Now it is time to create a container for all of the Ad Groups into one campaign entitled "hockey equipment". You would then repeat the process creating Ad Groups for tennis, one group for shoes, one for racquets etc. and then once again you drop them all into a single campaign entitled "tennis equipment". Having highly organized campaigns is the key to determining which ads are creating optimal conversions.

Using Broad Match Only

When you do not take advantage of the phrase matching options that are available to you, chances are you are missing out on potential customers and creating a higher CPC. Broad matches are usually less targeted than exact and phrase matching. Broad matching is the default option your ads will appear for expanded matches such as plurals or relevant keyword variations. When utilizing phrase match your ad will appear for search terms in the order that you specify and sometimes for other terms. Exact matching is by far the most targeted option to use. You will appear for the exact keyword specified. Negative keyword is also a fantastic option to utilize in order to specify which keywords you do not want to appear for.

Broad match
Default option: Blue widget

Phrase match
Surround the keyword in quotes: "blue widget"

Exact match
Surround the keyword in square brackets: [blue widget]

Negative match
Place a negative character before the keyword: -blue widget

Failure To Optimize Ad Serving For Your Ads

When you take advantage of the AdWords Ad Serving service basically what you will be doing is showing your most popular ads more often. The AdWords platform will give weïght to ads with the highest click-through rates (CTRs) and display them more often then keywords with lower (CTRs) within the same ad-group.

Not Tracking Results

In order to have any idea on your AdWords campaign perförmance you must be able to see the keywords that work as well as those that do not. Google AdWords supplies a vast array of very useful tracking tools. Google has also built into the user interface Google Analytics which is a marvellous web analytics tool that provides you with in-depth reporting on all aspects of your campaign perförmance. I cannot stress enough the importance of creating goals for your AdWords campaign to measure your success by.

Entering The Content Network Without Modifying Bids

Within the AdWords platform you have recently been given the ability to set different bids for the content network compared to that of the search network. If you do not set different bids on the content network for certain keywords, you will be paying more per clíck than you should be. After lowering the prices on certain keywords you will notice that the amount of click-throughs that you will be attaining will remain the same as they were at the higher bid.


The purpose for this article was to create awareness for common mistakes and to eliminate frustrations that may emerge when managing Google AdWords campaigns. The points mentioned above are compiled from management mistakes that I have stumbled upon time and time again in hopes to assist you in creating a marketing campaign that will generate dramatic increases to the profïts of your business.

About The Author
Tyler Huston is the founder and CEO of, a search marketing firm that provides professional PPC Management, expert search engine optimization, SEO press release writing and blog optimization services. Tyler takes pride in ranking clients from all over the world at the top of the search engines. He can be reached at


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