Home > PPC, search engine marketing > 4 Basic PPC Mistakes You Can Correct Today

4 Basic PPC Mistakes You Can Correct Today

On a regular basis I have seen marketers make the same tactical mistakes in running their PPC (pay-per-click) programs. Why?
This seems to occur…

  • in the beginning due to inexperience or indifference
  • after the account has grown substantially and becomes quickly out of control
  • with too many cooks in kitchen adding junk and pushing buttons
  • when people panic and start adding junk and pushing buttons, hoping this will improve performance

By identifying and correcting the problems, you should see immediate and positive changes.

Account creep: Recently observed:  campaigns added upon campaigns, random keywords added, or text ads added in until there are half a dozen creative versions for one Adgroup.

Solution: with each addition to the account, you need to do an audit to find same or similar or complementary campaigns. Compare and contrast. Maybe the additions you need are simply an edit or enhancement to an existing campaign? For new ad texts, you really only need one or two versions unless you intend to test them. Delete the old ones when adding new.

Duplicate keywords: Have you heard: “Why is the wrong ad showing up when I type in ‘blah blah blah’?” Take a detailed look. Do you see keywords duplicated and all over the place? This can result in the incorrect ad showing up.

Solution: Understand each set of keywords should be associated with the exact ad you want to appear. Make sure the same keyword is not in multiple campaigns. Run a keyword report and sort to find any duplicates. Decide which ones are in the wrong place and delete ’em!

Google says: “Avoid duplicate keywords across adgroups. Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include duplicate keywords in different adgroups or campaigns. Identical keywords compete against each other, and the better-performing keyword triggers your ad.”

This help file is excellent in demonstrating a simple account set up and how the keywords should look.

Keyword matching: The way keywords are matched up with search terms is extremely critical to performance. Recently, I witnessed an account capture 30% less traffic because the keyword match was changed from broad to phrase match in Google. Because phrase match is more targeted than broad match, the keywords were actually tightened up, thus limiting traffic. Google uses broad match and Yahoo uses standard match as the default.

Solution: Learn the details of how to make sense of keyword match types. Experiment in small amounts until you understand how your keywords will behave. Then expand.

Content and keyword campaigns combined: Even though this is the default setting for Google, you shouldn’t mix the two. The content campaigns will behave more like display ads with a lower click-through-rate than keyword triggered campaigns. This will skew the results and make it difficult to optimize.

Solution: In keyword campaigns, only select “Google search” and “search partners”. In content campaigns, do the opposite. See awesome illustration:


Have you made the same mistakes? Don’t panic. Kick the other cooks out of the kitchen and simply set a plan to make corrections and then it will be smooth sailing. For now…

  1. January 20, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Regarding to the Keywords matching, I didn’t understand, what is your recommendation.
    As much as I know, Phrase match gives more target visitors to the site.

    • January 22, 2009 at 8:02 am

      It’s important to know how keywords work in the various match types across search engines. Test how each match type works for your particular keywords. Phrase match can be the most targeted, however, if you have low search volume, it makes more sense to broad match keywords to get as much traffic as possible. You can use all the match types in one campaign to really fine-tune results.

  2. January 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the really helpful post!

  3. March 9, 2009 at 5:24 am

    A very important and helpful post. Thanks for sharing. The Keysearch Analytics blog has tips, tricks, advice and case studies for the search marketing industry.

  4. Cristino
    January 7, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Oh it’s really nice blog about online advertising and good to know about Basic PPC Mistakes. Online marketing is really gaining rapid popularity. To promote our site or product we have to do advertising so that people should know about it. Even i used to promote my site and sell my product online through full service and my business is really growing.

  5. Sarita Rawat
    May 13, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Read your post today and found this is very helpful to all. Always write like this.


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