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Google AdWords campaign cause unique problems for the marketers designing them. Most advertising campaigns are charged by the number of people you expect to see them. The bigger the newspaper or the more popular the show the more the advertiser has to pay. You want to pay to reach potential clients and not waste money by reaching people who will never buy your product. But if someone happens to see your ad it does not cost you extra money. The same is true with search results. You want to reach your target audience but if someone who is not a potential client clicks on your link it does not cost you anything.

In your Google AdWords campaign you are paying every time someone clicks on your ad. Anytime someone who has no potential to bring you any revenue clicks on your ad it is a waste of money. If you are running your ads on a limited budget, and unless your name is Amazon you are, any wasted click means one less potential customer will click on your ad. There are thankfully several things you can do to reduce the number of bad clicks you are getting.

Our tips for reducing the number of bad clicks your Google AdWords campaign receives:

1. Specific keywords- Try to be as specific as you can with your keywords. If you sell basketball shoes, use “basketball shoes” as a keyword phrase, and don’t use just “shoes”.

2. Use the correct Google keyword match type. Google has 3 different match types:

 Broad-Means the search term was close to your keyword.  We never use these because it will match a lot of searches that have little to do with your business.

 Phrase- Our favorite. The search terms must be close to your keyword but it does not have to match it exactly.

Exact- Great for reducing bad clicks. The problem can be that there will not be enough people searching for your exact keyword phrase. If you can get enough impressions and clicks with exact keywords then they are the best alternative.

3. Negative keywords- This is an underutilized and very important tools for avoiding bad clicks. A negative keyword tells Google not to show your ads if these terms are used in search. For example our ad campaign for a small architecture firm has the negative terms: schools, books, do it yourself , learn, how to. There is no value to them getting clicks from students looking for a good school to study architecture.

4. Ignore click through rates- Your goal is to maximize the number of good clicks not to get as many clicks as possible. 1 good click is a lot better than 2 bad ones.

5. Check search terms. Google provides you with a list of some of the search terms that lead your search ads to be shown.  These can provide you with ideas for new, more specific keywords but more importantly it will show you bad search terms that you need to be adding to your negative keywords. No matter how much time you spend on coming up with negative keywords someone will invariably use a search term you never thought of and end up wasting your money.

6. Use the demographic and geography settings in the campaign settings. Google lets you set where your ads will show. If you only deal with customers in the U.S. than make sure your ads only show in the United States. If you are a retail store or restaurant make sure your ads only show to people within driving distance of your place. You can also choose to not show ads to the different genders, age groups and income levels. If you sell women’s shoes than way pay to advertise to men. 

7. Write ads designed to encourage the right people to click on your ad. The more specific your ad copy the better the chance you will not get people clicking on your ads thinking it was something different. If you are trying to get trade show exhibitors to go to your site but not people attending trade fairs you need to use terms like exhibitors and booth prominently in your ad.

8. Use Google Analytics to analyze your results. You may be getting lots of clicks but if those people are going to your site and quickly leaving without doing what you want them to do it is a waste of money.

9. Have a well-designed webpage. The best AdWords campaign in the world will not help you reach your goals if the page you are sending people to is not optimized. 

Google AdWords and other PPC campaigns can be an excellent way to attract new clients, especially for businesses that are not doing well in organic search. Getting to the top of search results takes time, money and expertise. A well-designed and properly implemented pay per click (PPC) advertising campaign can be an effective solution that can move your business to the top of the search page in just days.

However a poorly designed and executed AdWords campaign can be a big waste of money. You can spend thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars and never experience positive results. That is why it is so important to not only know what outcome you want from  your online advertising campaign but to know what  steps you need to take to ensure  that your online advertising campaign is doing what you want it to do. We have put together a quick guide to help you get the most out of your campaign. 

Set Goals- Do you want to raise awareness, bring in leads or gain sales? This absolutely must be your first step.

Track your results- Google AdWords makes it easy to generate results by creating a conversion and track it by simply adding a code to your website. A conversion shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ads, such as registering on your website or filling out a contact form. When someone completes an action that you've defined as valuable, these customer actions are called conversions. If you want your campaign to bring in online sales, you can track whenever someone reaches your ‘thanks for your purchase’ page.  Google Analytics even allows you to closely track what someone that has been brought to your website via an ad is doing in your website.

Measure your results- It is easy for a retail site to see how sales are being driven by an online campaign compared to dollars spent on that advertising. When measuring leads, a value needs to be assigned to each lead. If your campaign is not bringing in more money than you are spending, you need to make some improvements or cut your losses.

Now that the big picture stuff is covered let’s look at the nitty gritty of getting the most out of your Google AdWords campaign:

Keywords- Using the right keywords is very important. You want to attract people that are looking for what you are selling. Someone who wants to buy a new computer and clicks on your ad only to find out your site sells cars is going to immediately leave your site. That costs you money and signals Google that your ads are of a poor quality.  If Google ‘thinks’ that your ads are not good, they will display your ads less or compel you to raise your bids making your advertising efforts more expensive. Try to use Phrase keywords rather than Broad words. While Broad words  reach the widest audience, Phrase words offer  a higher level of control. Google lets you pick between the two and while a Phrase keyword will get fewer impressions they will be better impressions, showing your ads on searches that more closely match the people you want to attract. After your campaign has run for a short period of time, Google will recommend new keywords for you. Look through this list and pick the most appropriate ones to add to your campaign.  

Negative keywords- Every time someone who will never convert clicks on one of your ads it means one less potential customer will click your ad. One of the best ways to keep that from happening is to use negative keywords.  Negative keywords are words that people put in a search that will cause your ad not to show. If you only sell women’s shoes you do not want someone searching for men’s shoes to click on your ad and cost you money. Adding the word  ‘men’s’ to the negative keywords of your ad will ensure that your ad will not appear in a search for men’s shoes. Be sure to check the search terms that are triggering your ads and clicks. Invariably you will find terms that you never thought of and that you do not want triggering your ads.

Set exclusions- AdWords lets you exclude different groups from seeing your ads. You can exclude geographic areas, genders or ages. If you sell women’s shoes, then exclude men from seeing your ads. If your company caters to retired people, then exclude the younger age groups.

Pick where your ads show- Google lets you pick very specific areas where your ads show. You can pick cities, states, countries or even pick a radius around your business. A restaurant will gain little from clicks coming from 500 miles away.

Adjust your keyword bids- Not all keywords are equal. Use higher bids for terms that fit your website well and use lower bids for more generic terms.

Ignore CTR (click through rate)- If you have a huge budget then CTR matters. If you have a small budget you will have to let some searches go. Adjust your keyword bids to maximize the number of good clicks not to raise your CTR. A high CTR and a low budget will quickly blow through your budget!

Adjust your ads- Google allows you to use several ads and they will rotate them for you. Once your ads have run for a while see which ads are getting you the best results, then either fix or delete the ads that are under performing.

Adjust, adjust, adjust- Figure out what is working and concentrate your efforts there. Figure out what is not working and either fix or eliminate it. A PPC campaign is not something you setup and then just walk away from. You need to keep an eye on it to make adjustments to ensure that  it is accomplishing your goals.

After the click: A great Google AdWords campaign can bring people to your website but that is only half the battle. Once they are on your site you need to convert them to customers or clients.

Pick a good landing page- The page in your website that  your ad takes people to is crucial. Your home page or contact page will not cut it. The landing page needs to convince them yours is the right business and it needs to get them to take the action you want.

Follow up- If you are a retail site and the visitor does not make a purchase you can have Google AdWords keep track of them and tailor an ad campaign, using a remarketing list, to reach out to them. If you are collecting leads have a system in place to make sure that someone in your organization contacts them as quickly as possible.

A PPC campaign can be difficult to manage and take up a lot of your valuable time. There are some options out there if you do not want to undertake it yourself. You can hire an experienced online advertising agency to setup a new campaign or overhaul your existing campaign or you can hire them to run your campaign for you.  


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