Introduction to Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a remarkable tool for entrepreneurs with savvy marketing sense which provides an array of benefits.

Tracking metrics with Adwords


Adwords allows you to test demand before entering a market, test different headlines or product titles, perform more powerful keyword research, laser-target your audience, and begin acquiring traffic instantly.

Unfortunately most entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, and small business owners use it incorrectly due to a few simple mistakes in both their understanding of Adwords and in practice.

Too many people think that simply “putting yourself out there” is enough to drive qualified leads to their businesses, when unfortunately this is not the case. They use Adwords in the same way that one might advertise on a billboard, when in truth the two marketing mediums are worlds apart. I see it far too often where people throw a ton of money into Adwords with unrealistic expectations and then become sorely disappointed by how much they spend and how little they get in return.

Mistakes entrepreneurs make with Adwords.

Many business owners would serve themselves better if they knew the common mistakes where most people throw away their money.

The Fatal Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make with Adwords

1. Assuming Google’s suggested spend is what you have to spend.

Suggested bids with Google Adwords.

In almost every case you can actually spend less than half of Google’s suggested bid and still get plenty of traffic. 

2. Running only one ad.

You should always run at least two ads. The true genius of Paid advertising is you can test different types of advertisements to see which draws in the most visitors. If you run two ads, you can look at the results and see which one performs best. But if you only run one ad, then you miss the chance to get valuable data that allows you to improve your return on investment over time.

3. Sending Adwords traffic to their homepage. This is one of the most common mistakes where people waste their money.

Entrepreneurs miss the mark without landing pages.

Create a custom landing page designed specifically for each ad which is highly relevant to the searcher’s intent, and your conversion from lead to prospect will increase dramatically. 

4. Not choosing “exact match only” for their keyword phrases.

If you choose phrase match or broad match, you will end up spending money on keywords that you don’t want.

Use "exact match only" keywords to get only the ones you want.

This will eat your budget alive. 90% of people get this wrong.

5. Monitoring campaigns with Adwords, instead of Adwords Editor.

Adwords Editor is a free tool that you can download to your desktop and use to monitor your campaigns offline.

Google Adwords Editor tool in action.

Google Adwords Editor tool in action. Click to Enlarge.

You can manage and monitor all of your ads in a fraction of the time using Adwords Editor versus Google’s normal Adwords tool.

6a. Not using geotargeting.

Geotargeting is VERY powerful. Under the “Locations and Languages” tab, Google’s default setting is “All Countries,” but you can target your ads to certain countries, states, or ZIP codes. 

Geotargeting is a powerful feature of Google Adwords.

When you geotarget, you can get advance information about where your best customers come from. You can also study your CPA (cost per acquisition) by region, state, or country. The more granular you get with your geotargeting, the more you’ll learn about your visitors and where the really good visitors are, and where the bad visitors are.

Some regions and states will provide you a far better CPA than others. For example: the CPA for a company is $15. However, if you look by region, that number is: $12 CPA in US, $5 CPA in UK, $30 CPA in Canada, and $200 CPA in China. Geotarget the highest converting states and bid higher on them.

Mistakes with Adwords Default Settings



Google isn’t going to help you with regards to which options you should check. In fact, if you use the default settings they can actually be quite harmful to your Adwords campaigns. A few small changes to your settings can have a huge impact. If you know how to “calibrate” these settings you can make your campaigns much more effective.

6b. Google’s default setting doesn’t use geotargeting.

See #6a above. 

7. Using Google’s default setting for ad rotations.

The default is set to is “Optimize,” but you should set it to “Rotate.” The problem is that Google selects a winning advertisement by Highest CTR, but ignores the conversion rate.

Example of Google's Winner using ad rotations

So one ad might give you a 4.1% CTR, but a conversion rate of only 1%. Another ad might give you a 2.7% CTR, but convert at 2.3%. You make a much better profit on the second ad, even though it has a lower CTR. Letting Google pick the winning ad can be a fatal mistake because you are spending more money to make less. When you have to pay for traffic, you always want to convert MORE visitors with LESS traffic, not LESS visitors with MORE traffic.

8. Not using sitelinks with ads.

Sitelinks almost always increase click-through rate. The higher your CTR, the more sales and lower cost per visitor. The higher CTR, the lower you’re required to pay. The sitelink feature is found under the “Ad Extensions” tab – something that most people overlook.

How and why sitelinks provide an extra boost to your Adwords ads.

Sitelinks provide free extra traffic for a few reasons.

1. First, sitelinks make your ad stand out more. The ad takes up more space, draws more attention, and appears more authoritative. All of these reasons draw more clicks to your advertisement, and more sales.

2. Sitelinks helps your visitor determine where on your site they want to go. You can help direct your visitors to a laser-targeted website on your website. Google allows you 12 sitelinks to add to your ad. This is free advertising space for you; it makes your ad stand out so much more. 3 – it allows visitors to drop in on the page they want to reach, increasing your conversion %.

9. For merchant sites or Google merchant accounts, not adding “Product Listings” to the advertisements.

Product Listings are also under the Ad Extensions tab.

Google Adwords product listings example.

Check the box, and when possible, Google will serve up your products in the ads.

In summary

Adwords is a powerful tool for savvy entrepreneurs.

Adwords probably isn’t going to make you rich overnight, but you can take what you learn, improve your ads, and use the data you collect to improve your entire marketing mix. Keep a journal, and record what works and what doesn’t. Benchmark your performance. As you make changes, you’ll see how and why small changes affect performance. If you make notes of these little things, you can optimize your advertising and double, triple, and quadruple the return on your advertising spend.