This is a guest post from Aaron Gray.

Digital marketing has come a long way over the years. And with the integration of AdWords, digital marketing strategies can prove to be a very valuable asset for anyone who wants to improve their website’s visibility.

While AdWords is a vital tool that should be used in any online digital marketing strategy, the problems lie within HOW you use it to your advantage. Unfortunately, there are many businesses or website owners who make common and very preventable mistakes that threaten their income if left unsolved.

The following is an expert guide on the top six mistakes that lose you money on AdWords that can be easily avoided.

AdWords Mistakes That Should Be Avoided

Mistake #1: Not Understanding Your Quality Score

Quality Score is referred to as the alpha and omega of AdWords. If you don’t know what it is, you’re jeopardising your AdWords marketing strategy.

In your campaign, every keyword that’s used is assigned a quality score by Google from 0 to 10. It’s best when creating AdWords campaigns to aim for keywords with quality scores of 7 or more. You don’t know how to use AdWords if you don’t know what affects the score.

A high quality score helps to reduce your overall cost per click while in turn, positions your ad higher in rankings at the same time. This means that you receive more clicks at a cheaper price.

To improve your Quality Score, you’ll need to:

  • Add the keyword to the display URL.
  • Make your initial CPC higher than you already have it.
  • Improve your landing pages through proper optimisation of the search keyword.
  • Create relevant and great ad copy which is irresistible to your audience by pulling them to click on the ad. The higher click through rate you have the higher the quality score you will receive.
  • Create and manage a dedicated ad group for each keyword you’re using and make sure the keyword that’s used is used in the ad text headline and within the next two lines.

Although there’s over 100 factors that can affect quality score, when done correctly, the tips above can help to boost your quality score between 7 and 10 each and every time.

You also need to remember that Google remembers your general account history. It knows if you’ve generated ads with low quality scores over a long period of time and if you suddenly increase your score greatly overnight, Google may still give you a lower score based on your previous history.

If this is the case, it’s probably better to start over with a brand new account. When you click on each keyword, you’ll be able to see the quality score in the ad group level for each keyword. If for some reasons you can’t see the quality score columns, all you need to do is click ‘Customize Columns’ and click the box which says ‘Show Quality Score’.

Mistake #2 – Broad Match Keyword Use

Another common mistake that many make is using broad match keywords in your ad groups.

When creating ad groups, you have the option of choosing whether you use exact match, phrase or broad match keywords. Avoid broad match keywords as much as possible as it doesn’t target your main audience and can produce irrelevant visitors clicking your ads, which can lose you a lot of money.

It also reduces your CTR because it tends to appear on too many irrelevant searches. This in turn can lower your Quality Score.

Instead, it’s best to use exact match keywords, as these tend to promote better and more relevant results. Phrase keywords that feature 2 to 3 word can also be used sometimes when needed to also generate more leads. It’s also important to remember that all keywords need to have their own ad copy and ad group.

For example, if someone is searching for ‘used cars’, your ad needs to be about those key terms – not just ‘cars’ in general. The more relevant ads you have to a specific keyword, the lower the price you will spend on clicks.


Mistake #3 – You’re Not Split Testing Ads

Split testing or A/B testing is a great way to test your ads to see whether a certain ad copy is generating more results.

Unfortunately, many people overlook split testing, which can lead to you spending money on ads that aren’t bringing in results. The only way to know if your ad copy is generating results is through the use of split testing.

AdWords can help you out here by enabling split testing of multiple ads at the same time. Within each ad group, make sure you always have 2 competing ad texts running simultaneously. Try to avoid testing more than two as this will only take up more time and money.


It’s advised to run both ad tests until you’ve reached 100 clicks to gain the best results and insight into which ads are performing best. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can work on 25 to 50 clicks (but this won’t be as accurate).

When you’ve found out which ad offers better results, continue to create new ads to test the winner. This will allow you to produce great ads that will generate the leads you’re after. Testing your ads should never end if you want positive results.

Mistake #4 – Not Tracking Conversions

Although clicks are ideal, advertising on AdWords isn’t just about clicks: it’s about signups, sales and actions.

A very common AdWords mistake that many businesses make is not tracking their conversion rate. Your conversion rate is measured by how many visitors have visited your site to the amount of sales, signups, downloads or actions that have taken place. Tracking your conversion rate is vital to the success of your campaign and company.

Without tracking your conversion rate, you won’t be able to determine which ads and keywords are generating the most sales. Follow these simple steps to add conversion tracking to your AdWords account:

Step #1 – Go to your Google AdWords account and login.
Step #2 – Go to ‘Tools’ then ‘Conversions’ before clicking on ‘+ Conversion.
Step #3 – Enter a name into the ‘Conversion Name’ field.
Step #4 – Click on ‘Save and Continue’
Step #5 – Use these settings:

  • Default value – 0
  • Conversion category – Purchase/Sale
  • Conversion Value List – The conversion value may vary by the purchase price and other factors.

Step #6 – Click on ‘Save and Continue’
Step #7 – Click ‘I Make Changes To The Code’ then simply copy and paste the code that is displayed.

Mistake #5 – Sending People To Your Homepage

While you want to send people to your website, sending them to your homepage is a big mistake.

Sending people to your homepage will lose you money. When creating ads, you will need to also create a dedicated landing page.


Single call-to-action landing pages are the best because they don’t have any additional links that can distract visitors or navigate away from the site. They should be designed to sell ONE thing and that’s what the person clicked on the ad for. It should also repeat or reflect the wording in the ad text.

So how long should your new landing page be? It’s estimated that shorter copy landing pages tend to perform better where your audience perceives there’s a low risk, low commitment and low costs. They also do better when your customer has an impulsive, emotional or want-orientated drive and motivation.

When there’s a need for rational, analytical thinking and motivation, longer copies are the best choice and finest performers.

Mistake #6 – Poor Ad Content

Last, but not least, poor ad content is a big money waster when it comes to creating AdWords campaigns.

Many people don’t take the time to create professional, grammar correct text on their ads. The problem with poorly written ads is that minimal people will click on them. This not only hurts your marketing efforts but also damages your reputation along the way.


To make sure all your content is correct you should:

  • Proofread your content as much as necessary.
  • Create content that makes sense and is straight to the point.
  • Make it relevant to searches and keywords.
  • Craft content that sounds professional and trustworthy.

Without taking these tips into consideration, it can cause major problems in the way your ad will perform. If you’re unsure about how to write great ad copy, search around the Web and gather some excellent examples.

You can also hire a professional from a digital marketing agency who specialises in PPC to help you along the way. Although it may seem expensive at first, it can save you money in the end.

Final Thoughts

Creating AdWords campaigns to help improve your website traffic and conversion isn’t as easy as creating traditional promotional content. It takes great strategy to generate an ad that will perform the way you want it to. By following this expert advice, you will be able to create ads which can improve your marketing efforts greatly.

How about you, which AdWords mistake were you making?


About the Author:

Aaron Gray is the co-founder of Studio 56 and is a passionate digital marketing expert who has worked with some of the largest digital marketing agencies in Australia. He has been working in the digital marketing field for ten years. Aaron loves to travel the world to not only enhance his cultural experiences but learn and enhance his skills in the digital marketing industry. He is dedicated to helping others reach their online marketing goals. Connect with him on LinkedIn

This is a guest post submission. Any views or opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not represent that of and its properties. The accuracy, completeness and validity of the statements written in this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, oversight or misrepresentations. Copyright infringement and/or intellectual property rights remain with the author and any liability or claims should be filed to them.

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