Part One: Top AdWords Mistakes to Avoid at All Cost

Today we’re going to start counting down the most common AdWords mistakes we see from business owners and advertisers who come to us for help. From PPC newcomers to experienced AdWords users, who can’t quite jump to the next level, we’ve narrowed down 15 mistakes we see time and time again so you can avoid them.

In this post we’ll start with the five most common mistakes we see from newcomers. Most of these are actually misconceptions about AdWords or mindsets that can lead you into trouble – especially small business owners with a limited budget.

Avoid these mistakes and you’ll get a head start on countless competitors who give up on AdWords before they ever get to see its potential.


Mistake #1: You have the wrong idea about AdWords to begin with

This isn’t your fault by any means, because there’s so much to learn about AdWords and so few resources that break it down into simple terms. The trouble is it’s very difficult to explain how anything complex works in a simple manner. Hats off to Dan Shewan though, because his article on does a fine job of just that and it’s a must-read for any AdWords newcomer.

Ignore the title though, because it does a far better job of explaining how AdWords works than answering the impossible question of how much it costs. In fact, this is the most common question anyone who doesn’t understand AdWord will ask – but the question to ask isn’t how much it costs, rather how much it can make.


Mistake #2: You don’t take the time to fully understand keywords

This is probably the most laborious part of AdWords for any user, but considering the auction system revolves almost exclusively around keywords, you don’t want to skip this stage. Once again, there’s a lot to cover here: keywords, long tail keywords, negative keywords, grouping, match types, dynamic keyword insertion and so much more.

Don’t let this put you off though, because – just like asking how much AdWords costs is the wrong question to ask – feeling overwhelmed by its complexity is the wrong mind set. Think of understanding keywords as the quickest way to leapfrog countless advertisers who never invest the time themselves and picture yourself racing past the competition with everything you learn.


Mistake #3: You only think about yourself

It’s not enough to know your niche and what you have to offer people, because there’s no room in the digital age for self-obsessed brands. You need to know your audience like the back of your hand, because you can’t offer people what they are looking for unless you understand user intent and how to peak their interest.

It’s not just your audience you need to obsess about either and before you start a single campaign you want to know everything your competition is up to – what they do well, how they do it and where they can improve. Understand these three things and you’re half way there to beating them at their own game.



Mistake #4: You ignore best practices

That’s right, there are best practices for everything and AdWords comes with a whole library of guidelines to follow on campaigns, ads, bidding, landing pages, optimisation and so much more. You don’t want to ignore these either, because best practices can set the foundations for your campaigns in a way that would otherwise take years of experimentation and learning achieve.

Does this mean you want to follow best practices religiously? Hell no! Because you want your ads to stand out from the pack and you can’t do this by following the same rules as everyone else. The point is this: best practices are like a crash course in PPC basics and by the time you have grasp of them you’ll understand why they are best practices in the first place, which ones you simply can’t avoid and (more importantly) the ones to get creative with to gain an edge on the competition.


Mistake #5: You think PPC works alone

Another mind set you want to avoid is thinking PPC works alone. Your campaigns and ads are designed to get people clicking, but ultimately they need to result in conversions or you’re wasting money on clicks for nothing.

PPC ads can’t do this alone and you need relevant landing pages, a killer website UX, compelling content and irresistible calls to action if you want to convert ad clicks into paying customers. PPC isn’t a standalone marketing strategy either and you’ll find it works best when integrated into a wider search marketing strategy, social media campaigns (which come with their own paid advertising platforms) and a content marketing strategy that helps build brand awareness.


Coming up in Part Two

In Part Two we’ll take a look at the most common mistakes for campaigns that are already up and running, so check back with us soon if you think yours could be doing better.