Google AdWords is an ideal choice for many small businesses, as it provides a cost-effective and unique way to reach potential customers. It allows your ad to be shown locally, to consumers running a web search on a relevant topic. As a result, such targeted digital marketing has higher rates of success than many traditional advertising tools. Run through this checklist of common mistakes and see how your small business could improve its use of Google AdWords.

  1. Bidding on Broad Keywords

The chances are that your practice faces competition from within the same postcode, much less the city and surrounding areas. To make any headway, you must balance the relevance of keywords with their competition. Otherwise, you will rarely win the top spot or may spend far above your budget to do so. Instead, start with groups of long-tail keywords, or search phrases combined of about 5-10 words.

These specific phrases will have much less competition but still a lot of relevance for the right web searcher. Plus, broad keywords are much more likely to eat up your budget without providing enough conversions.

  1. Not Spending Enough Time on Keyword Research

Why waste money on the wrong search terms? Determining your initial long-tail keywords and other ideal search terms is a process, and one that should not be short-changed. Use your site’s search index and competitor’s key terms to identify good candidates. You can also use data from Google Analytics and other programs to see how words are responding.

  1. Placing Too Many Keywords in a Single Ad Group

In many cases, less is more. When forming an ad group for bidding and placement purposes, avoid choosing 25 or 30 keywords to start. After all, having that many keywords means there will be some variance in the topic, but you need to have some sort of ad and landing page for each one.

Could a single product page contain five different keywords without any overlapping or unrelated phrases? Doing so would be difficult and could tip off both your reader and Google that your site is into keyword stuffing. Instead, stick to small handful of terms and focus on building strong ads and content for each one.

  1. Not Creating Separate Campaigns

Another disadvantage of running loosely-related keywords together is that AdWords may penalise your campaign. After all, each campaign should be designed with a specific goal in mind, which helps make your keywords relevant and high quality. Unrelated keywords do not create specific enough ads, which Google sees as making it more difficult for searchers to find the information they need. Instead, create separate campaigns with different budgets and keyword priorities to avoid penalisations and having to pay more per click.

  1. Only Using Your Homepage As the Landing Page

Many small businesses labour over the creation of an ad and forget about what will happen when someone clicks on it. Bringing a web searcher to your site is a great achievement, but it may not be enough to convert leads. The result is missed leads, higher bounce rates, and unnecessarily high cost per click (CPC). If every campaign has a purpose, it should also have a specific landing page. Take web visitors directly to the information they need rather than dropping them on the homepage and forcing them to hunt for things.

  1. Consider Which Keywords Not to Use

Keyword research can be complicated, as you try to determine the best possible search phrases that your clients might use. You should also consider, however, which keywords your ideal client base would not use. For example, if your practice is too far from a certain suburb, there is no need to create a search phrase and landing page to cater to those web searchers.

If you offer elective orthodontic procedures, consider leaving out words such as “cheap” or “low-cost” when developing your search phrases. After all, every click costs money and you do not need to attract consumers who would never convert into clients.

  1. Forgetting to Bid on Your Brand

Despite your best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, your business’s name may not always come up first in search engine results. If someone recognizes your brand and attempts to run a search for it, however, they should be able to find you. One of the ways to help is to bid on your brand through Google AdWords. Doing so can help drive conversions while keeping competitors bidding on it instead and from poaching customers. Since your specific brand name is likely to face little competition, the bidding rates are generally low and it could be a valuable way to increase conversions.