6 Search Engine Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Search engine marketing using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, is a valuable strategy for getting your website in front of potential customers. When conducted effectively, PPC campaigns can get your advertisements placed at the top or sides of the search results for certain keywords. Thanks to this prominent position, they tend to attract lots of leads and customers. However, as with any marketing campaign, there are certain mistakes that can compromise the effectiveness of your search engine marketing. Here are a few common PPC mistakes that you should try to avoid.

Targeting the First Ad Position

The first spot for PPC ads is at the top of the search results. This spot tends to garner the highest click through rate (known as CTR). However, CTR is not the most important metric for determining the profitability of a PPC ad. A more important metric is the conversion rate, or the rate at which website visitors engage in some activity like filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Plus, this spot tends to be the most expensive one, meaning you tend to spend more money per conversion than you do for ads in other positions.

Instead, consider targeting the third spot with your search engine marketing campaign. This spot earns a higher conversion rate, while costing less to bid on. The result is that you earn more conversions for less money, making your ad more profitable overall.

Failing to Align the Ad and the Landing Page

People click on PPC ads because they see something in the ad that they want. Whether that be a particular product they wish to purchase, a special sale they are attracted to, or certain values that they resonate with, they will expect to find that same thing on the ad’s landing page. For example, if you advertise hand made wooden rocking chairs in your PPC ad, people who click through to your website will expect to see information about hand made wooden rocking chairs. Ads that do not direct people to a relevant landing page, therefore, are unlikely to deliver leads, conversions, and sales.

In order to increase the conversion rate of your search engine marketing campaign, make sure that your ads and your landing pages align. This means focusing each landing page on the promises and content in your ads. Deliver the sales, products, values, and rewards that drew visitors to your website in the first place. By doing so, you will be more likely to make conversions that will boost the profitability of your PPC campaign.

SEE ALSO: 6 Tips for Succeeding at Local SEO

Ignoring Google’s Site Exclusion Feature

Another common mistake businesses make during a search engine marketing campaign is failing to use Google’s site exclusion feature. This feature allows websites to remove their ads from networks and sites that are not delivering qualified leads. For example, when you create a PPC ad and submit it to Google, that ad will often also appear on many of Google’s partner networks. Some of these sites will direct traffic to your website that is not relevant to your business. All this traffic does is increase your click through rate without delivering any conversions.

In order to combat this problem, first identify the sites that are not delivering qualified leads. These are sites that deliver a very high bounce rate. Second, use Google’s site exclusion feature to block these sites. Your ad will stop appearing on those sites, and you should stop receiving useless click throughs to your landing pages. You can often also contact other search engines to have similarly low-performing sites excluded.

Failing to Use Negative Keywords

For every keyword you use in a search engine marketing campaign, there are going to be searches that include that keyword but that do not yield qualified leads. For example, if you are using a product name as a keyword, search terms such as “free product name” are unlikely to bring about leads or conversions. People looking for free items are not going to want to pay you for your products and services.

This is why it can be important to use negative keywords in your campaign. This means telling Google which keywords you do NOT want used, in order to get your ad to appear only in front of searchers who are likely to engage with your business. If you exclude the keyword “Free product name,” for example, your ad will not appear for searchers looking for free versions of your products and services. By doing so, you save yourself money and improve the quality of the leads you do earn from your PPC campaign.

Ineffective Tracking

Many search engine marketing campaigns also struggle because they fail to track the results of the campaign, or because they track them ineffectively. For instance, if you are tracking your ads’ click through rates without also tracking their conversion rates, you may end up using an ad that has a high CTR but a low conversion rate. Or, if you fail to track where each click through or conversion comes from, you may not be able to determine how successful each of your ads is. This keeps you from identifying and eliminating ineffective ads and keywords from your campaign.

Instead, use Google Analytics and a skilled search engine marketing company to effectively track your PPC campaign. Look at not only click through rates but also conversion rates for each ad. Determine which ads and keywords are making you the most money for the lowest cost, and drop the rest. The result should be a more streamlined, informed, and effective PPC campaign.

Bidding on Broad Keywords

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to search engine marketing is bidding on keywords that are too general. These are keywords that receive many click throughs, because they are very popular. For example, “wooden furniture” or “hand made furniture” are two broad keywords that might look like smart choices for your PPC campaign. Unfortunately, these keywords tend to yield very few qualified leads, and tend to be very expensive.

If you want to use your search engine marketing ads to drive qualified prospects to your website, you might want to implement the search engine optimization strategy of using long tail keywords instead of broad keywords. Long tail keywords are search terms of three or four words that more exactly describe the products and services you offer. An example of a long-tail keyword might be “hand made wooden rocking chairs.” These words tend to be less expensive to bid on because not as many people want to use them. At the same time, the people who do search for them are more likely to visit your site and convert into leads.

If you want to conduct a successful search engine marketing campaign, you may want to avoid certain mistakes. From targeting the first ad spot to bidding on broad keywords, these mistakes can cost you money. Instead, use the services of an expert company who can help you to create a powerful and effective PPC campaign.


Posted in: Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing, SEM

One response to “6 Search Engine Marketing Mistakes to Avoid”

  1. Amit Patel says:

    I think failing to identify negative keywords and bidding on very broad keywords are the two major mistakes advertisers make. Negative keywords eat lots of your budget if you don’t identify them and filter as negative keywords. In the same way, bidding on very broad keywords bring lots of useless clicks. It is recommended to use both broad match modifier and phrase match keywords wisely to make your PPC campaign more profitable.