5 Common Google Ads Mistakes Small Businesses Make & How to Avoid Them

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Are you frustrated with your Google Ads not working the way you expected? Are you pouring money into campaigns but not seeing the results you need? You’re not alone. Many small business owners face these challenges. Without the right knowledge, it’s easy to make mistakes that waste your budget and limit your success.

In this post, we’ll share five common Google Ads mistakes I’ve seen small business owners make—and more importantly, how you can avoid them.

Let’s dive in and get your Google Ads campaigns on the right track!

1. Poor Keyword Choices

Mistake

Many small businesses either choose keywords that are too broad or too narrow. Broad keywords attract a lot of irrelevant traffic, while overly narrow keywords limit the reach of your ads.

Solution:

  • Conduct Thorough Keyword Research: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords with a good balance of search volume and competition.
  • Use Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords (e.g., “affordable bread bakery near me”) are more specific and often have higher conversion rates because they target users further along in the buying process.
  • Negative Keywords: Implement negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic. For example, if you’re a premium service provider, you might want to exclude keywords like “cheap” or “free.”

Example:

Business: A local bakery🥐🍞

Too Broad Keyword Set:

  • food
  • bread
  • cake
  • dessert
  • bakery

Issues with These Keywords:

  • High Competition: These keywords are highly competitive, which means your ads will likely face a lot of competition from larger businesses with bigger budgets.
  • Irrelevant Traffic: These keywords can attract a wide range of searches that may not be relevant to your specific offerings. For example, someone searching for “food” could be looking for anything from recipes to restaurants, not necessarily a local bakery.
  • Low Conversion Rates: Because the keywords are so broad, the likelihood of attracting potential customers who are specifically looking for what your bakery offers is low. This can result in a lot of clicks but very few conversions.

Better Approach: Use More Specific Keywords

Specific Keyword Set:

  • “local bakery in [Your City]”
  • “freshly baked bread [Your City]”
  • “custom birthday cakes [Your City]”
  • “gluten-free desserts [Your City]”
  •  “artisan bakery near me”

Learn more about broad & narrow match types for Google Ads 👉 Keywords Match Types in Google Ads by SEM Rush

2. Inadequate Ad Copy

Mistake

Ad copy that fails to attract clicks or effectively communicate your value proposition results in wasted ad spend and low engagement.

Solution:

  • Craft Compelling Headlines: Your headline should grab attention and include relevant keywords. Make it clear what you offer and why it’s beneficial.
  • Highlight Unique Selling Points (USPs): Clearly state what makes your product or service unique. Use phrases like “24/7 Support,” “Free Consultation,” or “Money-Back Guarantee” to stand out.
  • Strong Call to Action (CTA): Encourage users to take the next step with a clear and direct CTA like “Get a Quote,” “Sign Up Today,” or “Shop Now.”
  • Ad Extensions: Utilize ad extensions to provide additional information and increase the visibility and effectiveness of your ads.

Example:

Business: A local bakery🥐🍞

Inadequate Ad Copy:

Headline: Delicious Bread Available

Description: We sell the best bread. Visit us for more.

Issues with This Ad Copy:

  • Lacks Specificity: The headline “Delicious Bread Available” is too generic and doesn’t highlight what makes the bakery unique.
  • No Unique Selling Points (USPs): The description “We sell the best bread. Visit us for more.” doesn’t provide any specific reasons why someone should choose this bakery over others.
  • Weak Call to Action (CTA): The CTA “Visit us for more” is vague and not compelling enough to drive action.

Better Approach: Compelling and Specific Ad Copy

Improved Ad Copy:

Headline: Fresh Artisan Bread in [Your City] – Baked Daily

Description: Discover our range of freshly baked artisan bread, cakes, and gluten-free options. Order online for curbside pickup today!

3. Improper Tracking and Conversion Setup

Mistake

Without proper tracking, you won’t know which ads and keywords are driving conversions, making it impossible to optimize your campaigns effectively.

Solution:

  • Set Up Conversion Tracking: Ensure you have Google Ads conversion tracking set up to monitor actions that are valuable to your business, such as form submissions, phone calls, or purchases.
  • Use Google Analytics: Link your Google Ads account with Google Analytics to gain deeper insights into user behavior on your website and track conversions across multiple channels.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly review your tracking data to identify high-performing keywords and ads. Adjust your bids and budget allocation accordingly to maximize ROI.

Example:

Business: A local bakery🥐🍞

Improper Tracking and Conversion Setup:

Scenario:

A local bakery runs Google Ads to drive traffic to its website, promoting products like custom cakes, fresh bread, and pastries. They have set up ads targeting keywords like “custom birthday cakes” and “freshly baked bread near me.”

Mistakes:

  • No Conversion Tracking: The bakery did not set up conversion tracking, so they cannot measure which ads are leading to online orders or inquiries.
  • Improper Goal Setup: They set a goal in Google Analytics to track overall page views instead of specific actions like order submissions or contact form completions.
  • No Event Tracking: They are not tracking key events such as “Add to Cart” or “Contact Form Submission,” missing critical data on user behavior.

Better Approach: Proper Tracking and Conversion Setup

Improved Setup:

  • Set Up Google Ads Conversion Tracking: Track key actions such as online orders, contact form submissions, and phone calls from the website. This provides clear data on which ads are driving actual conversions.
  • Define Clear Conversion Goals: Set up goals in Google Analytics that reflect valuable actions, such as order completions or contact form submissions, rather than just page views.
  • Add Event Tracking: Use Google Tag Manager to track important events like “Add to Cart,” “Contact Form Submission,” and “Order Completed.” This helps identify where users drop off in the order process.

4. Ignoring Quality Score

Mistake

Many small businesses overlook their Quality Score, which affects ad rank and cost-per-click (CPC). Low Quality Scores can lead to higher costs and lower ad visibility.

Solution:

  • Optimize Ad Relevance: Ensure your ad copy is closely related to your keywords and the landing page content. This increases relevance and improves the Quality Score.
  • Improve Landing Page Experience: Create a user-friendly landing page with relevant content, fast load times, and easy navigation. A good landing page experience boosts Quality Scores.
  • Focus on Click-Through Rate (CTR): A high CTR indicates that your ads are relevant and appealing. Continuously test and refine your ad copy to improve CTR.

Example:

Business: A local bakery🥐🍞

Mistake:

The bakery runs Google Ads campaigns but ignores their Quality Score, leading to higher costs and lower ad visibility. They focus solely on increasing their bids to improve ad rank without addressing factors that influence Quality Score.

Issues with This Approach:

  • Higher Costs: Low Quality Scores mean higher cost-per-click (CPC), which increases the overall ad spend.
  • Lower Ad Rank: Ads with low Quality Scores are less likely to appear in top positions, reducing visibility and click-through rates (CTR).

Better Approach: Focus on Improving Quality Score

  • Optimize Ad Relevance: Ensure that ad copy closely matches the targeted keywords and landing page content. For example, if targeting “custom birthday cakes,” the ad and landing page should prominently feature custom birthday cakes.
  • Improve Landing Page Experience: Create a user-friendly landing page with relevant, high-quality content. Ensure fast load times, mobile optimization, and easy navigation.
  • Enhance Click-Through Rate (CTR): Craft compelling ad headlines and descriptions. Use specific offers like “Order Custom Birthday Cakes Today” and include strong calls to action (CTAs).

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5. Lack of Regular Monitoring and Optimization

Mistake

Setting up a Google Ads campaign and then neglecting it is a common error. You miss opportunities to improve performance and ROI without regular monitoring and optimization.

Solution:

  • Schedule Regular Reviews: Set aside time each week to review your campaign performance. Look at key metrics such as CTR, conversion rate, and Quality Score.
  • A/B Testing: Continuously test different ad variations, landing pages, and keywords to identify what works best. Implement changes based on the data you collect.
  • Adjust Bids and Budgets: Optimize your bids and budget allocation based on performance data. Increase spending on high-performing keywords and ads, and reduce it for those that underperform.

Example:

Business: A local bakery🥐🍞

Mistake: The bakery sets up a Google Ads campaign to promote its products, such as custom cakes and freshly baked bread, but does not regularly monitor or optimize the campaign. They set it and forget it, assuming it will continue to perform well on its own. This results in:

  • Wasted Ad Spend: Without regular monitoring, the bakery may continue spending money on underperforming keywords or ads, leading to inefficient use of their advertising budget.
  • Missed Opportunities: Failing to optimize the campaign means the bakery misses opportunities to capitalize on high-performing keywords or adjust bids for better results.
  • Stagnant Performance: The bakery’s ads may become less relevant over time as customer preferences and market conditions change, leading to declining click-through rates (CTR) and conversions.

Better Approach: Regular Monitoring and Optimization

1. Schedule Regular Reviews: Set aside time each week to review the campaign’s performance metrics, such as CTR, conversion rate, and Quality Score. This helps identify what is working and what needs adjustment.

2. A/B Testing: Continuously test different ad variations, headlines, descriptions, and landing pages. For example, test different offers or CTAs to see which ones resonate best with customers.

3. Adjust Bids and Budgets: Optimize bids based on performance data. Increase spending on high-performing keywords and ads, and reduce or pause spending on those that are underperforming.

4. Refine Keywords: Regularly update and refine the keyword list based on search term reports. Add new relevant keywords and remove those that are not driving conversions.

Final Checklist

By avoiding these common Google Ads mistakes, you can significantly improve your campaign performance and make the most of your advertising budget. Here’s a practical checklist to follow:

  1. Conduct Thorough Keyword Research: Choose specific, relevant keywords to attract the right audience.
  2. Craft Compelling Ad Copy: Create engaging and informative ads that highlight your unique selling points.
  3. Set Up Proper Tracking: Implement conversion and event tracking to measure what’s working and what’s not.
  4. Focus on Quality Score: Optimize your ads, keywords, and landing pages to improve your Quality Score and reduce costs.
  5. Regularly Monitor and Optimize: Schedule weekly reviews to adjust bids, update keywords, and A/B test ad variations.

If you need expert assistance to manage your Google Ads campaigns, consider partnering with a verified Google Ads agency like us! At DAAVIN, we specialize in creating and managing effective ad campaigns tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your advertising goals!

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