Five common SEM mistakes

-By Alana Rendina

1) Landing pages that don’t match the ad

When consumers click on your ad, the landing page should feature what was promised in the ad. For example, when searching for “diamond rings” the consumer would expect to be taken to a landing page featuring diamond rings. This will help ensure better conversions as the user gets what he/she is promised, rather then having to navigate their way to the diamond rings section.

The more you make the consumer do, the higher chance for drop off, but even more importantly, Google will provide a low ad ranking on your ad compared to what you would have if it lead to the correct page. This means you end up paying a lot more then you should every time someone clicks on the ad.

Things to Remember:
– Add titles to the landing pages
– Make sure the content on the page matches the ad
– Always use specific landing pages relating to the ad

2) Not using obvious NEGATIVE keywords

Creating negative keyword lists for your ad campaigns can ensure that your ads don’t appear for irrelevant search queries. For example, if your product is “wine glasses” you don’t want ads appearing on searches for “eye glasses” or “reading glasses”. To prevent your ads from appearing in these searches you would simply add these keywords to your negative keywords list.

If you are unsure of what to add as negative key words, one of the easiest ways is to use the Google Keyword Planner. Key in your product or list of keywords you are using and a list is created to show other relevant keywords, from this list you can filter out the negative keywords. These single negatives are called broad match (which I’ll explain later on).

If one of the keywords you want to make a negative is something like “personalised eyeglasses” it gets a little tricky because you may want your ad to show up for “personalised wine glasses”. So instead of just adding the word “personalised”, add the phrase “personalised eyeglasses” as a negative. We can do this by simply putting the words within inverted commas.

Sometimes, you may not want a particular query to trigger your ad, but want the other variations of that query to trigger your ad. For example, you may not want your ad to show for “wine festival”, but do want your ad to show for “glasses for wine festival”, “wine festival glasses”, etc. In this case, you’ll have to add the term in square brackets as a negative in exact match E.g. [wine festival].

To help this make a little more sense:

Broad Match
Negative Match: eyeglasses
Ads will still show on searches for: wine glasses
Ads won’t show on searches for: eyeglasses, prescription eyeglasses, etc.

Phrase Match
Negative Match: “personalised eyeglasses”
Ads may show on searches for: personalised wine glasses
Ads won’t show on searches for: personalised eyeglasses, prescription personalised eyeglasses, etc.

Exact Match
Negative Match: [wine festival]
Ads will show on searches for: glasses for wine festival, etc.
Ads won’t show on searches for: wine festival, wine festival in x.

Things to Remember:
– Setup negative keyword lists using Keyword Planner
– Properly use the different match types for your negative keywords

3) Not using ad extensions (sitelinks)
Ad extensions are extra bits of information about your business that appear along with your ad. These are typically, contact us, phone numbers and offers. Search Engines and ad networks claim that using ad extensions can greatly increase click-through rates (CTR). For example, Google says that by using the sitelinks ad extensions you can increase CTR by 30%.

Along with the primary landing page in the ad, sitelinks allow you to offer more landing pages. To understand the concept better, imagine a standard Google ad – this ad would end in the site URL, however ad extensions sit below the URL and work as additional (smaller) call-to-actions for the consumer.


Things to Remember:
– Use the sitelinks extensions to create additional relevant landing pages for consumers

4) Not having a call to action in your ad
People may read your ad, but if there is no call to action (CTA), you may miss out on click-through traffic to your landing page.

For example, when searching for “cosmetics online”, an ad that simply says “Cosmetics Online / All the cosmetics you could need / ’ probably won’t be as appealing as “Cosmetics Online / Shop Online Today For 30% Off & Free Shipping /”.

Listing what you’re offering can be enough in some cases, but sometimes you need to add action words to entice people to click. In addition to this, make it obvious what action your consumer should take on the landing page and make sure it relates back to your call to action (whether that is smoothly moving them through the sales process or encouraging them to make a purchase, call, enquire etc.).

Things to Remember:
– Consider using CTAs in your ads
– A consumer should find it easy to complete CTA goals from the landing page

5) Not adding local attributes
I mentioned ad extensions earlier, but it’s worth pointing out that if your business is only local (or only has a few store locations), adding relevant local information becomes critical.

An example of this would be: if you are a local gym, the ads should include the location of the gym. If people are searching for “Richmond gyms” and your ad doesn’t mention Richmond but a competitor ad does, it is more likely that the other ad will be clicked on as it relates more to what the consumer is looking for. Failing to include this information in your ads may cut down your ad’s relevancy, which will give you a poor ad rank score and the consumer won’t know if your business is right for them.

Things to Remember:
– Use locations in ads if applicable

There you have it. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be on your way to SEM success!


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