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4 Common Paid Search Errors that Your Agency Could be Making

Do you trust your marketing agency to optimize your paid search efforts? If you’re not careful, they could spend your money on low-quality traffic that doesn’t drive results. Your budget isn’t unlimited, and you want to drive as many sales and leads as you can with what you have. Check your account for these four money-wasting errors in your paid search campaign.

Not Building Negative Keywords

When you look at the search terms associated with your brand, you might find a variety of keywords that have nothing to do with your company or industry. These are typically words or phrases added to your phrase or broad match keywords that make them mean something different. A few examples include:

  • The phrase “tropical depression,” for a therapist bidding on the term “depression”
  • The phrase “PR degree,” for a communications firm bidding on the term “public relations”


There are hundreds of potential negative keywords you can find and add to your brand. These keywords waste your money and drive irrelevant traffic to your website. You can set negative keywords on the ad group or campaign level to make sure your ads never get served up to these queries, ensuring the only traffic you drive is right for your brand.

According to Forbes contributor Larry Gurreri, quality should be your focus whenever determining keywords for your campaigns:

“While there is no limit to how many keywords you should have and there is no such thing as ‘not enough keywords,’ the rule of thumb is quality over quantity. As your campaigns run, the front runners and poor performers will become more obvious and based off that, you can start making optimizations.”

Using Too Many Broad Match Terms

Broad match terms are often the first place companies discover wasted budgets. While exact match and phrase match terms stick closely to the words associated with the keyword, broad match terms can relate to synonyms you might not associate with your brand. For example:

  • Exact match: accounting firm
  • Phrase match: accounting firm in Tampa
  • Broad match: accountants in Tampa area, accounting degree, tax prep accountant


While broad match keywords can help you generate keyword ideas, they also drive unwanted traffic. The last two keywords in the example above should be set as negatives if the firm doesn’t offer or prioritize tax preparation services.

Failing to Maximize Ad Extensions

Paid search ads are all about the real estate. The more space you can take up, the more likely you are to get noticed. Plus, your space takes room away from your competitors. One way you can easily increase your ad space is with ad extensions. These can be added manually or will be auto-populated by Google. A few common ad extensions include:

  • Important sitelinks
  • Call extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Structured snippets
  • Location extensions


You can adjust these call outs in the Extensions tab of Adwords, or when you are building a new ad campaign. The more information you give Google, the more the search engine can pass on to your customers.

Not Using Expanded Character Counts in Ads

A few years back, Google expanded the character counts on text ads to give customers more information, and some brands still don’t take advantage of the content available to them. Along with maximizing extensions, you want to use as many characters as you are allowed to sell customers on your brand. There’s not a lot of space in a paid listing, and you need to maximize your chance of a click or conversion over your competition.

Does your current agency waste money by not optimizing your ad campaigns? If you think there’s space to grow, give us a call. Get in touch with the LeadBuilder® performance marketing team today and learn how a properly optimized AdWords campaign can fit into your marketing plan.

Hansel Merchor - PPC Marketing proHansel Merchor manages the LeadBuilder® performance marketing team. He’s widely experienced on overall performance marketing, regional, local and international lead generation, branding, media planning and media buying, retargeting, attribution models, social media as well as e-commerce on nationwide and international SEM campaigns.

Image via iStock

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