4 Paid Search Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Search engine marketing is constantly at the pointy end of technology developments. It’s constantly changing the goal posts. First the influx of mobile device use, now the use of voice searches- are you keeping up with your customers?

In 2017, 59% of paid searches happened on a mobile device. Mobile cost-per-click increased a whopping forty percent from 2016. In response to this, in 2018 Google created a separate index for mobile devices.

The next step in this progression is voice searching. Two in five adults use mobile voice search at least once a month- and the younger your users are, the higher that percentage is.  It’s predicted half of all searches will be voice searched by 2020. Are you ahead of the game, or falling further and further behind?

1. Are you still using keywords?

Using short tail keywords all over your site used to be the gold standard of SEO. Now that the competition is fierce and your searchers using far more precise search terms, using a generic short-tail keyword likely isn’t yielding the results you think it is.

You should be focusing on search terms- long tail keywords. What exactly did your users search to find you? Having a paid Google AdWords account allows you full transparency to see precisely what was searched for. This is not trying to fish out keywords from the sea of the internet; this is having the fish handed to you in a platter.

For example, a luxury hat brand engaged a new SEO agency and quickly gave them a list of their ‘high performing’ keywords. Of course, the focus was to be on these keywords; why change a strategy that works?

The top performing keyword was ‘baseball cap’, so the customer wanted to lead with that. However, a bit of research showed that the top performing search term that triggered that high-performing ad- was ‘cashmere baseball cap’. That search term received returns twenty times better than ‘baseball cap’.

2. Worrying about the competition

You can pay so that your business pops up when someone searches for your competitors. Seems like a good idea except for when it happens to you! Luckily, Google’s quality score is there to protect your brand. It doesn’t matter HOW much your competitor is paying, because the website it’s going to is not their site.

Your brand will have a higher quality score than your competitors. It’s the brand the person is searching for, after all. This will give you a stronger impression share than your competitor.

A one point increase in your quality score rating will result in a decrease of a cost per conversion of 13%. Don’t waste money bidding on the wrong keywords, focus on tweaking your quality score.

3. Doing the same thing as everyone else

What makes your brand special? Why should someone choose your business over your competitors? When a user searches and your site pops up in the results, you only have a few seconds to catch their eye and make sure they click your ad.

There are a few ways to provide extra information in your search ads. Value propositions, snippet extensions, price vs price extensions. Spend a bit extra, provide better information, and make yourself stand out from the competition. The more important information that is provided to users, the more prequalified they will be to click on your ads.

For instance, a competitor of a boutique hat shop B was spending a huge amount of money on targeting the brand name of hat shop A. Hat shop A was not running a branded campaign and had given up due to their small budget compared to B’s.

A branded campaign was built for A on about a third of B’s spend. With precise keywords, logical ad extensions and A/B testing, a 75% impression share was achieved.

4. Not focusing on your target market

Think of your audience as a bullseye. In the centre is your perfect customer and the keywords they will use to find you. The middle circle is somewhat acceptable users. The outside circle is the top-of-funnel prospects. Over time, they may become prospects, but not right now.

Your money needs to be spent on that bullseye in the middle. You need to find out precisely what those people are searching to find you. Run some R&D campaigns to see which search terms work. Define your target audience and chase them down and make sure you are easy to find. Once you’ve found your search terms, use exact match keywords with directly aligned ad copy.

Once you’re only spending money on those bullseyes, you will get a much better rate of return on your spend.

With a few simple steps and targeted spends…

You can make a big difference to your click through rate. You don’t have to spend thousands to attract big volumes; you just have to identify your target market and spend a little to chase them. A more effective identification of keywords and phrases narrows that spend even further, making a little investment into ads go a long way.

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