Avoid the Pitfalls of AdWords: Tips for a First-Time User

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve received a Google AdWords coupon for “free” advertising. Google makes it very easy to get started, but many of the default settings are disadvantageous and some advanced features are hidden away. Give yourself the best shot at success by following this guide on what to look for while setting up your new AdWords account.

Display Network. When you set up your first campaign, “Search and Display Networks” will be targeted. It’s recommend that you start your first campaign by targeting only the search network. Opting into the display network is a big reason many advertisers have a negative first experience with AdWords, by spending too much without seeing results.

Keyword Match Type. The default match type is broad match, which means that a keyword you select will be eligible to match up with many, many user search queries. Often times, these search queries are not going to be as relevant to your business as the keywords you that you have selected, costing you money for less than desirable clicks. Explore other match types such as modified broad match, phrase match and exact match.

Negative Keywords. Selecting which keywords you don’t want triggering your ads can be just as valuable as selecting the keywords which are most relevant to your business. For example, if you sell shoes online, and you add the negative keyword “free,” your ads won’t show up for a query like “free shoes online”.

Ad Group Organization. AdWords organization is not like website or SEO organization. Since you can get as granular as you want, it’s strongly recommend to group your keywords into very tight-knit groups and write very relevant, compelling ads for each set of keywords. So that you have ultimate control over which ad corresponds to which keyword, it’s a best practice not to have duplicate keywords across your ad groups.

Search is constantly changing and evolving, as are the ways that people conduct search and what they are looking for so reviewing your results helps ensure that you stay ahead of the pack by adapting to the latest search trends in your vertical. Start with these four tips, review your results, and optimize your campaign and your first AdWords experience should be a rewarding one.

Nathan Pabich is the director of paid search at Digital Third Coast, a search engine marketing company based in Chicago. You can find Nathan on Google+.

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