11 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Google Ads

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Last Updated on: 22nd January 2024, 06:11 pm

If you’re not careful, you might end up committing one of these errors in your Google Ads account. wasting tons of cash and sabotaging your lead flow.

It’s time to audit your account and get them fixed!

Mistake 1- Accept Google’s default settings when setting up a campaign

If you’ve accepted Google’s default settings when setting up your account, you will have left on lots of automated features that will cost you money in wasted clicks. For example, the default when creating a new Search campaign is to leave on the Search Partners & Display Network – BOTH of these need to be off when creating a new Search campaign to avoid your ad ending up on thousands of irrelevant websites.

Mistake 2- Ask for Google’s help in setting up an account

Maybe you’ve given Google’s support team a call to get their help setting up an account? Chances are, you’ve ended up with a junior who hadn’t touched Google Ads six months ago. Comments I’ve had from people who have spoken to them is that they don’t understand your business, they don’t know how to optimise an account long-term and they’ll have set up an account that fails to convert. I’ve yet to hear from anyone who has had Google’s help in setting up an account, that they were able to leave running successfully.

Mistake 3- Put your company name in your ads

Newbies and even more established companies try to promote their brand by adding their company name in the headline or elsewhere in the description. The ad is NOT about you. To get the highest Click Through Rate, your ad should appeal to the prospect and show how you can help them meet their needs. Talking about your brand or company name does NOT do this.

Ad extensions like sitelinks have an amazing effect on an Ad, increasing Click Through Rate and ensuring the prospect has a better understanding of how you can meet their needs. So make sure you use as many ad extensions as possible, so Google can pick those it thinks most meet the prospect’s needs.

Ad extensions are best used to further demonstrate areas of your USP and how you can help the prospect. In many accounts I audit, Call outs are used ineffectively – for example mentioning Free Delivery, Great Customer Service etc. Who doesn’t offer that these days? Aim to show the personality of your brand and be creative with your Ad Extensions to get the best results.

Mistake 5 – Use Call-Only ads

Local companies sometimes try and drive clicks by using call-only ads, thereby aiming to bypass their website altogether. The bad news is that this will cause a low Quality Score due to a low Click Through Rate, meaning every click will cost you more and eventually your ad will stop showing.

Mistake 6 – Forget to set up a brand campaign

Your customers are searching for you and you must get in front of them! If not then your competitors may well be bidding on your brand name and stealing your traffic. In addition, clicks for your brand name will skew the results of your other campaigns.

So set up a specific campaign just for people searching for your brand, adding your brand names as the keywords.

Mistake 7 – Fail to set up conversion tracking

I know, I know – I go on about this all the time. Yet every week I audit accounts where people haven’t yet got this set up. You need to be tracking phone calls on the call extensions, phone calls via your mobile website, and web form submissions, at the very least. If you’re not, then you have no idea what’s working in your account. Track everything you can!

Mistake 8 – Forget to check your Keyword Search Terms on a regular basis

You might think you’re bidding on certain keywords… however Google is usually showing them against totally different keyword phrases! You need to find them and block them as negative keywords, or identify good new keywords to use in future Ad Groups.


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Mistake 9 – Use a Responsive Search Ad to do the job of several ad groups

I saw this most recently in an account set up with Google’s assistance. The new Responsive Search Ads are supposed to be for you to test lots of different Ad Copy ideas at the same time, however in this instance they had been used for inserting all the different products and services offered in the hope that the algorithm would magically pick the correct ones depending on the keyword used.

It doesn’t work this way! Each Ad Group needs matching relevant keywords ONLY along with an ad that matches them precisely. No mixing and matching please!

P.S. The same goes for using Performance Max campaigns to get out of doing the legwork yourself.

Mistake 10 – Forget to add in a Retargeting campaign

In most markets, prospects take a while to make up their mind. So the easiest way to bring them back is with a simple retargeting campaign, following people around with images representing your brand. Yet I am perpetually surprised at the number of accounts that don’t make use of this super cheap form of traffic.

You can even add your retargeting audiences into your normal Search campaigns, increasing the bids for people who have visited your website previously.

Mistake 11 – Use the wrong keyword match types in your Ad Groups

Keyword match types prevent Google from matching against totally irrelevant terms. Most recently, I found an account that sold water pumps had been paying thousands of pounds to show for the keyword Rage 2 on the Xbox. Why? Your guess is as good as mine!

You can prevent this by adding keywords in only as exact and phrase – like this [keyword] and “keyword”. You’ll still need to monitor your traffic and add in negatives on an ongoing basis, however it will prevent most of the crazy traffic I assure you!

Need help creating a converting Google Ads account? Join the Google Ads Success Program today and get weekly coaching and training.


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