8 Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful Google Ads Account

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Last Updated on: 11th November 2023, 09:36 pm


Is your business running ads on Google? Are you confident that your current strategy is flawless?

Between accepting automated settings, writing ad copy and selecting the right keywords, it’s easy to fall victim to some common Google Ads mistakes. Even well-known advertisers make them! When every mistake you make costs money AND loses sales, it’s time to learn how to limit your mistakes on Google.


1 – Don’t: Fail to identify the stages of your prospects’ journey

An example of a poorly managed account would be adding keywords together to the same ad group that represent different stages of a prospect’s journey. For example:

  • Red shoes
  • Red wedge heels
  • Skechers red wedge heels

It’s vitally important to separate out the different stages of the journey, to control bidding – both in your Google Shopping ads and your Search Ads.

The same would also apply in a non-Google Shopping account, for example

  • Cars
  • Car dealer
  • Nissan Duke dealer near me

A correctly structured account will have different campaigns for generic terms plus specific branded keywords and may decide NOT to bid on certain terms that represent undecided prospects. For example, we might decide not to bid at all upon “red shoes” and “cars”, and in fact add them as specific negatives to avoid them seeing our ads at all.

2: Don’t: Accept Google’s Default Settings

By default, Google will leave a variety of different settings on. These are supposedly designed to make your life easier, however, in reality, they will severely impact your ROI.

For example, when creating a campaign, Google will suggest you leave the Google Search Partners on and sometimes the Display Network on. For most advertisers, this means their ads will be spread far and wide across the internet and NOT shown purely in Google Search. It will drive up your impressions, drop your Click Through Rate and substantially drop conversion rates.

Google has also started “auto-creating” the ads for you, taken from your website if you leave this setting on. I have seen some very strange examples of ads that it has created, so I’d double-check to prevent any suspensions! This feature should always be turned off – as a well-managed account should instead have ads written regularly by a human rather than a bot!

Google will also opt to control your bidding, which I rarely find to be effective, especially when tracking is not reliable. So always ignore the default setting and control the bids manually, and tell your team members to do so.


3 – Don’t: Fail to track your results

Attempting to optimise a Google Ads account without tracking is near impossible. It is essential to know which keywords are driving calls, leads and/or sales.

Yet every day I audit accounts where the correct tracking is not in place.

You need to be tracking every possible action a prospect can take, such as:

  • Click to call from the advert
  • Click to call from the mobile version of your website
  • Contact form submitted
  • If e-commerce – Add to cart / Abandoned Cart / Purchase
  • Trade account applied for
  • Joined newsletter/mailing list

You need tracking set up in both your Google Ads account AND your Google Analytics account so that you can track the prospect journey through your website.

4 – Don’t: Forget to add negatives constantly

Whether your account includes Search Ads, Dynamic Ads, Display Ads or Shopping Ads, they ALL need negatives added constantly.

A well optimised account should have hundreds of negatives added, in a “Shared” list where keywords should be added that should never be matched against. These are keywords such as :

  • Free
  • Job
  • Apprentice
  • Vacancy

In addition, you will then have negatives added at the Ad Group level and Campaign level, to control the ad the prospect sees.

So in our example above, we would add Skechers / Nissan as a negative to our generic campaign, to ensure that brand searches go to the relevant brand campaign.

Now that you’ve heard a list of what NOT to do in your Google Ads account, now it’s time to look at a list of Google Ads best practices!


1 – Do: Focus on Quality Score to get costs down

Quality Score (QS) is the sole determinant of how much you will pay for a click. A poor QS will ultimately stop your ads from showing at all, as Google will instead choose to focus on other advertisers who are doing a better job.

Every keyword will have its own QS. It is determined by:

  1. Landing page – how well does your landing page MATCH the keywords? If this score is poor, you will lose QS. So – ensure the precise phrase is found once or twice on the landing page
  2. Ad relevance – ensure the keywords are included somewhere within the advert, this way Google will score you highly on the relevance
  3. Click Through Rate – ensure your ads are well written to get clicks. Use calls to action such as “Visit Now!” and ensure your ads stand out against the competition to get the click

Ensure you have optimised the landing page and the advert to get higher QS. This is easier if you have also made sure you do the following…

2 – Do: Ensure you have properly separated keywords into themes

Your keywords need to be themed into Ad Groups. So for example, you might put keywords together such as:

  • Nissan Dealer Near Me
  • Local Nissan Dealer
  • Nissan Dealer Bristol

Theming the keywords will make it easier to write an ad that matches all the keywords, thereby increasing QS, reducing cost and improving ROI.


3 – Do: Add a variety of different advert types

Take advantage of Google’s different advert types, and ensure you’ve tested a variety of different ads and ad types such as responsive ads, dynamic ads in your most viewed Ad Groups.

That way, when you find a new winning ad, you can roll it out to the other Ad Groups or expand with Performance Max.

4 – Do: Ensure you’ve set up your remarketing tag and a matching Campaign

If you aren’t using remarketing (I’m astonished how few small businesses are actually using this when I audit their accounts!) then you are leaving a LOT of money on the table.

A remarketing campaign will be the best ROI of any of your campaigns, as it will bring visitors back at a fraction of the cost.

Please – also make sure you get images professionally designed wherever possible, rather than asking your friend’s nephew’s girlfriend to do it because she once used Photoshop in school! With the advent of websites such as Fiverr, there’s no excuse for not getting high-quality images in your campaigns that represent your brand well!

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