by Doug


Internet Marketing

Google Adwords – paying for a load of old rubbish?

Ok, I’m going to start this post with a statement:

Chances are you are currently paying for Adwords phrases that are in no way related to your business and will never generate a sale or enquiry. So you’re throwing away a big chunk of your money.

Now that I’ve got your attention let me explain:

The problem lies in the way that the majority of Adwords accounts are set-up prior to launch. When setting up an Adwords account, most novice users will automatically opt for generic phrases on a ‘broad match’. This approach will generate traffic but if not monitored and optimised, could end up costing, not making, money.

Selecting broad match effectively gives the Adwords system freedom to match your selected phrases to other search phrases that include one or more of the words in your original, targeted phrase. We use advanced Google Analytics filters to capture the exact phrases entered into the search engines by surfers to ensure that the phrases that trigger your adverts are relevant.


We recently worked with a customer that supplied mailing lists to businesses. They had set-up their own Adwords account and were targeting the phrase ‘mailing list’ on a broad match. We then installed Google Analytics with advanced filters and very quickly started to pick out very obscure phrases that were triggering our client’s ads such as ‘anglers’ mailing list, ‘caravanners’ mailing list’ and ‘industrial mailing list’. Our client does not provide these types of mailing lists and was wasting money on these clicks.

But my account is performing well?

The campaign above did not perform badly prior to this work and, in fact, was above average in many respects. However, this exercise demonstrates that even if you have an existing Adwords account that you believe is performing well, there is still room for improvement.

The importance of negative keywords

As highlighted by the above example, it’s crucial you take the time to identify ‘negative keywords’. Perhaps the most common mistake when managing Adwords accounts is devoting a considerable amount of time to identifying the keywords that are targeted by the campaign, but neglecting to spend any time studying the analytics reports and eliminating negative keywords that you don’t want to trigger your adverts.

We’ve recently performed this exercise for one of our clients identifying no fewer than 270 negative keywords. The impact of the removal of these keywords was significant. The cost per conversion dropped considerably and the bounce-rate halved.

To conclude

A profitable account isn’t necessarily an optimised account and, in most cases, can greatly benefit from the attention of an expert. A modest investment in this area can produce huge improvements in the performance and efficiency of your Adwords campaigns.


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