3 PPC Crimes – SEM Blunders To Avoid

Earlier today, I somehow stumbled upon this article on Search Engine Watch on “3 Big PPC Mistakes Even Pros Make”. Interestingly, I never made any of the 3 big mistakes outlined in the Search Engine Watch article. This inspired me to take a few minutes to think about what would I consider my biggest blunders on Pay Per Click (PPC).

Listed below are 3 PPC crimes I have committed and urge all Internet Marketers to avoid these SEM blunders.

PPC Crime #3: Inappropriate landing page with incorrect destination url

SEM Blunder #3 is sending traffic to an inappropriate landing page with incorrect destination url, which causes havoc on the conversion rate. Basically, on various campaigns,  “accidentally” incorrect destination urls got updated, as a result suddenly conversion tanked.
When the search query matches the keywords on the campaigns, appropriate adcopy is displayed. Users would click on the link only to find the page she landed on is about a completely different topic.
Symptoms of PPC Blunder #3 is extremely below-average conversion rates, despite good CTR. If everything else is fine yet the traffic is not converting or you notice very high bounce rate with below average time on page, it indicates the landing page is the culprit. If the destination url is incorrect, that’s probably an easier fix, otherwise you are in for a longer haul.

While on the topic, I’d also advise everyone to set-up keyword rich display urls and have them 301 redirect to the actual destination url. Who knows, if someone copies and pastes the destination url, you just ave won a small scratch lottery!

PPC Crime #2: Broad Match with No Negative Keywords

My  SEM Blunder #2 was not to control broad match on keywords with significant search volume. And oh, what is negative match? This single error has cost me literally thousands of dollars. Basically, broad matches are good to bring eyeballs to the website, however will they be your buying customers? This is a very important question to consider while using the broad match.

Here is the much better solution – say, you are starting a new AdWords campaign using completely new sets of keywords. Obviously, you would start with the search volume research. On these new keywords, broad match testing for few hours to few day will allow you to gauge what kind of real world impressions and clicks, the keywords will generate with acceptanle first page bids. Once you have that knowledge, you manage the match type, refine the keyword research and adjust the bids as needed. Use negative keywords generously, especially you decide to stick with Broad match.

PPC Crime #1: 404 on Destination URL (or Broken Links)


How stupid is that? This is probably the worst PPC sin anyone can commit. When customers click on the ad, they end up on Page Not Found. With above 2 sins, you are only wasting your own or your client’s budget, however with this PPC crime #1, you are wasting marketing dollars as well wasting the customer’s time. The potential customer who clicked on the paid ad will most likely go back to Google/Bing, and click on your ad one more time to make sure 404 error on the landing page was not a fluke (most likely resulting in more cost) and even worse he will leave your website swearing never to visit your website ever again. What a tarnish on Brand Reputation. That is exactly why the bad destination url is the #1 PPC Crime.

Sometimes, some dirty competitors may employ this technique on you on your brand terms.

Though, being the PPC Crime #1, on large campaigns, this error is so easy to creep-in. URLs change all the time for various reasons. If the SEM team is not diligent enough, it is very easy to fall victim to this biggest PPC Crime ever!

Online Marketing with PPC is obviously not for lazy! Thoughts?

About Ujjwal Bhattarai

Ujjwal is an engineer by education, a programmer by hobby, and an internet marketer by choice. Other than 1 minute chess, and biking, his passion includes SEO, SEM/PPC, CRO, and Web Development. As a lifelong student of Internet Development, he is hopelessly addicted to Internet, and sincerely believes after fire, wheel, and decimal point, internet is the fourth most important invention in the human history. Catch up with him on Twitter at @uj2wal or at his Google+ .

5 comments on “3 PPC Crimes – SEM Blunders To Avoid

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