Are These 5 Search Advertising Keyword Types Wrecking Your Campaign?

search advertising keywords that hurt your results

Like a fine recipe, search advertising campaigns (also known as pay per click campaigns) require specific ingredients combined in a precise method to get good results: the right keywords, ad copy, landing pages, and so on. And when done correctly, you can end up with a masterpiece that will appeal to your target audience, driving visits to your business. But the wrong mix of ingredients can also result in a flop for your search advertising campaigns and cost you advertising dollars.

One of the most important ingredients in search advertising – your search advertising keywords – can be tricky to get right, but can really impact your advertising success. There are many different types of search advertising campaigns with different goals – so you will see differing advice for different types of campaigns. We’ll be looking at local businesses trying to reach local consumers to drive more leads to their business.

So, what do you need to steer clear of? Here are 5 types of search advertising keywords that could secretly be wreaking havoc on your search advertising results.

1) Competitor Keywords

More often than not, adding competitor name keywords to your campaign is like throwing money down a garbage disposal. Competitor keywords can easily chew through your budget without producing any return on investment. And, if your competitor’s name is trademarked, you Google may restrict its use in your text ad.

Typically, competitor keywords run a high cost per visit because your website is not as relevant to the keywords as your competitor’s is. Also, consumers searching for your competitors are not as likely to click your ad or contact you since you’re not exactly what they were searching for.

If you want to test the value of your competitor’s keywords for your own campaign, create a separate campaign with a separate budget to accurately track its performance. Compartmentalizing these keywords allows you to track their return on investment without compromising the results of your original campaign in reaching your desired target consumers.

2) Generic Keywords

The same way most recipes call for specific ingredients (such as a specific brand over a generic one), your search campaigns also call for specific keywords over broad or generic keywords.

For instance, as a pediatrician, you would get some quality traffic if you used the search advertising term “doctor” as a keyword in your advertising campaign, but you might also get a lot of traffic from people looking for a different kind of doctor, like an allergist. These searchers probably wouldn’t be very relevant to your business or drive significant results.

Your results would improve substantially if instead you used specific, descriptive keywords like “pediatric medicine” or “children’s doctor.” And, your results may improve even further by adding geo-specific terms to your keywords, such as “Children’s doctor Brooklyn.” To maximize the amount of quality leads you’re getting from search, focus on long-tail keywords and localized keywords.

3) Research-Related Keywords

Similar to generic terms, research-related search advertising keywords may generate a lot of clicks without producing much in return.

Keywords like “bankruptcy law,” “lose weight fast” and “foot pain treatment” are all examples of research related terms. While these terms may look relevant , these types of keywords can devour your budget without producing new leads.

When crafting a keyword list, think like a consumer. People doing these types of terms are probably looking for advice or content such as articles and blog posts – and these types of keywords are great for SEO.

But if your search advertising goal is to drive leads who are likely to buy from you, it’s usually a good idea to toss out research related keywords as these are typically indicative of consumers who are in the information stage of the buying cycle — not to buy from a business who can solve their problem.

4) High Spend Keywords

It’s important to carefully track conversions from your campaign, not only because this helps know your return on investment, but also because it enables you to know which keywords produce results and which are just costing your money.

Remove keywords from your campaign that spend a high percentage of your budget but don’t produce quality leads. This requires careful, regular reviews of your performance when you run your own search campaigns. When you work with a search advertising partner who optimizes your search campaign for conversions – not just clicks – you can make sure your keyword list (and your entire campaign) is focused on what really produces the results you want – leads you can actually turn into sales, not just clicks.

5) Keywords That Don’t Drive Clicks

CTR (click through rate) is a good indication of relevancy. In other words, a good click through rate on your campaign means that a healthy number of consumers are clicking on your ads because they find them relevant to what they were searching for. So, low CTR keywords are essentially those that are not very relevant to your target consumer – because they aren’t clicking on them.

Since CTR affects your cost per click and ad position in the search results, it’s important to keep your overall CTR as high as possible. Eliminating keywords that drive low numbers of clicks can boost your overall campaign CTR, thus improving ad position while lowering your average cost per click.

As a general rule of thumb, evaluate keywords that generate a high volume of impressions but have a low CTR. Start with keywords with a CTR below 0.5%. As you eliminate, you can adjust to keywords with a CTR below 1%.

However, remember that clicks alone aren’t the only indicator of your campaign’s success: you also need to look at how many contacts (calls, emails, and forms) and quality leads you’re getting when evaluating keyword effectiveness. So, if a keyword only has few clicks, but those clicks turned into quality calls or emails for your business, you may want to keep the keyword, since you’re getting a valuable lead that’s worth more than a dozen low-quality clicks.

Master Your Keywords

Even master chefs don’t get recipes right the first time every time. It’s the tweaks along the way that take them from average to exceptional. Do the same with your search advertising keywords. Continue to tweak your keyword combinations until you find the ones that maximize your results.

To automate this process, solutions like ReachSearch rely on optimization technology to focus your campaign’s budget on the keywords that are most effective at driving conversions like calls and emails to drive even more revenue from your advertising.

Leslie Whittaker

As an Account Executive at ReachLocal, Leslie partners with small- and medium-size businesses to help them increase new customers and revenue. She specializes in digital marketing for B2B and B2C companies. For over 10 years, Leslie has been streamlining advertising investments, building solid marketing strategies that yield profitable results and empowering businesses to thrive. In her spare time, she likes to write and explore NYC with her dog, Ollie.

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