When you’ve been evaluating Google Ads and other pay-per-click accounts for business clients, you start to notice some of the same issues crop up.

Sometimes, I can see where whoever is managing the account is trying to accomplish the wrong things. Or where they aren’t trying to accomplish the right things. Other times they’ve simply fallen prey to weird/confusing settings in Googles’s ad platform.

In no particular order, here are the top Google Ads mistakes we see businesses make. And if you want to read more, check out our article, Google Ads Going Nowhere? Here’s How to Audit Your Paid Search Ad Copy first. 

And if this article is helpful to your business and you have more questions, call me at +1 888-964-3498. Or you can contact our paid search team online. At Symphonic Digital, we won’t give you a “hard sell.” We are here to help you, whether you become a Symphonic client or not.

Not Targeting Locally

It’s relatively easy to target locations with your Google Ads. But local targeting is so much more.

Applying geo-targeting—also known as location targeting—to your campaigns ensures that your ads will only be shown to users within a certain location. All PPC platforms allow you to utilize location targeting on your ads.

The location you choose include a state, region or country, or as narrow as a ten mile radius from a given location. You can get as specific as you want.

For local businesses like HVAC repair or a doctor’s office, this can help you to show ads to users who are only near enough that they’d actually be able to turn into customers at some point.

Make sure you target local regions (where conversions tend to be strongest). Need some help with dynamic keyword insertion? Get in touch with me and I’ll answer your questions.

Not Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

There are a ton of different strategies you can use to get more clicks and conversions from Google Ads, but there’s one that should always be top of mind: make your ads as relevant as possible to your target audience.

Dynamic keyword insertion makes your ads tailor-made for Google searchers. Traditionally, in order to show users ads that are specific to them, brands would need to create tons of ads with slight variations. This a time suck, and the endless variations made campaigns difficult to manage.

DKI allows you to dynamically customize keywords in the ad copy based on what customers searched for. They’ll all be taken to the same landing page, but depending on the specific search they used, they’ll see different ad copy. In other words, DKI allows your business to customize your ad to match the user’s search query.

Not Leveraging Ad Extensions

Ad extensions allow extra business information to be shown with your ad. This could be a phone number, an address, your store rating, or even more sitelinks. There are a few kinds for you to consider using:

  • Sitelink extensions go to specific pages on your website
  • Callout extensions allow you to promote specific offers to users 
  • Click-to-text extensions  allow users to send a text directly to you
  • Call extensions allow searchers to call your business directly from the ad
  • Seller Ratings extensions show off a business’ rating (as long as the aggregate rating is a 3.5 or higher)


Ad extensions make your ads appear more prominently on the search results page. They’ve also been shown to increase CTR by an average of 30 percent!  The Sitelinks, Location, and Call Out extensions are the good extensions for earning higher ranks.

Not Considering the Full Path To Conversion

“A big mistake I see businesses make is looking at paid search as an island, instead of a piece of the overall driver to bottom-line results,” says Nikki Kuhlman, Senior Account Director at the digital marketing agency JumpFly. “I constantly hear from clients about making Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising more efficient … “trimming the fat”, increasing ROAS, pausing keywords that aren’t directly converting. But when I do, then I hear complaints when their business isn’t growing. 

‘They are ‘efficiencing’ their accounts to death and killing their overall growth, especially in these days of cross-device paths and ITP 2.3 that affects tracking. It’s important to spend time looking at the path to conversion and comparing first touch to last touch.”

Not Regularly Monitoring Accounts

If you want Google Ads to work for your business, you have to log in on a regular basis. After all, it’s not going to manage itself! Add negative keywords and make other adjustments as needed; successful PPC campaigns never work on auto-pilot.

Not Improving Quality Scores

Increasing your Quality Score can be an indication that your ad or website is doing well.  Average score directly affects your rankings and cost per click (CPC). Since lower CPCs translate into lower costs per conversion, optimizing for Quality Score is incredibly important!

Increasing your quality score on Google Ads can also be helpful to increase your pay per click profits and the position your site shows up in advertising. Without the score, you might not know some of your current features are hurting you rather than helping you. In the long run, it can also save you time and money in making sure you are using the right keywords. 

Not Optimizing For Mobile Devices

Everyone is addicted to their smartphones these days, but what does it mean for your Google Ads strategy?

Take a look at these stats:

  • According to a recent Google study, 74% of mobile consumers used Google as part of the research process.
  • 93% of those consumers go on to make a purchase (source: Google).
  • 52% of mobile shoppers say they buy more with cross-channel personalization (source: MyBuys).

Mobile users are quick to convert. Be sure to adjust your ads (messaging, call-to-action, extensions) accordingly.

Not Targeting Keywords Correctly

Keyword match types are key to an efficient campaign. They are automatically set to broad match unless you change them; this means your ads will show for synonyms, misspellings, “related searches” and more. It puts focus on quantity rather than quality. .

Sure, this approach gets more clicks, but those clicks are less likely to be relevant to your products and services. Remember, long-tail keywords are more cost-effective, especially in competitive niches.

Another thing to remember: Negative keywords filter out irrelevant clicks, so make sure you’re keeping a list and continually adding to it.

Not Creating Good Landing Pages

Turning clicks into conversions requires having a dedicated landing page (NOT YOUR WEBSITE’S HOME PAGE!!!) that gets the visitor to complete the desired action by meeting the need that brought him or her there in the first place.

Not Looking Beyond Google

“A serious misconceptions includes only thinking about Google Ads,” says Nikki with JumpFly. “here are other platforms out there! Microsoft Advertising is a great option for many companies. Average order sizes are usually higher, and at least for search ads, the clicks are less expensive.

“Plus there’s the ability to target LinkedIn profiles,” she adds. “Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo Gemini) Native ads are also an interesting solution that works for clients that have a story to tell.”

If you don’t have time to handle the intricacies of Google Ads yourself, get a fresh set of eyes from a dedicated account manager. A competent Google Ads specialist is an investment that pays for itself many times over.