Thinking About PPC for Your Home Care Agency? 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting With PPC

By Dominick Frasso

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a great way to drive traffic to your website or landing page to gain the valuable and highly targeted traffic you need. A lot of success can be had through this advertising method; however, if done incorrectly it can burn through your budget faster than you can imagine, leaving you with minimal conversions and visitors that bounce at first sight of your page.

If you are just getting started using PPC for your small business website, here are some critical mistakes to avoid when getting started with Google Adwords:

1. Overbidding and Reliance on Broad Search Terms

Broad search terms often drive a lot of impressions and clicks to your landing page. The problem is that the traffic it drives could be traffic that is completely irrelevant to the product or services you are selling since the keyword can be used in such a broad match type. For example, if your website sells iPhones and you use that keyword as a broad match type, you’ll likely gain traffic for different variations of keywords because they contain that same base keyword:

There are many types of iPhone search terms that may return your ad, some of which may be completely irrelevant. If you sell strictly iPhones, you just invited and paid for a lot of irrelevant traffic to a landing page that does not deliver the product the user was looking for (iPhone cases, for example). Therefore, by bidding too much on those broad search terms, you exhaust your budget with little to no ROI. Instead of creating broad based ad groups, consider creating several “exact match” and “phrase match” ad groups.  These lead visitors to a landing page that is specific to the keyword and product for which they are searching. You’ll increase your Quality Score by increasing your Click Through Rate (CTR), spend less money and gain clicks that will return a much higher ROI for your campaign. These match types are very important in your campaign and bidding strategy, so be sure to pay close attention to them.

2. Ignoring Negative Keywords

If you don’t use negative keywords in conjunction with broad match or phrase match keywords, you will likely drive irrelevant traffic to your landing page. The benefit to using negative keywords is that you can still strategically use broad match and phrase match keywords, but reduce unwanted impressions as well as unwanted clicks that cost you cash! For example, if you sell new iPhones on your site but not new iPhone cases, you may want to add “case” and/or “cases” to your list of negative keywords. This way, your ad will not gain impressions when people search for new iPhones cases when you only sell used iPhones. A good place to research what good choices for negative keywords may be for your Ad Group or Campaign is by navigating to Keywords > See Search Terms. There you can see which keyword phrases are eating up impressions and clicks and costing you wasted ad spend.

3. Too Many or Irrelevant Keywords in Ad Groups

Having too many variations of keywords or irrelevant keywords in your ad groups will lower your quality score, dramatically resulting in a much higher Cost Per Click (CPC) and decreasing the effectiveness of your PPC campaign. You’ll want to keep your keyword variations limited and create entirely new ad groups for keyword variations that don’t closely match or belong together in a particular group. Keep your ad group keywords very tightly themed!

4. Improper/Irrelevant Landing Page

Landing pages for your PPC Ads should be keyword/product relevant and be optimized for conversion. This can be done at the ad group level as long as you have tightly themed ad groups. Be sure that your landing page has a clear call to action (CTA) to produce the desired conversion. It should be the whole reason you are conducting paid search campaigns to begin with. A conversion can consist of a sale, a form fill, a newsletter sign-up or any other event you would consider a goal of a visit to your site. To produce true ROI for your paid search campaigns, make sure this conversion is well defined and measurable!

5. Running Only one Version of Your Ad

“Always be testing.” It’s a common phrase in the online advertising world and it is imperative you have a testing strategy when managing your PPC accounts. It is good practice to create more than one version of your ad to test the effectiveness of all aspects of your ad itself. For text advertisements, test the title, copy and display URL to see which versions or aspects of your ads have a greater chance for clicks as well as conversions. For image ads, test the copy, the creative and the call to action. While it is a good idea to run more than one ad simultaneously, don’t run too many. Limit your testing to between 2 and 3 ads running at the same time. Once you’ve determined a winning variation, create another challenger and keep the tests going!

6. Not Testing Landing Pages for Conversion Optimization

Google Adwords has a great free tool called Website Optimizer. Website Optimizer is a great way to conduct A/B testing to test two different styles of landing pages for conversion, or multivariate testing to see what particular elements of your landing page change conversion behavior. This free tool is also a great way to determine what aspects and variations of your landing pages are more likely to create a conversion, resulting in higher ROI for your campaigns. You should constantly be testing your pages to see what changes can lead to increased conversions.

7. Improperly Tracking Traffic

Be sure that when you do run your PPC campaigns, you have as much detailed tracking in place as possible. Use conversion tracking in Google Adwords to place the conversion pixel on your conversion page. This pixel will allow you to see exactly what campaign, ad group and keywords produce conversions and drive ROI for you. A good place for the conversion code placement for e-commerce and lead generation campaigns, would be on a ”Thank you” page, which is the last page a visitor sees after completing what you have determined is a conversion. For example, we are targeting CEOs interested in executive coaching and track various conversions related to leads that come in.

8. Paying No Attention to Competitors

Do you know what strategies and keywords your competitors are using for their PPC campaigns? Have you ever typed in your brand name in the search box and seen your competitors’ paid search ads displayed right next to your organic listing? It’s a good idea to make sure you are bidding on your brand keywords in addition to your competitors’. You don’t want your competitors taking potential conversions away from you by using your own brand keywords and conversely, you do want to try to gain conversions away from them using their brand keywords. Here’s an example of how Samsung does just that:

9. Forgetting About Mobile

Mobile continues to play an increasingly important role in online advertising. There are two areas in mobile you don’t want to forget about. Google Analytics provides valuable insights on what types of visitors you have to your pages, including what type of device they used to get there. This can be a good way to measure the importance of a mobile strategy for your company, which helps when allocating budget towards a mobile strategy as well as helps dictate the types of devices for which you should optimize your landing pages.

10. Ignoring Contextual Targeting on Networks

A common mistake when starting with PPC is to place your text and image ads on the Google Display Network without using any additional contextual keyword targeting. This strategy adds another layer of tightly themed targeting that will allow your advertisement to show only when page or article content matches closely to your ad group keyword themes. It is a great way to really make sure your ads are being shown in relevant places about relevant topics and to a potentially relevant user.

The on page article is titled ‘Twenty-one favorite iPhone tips’, and next to it you see contextually targeted ads that promise ‘Deals on iPhones’. Be sure to use keywords even on your Display Network campaigns!

PPC is a strategy that is extremely data driven and if done correctly can yield high ROI for your marketing spend. If you have some tips you’ve used or seen be successful, share them in the comments below.

Dominick Frasso    Dominick Frasso on the Web Dominick Frasso RSS Feed

Dominick Frasso is the SEO/SEM Specialist at, an executive coaching organization that helps CEO members build better companies through unique business coaching opportunities. After a successful enlistment in the United States Marine Corps, Dominick began his career in marketing. He has spent time in traditional marketing roles…


Valerie VanBooven RN BSN
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Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

Co-Owner, Author at LTC Expert Publications
Valerie VanBooven, Managing Partner/ Co-Owner of LTC Expert Publications
Valerie’s motto and favorite saying is: “Impact is not created by big budgets, impact is created by innovative marketing ideas!”
Valerie is a Registered Nurse and the author of three books, Aging Answers (2003), The Senior Solution (2007) and Priceless Caregiving (2009). Her adventure in internet marketing began as a self-promotion experiment and ended up becoming a full time marketing consulting business for the elder care market.

Valerie has appeared on national television (Today Show), has hosted her own local radio show, and has been interviewed for dozens of publications and radio shows across the country regarding her business and the business of elder care.
She fast became the foremost authority in driving sales via the internet, seminars, and e-mail for senior service providers and elder care entrepreneurs.While Valerie’s best known for her expertise in marketing, her students share that her biggest impact comes from her ability to make things happen quickly, even on a small budget.
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