Google says they do no evil. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t perfectly willing to take your entire Adword budget in exchange for traffic that has .001% chance of converting. Rookie Adwords advertisers beware! If you’re using broad match in your Adwords campaigns, that’s basically a license for Google to rob you.

  • Make sure you examine your “Search Terms” report carefully. This is a report of the phrases that searchers typed in google when they clicked on your ads.
  • Use that report to make negative key phrases. Make a LONG list of negative key phrases.
  • Avoid using the default broad match because of the extremely broad interpretations

For instance, on an Adword campaign for a video production company, the broad match keyword ‘video production’ was getting impressions — and clicks — from people who were using the search term ‘manufacturing jobs.’ Presumably, the automated Google system assumed that the word ‘production’ is related to ‘manufacturing’ — even though video production is not.

When this was brought to the attention of the Adwords support team they said, “With broad match, the Google AdWords system automatically runs your ads on relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren’t in your keyword lists,”

Since, in this case, the automated broad match algorithm did not serve the advertiser nor the user — just Google — their extremely broad interpretations were self-serving.

In another Adwords campaign, we noticed that our client had spent over $130K on adwords over the past 6 years. The search term report showed us that 95% of that traffic would not convert into customers. They were renting office furniture in New York but since they had the broad match term ‘ny office’ they were getting clicks from people looking for things like ‘new york social security office’, ‘department of education ny’, and ‘ny dmv’. The list went on and on. It was an EXTREMELY broad interpretation of the parameters.

Of course, the campaign had an extremely low click through rate, which is always a sign that something is wrong. Basically, a bid of $6 was not enough to trigger the coveted phrases like ‘new york city office furniture store’, which were his customer looking for to buy, but the bid was enough toa appear in front of the thousands of people who search for ‘new york post office locations’ every day, some of whom must have clicked on his advertisement by accident, which accounted for his .01% CTR and, unfortunately, over $130,000 of his Adwords budget over the years.