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AdWords: PPC Beginners Guide to Avoiding Waste

We know it’s in Google’s best interest to make AdWords perform well for its clients, so you become a loyal customer and spend more. On the other hand, its complexity can lead to easy mistakes, often meaning you spend more than you should.

To help prevent this, here is our quick-start, 3-point guide for evaluating your own accounts for the common pitfalls of PPC management. If you are interested in a more detailed understanding of how to increase AdWord’s profitability, download our PPC Ebook here.


From keyword choices to ongoing maintenance and account structure, these are Digital Uncut’s top tips to avoid wasted budget and increase your ROI.


1. Irrelevant Searches

Using the wrong keywords match types can waste budget… very quickly!

The default match type is “broad match”, this means your keywords will match to “related searches” (in Google’s words). This often leads to a lot of waste by appearing for irrelevant searches. As a result, we never recommend broad match keywords.

No matter the keyword settings being used, we always suggest having a quick check to see if there are any search queries that might not perform as well the others. If there are, there’s something wrong. Here’s how to check:

2. Proper Maintenance

Ongoing maintenance is essential. ‘Setting-and-forgetting’ is one of the biggest mistakes a beginner can make. The AdWords auctions are so complicated that a simple bid-change by someone else could spark a keyword in your account to start showing for an irrelevant search (see search term reports above).

Over time, some keywords could start spending more than they should, or stop appearing at all as competition for that keyword rises and falls.

Depending on spend, every AdWords account should be reviewed at least once a week, if not daily.

This is done to add new negative keywords and adjust bids for over or underperforming terms. Like us, your PPC manager should be combing through potentially 1000s of search terms for each account on a weekly basis and make educated adjustments accordingly.

3. Simple Account Structure

Check your ad groups – if there is more than one search query appearing for any ad group (plus any very closely related searches), you could be doing better.

Separating “bike courier” and “bicycle courier” to their own ad group might seem like a minor thing, but “bike” could mean “motorbike”. As the user intent is different you could see a different conversion rate. We tried this exact thing and did see a difference, changing our client’s bids accordingly.

Further, Google loves serving relevant ads to its users. So, moving “bicycle courier” to its own ad group meant we could create an ad with “bicycle” in the heading – increasing quality score, decreasing cost per click and edging our client’s ROI higher.

We hope you found this guide helpful! If you need further advice on how best to structure and optimise your AdWords accounts, get in contact with our team at Digital Uncut today.