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Denver Web Designer Musings: When It Comes To PPC, You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

By Erin  |   Online Marketing

Man doing exercise incorrectly

te for readers: Today's blog post is valuable for businesses that use or are considering using PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising to market their websites. If you don't use PPC, don't plan to, or don't know what it is, you can skip today's post and save some time, as the tips in here won't save you any money at the moment.


So there I was, on an overcast afternoon, sitting at my desk, doing a bit of research for a future blog post on a common website design mistake.

(Actually—no, rewind, I was standing at my standing desk in my office, not sitting.  I try to stand these days as much as possible when working. Better for the back.)

As part of my website design research, I needed to take screenshots of websites making the common web design mistake I planned to feature in my blog post. 

From years of experience, I already knew real estate websites in particular are guilty of making this particular mistake; so I did a quick Google search for "Denver real estate".

The search results popped up on my screen.

They popped up.

And I cringed.

And I do believe I muttered "Ugggggh" as I cringed, and that I did a small hop of annoyance (because, remember, I was standing).

Here's what I saw

Right there near the top of the screen I saw PPC advertisements for not one but TWO local real estate agents who were near our office—meaning they're located in Summit County Colorado, meaning they're located over 90 miles away from Denver.

In other words, these realtors were burning up their hard-earned marketing budget unknowingly trying to grab the attention of and direct to their sites people who specifically were interested in Denver real estate. Not Summit County real estate, but real estate located 90 miles away.

They were basically saying "Oh! You'll be interested in my Summit County real estate company—even though you searched for Denver real estate!"  

See the problem?

Why did I cringe?

These 2 local real estate agents were throwing good money after bad.

I can almost guarantee they made one of the 3 following mistakes (they have fancy names, but I'll explain each one in clear terms):

MISTAKE 1: Broad Ad Targeting
Companies trying to manage their own PPC accounts or who hire inexperienced (or sloppy) online marketing agencies often set their PPC ads to display to people across the entire United States, or across the entire state in which they're located—when they should be considering a much smaller target area. (In the case of our Summit County real estate agents, perhaps just Summit County.)

MISTAKE 2: Incorrect Match Type:
Again, companies trying to manage their own Adwords or who hire inexperienced (or sloppy) online marketing agencies often don’t realize that choosing which keywords to bid on is just half the battle. If a company's keywords are set to cast a wide net, that company may end up bidding on terms they didn’t intend to—like “Denver real estate”.  A costly accident they most likely didn't realize they were making.

MISTAKE 3: Lack of Negatives:
And finally, a common PPC mistake made by non-experts is failing to set keywords they didn't want to show ads for (aka "setting negative keywords"). This is as critical as choosing the keywords you do want to show ads for. In this case, had the Summit County real estate agents set "Denver" as a negative keyword, they would have ensured their ads never showed up when people were specifically searching for Denver real estate. Pay Per Click is a moving target: adding and removing terms is required to help ensure success.

Bad news

What are the consequences of these mistakes?

Bad news part 1 (ongoing/short term):
First and foremost, companies making these mistakes are essentially throwing their money away.

Ads shown to Google users who aren’t interested in what you’re selling aren’t going to turn those visitors into customers—because you’re not selling something they care about! Using our example from above, every click brought in from "Denver real estate" traffic is wasted money.

Bad news part 2 (long term):
These PPC mistakes also have longer term negative impacts as well. Google wants PPC ads to be valuable to users, so when your ads are targeted at the wrong people, Google will increase the price of those ads, meaning you'll be throwing away more and more money over time.

Replace bad news with (really) good news

How can you avoid making these big, often extremely expensive mistakes?

You probably won’t be surprised by our suggestion: hire a professional team.

Google Adwords/Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ type of advertising, and most businesses don’t have the resources or knowledge to master PPC internally.

If there is a potential for new business growth via PPC and similar services, hire an expert online marketing team who knows how to set up your company's PPC account and manage it with a specific return on investment (ROI) goal.

You simply can’t know what potential for your company lies in PPC ads until you have a professional team run a test for you.

Professional PPC management will help you set up, manage, evaluate, and consistently improve your company's PPC campaigns in any of the major search engines, and will bring a level of expertise that most businesses can't—and shouldn’t!—expect from themselves.

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