The 5 Biggest Don’ts of Paid Search

So much of our day is about what we should do. We have to do the obvious “must do’s” like drive on the right side of the road, and there are all of the “should do’s” – should drink more water, or should mail that care package to my son at camp.

With PPC, there many things we must do and should do. But there are also things that we need to remind ourselves not to do. As anyone who has managed paid search campaigns knows, every now and then we forget the obvious. But simple oversights, miscommunications to team members or trying to do too many things at one time can create costly errors. Here are five key things to avoid and suggestions for how:

1. Don’t Assume One Size Fits All

Don’t assume that what you do for one paid search campaign is going to work the same way for another. When taking over an existing account, it’s easy to fall into this pitfall. You see opportunities for optimization and assume that the things that worked for other accounts will work for the new account.

What you should do: Learn the history of your new account – get as much information from the previous owner, if possible. Study the change history and analytics before you make changes.

2. Don’t Take Your Eye Off the Ball

It happens to all of us – during the day we are busy managing other accounts and we forget to check that change we made the night before. And you find out that change you made the night before resulted in your daily budget being spent by noon. Or in your display campaign there is a placement that suddenly has a lot of spend from the previous day that you didn’t notice.

What you should do: Make it a priority to check your accounts first thing in the morning, before you grab that first cup of coffee. Check to ensure your daily spend is on target, your budget is pacing where it should be and any recent changes have not had any type of negative impact.

3. Don’t Forget Negatives

Negative keywords are a critical element of any paid search campaign. Negative keywords can ensure that you are not paying for keywords that are irrelevant or negative.

For example, if you are selling dog collars and you are using phrase or a modified broad match type, you don’t want your ads to show up for phrases related to dog bites or dog veterinary collars (aka, the cone of shame).

What you should do: Make sure that every time you launch a new account, campaign or ad group you incorporate negative keywords. Add it as an audit point in your launch checklist and verify during your final QA process. When adding negatives, also check the keywords that you are bidding on via a search – you may find that there are multiple meanings for your terms.

4. Don’t Forget Your Check List

It inevitably happens – in trying to push a new account or campaign live, we forget something. A setting that doesn’t get turned on, a match type change we forgot to make, or acampaign end date that gets overlooked.

What you should do: Create a checklist of all items that you need to verify – budgets, settings, day parting, start and end dates and bidding strategies. Have a sign-off on the checklist for either someone on your team or yourself (if you’re the only person). This also provides accountability and can be referred to if necessary.

5. Don’t Forget to Check the Budgets

You may have a client with a budget that varies monthly, or even daily. And when you are managing multiple accounts, it can get complicated keeping up with which client is spending what amount for a certain month or day.

What you should do: Creating a pacing report is essential, especially when you have more than one client. Here is a sample spreadsheet that shows several clients with varying budgets for a certain month. By tracking the number of days remaining in the month, you can determine if you are pacing ahead or behind of your target, and can adjust accordingly so you can flight the budget.


Remember with daily budgets, Google can spend higher than the set amount, so factor that in when planning out your pacing.

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