Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Top Money Wasters – Part 3 of 3

I’ve already talked about how small businesses can waste a lot of money advertising on Google by not using geo-targeting and negative keywords.  These concepts aren’t too hard to understand.  The third SEM money waster is a little trickier, so I’m not going to go into too much detail.

Mistake #3:  Overusing Broad Match.  I don’t want this to be a boring lesson in SEM, so I’m just going to try to get the high level concept across in this post and focus on the money wasting problem.  Google has three ways to bid on a search term.  I’ll illustrate with a quick example.  If you’re a dentist in Seattle and you want your ad to appear when someone searches in Google for “Dentist recommendations”, your main options Exact Match, Phrase Match, and Broad Match.  For now, I’ll just focus on Broad Match, which is commonly used.  Broad match gets you the most volume because Google and the others will show your ad even if the words are shifted around or sometimes even if synonyms are used.

For example, if you broad match “Dentist recommendations”, your ad will also show if someone types in “Dentist recommended toothbrush”.  If I were a dentist in Seattle, I wouldn’t want to pay for that second search.  By the way, 1-800-Dentist is falling victim to this at the time of this writing.  They come up #1 on “Dentist recommended toothbrush”, ahead of Sonicare and a consumer search site.  When I clicked on their ad (sorry 1-800-Dentist, I owe you $5), I saw no mention of toothbrushes.

Now there are advantages to incorporating broad match and certainly including negative keyword helps.  The big takeaway here is if you decided to manage your own SEM program (or you have a friend of a friend who knows a guy who’s doing it for you), check to make sure you’re not primarily (or only) using broad match.   If you are, it’s time for a tune-up.

Well that’s all for now.  If you have any other big money wasters, please feel free to share in the comments section below.  Until next time, thank you for reading.

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