Launching a search marketing campaign can be a great way to generate new, qualified leads on your website. One of the reasons we like to recommend paid search (PPC) to our clients is because it attracts inbound leads who are usually further down the funnel and actively searching for your product or service. Everyone wants to be at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and a well-planned paid search strategy can get you there. For more help setting up your new campaign as well as some best practices to consider along the way check out these 4 things to consider before starting a paid search campaign.

Don’t want to waste all of those well-earned advertising dollars? Here are 3 search engine marketing mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Using Tailored Landing Pages

Believe it or not, one of the most overlooked aspects of setting up a paid search campaign is the actual page you’re going to send all of these fresh new users to. Why not just send traffic to your homepage? Well, your homepage is often one of the most generic pages on your site. Usually, they aren’t optimized for conversions and can have high bounce rates since users can get easily distracted and before you know it, poof, they’re gone.

The purpose of a paid search campaign is and should be to drive conversions. You want emails, phone calls, contact info, etc. from potential leads. Landing pages are a great way to convey a specific message (hopefully the same message you talked about in your ad that got them there in the first place) and allow users to complete a single action quickly.

By creating a dedicated landing page around a specific product or offer that you are advertising for, you increase your relevancy and have a better chance at appearing at the top of the SERP. Since the content on that landing page is so relevant to the user’s search, they will be more likely to convert and less likely to bounce.

The one exception to this is brand campaigns. Since users who are searching for you by name are already familiar with you, it is generally ok to send this type of traffic to your homepage and allow them freedom about your site.

Need some more tips on landing page design and best practices? Check out our 9 secrets to better landing page design.

2. Letting your campaigns go unmonitored

Putting your campaign on auto-pilot is a surefire way to a negative ROI. Paid search is a constant game of optimization. The more nimble you and your team can be to analyze data, notice performance trends and make changes accordingly, the more successful your campaign will be.

A great place to start when launching a new campaign is to monitor the search terms report weekly if not daily. You want to be certain that you are not paying for search terms that are irrelevant to your business. Use this report to tighten up your match types, and build out your negative keyword list.

Also, make sure to keep an eye on your budget. Know that Google is allowed to spend up to 2x your daily budget limit. Don’t fear! Google will never spend more than 30.4 (avg. # of days in a month) times your daily budget in one month. Some days you may notice you spent more, but some days will spend less, it will all level out on a monthly basis, so set your budgets monthly.

3. Not taking advantage of long-tail keywords

When doing your keyword research, don’t just focus on those high volume keywords. While still important, most often those will be the most expensive. Instead, try going after long-tail variations of your root keywords.

For example, if your store sells antique furniture, rather than just bidding on a highly competitive and broad term like “furniture,” take that one step further and segment your different product offerings into their own ad groups with long-tail keywords like “vintage 6 drawer dresser” or “reclaimed solid wood dining table.”

Less competition = lower costs.

While search volume will probably be significantly lower on those long-tail keywords, they will more often than not have a better conversion rate than broader terms. This is because you are returning a search result that exactly matches the user’s search intent.