Be careful out there. For years I have saved several people per year who had “help” from Google with setting up their Google Adwords (now referred to as Google Ads) campaigns. There was a time when I was warning people about fake people calling and tricking business owners into letting them “help” them with Google Ads under the guise that they were actually Google and had their best interest in mind.
The above is still a scam too. Don’t get me wrong. However, I hear about that less often these days. The big risk the last couple of years has been Google themselves, or companies Google has granted access to. They are emailing or calling business owners directly to tell them there are problems with their campaigns and offering their help. As an agency with my account attached to many Google Ads accounts, I can tell you I get high-pressure calls and emails from them all day. I highly recommend you avoid these calls and emails unless you just don’t have any other option and are losing lots of money with Google Ads. I continue to have to save business owners after making these changes.
Remember that letting Google build and manage the efficiency with which you give them money, doesn’t really make sense.
Simplifying The Google Risk Aversion
There was a time when I would tell people that most people that called you and claimed to be Google were not actually Google, but either straight-out frauds or companies that passed the Google partner exams and in a sketchy manner portrayed themselves as Google. I was also a Google partner but would never represent myself as Google at that time. Google even changed its partnership rules to require an allegiance to them that didn’t serve the best interests of my clients, which is why I stopped taking part in that program. This, in itself, is dishonest and sketchy.
Sadly, the simple answer now is that I would skip the call or email entirely if I were you. Even if it is someone at Google, they don’t have your best interest in mind and with all of the “saves” I’ve done in recent years of business owners who let Google make major changes to their accounts, only to see calls or sales drastically fall off while ad spend went up, many are better off setting things up themselves or having a completely independent professional set it up for them. One with a proven track record. Business owners are drawn to the Google Partner badge when in fact, the title is more a benefit to Google than to the advertiser.
Google Forcing You To Give Them Control
Google has been reaching out even more aggressively the past year to try to get business owners to give them the keys to their Google Ads accounts. Don’t do it. At one point I had a technical issue with a client campaign and was told by the Google rep that if I wanted them to fix it, I had to give Google official control to make changes to the account going forward. Not to just fix the issue, but allow them to make campaign adjustments without approval going forward. That is scary.
Google is already slowly changing the rules in Google Ads to take more and more control away from advertisers. In recent years we lost the ability to advertise for “exact” search phrases, and then to see many of the search terms we paid to show up for, followed by losing control of the way our text ads appear, and on and on. The general rules are slowly taking control away, so the last thing we need to do is to just hand them the keys to the whole account and our ad spend.
Why? It is simple
Google is Controlling How You Give Them Money
Think about it. With Google Ads you are paying Google to show up in their search engine. If you are buying a car, do you trust the used car dealer to give you a completely unbiased suggestion on how to spend your money? No, they want you to spend your money with them and are going to push you in that direction. They want to maximize their sale. Google didn’t get as big as they are without trying to maximize ad spending. Handing them your wallet and letting them choose how much money and how to spend the money you are essentially giving to them just doesn’t make sense. They are motivated to give you just enough success to keep spending money.
A story I have heard multiple times. Small business owner built a Google Ads campaign themselves or had one built for them. It was performing at least well enough to justify continued spend. Google reached out to them and overhauled the campaigns and convinced them to drastically increase spending. The phone stopped ringing and they suddenly had a huge bill to Google that wasn’t paid for by new customers and clients.
Every Business and Site Has a Different Story
I don’t think the Google people are specifically calling you with the hopes to sabotage your campaigns, but they tend to make very generic changes to accounts that work in a theoretical world for giant companies with unlimited budgets. If you spend tons of money on lots of keywords, some of them will hit and you will get sales. The problem is most small businesses don’t have unlimited budgets to spend to find the keywords that work. They need to build campaigns in reverse and be specific as possible to find the best search terms that work in their particular market and even with their particular website. Google doesn’t know the business or industry, but just what works in large scale when spending lots of money on Google. Don’t let Google touch your campaigns. Measure properly and adjust your campaigns based on your key goals and performance indicators, not theirs.
You don’t have to hire me, but you should look to find a trustworthy (check reviews, BBB, and company history) and independent search engine marketing company that will take your budget and your specific business into account when setting up your campaigns. I have to sadly recommend to you now that I have saved so many of these companies, that you should just never listen to the Google reps.
I get calls and emails all the time from Google reps looking to have calls with me to make suggestions and updates to my client campaigns. Every time I have set the time aside to meet with them, as someone who is paying attention to this stuff every day, the time with a Google rep is a complete waste of time. They come in with suggestions to spend more money or other keyword suggestions with no knowledge of that business or history. Typically I spend the time explaining why these suggestions are pointless or have been tried to some degree and proven ineffective. An example is telling me that there are problems with the campaign because it is getting clicks outside of my targeted geographic market. The campaign had retargeting on, which are the ads that follow users around once they have visited your site. Therefore if someone was on your site and then went on vacation outside of your market, they may still see your ad. This is fine with us. We want to stay top of mind when they come back. However, Google will use this data as an excuse to “fix” your campaign, when in actuality, it is doing exactly what we want it to do.
Keep Google Out of Your Wallet
It is worth paying someone independent and trustworthy to set up a campaign for you and you can make tweaks from there, or even have them come back monthly or quarterly to make updates and analyze for edits and suggestions. Google, through their keyword matching and bidding components, as well as now their ad staff, is always trying to take more and more of your budget, and a big part of running a campaign is constantly applying measures to keep them from creeping in and taking more money from your budget for keywords you know don’t work.
Optimization Score Isn’t About Your Success
Don’t get hung up on your “optimization score” either. That score is for Google not for you. If your score is very, very low, then you likely are not hitting some of the basics that would help your efficiency. However, you shouldn’t be aiming to always be over 90%. That score isn’t for you and many people get hung up on it and make decisions to boost that score, and not their campaign efficency.
Google Ads Match Types
Google has made major changes to its keyword match types in the past couple of years. They basically eliminated your ability to advertise for “exact” search terms or phrases by changing the definition of “exact” to include “close variants”. This basically allows them to decide what keywords you want to show up. Worse yet, it still calls them exact match and newbies wouldn’t be crazy to assume that they are getting an exact match when using this match type, but they are not. The exact concept doesn’t exist anymore. This year they took away the ability to use broad modifier terms that “force” a certain word to be a part of a query (used heavily to sculpt and force important terms by those in the know) by allowing themselves to include “close variations of those terms…in any order. Close variations include terms with the same meaning. “(from Google match types page) This basically means they now can choose any word they want to be in the phrase, eliminating the usefulness of the broad modifier concept and moving all of the match types closer to the same thing, which is just letting Google choose where you will advertise. You have to be very careful and stay on top of your negative keywords lists.
Just be careful and work with someone you trust or has a reputation you can trust. Call us if you want help, but don’t let Google control your wallet.