A lot of real estate professionals including Realtors and investors turn to us for professional help after they get no success with their PPC campaigns. As they say you can maximize learning from other people’s mistakes, we always try to find out where these professionals went wrong with Google Ads.
In this guide, I am going to point out six mistakes which most real estate agents, brokers and investors make when building out their Google Ads campaign.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can save a lot of money and get better results from Google Ads for pennies on the dollar:
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Mistake#1: Using ‘Broad Match’ keywords
Google Ads lets you target keywords with four different keyword match types: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match and Exact Match.
While it’s easy to come up with great real estate keyword ideas (in fact, I recently put together a list of 150+ real estate keywords), the real challenge is to understand which long-tail keyword should go in what match type.
When you are building out your campaign, the worst mistake you can make is to use ‘Broad Match’ type for keywords that are not directly relevant to your promotion.
You should avoid this mistake particularly when your budget is low (anywhere between $300-$1000 per month). What it means is that you should try to be as specific as possible in your targeting when you start off. Keep analysing the performance of each keyword on a regular basis and optimize your keyword match type accordingly.
Mistake#2: Not optimizing ads at least once a week
The great thing about Google Adwords is that as soon as your ads start running, you get access to a ton of meaningful insights. These insights help you optimize your campaign for better CPC, CTR and conversions.
But most Realtors and real estate agencies set up campaigns and forget about them. They never check if how their ads are performing.
I was recently contacted by a real estate broker who complained that she was not getting any conversions. I found out that the last major edit she had made to her ads was three months ago!
A further analysis revealed that though the campaign was targeting home sellers, her ads were getting the majority of clicks for search terms used by buyers. This simple mistake cost her over $3600.
Long story short, you need to check the performance of your ads at least once a week and optimize them accordingly.
Mistake#3: Not optimizing landing page as per targeted keywords
I have seen even many big real brands make this costly mistake.
Most real estate professionals drive PPC traffic to their home page where they believe the leads will type in details such as Zip Code, neighbourhood name and budget and leave their contact details.
Let’s understand with an example how this is a big mistake.
Let’s say one of the ad groups in your Google Ads campaign target people looking for lakefront homes in Florida.
Your write the ad copy accordingly and start promoting a landing page. The common sense dictates that if you send someone looking for lakefront properties to a page where you are displaying all types of homes including golf course homes, luxury homes, condos and townhomes, the lead will get confused. At the very least, he or she will need to navigate through a few pages to find the one dedicated to lakefront properties. This reduces conversions and increases Cost-Per-Click.
So you should create a dedicated landing page according to your targeted keywords and optimize it for conversions.
Mistake#4: Targeting too many keywords in one ad group
Let’s say you are targeting home buyers with a campaign.
You add a lot of keywords related to home buyers to one ad group.
‘Foreclosed homes for sale’
‘Condos for sale’
‘Mobile homes for sale’
And so on…
Do you think your keyword selection has any focus?
Well, it doesn’t!
Your keywords should target leads from a specific segment which could be:
- People looking for condos
- People looking for townhomes
- People looking for beachfront homes
- People looking for mobile homes
- People looking for ‘cheap’ homes (it’s a keyword)
If you target people looking for cheap homes and those looking for luxury homes with the same ad group, your campaign is bound to fail.
Create different ad groups based on your target audience.
Mistake#5: Not knowing how many searches your real estate brand generates
I know a well-known real estate broker in Texas. Local newspapers quote him on real estate market trends in his market. Since he is not tech-savvy, he had no idea a lot of people were actually searching for his brokerage online. In fact, the last time I checked, his brand name was generating about 650 Google searches per month. He had built a website a few years ago and then completely forgot about it.
It’s not difficult to guess that many of the people checking him and his brokerage out online are buyers and sellers. Since his brand was generating search traffic, other real estate companies started bidding on it. I have no idea how many clients he lost due to this, but what I am sure about is the fact that he would’ve got a lot of leads had he run a Google Ads campaign and bid on his own brand. I know it looks unfair that you are forced to pay to Google to avoid losing leads to your competitors, but there is nothing you can do about it.
Many real estate professionals don’t realize how popular they and their brand are in their local market. This ignorance results in competitors poaching their clients.
Use Keyword Planner tool in Google to find out if your name or your brand is generating any Google searches. If the answer is yes, start bidding on your brand name before your competitors do.
Mistake#5: Not leveraging Google Ads extensions
If you are not using Ad Extensions, you are leaving money on the table.
Real estate is a local business and it’s extremely important to make it convenient for your clients to contact you without any hassles.
Google Ad Extension enables you to display your phone number and add a Call-out such as ‘Free/instant home value estimation’ to your ads. The extensions not only improve the quality score of your ad, but also reduce CPC, as several studies have shown.
Mistake#6: Not excluding irrelevant keywords
As soon as you launch a Google Ads campaign, you will get a lot of insights about search terms that drive clicks to your ads.
If you happen to see any irrelevant keywords driving clicks, you should exclude those keywords. These keywords are called ‘Negative Keywords’.
By using Negative Keywords, you will ensure that you don’t pay for irrelevant keywords.
Promoting a real estate business with Google Ads is getting costlier with each passing year. However, you can still profit from Google Ads as it continues to be one of the most cost-effective advertising options. Keep in mind the mistakes I outlined in this article and try to avoid them when you build out your campaign. I am sure that you will get great results from your PPC promotions.
Let me know in comments if you have any questions or feedback.