When it comes to SEO marketing tactics, PPC is extremely popular. To a lot of startup owners, it sounds almost too good to be true! Compose an ad, get it up on Google, and don’t pay a penny until one of your customers clicks on it.

While PPC can certainly be an effective tool, it can also be completely useless if you’re not using it properly. Here are a few PPC mistakes you need to be wary of.

First and foremost, forgetting to include a call to action. Many people think “call to action” is just a digital marketing buzzword, and doesn’t really do much to influence the behaviour of your target market. In fact, it’s been proven several times that a good call-to-action can bring up an ad’s click-through rate.

Not having a call to action at all is up there with the worst mistakes you can make in Pay-Per-Click advertising. Even if you are including a call to action, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right language.

For example, don’t use “read more” or “find out more” for a landing page that’s intended to drive up sales. Similarly, you shouldn’t be using phrases like “buy now” if the page is only there to improve customer engagement.

Neglecting to test your ads is another costly mistakes you need to make sure you’re avoiding. Talk to any SEO professional, and they’ll tell you it’s always best to have three variations of the same ad running at one time.

To make PPC really work for you, you need to be constantly looking for ways to improve your click-through rate. To do this, you need to be in the habit of testing new ads every month.

Don’t let your messaging, promotions or pricing go out of date, along with anything else that could affect your CTR and user experience. Continual testing of your descriptions, URLs, new sitelinks and calls to action are also very important.

Finally, make sure you’re not failing to include ad extensions. There are several different ad extensions available to PPC advertisers. This is the best way to get your visitors to the information they were looking for in the fastest possible time.

Older ad extensions include call, location, product and social links. Since then, Google’s introduced us to “enhanced” PPC ads. These allow you to use dynamic search ad extensions, application extensions, and many others. Of course, if your business fits a very specific bill, you may not have any use for these.

However, many of your competitors may be using ad extensions, which can cause your ads to look a little shoddy or outdated in comparison.

Google has claimed that these newer extensions can increase the CTR of an ad by up to 30%, which certainly isn’t something you can wave away! Do some research, and find out what these features could be doing for your campaign.

To make the most of PPC on a small business budget, target visitors who are in all of the stages of the buying funnel. Focus on relevant and related and possibly long tail keywords. Then add things like time, geography, and language to narrow it all down to your target customers. Avoid using broad matches because you will end up spending money on unqualified clicks that will only serve to drain the budget.