"How to Use Google to Eliminate Garbage Leads"As the CEO of a marketing company, I keep close tabs on all of our internal marketing and advertising efforts, and this includes frequent reports on the status of our Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. During one of these reports, I was briefed about something in our PPC results that was a little odd, and it turned out to be a symptom of a larger problem with our marketing system: we were receiving a surprising amount of completely useless leads that were taking a toll on our return on investment. I want to share the story with you, so you can see if the same thing is happening to you, and if so, learn how to fix it!

So, we are in the middle of one of my briefings on our PPC status, when one of the members of my team drops this line on me, “Get this: last week we got a lead from someone that typed ‘How to Get On McDonald’s Mailing List’ into Google.” At first, I thought it was funny (and so did my team member, that’s why he shared it). But then the reality of the situation hit me: Wait, I paid for this person to click on our PPC ad.

This is not a quality lead for us, to put it mildly, so I started digging to figure out what went wrong. It turns out that this is what happened:

1.     My PPC team targeted the keyword phrase “mailing list,” because we sell targeted mailing lists to help our clients get better results from their postcard campaigns.

2.     Our Big Mac-loving friend entered, “How to Get On McDonald’s Mailing List” into Google.

3.     Google saw the keywords “mailing list” and triggered our PPC ad to show up with his search results.

4.     He clicked on our ad.

5.     I paid Google for his click.

Now, I can’t begin to imagine WHY he clicked on our ad, when it so clearly had nothing to do with his desire, but that’s not the point. The point is that I wasted money on a garbage lead – and I wanted to stop doing that as soon as possible. And I bet you do too.

There are two pretty painless steps to take to avoid garbage leads:

1.  Use Negative Keywords to Keep Garbage Leads Away From Your Ads

As I mentioned, PPC operates by targeting certain keywords. The keywords you want to target are usually just referred to as “keywords,” but they more accurately could be called positive keywords. These are the phrases you want Google to use to trigger your ads. For us in the story above, the positive keyword that triggered the ad was “mailing list.” But positive keywords aren’t the only kind of keywords that exist…

Negative keywords are phrases that KIND OF relate to your industry or your products, but not really. They are keywords that may trigger your ad to show up, but are entered by prospects you have no hope of closing. You want to identify negative keywords just like positive ones so you can list them in your AdWords campaign. Once you designate a negative keyword, Google knows to block your ads from being displayed in those search results.

Voila! Now garbage leads never see your ads, and you don’t waste money on clicks you can’t close. (And if one sneaks through, you just add it to the list!)

2.  Use Google Analytics to Focus Your PPC Efforts

Now, just because you’re not wasting money on garbage leads doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the most from your campaigns. You could still be wasting money on leads that are garbage-ish (i.e. not likely to close, even if they are technically qualified).

Use Google Analytics to identify which of your PPC ads actually result in real revenue. You know – the green stuff. Dinero. Dollars. Only ads that bring in revenue deserve your money.

Interested in furthering up your PPC knowledge? You can download my free report and learn five steps to more effective Google pay per click ads . It’s free!

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania , a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail . She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Connect with Joy on Google+ .