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Google AdWords Scare Tactic

Why You Can’t Trust This Warning From Google

Have you gotten a call from Google about your AdWords account? Did they tell you that your ads are displaying in other countries and costing you extra money?

You’re not alone. Google has been ramping up its AdWords sales efforts—and this means they’ve been aggressively targeting existing AdWords accounts and trying to upsell them.

To that end, they’ve been dialing the numbers on AdWords accounts and getting their foot in the door with this scare tactic: “Your account has the wrong settings and your ads are displaying in other countries…”

However, it’s just that—a scare tactic.

Keep reading to understand why you don’t need to be afraid.

It Is Google’s Own Default Setting

When you set up an AdWords campaign, Google offers several default settings that are likely to apply to a majority of campaigns. One such setting is that your ads display to people in your targeted geographic area AND to people outside your geographic area who are specifically searching for information about your location.

For example, if you’re an appliance repair business in Cleveland, your ads will display to anyone in the Cleveland area searching for appliance repair services. At the same time, if someone in Phoenix (nearly 2,000 miles away) specifically searches for “appliance repair company in Cleveland,” your ads will display to them, as well.

This Setting Does No Harm

When setting up our clients’ AdWords accounts, Prospect Genius typically decides to leave this default setting on for several practical reasons—primarily because it’s actually common for people outside of your geographic area to search for your services. Here’s what we mean:

Let’s say someone lives in San Francisco and wants to help their mother in Houston find a flooring contractor. Their elderly mother doesn’t have a computer, so they offer to do some online research on her behalf. Naturally, they start searching Google for “flooring company in Houston.” In a case like this, you’d want your Houston-area flooring company’s ads to appear in front of this individual, even though they’re located halfway across the country.

And, to reiterate, this only happens when the person outside of your targeted geographic area explicitly includes your location in their search. In other words, your Houston company’s ads wouldn’t constantly display to people in San Francisco (or Boston, or Tokyo)—your ads would only display when people specifically include “Houston” in their search terms.

You can see how this default setting is more or less nonthreatening. Someone outside your geographic area has to be actively seeking out products and/or services in your location in order to see your ads. And when people are searching Google in this pointed manner, you can assume they’re motivated buyers—so it won’t be a wasted click.

Further to the point: If this setting were truly a bad idea, then why would Google have it as the default setting in the first place?

It’s One Big Sales Tactic

Of course, Google is technically correct when they say people in other countries could be seeing your ads. However, this is a rare occurrence—and even when it does occur, it’s not necessarily a bad thing (as we explain above).

Instead, the real reason Google is calling AdWords account holders like you and “warning” you about this setting is that they want to get their foot in the door so they can upsell you on other AdWords services. Inciting fear and confusion is always an effective way to do this.

Unfortunately, by telling you that they just want to “fix” your campaign for you, Google representatives naturally gain your trust. This puts them in a prime position to make a sale.

Don’t Buy It!

So, bottom line? Don’t fall into the fear trap! This default setting is nothing to worry about, and your SEO provider didn’t make a mistake. Google just wants more of your money, plain and simple.