How To Advertise Using Google AdWords

Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising using AdWords is perhaps the most popular form of advertising among small businesses. This is partly because of Google’s reputation and partly because it allows the small business owner to control costs.

There are various ways Google AdWords can help you as a small business owner, but it takes some basic instructions to get started and ultimately tap into its full potential as an advertising tool.

The key to successful advertising is to find a method of conveying your information to as many people as possible, while keeping your advertising costs to a minimum. Pay per click (PPC) advertising may be one of the easiest ways to generate traffic to your website and score some decent profits from your search engine marketing campaign.

Google AdWords is the most popular form of pay per click advertising for small businesses, partly because of Google’s popularity, and partly because it allows you to control your expenses by setting daily maximums for each ad.

Google advertising is a great marketing strategy for small business owners. You can show an ad for your business to people who are searching for your type of business at that very moment AND who are looking for businesses in your area. This type of targeting makes most small business owners want to advertise on Google.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is an online advertising service that allows businesses to have their ads run on Google’s search results page. The ads look almost identical to the normal search results, with the only difference being the small word “Ad” in green. Google ads will show at the top and bottom of a search results page.

How Advertising on Google Works

When a consumer searches for a term or phrase, Google will show the consumer relevant ads based on the keywords used in the search. Websites that want their ads to show on the results page bid on keywords that they believe people will use when looking for their type of business. For example, a plumber located in Atlanta might bid on the keywords “plumbing Atlanta,” “plumber,” or “broken toilet.”

Depending on how much you bid, compared to other plumbers in the area, your ad may show up on the results page when people search for the terms you bid on. In addition to how much you bid, Google also takes into account the relevance and quality of your ad and website. So, even if you have the highest bid, the ad for your plumbing company will never show when someone searches “flower store.”

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How Does Google Determine If Your Ad Will Show on the Results Page?

Google uses a combination of three primary factors to determine when an ad shows on the results page:

  • Bid – The bid is the price you are willing to pay for a click on your ad. You bid against other websites on keywords that you believe people search for, if they are interested in your product. A flower store might bid on the terms “roses” “cheap bouquet” or “wedding flowers.”
  • Quality and relevance of the ad – Your ad needs to be relevant to the search being made in order to show on the search results page. If someone searches “wedding flowers” it wouldn’t make sense for Google to show an ad for a nail salon. You want to make sure you have a lot of the same keywords that you are bidding on in the ad itself, so Google can tell your ad is relevant to the search.
  • Landing page experience – When someone clicks on your ad, the landing page that they are sent to should have similar content as the ad itself and the keywords used in the search. If you own a salon and are advertising manicures, you’ll want to link directly to a page that has more information on manicures, instead of to the homepage which includes all of your services.

Differences between Mobile and Desktop Advertising

Mobile and desktop ads on Google are very similar. They both display ads at the top and bottom of the search results page, and you bid on keywords the same way with both. Though, some business owners overlook mobile, it is something you definitely want to think about when advertising on Google. More than half of Google’s searches are done from mobile devices, and people searching on their phone often have local intent.

The key differences between desktop and mobile advertising are:

  1. There is less space on a mobile device, so you need to make sure your message is straight to the point.
  2. People on their phones are on the go, so you want to tailor your message depending on if it’s for desktop or mobile.

When setting up your account, you can decide whether you want your ad to show on desktop, mobile, or both. We suggest setting up separate campaigns for desktop and mobile in order to track how your ads perform across different devices.

You will notice that the cost for the same keyword will be different depending on if you are bidding for search terms being used on mobile or desktop. Experiment with different bids in order to see which keywords perform best on mobile versus desktop.

Your goal is to have the highest click-through rate on your ad with the lowest cost per click possible.

How Much Does Advertising on Google Cost?

In pay per click advertising, you only pay if someone clicks on your ad. The cost per click of an ad depends on how much you bid on certain keywords. The cost ranges greatly depending on if you are in a market where a lot of other businesses are willing to pay a high price to rank on a certain keyword.

For example, if you are a realtor in a small town you might be able to bid less than $1 per click on a keyword and still have your ad show in this section. However, if you own a medical malpractice law firm in a big city, the cost per click will be much more expensive.

You can use Google’s keyword planner to see how much the suggested bids are, for your ad to show up when someone searches for specific key terms. However, instead of focusing on the cost of advertising, you will want to think about how much you stand to earn from advertising on Google, and whether this will yield a substantial profit for your business.

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How can you save 33.5% on the Adwords cost per click?

The simple answer is to advertise on Bing. In many ways, Bing provides a very similar service to Google AdWords. The only big disadvantage of Bing is that there are fewer clicks available for purchase. As a result, many advertisers focus on Google AdWords and ignore Bing. The lower competition means less fierce bidding, which in turn lowers the cost per click. According to an article by Wordstream, Bing is typically 33.5% cheaper than AdWords for the same term.

How to Setup a Google AdWords Account and Start Advertising in 6 Steps

In order to setup your account and begin advertising on Google, all you need is an email address and a website. Follow along with the steps and set up your own account here.

Step 1: Set your budget

The first step is setting your daily budget. A good starting point is $10 per day, but you can increase or decrease this amount once you have a better idea of what you will have to bid per keyword. It’s not guaranteed that you will pay this amount every day (especially if no one is clicking your ad), but Google will make sure you won’t exceed your budget.

A good way to set your budget is to first figure out what percentage of clicks will convert into sales. WordStream has a nice infographic that shows a 2-5% average conversion rate for small businesses. If 5 out of 100 people that visited your website purchase your product, then you have a 5% conversion rate. You then have to decide how much you are willing to spend for each person to purchase your product. If you sell something that is $1,000 you are probably willing to pay more per click than someone with a $5 product if you both have a 5% conversion rate.

Step 2: Set your location

Google lets you decide what geographical location you want your ads to show in. This is important for local businesses because you can make sure that your ad only shows when people search for the keyword you are bidding on AND are within a specified distance from your business. This can save you money and increase your conversion rate. You can even target a certain radius from your zip code by hitting “advanced search” and choosing “radius targeting.”

Step 3: Choose a network

Google lets you choose between showing your ads exclusively on Google’s search results page (search network), or also including Google content sites (display network). If you choose a display network, your ad could show up on other sites, such as YouTube and Gmail. We suggest starting with the search network as this ensures that your ad only shows for people searching for your type of business. The types of products that small business owners provide tend to be more successful with this type of advertising.

Step 4: Choose your keywords

Keywords are the terms or phrases that users enter into Google when they are using the search engine. When setting up your AdWords account, you can choose which keywords you want to trigger your ad. Google will suggest keywords for you to use based on your website and will also let you know how popular a keyword is. For example, when setting up an account for a pizza restaurant in Dallas, a suggested keyword is “Dallas restaurants,” which gets 18,100 monthly searches.

Google has good suggestions, so you can definitely use those at first. If you are looking to add more keywords after you setup your account, Google has a useful resource in the “Tools” section of your AdWords account called Keyword Planner This will help you get ideas for other terms you could be using.

Once you have decided on the keywords that you want to bid on, another component you will need to think about is how you want Google to match the search terms to your keywords.

There are 4 different keyword matching options that you can choose from:

  • Broad match – This is the default match type that your keywords are assigned and will reach the most extensive audience out of the options. This may seem like a positive thing, but since your ad is eligible to show when a search query includes any of your keywords in any order (including synonyms), your ad could be showing on searches that aren’t really relevant to your site. Since all keywords don’t even have to be in the search query for the ad to show, if your search term is “dallas restaurant” your ad could show for “pizza in dallas.”
  • Broad match modifier – This option gives you a little more control than the broad match on who sees your ad because you can lock certain keywords into place. You just need to add a + in front of the word and that lets Google know that the search needs to include that word in order to trigger your ad. If your restaurant specializes in pizza and no other types of food, you may want to bid on the keyword “+pizza in dallas” so that your ad won’t appear when someone searches “dallas restaurant.”
  • Phrase match – This option is next down the line of stricter control. With phrase match, search terms need to be in the same order as your keywords to trigger your ad, but there can be other words before or after the phrase. So, if your keyword is “dallas restaurant” your ad won’t appear when someone searches “restaurant dallas,” but could if someone searches “best dallas restaurant.” In order to indicate to Google that you want a phrase match, you will need to put quotation marks around the phrase.
  • Exact match – This option works just like it sounds. In order for your ad to show, someone will have to search the exact keywords, in the same order, and with no other words before or after. So, if you want to place an exact match on “dallas restaurant” your ad won’t show for the search “best dallas restaurant” or “restaurant in dallas.” You need to put brackets around the phrase if you would like it to be an exact match (e.g. [dallas restaurant]).

Small business owners should use a combination of these matching types for their keywords. If you notice that your ad is showing for a search query that is not really relevant to your site, you will want to take advantage of negative keywords. So, if a keyword that you’re bidding on is “cheeseburger” then you probably don’t want people to click on your ad after searching for the popular song “cheeseburger in paradise” if you own a hamburger restaurant. In this case, you would add “paradise” as a negative keyword, and your ad won’t show if someone includes that word in their search.

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Step 5: Set your bid

The bid is the amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad. You are bidding on keywords against other websites in order for your ad to show on the results page when someone searches for that keyword. If a website has an equally relevant ad to the search being made and is willing to pay more per click, then their ad will show higher than yours or even instead of yours.

Step 6: Write your ad

The final step is writing your ad. You will need to write two headlines and a description. You have a limited number of characters, so make sure your ad is concise and straight to the point.

How to Create an Effective Google Ad

  • Use your keywords in your ad – You need to use the same keywords that you are bidding on are in your ad; so that Google will be able to tell that the ad is relevant to the search.
  • Use local identifiers – If you are a local business, you want to consider using location terms in your search. If someone is searching for “bbqdallas” then your ad with the headline “Best BBQ in Dallas” will be more likely to show in the results and be highly relevant for the person looking for a restaurant in your area.
  • Clearly state who you are and what you offer – The user should know immediately what your business is and how you can help with what they’re looking for. If you own a store that offers many different products, make sure you are matching your ad to the keywords being searched.
  • Tell the user what makes your business unique – There are tons of results on the first page of a Google search. You need to tell them why they should choose your business. Are you more affordable, dependable, or reliable? Do you have awesome reviews and ratings? Share that information in your ad.
  • Have a clear call to action – Users are more likely to click on an ad if they are being instructed on next steps. Examples of this are “Call today for a free quote,” or “Enter zip to find store closest to you.”
  • Include a promotion – You may want to include an offer such as “20% off shoes today!” or “Free shipping!” It’s understandable if you don’t want to offer a discount on top of the advertising cost, but even a small offer can make the difference between attracting a new customer to your site, and having them click on the website next to yours.
  • Enhance your ad with extensions – Extensions show additional information about your business, such as your phone numbers, store rating or address, as links extending from your ad. Including extensions will increase the amount of space you take up on the results page, and they tend to have a high click-through rates (both huge benefits). Plus, there is no additional cost for including extensions.

A simple step you can take before writing your ads is to search for your type of business and see what type of ads come up. You don’t want to copy other businesses ads exactly, but you can get an idea of what works and what is out there.


When you advertise on Google, it can go a long way towards helping you get new customers, especially since you can target your ad specifically for people in your area.

Make sure you have a good understanding of what you stand to earn from a new client coming from a Google ad, so you know whether the price is worth it for your business.

Once you create your account, constantly test ads, so you are using the best performing material, and keep your keyword list clean. If you are not checking which search terms are triggering your ads, people could be clicking on your ad who have no interest in your type of business, which would be a waste of your money.

Using Google AdWords is a great learning experience. Because of the easy to use tracking features, you can even learn from your Google AdWords mistakes by seeing which targeted keywords result in conversions and which do not.

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