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Why AdWords is important

Google is the first place many users visit when searching for a product or service – it’s no surprise that AdWords has one of the highest success rates of any digital initiative.

One of the biggest reasons that SEM (Search Engine Marketing) with AdWords is so successful is that consumers are actively searching for a product or service, and these users who are researching products and services on Google are further down the purchase funnel. These users are literally asking for information about your brand and displaying a strong intent for purchase – why wouldn’t you want to be running a paid search campaign?!


The first step in mastering Google AdWords is to create an AdWords account and link it with your website or app. You’ll find detailed steps on how to set up your account here

Once your account is created, you can begin creating your first campaign. The first step is to decide what type of campaign will fit your business objectives. Your options are:

For the purpose of this post, we’ll be discussing the Search Network with AdWords. When creating a Search campaign you should have basic targeting parameters in mind. Parameters such as location, language, delivery methods (device preference – if any), bid strategy, and budget are all metrics to keep in mind in the early stages of the campaign. Don’t let the bid strategy trip you up – pick the strategy that most closely relates to your business goals.

Once your campaign settings are laid out, you can move on to create the first ad group. This is where the targeting happens; Google AdWords will prompt you to create a list of keywords. If you’re not quite ready to create a full keyword list, input a few relevant keywords and go back to add more terms later. Here, the goal is to put down a few terms that potential users might search for when looking for your product or service. Keywords and ad groups are important parts of your campaign. Every ad group should hold true to a specific theme and all the keywords within that ad group should center around that theme.

So, How do they Charge Me?

Your keywords will eventually be used to direct users to a search ad that you will create upon completion of the keyword list. When a user views your ad and clicks on it, you’ll be charged by Google. You can manually determine your max CPC per keyword or let Google decide your max bid. This is commonly known as the PPC, or Pay Per Click, model.

Google Qualifiers
Quality Score / Ad Rank / Landing Page Experience

A “quality score” is Google’s rating of your keywords and ads. This score encompasses Google’s evaluation on your average expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. A higher quality score means that Google thinks your keyword, ad, and landing page are all relevant, and more importantly, that users are likely to click on your ad.

Relevancy comes up quite a bit with Google: the more relevant your ad is to a user’s search query, the more Google wants to show it. All of this factors into the quality score. The quality score is multiplied by your max bid to determine your ad rank on Google.

A good way to ensure a high quality score is to keep your ad groups very specific. For example, if you’re selling women’s shoes, your ad groups could be “sandals,” “heels,” “athletic shoes,” etc. Each of the keywords in these ad groups will contain specific terms pertaining to each type of shoe. The ads attached to each ad group will only mention the type of shoe that the user typed in her search query and the landing page attached to the ad will direct her to a page that features only wedges or sandals or heels, etc.

Landing Page Experience

The landing page experience is equally as important as the setup of your ad groups. If your ad is sending a user who is looking for wedges to a general shoe page, the quality score will likely be lower than it would be if you send the user to a page that filters for wedges. While a general shoe page is still “relevant” to a user who is looking for wedges, it won’t be as relevant to them as a page that’s filtered for wedges would be.

It’s important to set up campaigns according to your website–if your website is developed well, creating landing pages should be a breeze!

Negative Keywords

It’s also important to exclude keywords that you do not, in any circumstance, want to show your ad. For example, a company that sells fitness apparel might want to exclude “app” from their keyword list. Many users searching fitness-related terms could very likely be searching for an app to track their daily activity – something that a fitness apparel company would not provide. To add a negative keyword to your campaign add “-” before the keyword, or navigate to the “negative keyword” section under “Campaign Settings”.

Match Types

Match types can be tricky, but don’t let it thwart your efforts. A keyword’s match type mostly depends on how much traffic you want brought to your website verses what kind of traffic you want directed to your site. In short, the broader the keyword’s match type, the more traffic your keyword or ad will receive; conversely, the narrower your match type is, the less traffic it will receive, but the more relevant it will be. You know now how important relevance is to Google, so a best practice would be to make your keyword match type as narrow as you can.

There are 4 kinds of match types to choose from:

  • Broad Match: This is the default match type. Google will allow for ads to show when users type in search queries with misspellings, synonyms, similar keywords, or variations of the keyword.
  • Broad Match Modifier: Google will serve ads on searches that contain the keyword and close variations of the keyword in any order. To indicate a broad match modifier, put a plus sign (+) before the term.
  • Phrase Match: In this scenario, Google will serve ads on searches that contains the phrase you’ve chosen and close variations of this phrase. Place quotations (“ “) around keyword phrases you’d like to include in your phrase match.
  • Exact Match: Google will only serve on searches that are the exact search term you’ve specified. Placing brackets ( [ ] ) around your keyword will make this keyword an exact match.

For more information on keyword match types, click here.  

Ad Testing
Creative / Copy / Heading

After the campaign, ad groups, and keywords are all set up it’s time for the fun part: ad creation. For the Search Network, you’ll need to write short text ad to entice users to click on your ad, which will lead them to your website. This is a very important part of your campaign and you will want to set this up to allow for easy testing.

To start out, you’ll want to create one ad, and replicate it twice, resulting in 3 identical ads. From here, start your test by changing one aspect of each duplicated ad; it can be the call to action, price, headings, or even simple punctuation. For ads on the Display network, it’s always a good idea to start out testing the creative (keeping all text and call to actions the same) and go from there.

Landing Page Testing

Another great ad test is the landing page. Your landing page should always be very specific to the keyword service or product being searched for. However, if you have several options for a landing page, then testing them out is a great way to improve quality score and overall user experience with your brand.


If you’ve made it this far and clicked on all of the links, I hope you have a solid foundation of Google AdWords! If you feel a little overwhelmed, that’s okay – the best advice is to just dive in and learn as you go. You can always create campaigns and pause them so nothing is running until you’re ready.