Introduction to Google Adwords

Introduction to Google Adwords
Author: The Money Source  Last Update: 30 October 2014


Google Adwords allows you to advertise your website in the Sponsored Links section on the Google Search Results Page.  One of the biggest advantages of advertising on Google Adwords is that is offers you the quickest way for your website to appear on the first page of Google. Another advantage of this type of advertising is that it offers a very good return on investment compared to advertising in the newspapers, in magazines, on other websites, etc. This is mainly due to the fact that Google Offers very focused/relevant advertising, meaning when someone searches for something on Google, they have a specific interest in that specific product or service and Google will serve them relevant ads.

Example: If someone searches for "Accommodation in Durban", and your ad is shown, it means you have a customer interested in your specific product (Guest House in Durban). Once the client clicks on the ad, you will pay for the click, the client will be directed to your website and chances are very good that you will get a booking.

Google offers Two Advertising Networks

Google Adwords offer advertisers a choice of two Networks to display their ads:

Search Network - The Search Network is comprised of Google Search and search partners' sites. It includes Google Maps, Google Product Search, and Google Groups along with entities such as Virgin Media and Essentially, it is a network of many sites.

Display Network - The Google Display Network, also known as the Content Network, is a huge, and ever increasing group of websites. It is comprised of Google properties such as YouTube, Google Finance, Gmail, and others that offer display advertising, as well as a network of millions of partner sites on which you can place your ads.

The Search Network offers the Highest Return on Investment and is my prferred choice for immediate results.  The Display Network however is way more efficient when it comes to long term branding.

Advertising Options

Google mainly offers two styles of ads:

Text Ads - Google's text advertisements are short, consisting of one headline of 25 characters and two additional text lines of 35 characters each. It offers a link to your website, a landing page of your choice. Text ads can be displayed on the Google Search and Display Networks.

Typical Text Ad:

Make Money Online
Earn extra Money From Home
Local & International Income

Image/Video Ads - Image ads can be one of several different standard sizes and are displayed on the Google Display Network only. It offers a link to your website, a landing page of your choice.

Typical Image Ad (336px x 280px)


Here's How Google Adwords Works:

It all starts with a Search Query. This can be either a Keyword on its own or a Phrase, like "Cars" or "Cars for Sale".

Once the search query is submitted, Google runs a combination of algorithms to determine which of the advertisements are shown and in which order. Every time a query is run, all ads are ranked based on the following formul:

Ad Rank = CPC Bid x Quality Score

  • CPC Bid: This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for that specific keyword or phrase.
  • Quanlity Score: This is a metric which Google uses to determine how relevant your ad is to the user. More details below.

The Advertisement with the highest Ad Rank will be displayed at the top of the list and all the other advertisements will follow, their order determined by their individual Ad Rank.

What is Quality Score?

Google's Quality Score is a very important measure of relevance and can have a major impact on your overall advertising budget on Google Adwords. It is therefore vital that you fully understand how it works and that you do everything in your power to increase your Quality Score for all the keyword in your advertising campaign.

Very Important: Quality Score is all about relevance. If you have a website about shoes, Google will give you a poor quality score for the keyword "Fishing Tackle".

In your Adwords Campaign, you can see your Quality Score for each and every keyword. Low quality scores require immediate attention, like:

  • Improving your landing page copy. Use exact match keywords, etc.
  • Adding more relevant content to your landing page

Why is Quality Score so Important?

A low Quality Score can have a very negaitive impact on your overall Advertising budget. Here's why:

Let's say there are 2 other competitors for the "Accommodation in Durban" Search Phrase. Let's use an Average CPC of R10.00. Both of your competitors have quality scores of 7/10 and yours is 2/10.

Their Adrank totals: 70 calculated as follows: R10.00 (CPC) x 7 (QS)
Your Ad Rank totals: 20 calculated as follows: R10.00 (CPC) x 2 (QS)  

If you do not make changes to your website to increase your Quality Score, the only way you will be able to outperform them is to increase your CPC. And that is where it will impact on your budget. You will basically have to offer R40 per click (Wow!) to outrank your competition, and in most cases advertisers aren't able to sustain such high CPC's.

 Learn more about Quality Score

What is an Adwords Budget?

While AdWords caters to any budget, you should be aware that low budgets don't allow for ads to be displayed enough to get significant traffic to be directed to your site.

You can set your budget within the campaign setup (per campaign)  and you have control over the entire process.

For lower budgets, it's best to stay clear of head terms and to rather focus on qualified searches. While the top spot is bound to attract the most traffic, it may not necessarily the best converting traffic.

You can read this report on the AdWords blog about Top vs. Side to help you decide on the best spot for your ad.

Limit Spend, Maximize Results

Getting an AdWords campaign always requires some experimentation and adjustment. Here are some of my top tips for getting the best from your campaign.

  • Diversify - Try out a few different ads, using a range of headlines, display URLs and descriptions. Include the keyword in the headlines.
  • Experiment with your Ad Copy - Add a keyword or after your domain, in your ad copy: Target Url:
  • Rotation - If you are using several ads, use the campaign setting that allows the ads to rotate evenly. By default, Google will choose which ad to serve, based on performance. This is great in practice, but can mess up your figures when it comes to testing.
  • Display Locations -  The campaign settings allow you to limit display locations to Google Search & Google Search Partners.
    By selecting this you will disable the Display Network, which displays to all sites.
  • Geo-Targeting - AdWords allows you to control geo-targeting by the location of the searcher, or by search intent. It may be more expensive to filter down to your target location, rather than a larger area, because the competition is higher. However, if your service is local, you'll be wasting money if you advertise outside of the area.

It is essential for you to pay attention to the campaign from early on. See what works, and what doesn't. Experts suggest that you monitor daily activity, tweak the campaign weekly, and plan campaigns monthly.

Related Links:

  1. Get started with Google Adwords
  2. How Google Adwords Works (pdf format)


Website by QuickSolve Internet
Website Design and SEO Specialists
© The Money Source. All Rights Reserved.
No article or picture may be reproduced\published
without the written consent of The Money Source.