A Guide to Google Ads

Google is the world’s most used search engine. In 2019, Google was also the world’s most visited website, with over 62.19 billion visits, boasting 3.5 billion searches a day. That’s over 40,000 search queries every second. With such a large user base, it is no surprise that businesses turn to Google for their advertising needs.

The importance of online advertising for small businesses is insurmountable in this day and age. Modern technology has given companies the tools to reach a greater number of potential customers than ever before.

As a small business owner, it can be advantageous to use these search engines and Google AdWords to reach these potential customers and promote your products or services. Here’s how your small business can use Google AdWords to increase search viability and improve sales.

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What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, or Google AdWords, is Google’s advertising system whereby advertisers or businesses bid on specific keywords relevant to clickable ads in order to appear in a user’s search results.

Google Ads is a form of online paid advertising. Much like PPC, pay-per-click advertising, it only works if your business has the budget to spend on clicks and campaigns. As every time a user clicks on your paid ad, you must pay a fee to Google.

Businesses will create specific campaigns around individual promotions so that Google can connect a user’s relevant search queries to the ad. For an ad campaign to be successful, it must be fully optimized. There are rules and best practices surrounding campaign structure, ad text, keywords, and landing pages that will help your business rank higher and achieve greater visibility online.

Depending on how relevant your ad is to a search query and how well optimized the campaign is, various factors will determine where your ad ranks on the search engine results page, or SERP.

Google’s official Ads blog can help you keep up to date on this paid advertising strategy.

How to Use Google Ads

To begin using Google Ads, you first need to know what keywords you wish to rank for. You’ll also need to know what keywords and search queries your target audiences are using. If no one is searching for the terms you use in your Ads; then your ads won’t show up in anyone’s search results.

Therefore, you will need to perform some keyword research before getting your Ads underway. There are numerous tools, online -free and paid platforms- that can help businesses find high usage keywords that will work for them.

Google has its own keyword planner, as well as Google Analytics. But there are also third-party platforms like SEMrushahrefsKeyword ToolUbersuggest, and many other tools you can find online.

The right keywords

Specific keywords are used more than others when users perform a search query within Google. Higher-usage keywords will get you noticed, but they are also harder to rank for as thousands of businesses will aim to use them as well.

Keyword ranking is highly competitive. There are short tail keywords, mid-tail keywords, and long-tail keywords that can be used. Certain short tail keywords offer high visibility if you can rank for them. As they are the most used, it'll be harder to rank for them for smaller businesses with a smaller advertising budget. Long Tail keywords are longer phrases that offer more detail and specification. It'll be easier for smaller businesses and companies with smaller ad budgets to rank for these types of keywords.

For example, Sharon owns a sports equipment store and wants to create a Google Ad to bring potential customers to her website. She decides to create a campaign around her new ski collection. Sharon will therefore need to consider the best keywords for this campaign.

If she tries to rank for ‘snow skies,’ she will have difficulty outranking larger brands as this is a short tail keyword. If Sharon aims to rank for a longtail keyword like, ‘quality snow skis for sale in Ontario,’ she will have an easier time ranking on the SERP with her ad campaigns.

But the right keywords will only get you so far, as the search engine also judges Google Ads campaigns in other ways.

A user-friendly landing page

For your ad to work, you need to link back to your business’s website. For every Google Ads campaign you run online, you need a corresponding landing page that matches your ad’s relevance. Linking back to your landing page is how you drive traffic from your ad to your website.

The landing page is where the promotional deal, sale, or product or service you are advertising for, can be purchased. An intuitive and easy-to-use landing page creates a good user experience. Google takes into account your landing page’s user experience when ranking ads on the SERP. Therefore, you will need to create a landing page for every Google Ads campaign you create, using the keywords you have chosen for the ad while creating a user-friendly experience.

How to Get Google Ads

In order for your business’s paid ad to show up on Google’s search results page, you must first create a Google Ads account and then bid on your ad placement. What we mean by this is that each time a user inputs a search on Google, the search engine will pull the most relevant paid ads and rank them at the top of the SERP. If multiple ad results rank for this query, then Google automatically triggers a bidding auction between the ads.

Whether or not your ad will place and where it ranks on the results page is dependent not only on your keyword usage but also on your ad rank. Google will look at the various ads and their rankings to determine which advertisement wins the highest spot on the SERP, then the next highest, and so on.

Ad rank

Ad rank is based on multiple factors that tell Google which ads to place on the results page and in what order to rank them.

  • Quality Score: Google uses this metric to determine how useful and relevant your ad is to the search query. The higher the score, the better you rank. To calculate the ad’s score, Google looks at click-through-rate, or CTR (the percentage of users who click through a link versus total users who view the advertisement) search relevance including keywords, and the landing page experience.
  • Maximum Bid: Since this is a paid advertisement form, part of the ranking takes into account the amount of money the business is willing to spend per click on their ads. All advertisers must set a maximum bid, which tells Google the max amount of money they are willing to pay per click.

In an instant, Google can pull the top five most relevant ads and determine where they should be placed on the SERP using these metrics. Google puts more weight behind the quality score than it does the bidding amount. A business with a low max bid but a high quality score will outrank a business with a high max bid and a low score.

How to Optimize Google Ads Campaigns

To take advantage of the high visibility that top search result slots provide and be successful with Google Ads, you need to optimize your ad content effectively. This includes relevant keywords, engaging ad copy, and a user-friendly landing page. You will also need to consider specific metrics that Google uses to calculate how useful and engaging your content is to users.


CPC refers to how much money each click will cost you every time a user clicks your ad. Google uses a formula to determine how much advertisers need to pay per click. The Google search engine looks at:

Competitor Ad Rank / Your Quality Score + $0.01

The lower your score compared to your competitors, the more money you will have to pay for each click. This cost varies by industry and business type. However, the average CPC for AdWords across all industries sits somewhere around the $2.00 mark per click. Remember, this is the amount you pay per click, so if your ad is clicked on ten times in a day, that’s $20.00 of your advertising budget spent on that Ads campaign.

When developing your business’s advertising budget and setting your maximum bids per AdWords campaign, you will need to account for these costs. To lower your CPC, you will need to improve your quality score. Do this by writing engaging ad text, choosing the right keywords, and creating a user-friendly and relevant landing page.

Competitor scores

Seeing as your CPC and Ads performance is tied to your competitors, it is important to research and analyze the competition within your business and industry. Sometimes it helps to model your AdWords campaigns after theirs, checking to see what keywords they use and how well their ads convert.

Other times, competitor research can help you pinpoint what makes your business unique to your target audience. Consider what they offer consumers, and determine how you can improve on those offers. Find out what sets you apart from the competition and lean into it. The more you can provide users and potential customers, the more likely they will choose your ads and products over competitors.

Click-Through Rate

As mentioned above, the CTR refers to the percentage of users that click through from your ad to your website versus the total number of users that interact with your advertisement. This metric can help you discover how well your ads are performing- whether or not you have picked the right keywords and have created quality content.

A higher CTR means your ads are performing well, and users find your content relevant and useful. A lower CTR illustrates that there are improvements to be made to your AdWords. To improve click-through rates, your content needs to use the right keywords while enticing the user to click through to your site. One way to do this is by writing a compelling call to action, which inspires users to click through to your site.

To gain further knowledge on Google AdWords and the skills needed to optimize various campaigns, consider getting certified in this area. The search engine offers a Google Ads Certification to help individuals learn and use their platform for the greatest gains in their advertising efforts.

Paid Advertising and Your Business Budget.

You can’t run a paid campaign without a marketing budget! When it comes to paid advertising and marketing tools, consider using QuickBooks Online accounting software alongside your Google Ads campaigns to cover all your small business needs. Keep tabs on all your operating expenses, including your marketing budget to help keep your business running and your AdWords ranking.

Start your free trial today to get your business marketing budget and strategy underway now.

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