Google AdWords: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

google ads keyword

Google AdWords can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Or, even worse, Google Ads could be a total stranger to you. The problem is, if you don’t know how to properly implement this strategy or what it is in the first place, you’re missing out on massive business and traffic opportunities. When done right, the ROI you get on Google AdWords (or Google Ads) can far surpass the return on your investments in most other business-building methods. Intrigued yet?

We thought so! That’s why today we’re going to share our simple step-by-step guide to using AdWords, along with other helpful information you should know.

PPC company adwords campaign

What is Google AdWords?

As always, we’re going to start with the basics.

So, what is Google AdWords? The simplest way to describe it is a marketing platform. More specifically, a pay-per-click advertising platform.

With Google AdWords, you can create and display PPC ads to help get you traffic, clicks, and, ultimately business!

PPC vs. other forms of search advertising

As you probably guessed from its name, pay-per-click or PPC means you pay when a user clicks on your ad, unlike display advertising which charges you for impressions alone. But with PPC, you have a better chance of only paying for highly-targeted traffic.

Display ads might be tempting at first. They tend to be cheaper than PPC. But that lower price comes at another cost: they’re not as effective!

Sure, you could pay more per click than you do per impression for your display ads, but the chances of that click turning into business are much higher!

Take a look at this post for more on the different types of paid advertising.

Think of it like this, with PPC, you’re not just paying for views, you’re paying for actual results!

But if you want to get the best results possible, you need to understand exactly how to use Google AdWords to your ultimate advantage!

Google Ads Audit Template V2

Terms you need to know

Before we get to your simple AdWords guide, let’s cover some of the terminologies we’ll be using along the way.

Keywords: These are the words people search to find your ad. If you sell purple shoes and someone Googles “purple shoes,” you’ll want your ad to come up and you can do this by including “purple shoes” in your ad.

When you write ads with Google for your business, you’ll want to include certain words to make sure they show up to relevant users. (Including relevant keywords is just one important part of using AdWords – we’ll cover more in a minute!)

Impressions: Each time someone views your ad, even if they don’t click it, this counts as an impression.

Click-through-rate (CTR): When you divide how many actual clicks your ad gets by how many impressions it gets, you get your CTR.

Budget: When you set up an AdWords account, you’ll include a maximum daily or monthly budget. This doesn’t need to be incredibly high to start with. Plenty of people have a daily budget of under $100 with great success.

Conversions: When you create ads, you have a goal in mind. Maybe it’s simply more eyes on your site, newsletter signups, leads, or sales. Each time your ad successfully results in achieving this goal, that’s known as a conversion. And the more conversions the better!

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google ads audit template

A note on Google Ads bids

We can’t discuss AdWords terminology without discussing bids.

On Google Ads, there had long been an auction system in place for keyword bidding.

The more you would bid on a keyword, the better chance it had of your ad showing up first – AKA a higher ad position. (But then the more you bid could also mean you paid that much more for click.)

While it used to be a completely auction-based system in place, quality is now taken into account more than ever.

Now, Google is more concerned with quality and relevancy than your actual bid amount.

Instead of JUST looking at your bid amount, Google now looks at things like account history, relevancy, quality score, and ad rank (your quality score times the maximum bid you’ve selected).

Take a look at this awesome graphic from WordStream that outlines how this works:

Google ads Bids

(By the way, as a Google Search Partner, Blue Water Marketing takes a scientific approach to Google campaign management and deploys strategic budget and bids intelligently to best reflect your return on spend (ROAS) on paid ad campaigns!)

Google AdWords Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now we’ve covered the basics, so let’s move on to setting up your first Google Ads campaign.

When you first log in to the AdWords interface, you might feel completely overwhelmed.

It looks complicated and not very user-friendly. But don’t quit! We’re going to start with the basics to help you get familiar with the platform.

Here are the steps to take to start off on the right foot.

1. Create a keyword list

Choosing the right keywords is absolutely critical to AdWord’s success.

You need to perform extensive keyword research (we can help!) before anything else.

Check out our video on performing effective keyword research that gets results here!

Or Check out our blog on effective keyword research here!

2. Create your Google AdWords campaign

Create campaign

Once your keyword list is ready, it’s time to create your campaign!

Create a Google Ads account, and select “Create your first campaign” or “Create New Campaign.”

Next, choose from these campaign types based on your goals:

  • Default
  • Search Network Only
  • Display Network Only
  • Display Network Only (Remarketing)
  • Search and Display Networks (Mobile Devices)
  • Online Video

3. Geography and language

Now you’ll select WHERE your ads will appear (where are your target customers?) as well as what languages your ads will appear in.

4. Networks and devices

Next, you’ll select the networks and devices where your ads will appear.

Your options include:

  • Google Search
  • Search Partners
  • Display Network
  • Broad Reach (Within Display Network)
  • Specific Reach (Within Display Network)
  • Devices

5. Bidding and budgets

It’s time to choose whether you’ll manually enter your bids for clicks or if you’ll have Google do it for you.


6. Advanced Google AdWords settings and extensions

Now you’ll see a bunch of options for choosing different extensions (like site links and mobile apps).

You’ll also choose from certain advanced settings (if you’d like) for things like social settings, keyword matching options, and automatic campaign optimization.

7. Delivery

It’s time to make some important decisions about how your ads will be delivered!

Here is where you’ll select from things like optimizing for clicks, optimizing for conversions, and rotating ads frequently.

8. Create an ad group

Next, you’ll create an ad group. Give it a name with something you’ll remember!

9. Enter your Google Adwords copy

Now is the really fun part: entering your ad copy! In Google, you can choose from a text ad, an image ad, and a mobile ad.

(By the way: Text ads need a title with 25 characters or less, as well as two lines of text that are 35 characters or less. This part of the Google AdWords process is really straightforward. The interface shows you where to enter copy as well as your character limits and other suggestions)

Once your ads are ready, you can launch them and watch the conversions come in!

Bonus: Tips for Killer Ad Copy

You’re well on your way to your first successful Google AdWords campaign!

But before you go, we want to share a couple of bonus tips for creating ad copy that will get you the best results.

Focus on:

Keywords: Your ads have no chance of success if they don’t include relevant keywords

Calls to Action: Ads should include a call to action (CTA) that compels users to click or take the action you want from them. For more on writing effective CTAs, check this out.

Clarity: Make sure your ad is very obvious (or at least intriguing enough to get them to click) so the user knows exactly what to do. They need to know what to expect from clicking your link or taking the next step, and if you can make that incredibly valuable, even better.

Looking for more help with Google AdWords?

Trust us, we know just how complicated and overwhelming this can seem! But as seasoned digital marketing professionals, it’s become second nature to us.

Blue Water Marketing is here to help with all of your pay-per-click needs and other digital marketing services you might need.

Give us a call today and let’s talk.


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