Getting Started With Google PPC: The Basics

What better way to do that than grabbing up ad space through the number one search engine in the world?
Team SkillBank
April 28, 2021

For marketers and small business owners, the goal of any campaign is to get eyes on the product or service. What better way to do that than grabbing up ad space through the number one search engine in the world? 

Google can be a huge asset to any business, but before you start throwing money at ad space, there are some basics to consider. Because so many businesses compete for ad space on Google, if you start your campaign without careful planning, you can just end up spending money without much ROI. 

But if you familiarize yourself with the basics, Google PPC can offer a lot of value for your advertising dollar.

How Do Google Ads Work? 

If you’ve ever searched for anything online, you’ve seen Google Ads in action. When you input a search term, a list of options pops up. At the top of any search list, you’ll notice advertised sites that are grouped above the organic hits. 

The companies that pay for those ads do so through each click that their ad receives. This is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) where the advertiser pays for each click or impression (CPM) on their ad. Google ads can also run across other platforms, such as Blogger, YouTube, and Google Display Network. 

Those top ads that you see when doing an internet search are not placed there by accident...Google ranks ads by relevance to the search term, as well as bid amount and quality score. You want to rank high to ensure that your ad is reaching the right audience and that these clicks are leading to conversion. 

Google Ads Dos and Don’ts

Before you purchase ad space, make sure that you are going to get the most out of it. Follow this list of dos and don’ts to avoid common pitfalls. 

Do: Have a quality landing page. When someone clicks on your ad, you need to be sure that this prospective client/consumer is primed for seamless conversion. Does your landing page have the same keywords as the ad? Do you answer their question or solve their pain point? 

Don’t: Use broad keywords. Google matches ads with search queries based on your selected keywords. You need to match the searcher’s intent as closely as possible. This will likely take a bit of trial and error to figure out. Be ready to test a series of primary and secondary keywords. 

Do: Familiarize yourself with Maximum Bid and Quality Score. Research the average maximum bid for your keyword. This is the most that you’re willing to pay if someone clicks on your ad. 

When several competing ads have the same keywords, your maximum bid is one determiner of whether your ad is chosen by the split-second auction Google runs for the ad space. 

By setting your maximum bid, you have control over your budget, but don’t set it too low or your ad won’t be considered. 

Quality score refers to Google’s 1-10 rating on the relevancy and value of your Google Ad. A higher score helps you earn a higher ranking position in the ad lists. To do this you have to create something that’s entirely relevant to the search query. 

Some factors considered include your landing page quality, CTR (click-through rate), keyword relevancy, and ad text relevancy. 

Don’t: Run irrelevant ads. Be sure that your ad matches the searcher’s intent. If your copy and headline match, but your product or service doesn’t, you won’t get much business. Tweak all three to make sure that you're targeting the right people and that you have the answer to their needs. 

How to Get Started 

Setting up ad campaigns on Google is a relatively quick and easy process because of the user-friendly format. Simply visit the Google Ads site, and click “Start Now”. 

The site will take you through a series of moderated steps to get your ads running. It can take less than 10 minutes if you already have your ad copy and images ready to go. 

The real work comes in with analytics. It’s not just about getting the ad on Google, it's about making sure that they’re optimized and effective. If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up on your business website, install this first. 

Then you want to link your analytics account to Google Ads. This will give you a central place to track your ad’s performance along with your site metrics. 

Next, you need to choose how you want to set up your bids. Ad placement for Google is decided by price bidding between different advertisers. Sometimes placement is wide open because only your ad has the specific keyword combination. 

More often, you’re up against competing brands using those same keywords. Your price determines where your ad ends up in the listing (this is figured in microseconds by Google in an internal auction). This is where bidding comes in. 

You can choose either manual bidding or automated bidding. With manual, you key in your chosen amounts for your ad group and keywords. This can allow you to control spending on low-performing ads. 

Automatic bidding allows Google to adjust your bid amount against your competitors. You choose a ceiling on your budget and Google will work within your price parameters to give you the best opportunity to win the bid. 

You may also choose to pay Google Ads on a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) basis. This allows you to pay only when you have converted a lead to a sale. While it costs more than a PPC, it does offer the comfort of only having to pay once you have a paying customer. 

That’s it! You’re now up and running with Google Ads. Keep in mind, that this is only the beginning. 


With the kind of reach that Google offers, you can’t really go wrong. However, you need to keep an eye on how your ads are performing and continue to tweak your campaigns for optimal efficacy. 


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