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Google AdWords funds Google’s success and smart business leaders know how it works.

Understanding Google AdWords and Other Pay-Per-Click Services

In the early days of the Internet, a search engine called began running ads alongside their organic or natural search results. These ads were sold through an automated auction and bidding system, and advertisers were only charged if they received clicks on their ads, which linked to the advertiser’s website. The top placement in search results went to the highest bidder. Bidding started at a penny per click. This became known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising because the advertiser’s account was charged only when someone clicked on the ad and visited the advertiser’s website. changed its name to, and was eventually bought by Yahoo. Their software still powers the Yahoo paid search program now run by the Bing search engine from MSN (MicroSoft).

While the concept of PPC ads and auction bidding was started by and expanded by Yahoo, it was actually Google that took this to an entirely new level of popularity and success with Google AdWords. Millions of advertisers began using AdWords and Google revenues exploded. AdWords is what makes Google profitable and one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Google leveraged the popularity of their search engine to sell new AdWords accounts and drive incredible sales growth. AdWords allowed any website to attract large amounts of visitors, as long as they could afford the click charges from Google ads.

Google AdWords continues to be a viable online marketing resource with excellent ROI when pursuing specific target markets and keyword niches. The most successful Google AdWords campaigns are highly targeted and carefully matched to the keyword searches most likely to result in sales.

How to Get Started with AdWords

The first step is to set up an AdWords account with Google. It is free and you can use the same login for AdWords as any other Google app, such as Google Analytics, Gmail and others. In fact, it works best when all your Google apps are set up under one account. This starts by securing a Gmail e-mail account for your company and this e-mail address can be used for all your Google account logins.

Following the AdWords account signup, you will need to set up your campaigns and segments for each campaign called AdGroups. These segments are very important because of how you will select keywords and prepare ads. It also forces you to segment your online marketplace, which brings value to all your marketing efforts. The final steps are to write ads and select keywords.

Here are a few recommendations from our many years of AdWords experience:

  • Keep your ads very simple and very direct.
  • Set up unique website landing pages for your ads.
  • Include a call to action in your ads.
  • Test three or four ads per AdGroup.
  • It is better to have more AdGroups than ads.
  • Use keyword research to segment and establish AdGroups.
  • Include negative keywords to avoid unwanted clicks.
  • Some keywords can dominate results and must be segmented.
  • Your ads will display based on your bids and Google’s relevancy.
  • Link AdWords to your Google Analytics account and track conversions.

There are many tools and reports associated with AdWords and a very good help section with videos. Take time to review this information and watch the AdWords videos on the Google AdWords website.

Target to Get Results

There are three principle methods for targeting qualified traffic in AdWords: keyword selections, ads and user location. When done correctly, this is where the genius of AdWords can produce results for just about any website. Use keywords and ads to specifically target exactly what will bring results for your website. Also, AdWords gets results by complementing organic search and gives your website an opportunity to be seen in multiple places on the first page of Google search results. Targeting by location provides an opportunity to target any location in the world and better control your budget. In many cases, this is a key to excellent ROI from AdWords.

Use AdWords for Market Research

The data that comes from a live AdWords campaign is incredibly insightful. Even if you don’t produce many leads or sales, the data alone is worth the investment. You will see an exact number of searches for each keyword and the popularity of your ads in those search results. Ads should convert at 1 to 2 percent of impressions from searches, and high performing ads can have a click-through rate as high as 10 percent. This data is very useful and will provide feedback to many other parts of your sales and marketing programs. In fact, Google may start providing less information for free through Google Analytics and relying on marketers to set up AdWords accounts to get search data.

Google throws out a very broad net, so make sure to target your keyword setting and include negative keywords to avoid paying for the wrong type of traffic.

What is the Cost of AdWords?

The total budget spent in AdWords is based on your expected return. Whether it is the benefits of market research or direct sales, AdWords should result in solid ROI. Your ROI results are driven by how well you implement your AdWords strategy. Your budget may be as low as $50 per month to get value for AdWords.

Perform a Google search in your industry and see if competitors are using AdWords. More than likely, their ads can be found running in AdWords because they are getting results with an acceptable ROI. They get those results because the advertiser has total control over their AdWords budget. This is true whether you spend thousands of dollars or just a few hundred. This almost-guaranteed ROI from a well-run AdWords program is the best reason to test AdWords as a part of your strategic digital marketing plan.


Do your research and learn more about AdWords. Many companies fail at AdWords because they go too broad and expect too much. Keep your campaigns very targeted and closely track results. Make a commitment to include AdWords in your strategic digital marketing plan and make an effort to set up campaigns with a solid ROI. Follow the guidelines in this post and make use of AdWords as an excellent resource for your company.

Action Items
  • Set aside a test budget and establish a targeted AdWords campaign.
  • Search in Google to find your competitors in AdWords and determine their strategy. They may have a few good ideas you can copy.
  • Focus on targeted keywords and simple direct ads with a solid call to action.
  • Link your AdWords to Google Analytics and track your results.
  • Don’t worry, competitors can’t drain your AdWords budget by repeatedly clicking on your ads. Google has set up tracking methods to prevent this.
  • Contact Google directly for help with AdWords at 877-906-7955.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.