Google AdWords: What I Have Learned

With all of this talk about search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it would be a crime not to look into the foremost PPC system offered by the world’s leading search engine. Google owns 31.45% of the global digital ad market (as of 2014) and its paid search program, Google AdWords, is the most commonly used PPC system on the planet. With this in mind, I think that it might be worth some time to dive into the world of Google AdWords.

In preparation for taking the Google AdWords exam, I looked through the Google AdWords Fundamentals study guide and I have learned quite a lot of useful information. Instead of sharing all of that information with you here, I have condensed it down and will be presenting you with what I feel are the most important and basic takeaways. Here is some of what I learned and how I would apply this knowledge for a client:

The Networks

Google AdWords is a paid search program that offers two main networks on which users can display their advertisements—the Search Network and the Display Network. Each network offers a different method or way of presenting an ad to potential customers. The Search Network displays advertisements on Google search result pages as well as other Google based search programs. This network makes use of text advertisements to reach out to potential customers who are typing certain keywords into a Google search box. The Display Network, on the other hand, presents user ads on Google partner websites all across the web, and allows users to present picture, video, and rich media advertisements to potential customers. This means that a client’s advertisement could appear on blogs or websites that contain content related to their ad. AdWords also allows users to display their advertisements on both networks for the largest amount of population reach and exposure.

Something to Consider:

Because each network offers a different method of display, it is important to choose which method best supports your client’s business model. I like to think of the different networks in terms of focus and time. The Search Network caters to potential customers who are searching for specific products or solutions to problems. This specificity is perfect for businesses that offer specialized products or services and that want to be noticed the moment a potential customer might be interested in what that company has to offer. The Display Network, on the other hand, has the potential to reach a broader audience, as ads will appear next to related content across the web. This type of network is perfect for businesses that offer a wider range of products and services and that want to appear to potential customers in a more general dimension of customer interest. In certain cases, choosing to utilize both networks may be best for your business, but in order to best further your client’s specific company goals and optimize efficiency, it may be best to choose to display on a network that best fits your client’s business model.

Keywords are Key

It is difficult to talk about a paid search program, especially Google AdWords, without mentioning the importance of keywords. Google uses keywords to match advertisements with interested visitors. Both the Search and Display networks rely on keywords and phrases to know which visitors to display certain ads to, but the Search Network relies even more heavily on keywords, as the Display Network can be configured to display ads based on relevant topics instead of just certain keywords. On the AdWords Search Network, when a potential customer types certain keywords into a Google search box, the following search results page will display the ads of companies that want to be found for those keywords. These companies can set their ads to display based on a broad, phrase, exact, or negative match of keywords. A broad match means that a company’s ad will appear in search results based on synonymous variations of the keywords that are being searched. A phrase match will display the ad to anyone who typed in a phrase containing those keywords that the AdWords user wants to get found for, or close variations of that keyword phrase. An exact match is exactly as it sounds, only displaying an ad on the results page of users who searched for those exact keywords in that exact order. Finally, a negative match will only show an ad if that specific keyword is not included in a search query.

Something to Consider:

Google cares about relevancy and aims to display only the most relevant ads to its users. Keywords are one way that Google can tell if an ad will be relevant to a customer or not. AdWords allows its clients to select the keywords that they want to be found for. Based on the click-through rate, the content of an ad, and the ad’s landing page, the system rates these keywords with a quality score of 1-10, where 10 is the highest possible quality. This quality score tells AdWords users how relevant their ad is to that keyword and how likely that keyword will be in helping them reach their company goals. In working with AdWords for a client, it is extremely important choose keywords that will best achieve the objectives of the the client’s company, and keyword quality score is very useful in helping you to choose which keywords are the best fit for optimization. Applying the proper keyword match can also make the difference in who your ad will be displayed to. A broad match will ensure that a wider audience encounters your ad, while an exact match will only display your content in very specific searches. Once again, the match and keywords that you choose depend on your client’s business model and what their company objectives are.

Ad Rank:

As I mentioned above, Google wants to create the best possible experience for its users, which means that it fights to display the most relevant and highest quality ads at the top and most visible portions of its search result pages. Ad Rank refers to the place and positioning of your ad on a search result page relative to competitors. The higher your ad rank is, the more visible your ad is, and the more visible your ad is, the more likely potential customers will be to click on your ad. Ad rank is determined by the amount of money that you bid per click, the quality of your ad and its landing page, and the format of your ad.

Something to Consider:

With all of this in mind, one of the best ways to improve your ad rank, and thus potential conversions on your site, is by improving the quality of your website’s landing pages. Google looks at the landing page of your ad to determine the quality and relevancy of the landing page content. Therefore, you should make sure to optimize your client’s website user experience by making it easily navigable and making sure that the content of the landing page is highly relevant to the ad. This will improve your client’s ad rank and help them to achieve their digital marketing objectives.


These were only a few of the main and basic takeaways that I encountered in my study of Google AdWords. It is always important to consider your a client’s business model and objectives when configuring and applying a Google AdWords campaign. Tailoring your campaign to these objectives will help you to more quickly and efficiently achieve them. One of the ways to further these objectives and to bring more exposure to your client’s offerings is to make sure that their website and landing pages offer a great user experience. The higher quality your client’s website and landing pages are, the more likely your client’s ads will be to rank highest on search engine results. In the end it’s all about creating quality content and tailoring your AdWords campaign to company goals in order to achieve the optimization of your digital marketing objectives.


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