Getting started with Google Adwords                                                                    Email:

Google Adwords is a pay-per-click platform, in that your placed advert will be charged for every time someone clicks on it. That's a nice idea, since you would assume that someone would only click on your advert if they were interested in the particular product or service you offer, but you'd be wrong. There are a great many window shoppers out there, plus competitors and others, and only a small fraction of those clicking on your Google advert will buy your product, or even be that interested in it. Many people will think you are someone else, and click anyway.

Choosing the right advert wording, and the right keywords and phrases, will make a big difference. This is PPC optimisation, and a skill in itself. The main difference between SEO, and PPC optimisation, is that experimentation is an integral part of PPC, and a healthy pastime. Page rankings change every day, so do keyword responses, as do the mood of the buyers and surfers. Those keyword phrases that work best this year may not work best next year; your Adwords campaign requires constant monitoring for changes. Fortunately, Adwords provides plenty of great stats and reports, and that monitoring can even be automated with reminder emails that can be sent to you when a certain condition arises.


Adwords initial set-up allows you to start a campaign and set some parameters. First, you set a daily budget, such as £10 a day, a budget that you can afford. Multiply that budget by 20%, since Google often goes over budget a little, then by 30 days, and you have a monthly spend of 30 x £10 + 20% = £360 (at maximum, it is often less). Across the month you will probably alter the daily budget up or down, and you may even have a need to alter the budgets by day or by weekday or weekend.

Next, you should always set a date limit for the campaign, and not forget about it and go on holiday. I would always set a date limit of just a week or so, and constantly assess the effectiveness of the campaign. Don't set a campaign limit of more than 30 days unless you are serious about it. Always assess a campaign week  by week.

Next, you would set the demographics, and choose which continents, countries, or areas you wish to target, and which audiences. Adwords is a powerful tool, and you can be very selective about how you reach people. If your business is targetting the UK, make sure that your advert only targets the UK. If you wish to be city specific, use the keyword phrases to get down to that level.

You will be asked if you wish to appear on the display network as well as the content network, and I always switch this off unless I have a good reason to have it on. The content network is the traditional list of sites brought up when a keyword is searched upon, the display network is similar to Adsense in that your ad may appear on someone else's website. Use it when you have reason to do so, or it may alter your stats and analysis.

So, you have a budget set, a target country and a time limit, so now you would create your adverts and your keywords. Adverts are the small product descriptions that you see on the page listings. They will have a title, a description, and a website URL. 

The advert that you have created will appear on the search result pages on the right hand side, or at the top or bottom of the page. It does not replace, nor intefere with your organic listing. And that paid advert may appear just a matter of minutes after you have created it - and after it has been approved. There was a time when the approval of adverts was slow, but these days it can be a matter of minutes and is mostly automated.

In tandem with that advert, and the skill in designing that advert, are the keywords that you think people may search on to find the advert. You can either try and guess what they are, or use the tools that Adwords provides, or a combination of both. If the advert is about consumer insurance, Adwords keyword tool will show you a list of popular search phrases and words assoicated with that product. And let's face it - Google knows better than most about what people are searching on!

Guessing keywords can be a lengthy process, and the public often search on phrases that may make little sense to you. If you run a company that provides accident claims, you may decide to try "accident claims" as the first logical search phrase. A little research may suggest that "loss of amenity" causes many click-throughs on similar sites. It is not always straight forwards.

Keyword types

Adwords allows for single word searches or phrases, and those phrases can be exact or not (a broad match). If you supply Xilephones, then a single word may be enough to trap your audience. If you are in the general insurance industry, then you will need to be clever, since the word "insurance" will return 5 million listings. If you work in Cardiff, then "Cardiff Xliphones" as a broad match will get you the right audience. Likewise, "Cardiff Insurance" will reduce the number of listings down to a few thousand, but still quite a few.

NOTE. National companies will use local keywords to attract business, and will have an advert for each city and town, trying to appear local.

If you wish to compete in the "Cardiff insurance" arena, then you will need either good SEO or good PPC keyword use. One technique, is to not try and find a popular keyword, but many less popular keywords grouped together. "Cardiff professional indemnity insurance offers" will produce a smaller list, and you have a chance at being on the front page for less money.

At this point you may be tempted to go for an exact match search phrase. Don't. You are expecting someone to type in that phrase exactly as listed, and that can be rare. You have to find yourself a niche, get it in that niche and dominate it with good keywords - and some good bids for those keywords.


When you add a keyword to an Adwords campaign there will be a default bid that you set when you created the campaign, say 25pence. Once the campaign has run for a day or so, and if the keyword is popular, Adwords will display a graph of bids verses potential clicks, i.e. if you bid more you'll get more actual clicks. If you increase a bid to 95pence, you may get many more clicks than 25pence.

NOTE. The bid upper limit does not mean that you will be charged that. The amount is often lower, and it depends on activity on the day and on competitors. It can be confusing. There is also the CPC, cost per click, and it is an average, since they vary. You may bid 95pence, yet have a CPC of 45pence. Some clicks were higher priced during the day, some lower.

Finding your advert

Once you have created an advert, and entered a few keywords and phrases, you can save your campaign. It will be pending till approved, which won't take long. If your ad campaign is not approved after 24hrs then there is something wrong with it. Look for mis-spelled words, rude words, strange characters in the text, broken links. After fifteen minutes, go onto Google and search for some of the phrases you entered, and try and locate your particular advert on the right hand side. It may be 5 pages down the list, and getting it higher without spending a fortune is what PPC is all about - the experimentation. Having found the advert, test it by reading it and clicking on it.

NOTE. On your particular computer, your ad may dissappear afterwards if you clicked on your own advert. The public may find it, but you may not.


Having found your advert, you should now make a note of where it sits. Leave it a day and check again, and see how many people are clicking on it, and if you have had any fresh enquiries at your business via your website. Chances are you have had no business, and the advert is on page 5 or 10. Go into Adwords, and look at the bidding graphs of each keyword phrase, don't just increase the default bid; treat each phrase and keyword seperately. At this point, you should throw caution to the winds and up the money in graduations each day, and see how the clicks increase. When the clicks get to a reasonable level, stop and make an assessmment of any new enquiries or any new business. Stop and check the daily Adwords cost, multiply by 30 days, and say to yourself: I am getting 300 clicks a day for £900 a month - is it worth it? Only you can answer that question, since you will need to assess just how many of those clicks on your advert result in time spent on your website, and products or services bought, i.e. new customers. It may take a month to make that assessment.

You may be deliriously happy with how the phone has been ringing, or cursing your website and PPC campaign. Either way, you will need to refine the keywords and phrases and experiment since - even if you are happy - you may be able to get the same number of clicks for less money. If you are unhappy, you may need to spend more, or change the search phrases, since you are attracting the wrong type of window shopper to your website.

This is the heart of keyword PPC, and why some people make a career out of it. A large eCommerce website may have a thousand keywords in a hundred groups, and they all need looking after like a hungry baby.

If your campaign is not working, you need to scrap your existing keywords and try others. Experiment on Google by seeing which phrases find your competitors, and then pinch the same idea. If you have a phrase "Book review", then you will attract many people who wish to read book reviews, not people who want a novel that they have cobbled together to be reviewed by an editor. There are tools and utilities available to tell you what search words and phrases are most popular, and you should use those tools - or risk wasting a great deal of time.

Assuming that you are average in your contentedness of your campaign, and your advert is on page 2 now, it could take a month or so of experimenting to get you on page 1 without spending a fortune. Don't change keywords every few hours or each day, allow a couple of days to get a good average. And don't forget, your competitors are sat there every day trying to stop you from getting onto page 1, and keeping themselve on page 1. Hard work, blood sweat and tears mean nothing. At the end of the day, you may have to settle on the second page, or get clever, or ... spend more. 

Short, long, longer  

A single keyword will find a great many matches, and most will not be the kind of matches you want. If you use "solar power" you may find people wanting to buy solar panels, or papers on green energy from the local college; it is a broad search. "Solar power panels at great prices" is more specific, but you will still find that the local college gets ahead of you. Maybe "alternative energy cost savings" gets you the audience you desire, or "Cardiff alternate energy suppliers" does the trick finally, in that it eliminates the local college, Al Gore, and Greenpeace from the listings. What generally works the best, for less money, are specific and clever phrases. And, if you employed people like us, we'd use your competitors websites to find those phrases.

Negative keywords

These are keywords that should not appear in a customer's search phrase. You may be looking for insurance clients, yet don't want car insurance enquiries, just household. A phrase of "Cardiff house insurance" would be a good start, with the negative keyword of "-car" added to the keyword list. Note the minus sign at the front. No search with the word "car" in will display your advert.

The key

Organic SEO can cost little to set-up, and once working costs nothing to run; you sit back and handle the enquiries. PPC takes lots of time, lots of effort ... and often lots of money. Learning to handle keyword campaigns is like learning a second language, only harder. This is why some people are paid to operate Adwords campaignsfull time.

Most people experiment with PPC, and burn up hours and days in frustration. Leaky pipe - call a plumber; if you want to get ahead, call a professional.


Adwords is about a certain amount of skill, followed by some long hours and hard work, and finally a realisation that it has all been done before, that you cannot beat the system, and that you should not try and re-invent the wheel. Advice on PPC can save you many man-hours, and a professional will produce better keyword phrases than you could. You would eventually get there, but maybe a year down the line. There are tricks and tips that can be employed, and there are short cuts, and there is the realisation that some other fool has spent hundreds of hours doing what you are about to do. Go ask that guy first. And remeber that Adwords costs money, sometimes a great deal of money, whereas organic ranking and SEO costs little, and can achieve as much. And, don't forget, your organic listing will have more credibility than your Adwords listing.