The Guide To Pay-Per-Click Advertising With Google Ads

Why bother with pay-per-click advertising?

You would have to be as crazy as a box of weasels to pay each time someone visits your site with pay-per-click advertising, when you can rank high in Google for free, right?

Not necessarily. Pay-per-click advertising has some advantages over SEO, with PPC campaigns you can:

– Send customers to your site within hours, not the months it sometimes takes for solid SEO results.

– Track results down to the penny, and get very clear insights into the financial performance of your advertising. Simply set up conversion tracking with the instructions provided by Google, or whichever pay-per-click provider you choose.

– Achieve a much larger overall number of customers to your site by running pay-per-click in tandem with your other marketing efforts.

– In most cases, achieve a positive financial return on your marketing spend and keep on selling to these customers in the future.

There is one caveat to the last point. If you are a small fish trying to enter an extremely competitive market, such as house loans, insurance or international plane flights, it’s likely the big players in the market are buying a large amount of advertising, forcing the average cost-per-click to astronomical prices, and making it difficult for new players to get a profitable return.

If you’re selling pizza delivery in New York, pool cleaning in Los Angeles, or cheap baseball jackets… In other words, if you’re selling a common local trade, service, or product online, it’s likely you can receive a profitable return on your advertising spend.

While pay-per-click marketing really deserves its own masterclass, this is a quick and dirty bonus chapter, jam-packed with just enough information to get a pay-per- click campaign set up, avoid common mistakes, and send more customers and sales to your business.

If you want to delve deeper into the science of pay-per-click advertising, I’ve included some great resources on Google Ads at the end of the chapter. Sound good? Let’s get started.

Which is the best PPC provider to start with?

There are many pay-per-click providers out there, Google Ads and Bing Ads are just two.

Google Ads text ads is generally the best starting point. You can sell anything on Google Ads if you have money to spend because the user base is so large.

If you’re looking to jump into pay-per-click advertising, get started with Google Ads. Move on to the other pay-per-click networks after you have some experience under your belt.

Here’s why I think Google Ads text ads is usually the best choice for a first venture into pay-per-click advertising:

– With Google’s search engine market share at 88.61%, and Bing at 2.72%, you can reach out to the largest potential amount of customers with Google.

– Fast and instant results. Send new customers to your site within a couple of hours.

– Advanced targeting technology. Target users based on where they are located, or what browser or device they are using. Google’s ad targeting technology is among the best in the world.

– Due to the popularity of Google Ads, there’s a wealth of knowledge on running Google Ads campaigns successfully.

Ensuring success with research and a plan

Like all marketing projects, for a Google Ads campaign to be successful, you need to start with research and a solid plan. Without first defining your goals, and designing a robust strategy to achieve them, it’s impossible to create a successful marketing campaign—you’ll have no way of determining if the outcome is successful!

Here are some important questions to ask yourself before you get started:

– What is the objective of the campaign? Sales, web inquiries, sign-ups, or branding?

– What is the maximum monthly budget you can afford?

– What is the maximum cost-per-inquiry, or cost-per-sale you can afford? For example, if you are selling snow jackets at $100, and your profit margin is 20%, you really can’t afford to spend much more than $20 on each customer you acquire. Write this figure down and review it later. You may need to first run a small test campaign to determine if pay-per-click is profitable, and the right tool for marketing your business.

– What are the most common characteristics of your customers? For example, if you’re selling late-night pizza delivery in New York, you don’t want to be paying for the lovely folk in Idaho searching for late-night pizza delivery. Write down your customers’ common characteristics, and later in the settings recommendations, if there’s an option to target these customers, I’ll tell you how to target them.

How to choose the right kind of keywords

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The keywords! Precious keywords.

Just like SEO, getting your keywords right with text ads is critical if you want a successful campaign.

Unlike SEO, with Google’s text ads there are different types of keywords called keyword match-types. I’ve listed the main keyword match types below.

Broad match keywords

The default type of keywords all Google Ads campaign use—if you don’t change any settings—are broad match keywords. With broad match keywords, Google will take any word out of your phrase, and serve up ads for searches hardly related to your phrase.

Needless to say, almost all new campaigns should NOT be using broad match keywords to start with. Have a look at the example below.


tennis shoes

will trigger ads for: designer shoes dress shoes basketball shoes tennis bags

tennis equipment

Phrase match keywords

Phrase match keywords will only show your ad for searches containing your core phrase. With phrase match keywords, you can exercise a higher level of control and purchase traffic from more relevant customers. And higher relevancy usually means more sales.

To enter a phrase match keyword, when adding keywords to your account, wrap the keywords with “” double quotation marks and these keywords will become phrase match keywords.

keyword: “tennis shoes”

will trigger ads for: 

tennis shoes

best tennis shoes 

tennis shoes online

will not trigger ads for: 

shoes tennis

tennis shoe

tennis sneakers

tennis players

Exact match keywords

Exact match keywords will only trigger ads for the exact phrase you enter, and close variants. Needless to say, with exact match keywords in your campaign, you can have a high level of accuracy, and achieve more sales. Exact match keywords are indispensable for every Google Ads campaign.

To enter exact match keywords, wrap the keywords with [] square brackets when adding keywords to your account and they will become exact match keywords.


[tennis shoes]

will trigger ads for: 

tennis shoes

tennis shoe

will not match for:

tennis shoes online 

best tennis shoes

Broad match modified keywords

Broad match modified keywords are special keywords allowing you to have both accuracy and a large amount of exposure. With broad match modified keywords, you will trigger ads that include a combination of all of the words in your phrase.

To create broad match modified keywords, add a + sign to the keywords when adding them to your account.


+tennis +shoes

will match for:

where to buy tennis shoes online tennis shoes

buy shoes for tennis

buy tennis shoes

will not match for: 

tennis joggers

buy tennis shoe 

margaret thatcher

Negative keywords

One of the most important, but easily overlooked keywords are negative keywords. Negative keywords will prevent your ads from showing for searches that include your negative keyword.

If you are using phrase match or any kind of broad match keyword, you should be using negative keywords. Negative keywords are vital for ensuring you are not paying for advertising for irrelevant searches.

Enter negative keywords in your campaign by adding a – minus sign in front of your keywords when adding keywords, or going to the shared library on the left hand column in your Google Ads account, and you can apply negative keywords across your entire account, a great time-saving tip.


+car +service 



will trigger ads for: 

car service los angeles 

car service mechanic 

car service tips

will not trigger ads for:

free car service guide

ford mustang 65 car service manual

When choosing keywords, you need a balance between keywords with a high level of accuracy, such as exact match keywords, and keywords with a larger amount of reach, such as phrase match or broad match modified keywords.

Use a mix of the above keywords in your campaign, then review the performance of different keyword types after your campaign has been running, when you have some data.

Structuring your campaign with ad groups

Google Ads offers an excellent way of organizing keywords called ad groups.

If you organize your campaign correctly with ad groups, you can quickly see which areas of your campaign are profitable and not so profitable.

Let’s say you have a Harley Davidson dealership, with a wide range of HD gear from bikes to accessories and clothing, below is an example of ad groups you might create.

– Harley Davidson motorbikes 

– Harley Davidson parts

– Harley Davidson accessories 

– Harley Davidson jackets

With ad groups you can:

– Create multiple, and separate ads for each product line. Great for testing.

– Have a select range of keywords, specific to the ad group.

– Set a specific bid for the ad group. Great if you have higher-priced products or services you’re willing to pay more for.

– Get detailed data on the performance of your ad groups and different products.

Structure your campaign with ad groups with a very clear and simple sense of organization when you set up your campaign. You’ll get clearer performance insights, and it will make your life easier when you want to make improvements later on down the track.

How to crush the competition with killer text ads

Writing a killer text ad is essential to the success of your campaign. Poorly written ads can increase the overall costs of your campaign, sending less traffic to your site for more money. We don’t want that.

With your text ads, you want to:

– Attract clicks from interested customers, not tire-kickers. 

– Include keywords related to what the user searched for.

– Encourage a clear call to action and benefit for the user.

Text ads are made up of the following components:

  1. Headline. Your headline has a maximum of 25 characters. With your headline, you should include the keyword the user is searching for or capture the user’s curiosity.
  2. Description lines. You have two description lines at a maximum of 35 characters each. Your description lines should make it crystal clear what you are selling, the benefits of clicking through to your site and a call-to-action.
  3. Display URL. You have 35 characters for a custom URL that will be displayed to users in the search results. Display URLs are great as you can actually display a different URL to the users than the URL of the page they will arrive on. You can take advantage of this to encourage more users to arrive on your site.

I’ve listed below some winning ads so we can see why they are so successful:

Logo Design ® *SALE* $49 

100% Custom-Made Special USA Sale 

100% Money Back. Order Online Now…

Injured in an Accident?

You May Be Entitled to $10,000 + 

Free Case Evaluation. 24/7 Call Us

Flowers Online – $19.99 

Delivered Today Beautiful & Fresh! 

“Best Value Flowers” – CBS News

In each of the above, we can see some similarities. Each ad has:

– An interesting headline. Each ad captures the curiosity of the user, through use of special characters, asking a question or posting a competitive offer right in the headline.

– Clear benefits. Each ad has a compelling offer in addition to the core product or service being sold, making the ad stand out from the search results, such as a no-risk, money-back guarantee, same-day delivery, or a free evaluation.

– A clear call-to-action. The first two ads make it clear what the next step should be. In the third ad, the call-to-action is not explicit, but it is obvious. By having “Online – $19.99” in the headline, and “Delivered Today”, it is clear the user can order flowers online to be delivered the same-day.

If you want more examples of successful text ads and why they crush the competition, the article below is a good starting point:

11 successful ads and why they crush the competition

How much to pay for keywords

A burning question for text ads newbies is, how much should I bid on my keywords?

There is no clear answer for finding your ideal bid price. You should only pay for what you can afford. You can find out how much you can afford by doing some simple math.

For example, let’s look at an example scenario:

– You’re selling video courses for $200.

– For every 100 visitors, 3 turn into customers. This is a conversion rate of 3%. – If you bought 100 visitors at a cost-per-click of $3, this would cost $300.

– With your 3% conversion rate, you will have made $600 in sales, spent $300 on advertising and made a profit of $300.

So, to calculate your ideal CPC, I’m sorry to say, you do need to sit down and do some math and figure it out. It can’t be avoided. But to keep it simple, you should only pay what you can afford—otherwise, you should be spending your marketing dollars elsewhere.

Here’s the catch, you can only find out what your cost-per-click is after running your campaign for a while, when you have accumulated some data. So, run a small test campaign to begin with, to collect data. Use the information to make projections, and only pay what you can afford in a larger, more serious campaign.

In case you’re wondering how prices get calculated, the Google Ads cost-per-click network uses a bidding system, which means you are taking place in an auction with competing advertisers. By increasing bids, your ad position increases, leading to more traffic or customers to your site.

Here is where it gets interesting. Google awards an advantage to advertisers showing ads with high quality and high relevancy. This is Google’s Quality Score technology. Ads with a higher number of clicks and relevancy are awarded with a higher Quality Score, and subsequently receive increased ad positions and cheaper prices!

Keep this in mind when writing ads and choosing your keywords. Your ads should be relevant to achieve the highest Quality Score possible, so you can receive the cheapest cost-per-click.

Google Ads settings for getting started

The single most important factor to ensure your campaign is successful is to fill out all of the settings when you set up your campaign. Whatever you do, don’t rush through the campaign settings, otherwise you will end up paying for advertising to people who have no interest in what you’re selling.

I’ve listed recommended Google Ads settings below for reference, but if you are not setting up your Google Ads campaign right now, feel free to skip to the end of this chapter for closing recommendations on managing Google Ads campaigns for long-term success.

  1. If you haven’t done so already, create an account at When signing up, enter your Google account, or let the tool create one for you if you don’t already have one.
  2. Once fully signed in, click on the big button “Create your first campaign.”
  1. Campaign name:

Enter a descriptive name for your campaign.

  1. Type:

Choose “search network only” from the drop-down. This is important. Make sure you select this option, unless you know what you are doing, otherwise you will also end up buying advertising on less relevant sites.

Select “All features – All options for the Search Network, with Display Select.” Why would we want to restrict ourselves and give ourselves less options and features? Choose it, features are awesome. Trust me.

  1. Networks:

Unselect “include search partners.” We want to advertise on Google, not other smaller, potentially less-relevant sites.

  1. Locations:

If you are targeting customers from a specific area, country, state or city, enter the most relevant setting for your customers here. Whatever you do, don’t forget about this setting, otherwise if you’re a local business you’ll end up buying advertising halfway around the world!

  1. Bid strategy:

Choose “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks.” This allows you to make sure you are only setting cost-per-click bids you can afford. More on setting bids later.

  1. Default bid:

Enter any number here, we are going to change it later.

  1. Budget:

Enter your daily budget.

  1. Ad Extensions:

Ad Extensions, otherwise known as sitelinks, are a great way to encourage more clicks to your site. Enter as many relevant entries as you can, if you have an office address and phone number, use it.

  1. Schedule:

If you are only open during certain business hours, enter the hours you want to be running ads here. For some businesses, it’s OK to run your campaign 24/7, because some customers will send an online inquiry if they arrive at your site outside of business hours. If you are selling something like a local food, such as a pizza shop, you might want to restrict your campaigns to only run during your opening hours.

  1. Ad delivery:

Choose “Rotate indefinitely. Show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads, and do not optimize.”

Why would you want to choose this, you might wonder? You want to run your ads evenly, so you have reliable data when you review your ads, and can objectively see which ads are performing better for your goals.

You can leave the rest of settings for now, hit “save and continue”, and you’re good to go with setting up the rest of your campaign.

Optimization tips for tweaking your campaign for better profit

I’ve touched on a handful of secrets of starting successful pay-per-click campaigns, but now I’m going to cover the most important technique for ongoing pay-per-click success.

Review your campaign regularly

Leaving a Google Ads campaign running without keeping your head around the performance is like leaving a freight train running without a driver.

Regularly review your ad, ad group, keyword, cost-per-click, and cost-per- conversion performance. This will allow you to back the winning horses of your campaign, and swiftly cut the losers.

Fortunately, the Google Ads platform offers endless opportunities for deep insights into the performance of your campaign.

As a starting point, below are example areas in your campaign to regularly look over:

– Ad group performance. Review click-through-rates, cost-per-click, and cost- per-conversion. Allocate more funds from your campaign to winning ad groups, and decrease funds or pause losing ad groups if you see any obvious trends.

– Ad performance. Look for winning ads with higher click-through-rates, lower cost-per-clicks, and lower cost-per-conversion. Pause expensive ads, and create new ads to split-test based on your winners. Progressively build up new ads with higher click-through-rates into your campaign over time.

– Keyword performance. Review which keywords are running at a higher cost, which keywords have low quality scores, and see if you can pause any overly budget-draining keywords with low conversions.

Using Accelerated Mobile Pages in Google Ads campaigns to accelerate your sales

Late September 2017, Google rolled out Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support for Google Ads campaigns. Why is this important? AMP significantly increases load speed for mobile users. Faster load times equals higher conversion rates, and higher conversion rates means more sales. In fact, the smart lads over at Google’s AMP team reported increases up to 80% in mobile conversion rates, and a 31% drop in bounce rates, in initial tests with a select few ecommerce retailers. If you’re running a medium-to-large sized Google Ads campaign, it’s worth taking a look.

To say implementing AMP is extremely technically involved would be an understatement—it’s something that should only be handled by the deft hands of a highly skilled web developer, and beyond the scope of this masterclass.

But the potential upside in sales make it worth a look for medium-to-large campaigns. You can forward the official documentation by Google below to your web developer to see if it can be done, and read up on Accelerated Mobile Pages, in the “Google’s Algorithm Updates” Module later in this masterclass.

How to Use AMP With Google Ads – Google Ads

Further Google Ads resources

If you want to delve deeper into the pay-per-click rabbit-hole, the resources below are a great starting point for anyone starting out with pay-per-click advertising:

Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords – Perry Marshall

The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords by Perry Marshall is often the starting point for many professionals starting out with PPC. Offers a great overview of Google Ads and delves into the inner game of successful Googel Ads campaigns. Great for beginners, but for more advanced techniques check out the following resources.

Advanced Google AdWords – Brad Geddes

If you want to be a pay-per-click guru, then look no further than this fantastic guide to advanced Google Ads management, great for both agencies and business owners running their own campaigns. Brad Geddes’ magnum opus on advanced Google Ads pay-per-click advertising has been the secret treasure of many successful pay-per-click consultants, and readily available in Amazon and many other bookstores.

PPC Hero

PPC Hero is loaded with free advice on the latest Google Ads tricks and tips, but also covering fundamental pay-per-click methods that never change. Updated regularly.

Google Ads & Commerce Blog

Google’s official blog for Google Ads. Great for the latest Google Ads news direct from the horse’s mouth.

That brings us to the end of the last bonus chapter of SEO 2021, and almost to the end of the masterclass. Make sure you download the SEO checklist available on the following page as well as read through the final chapter for some final tips in ensuring your overall success in ranking high in the search results.

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