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No-Panic Guide to Google Ads

What are Google Ads?

If you've used Google search sometime in the last 18 years, you have experience with Google ads. Well, you've seen them at least.

The most popular type of Google ads are found in search engine results with the green "Ad" indication.

While Google ads take many forms and sizes, they all serve the same purpose: Give some users more paid traction online.

With 40,000 Google search queries every second, Google ads are the most popular pay-per-click advertisement platform.

Here are a few quick facts about how Google ads work:

Ads can be targeted by keyword.

Advertisers choose the keywords they want to rank for with their ads. For a Christmas tree farm, you may choose the keyword "real christmas trees" or "cut-your-own trees." A plumber may run ads for "plumber" or "drain repair."

Ads are targeted demographically and geographically.

With any marketing tactic, you should target content only to the people who will actually use your service. With Google ads, you can choose the location, gender, age, parental status, and household income of the people who see your ad. With Facebook and Instagram ads, you can target even more.

Google Ad Vocabulary:

SERP: Search engine result page, which is the list of links, Google My Business listings, Google ads, featured snippets, photo carousels, video previews, and more that appears when a user enters a query into the search engine

PPC: Pay-per-click, a type of ad billing in which advertisers pay a predetermined amount each time a user clicks on their ad

CTR: Click-through-rate, the percentage of people who see the ad and also click its link

AdRank: The overall score given to Google ads which determines the where the ad displays for users

Ads can be targeted by brand name.

Similar to ads targeting a keyword, you could target a brand or business name. Some businesses target their competitor's brand name, in an attempt to redirect traffic to their similar product or service. Google allows competitors to outbid brands' own names, as illustrated below.

Ads are displayed based on a digital auction.

In most cases, several advertisers will target the same keyword for the same audience. When this happens, Google uses an auction to determine whose ad to display at peak times.

As with most online algorithms, many factors determine what users see, but a few of the most common factors include:

  1. Relevancy: How well the ad content matches both the targeted keyword and user's search query.
  2. Click-Through-Rate (CTR): How many people who see the ad also click on it.
  3. Ad Account History: The quality of your ad campaigns in the past.

All of these factors add up to equal the Quality Score for your ad. However, the amount you're willing to pay — your Maximum Bid — also has an effect. In the end, your AdRank, or likelihood of appearing in search results, is determined by your Quality Score multiplied by your Maximum Bid.


Which businesses should use Google ads?

Google ads aren't a primary online marketing tactic like web design and SEO are. Depending on your profile and needs, you may want to skip Google ads and stick to organic SEO. However, some business types do especially well on the platform:

Dentists, Doctors & Chiropractors

These businesses tend to have a high customer lifetime value, with patients staying loyal their clinic and referring friends and family to their care providers. These businesses can spend more, knowing each legitimate lead is valuable.

Lawyers & Attorneys

When each legal case brings in a significant amount of profits, law offices can afford to spend a bit more to be at the top of the list when potential customers are researching law professionals.

Repair Services

If customers plan to spend a large amount of money on new roofing or siding, garage door repair, or electrical or plumbing work, they want to find the right technician for the job.

Repair and service industries are often very saturated with Google advertising, leading to a high cost-per-click; however, often each legitimate lead is worth the cost.

PRO TIP: Make sure your Google My Business listing is optimized before you think about advertising.

Home Appliances & Furniture

These large home purchases usually begin with a significant amount of comparison shopping, which almost always happens on a search engine. Running Google Product Shopping Ads allows your products and prices to be front and center for your ideal customers.

Equipment or Party Rentals

Rental businesses tend to have busy seasons — graduation party season, wedding season, and landscaping season. Running Google ads for your top-rented products during those seasons can help you get an edge on the competition.

PRO TIP: Instead of bidding on all of your product keywords, you can bid on your rentals with 1) the highest margin and 2) which usually lead to additional rentals. For example, if you rent out a party tent, you may also be able to rent out chairs or tables to the same customer.


People are usually buying bouquets for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Running a targeted online ad around these holidays can prompt more phone calls and sales.

How can I get started with Google ads?

Google ads are extremely challenging to learn and manage, and the months of trial and error can be very costly before ads become successful. Google ads are the last online marketing tactic businesses should try DIYing.

We refer our clients to another small business which focuses solely on Google ads and understands all the ins and outs. Call us today to learn more.

Not ready to dive into the Google ad bidding war?

Facebook and Instagram ads are a good place to start with online advertising. The entry cost is lower, and you get to work with your favorite web services provider, Esultants (☺️). Our social media ads start at $300 for the first ad's creative and campaign management, plus a $50 minimum per ad, which is paid directly to Facebook / Instagram. You can email your Esultants sales rep today to get started.

Twin Cities

Jeff, jeffs@esultants.com 

Lakes Area

Scott, scottc@lakesareaws.com 

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