10 Steps To Getting Started With Google Adwords

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Build Your Online Business / 5 comments
Conversions with Google Adsense

This is a guest post from Joel Runyon on a topic I think many of you want to know about when building your online business this month. He’s an expert in this stuff so listen up!

A lot of small business owners give Adwords a go and get burned. They blow through their budget in a day and don’t know where all they’re money went. Fortunately, even though it’s a tough game, if you’re willing to put in the work, there’s still a lot of business to be done on Google Adwords. Here are 10 steps to get you started with Adwords.

1. Know What You’re Selling

Most people just want traffic to their site, but it’s not immediately apparent what they’re selling when you get there. Know what you’re selling. Know what you want people to do. Then focus your whole strategy around that. Most people don’t ever get this clearly defined and this muddles the rest of their strategy.

2. Determine What You’re Willing To Pay for A Sale

How much is a sale worth to you? What are your margins? What’s the lifetime value of a customer? Once you know this, you’re able to move forward and figure out what you’d like your budget to be and how to bid accordingly for different advertising based on your products and services.

3. Keyword Research

Allright, now time for the fun stuff. If you’ve done some SEO research, you’ll have an idea of the keyword space but be sure to do your due diligence because the paid search market can be very different from organic search market. You can do some basic keyword research using Google’s KeywordTool and Wordtracker’s free tool.

4. Understand Your Competitive Space

This will take a little more time, but is really helpful if you’re jumping into a competitive marketing spac. Tools likeSpyFuAdBeat and SEMRush can really help you understand where your competitors are bidding and having success. You can also begin to do some research the old-fashioned way and just Google your terms yourself and see what shows up. Note the keywords they’re bidding on, their headlines & ad copy and they’re landing pages. They’ll come in useful later.

5. Refine Your Keywords

More keywords! Especially if you have a limited budget, make sure you’re going after the select few keywords that you really want to pursue. It’s better to go after a small segment of keywords and get a decent amount of data and traffic in return than to spend a little bit of money on a bunch of different keywords and get no significant data back on any of them. If you need to, make the keywords exact matches (put them in [brackets] like this).

Example – Broad Match: keyword | Exact match: [keyword]

6. Check Yo Self (And Your Settings)

Most of Google’s default settings are designed to have more money end up in their pocket rather than yours. If you leave the default settings on when you start an account, you’ll have a hard time getting ahead.

Here’s how I set up most of my campaigns:

Locations & Languages

Focus on one country at a time and one language. I do the U.S. and English because my customers speak English in the U.S. Obviously, change this as necessary if you’re in England, Australia or somewhere else in the world. If you want to target people in multiple countries or languages, it’s best to create separate campaigns for them.

Locations & Languages with Google Adwords

Networks & Devices

People behave differently on mobile devices than they do on desktop and/or tablet devices. Start off by targeting desktop and tablets on their own first. If they perform well and get a respectable level of volume, then think about creating a new campaign for mobile.

Networks&Devices Google Adsense

Bidding & Budget

Start out by bidding manually for clicks. This gives you the most control on what you’re spending your money on. As you begin to implement conversion tracking (coming up) and get more data in the account, you can begin to think about the other options, but start out by bidding manually.


This actually depends on your budget. If you’re just starting out, make sure e you have this marked as “standard.” This will “pace” your ads and your budget and make sure that you show relatively consistently throughout the day. If you have a little experience and know your campaigns work at a cost that is acceptable to you, change it to “accelerated.” This will show your ads at every available opportunity and give you the opportunity to really drive volume.

Ad Rotation

Google opts you in to optimize your ads based on clicks. While that sounds good hypothetically, if you’re continually trying to write ad copy (we’ll talk about this in a bit), having it set to “optimize” messes with your data sets. Set your ads to “rotate evenly” and we’ll talk about why in just a second.

7. Writing Your Ad Copy

Remember when you did some competitive research? Did you see the ads they were writing? What seemed to be winning? While writing your ad copy, you need to get inside your customer’s head and understand what they really want. Sure, people might be looking for an air conditioner unit, but what they really want is to not be sweating constantly throughout the summer.

They want comfort. If you can learn to weave your copywriting skills into your ads and match them up properly with the keywords you’re bidding on, you’ll be off to a great start.  Always write two ads per ad group. As you progress and get more data, note which ads are performing better, pause the underperforming ads and write a new ad to see if you can beat the winning ad’s performance (this is called split testing).

8. Pick Your Destination URLs

Where are you going to be sending people once they click? Google’s algorithm depends heavily on a “quality score” of the relevancy of your landing pages. Be very clear about the actions that you want people to do and make sure that your landing pages are relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on. If not, you’ll be able to tell because Google will slap you with a quality score of 3 or 4 and you’ll know you need to fix something.

9. Implement Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking allows you to track how many conversions you drove through your Adwords. This allows you to see how much you spent to get each conversion and determine which ads are actually driving conversions and which ones are driving clicks that don’t result in anything. This is why determining #1 is so important and if your visitors aren’t converting, you need to take a closer look at #7 and #8. To get started with this, click on “conversions” in the “tools and analysis.”

Conversions with Google Adsense

Follow the directions to generate the code and then paste that code on the confirmation page of your site. Then, anytime someone from Adwords completes a conversion on your site, it will trigger the code and track the conversion in Adwords.

10. Constantly Improve

A massive mistake that people make with Adwords is to just set it up and let it run without any supervision. Not only is Google coming out with algorithm and feature updates, but the competitive landscape is always changing. You need to constantly monitor and improve your campaigns in order to get optimal performance out of them.

Joel runs Impossible, an online marketing agency specializing in strategic online holistic marketing. Download Impossible: The Manifesto and Follow him on twitter or Google+.