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Google Adwords: A Beginner’s Guide

by George Saleh on October 20, 2011

Google AdwordsIf you read my last post, then you know about the Google Adwords Promotional coupons is now offering to our customers.  But unlike most other companies, we don’t plan to just throw you a coupon code and leave you in the dark abyss of subpar advertising. To help get new advertisers started, will be writing some helpful articles on how to manage your Adwords account. Today, we will talk about playing it safe with Pre-pay, and we’ll also cover some basic Adwords terms.

Pre-pay realizes that most advertisers are wary of spending too much on Google Adwords, especially since there is no guaranteed return. That’s why we highly recommend starting your campaign with Pre-pay enabled. Pre-pay means that Adwords will only show your ads if you pay them first. It offers the most control, and it’s a good solution for new advertisers. Once you enabled Pre-pay, be sure to go to the billing tab on your account, and submit a payment equal to your Adwords credit. That way, Adwords will only spend money equal to the amount you pay, so you won’t have to worry about massive charges.

Basic Terms

Before you can successfully run a campaign, you should familiarize yourself with some basic advertising terms. Below is a list of the most important ones:

Keyword: One of the most crucial parts of a good advertising campaign is keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase that triggers your ad when people search for it. If  ”camera” was a keyword, and someone searched for “waterproof camera” then your ad would trigger, and might pop up. Bad keyword lists can show your ads to the wrong viewers, so knowing some keyword basics can take your campaigns a long way.

Campaign: Your Adwords account can have many campaigns. Each campaign can target a different location, and a different language. You may have a campaign targeting English speakers in the U.S, and another one targeting French speakers in Canada. There are hundreds of ways to customize campaigns to suite your needs, and knowing the components of a campaign will help  you target the right audience for your website.

Adgroup: Every campaign can also have many adgroups. An adgroup is a collection of keywords, and ads that appear when those keywords are triggered. Every one of your products should have its own adgroup, with keywords and ads made specifically for that product. Creating adgroups is simple, and having several well themed adgroups will ensure that the right audience sees your ads.

Ad: Your ads appear on the search results page when a search query matches one of your keywords. Ads have a headline, and two lines of text. They also need to direct the visitor to a page when an ad is clicked. The page the visitor is directed to is called a landing page, and the URL of the landing page is called the destination URL. Writing compelling ads is a skill you’ll need to master if you want potential visitors to click on your ads.

Impression: An impression means that your ad has appeared on Google’s search results page, or on the content network, which we will discuss later. Impressions are an important metric to track, they tell you if your ads are appearing where you want them. Remember that impressions themselves don’t mean much, and if your ad has many impressions and very few clicks, you need to optimize your campaign.

Click: A click means, obviously, that someone has clicked on your ad. Clicks are a good metric to follow, but they need support to mean anything. If you are getting very few clicks, you aren’t showing your ads to the right audience. Lots of clicks and few conversions might mean your landing page isn’t effective. Experiment with different ads and landing pages until you get a good amount of clicks and conversions.

Conversion: An absolute necessity for every serious advertiser. A conversion means that somebody has performed an action that you want, such as having bought a product, or filled out a form. You must decide which pages on your website will be conversion pages, then place the tracking code. Conversion tracking should always be an integral part of a campaign.


Those are just the most basic of Adwords terms. Remember, Adwords can’t just be set up and left in a corner, you have to keep learning, keep tweaking, and only then will you have an effective account. Next time, we will talk about some more advanced settings you should know to run a successful account.

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Randy5 October 19, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Thanks for not leaving me in that subpar advertising abyss. I’ve been there before, and it’s not a fun place to spend time!

Rusher October 19, 2011 at 11:02 PM

It’s great to have these terms here, but there sure are a lot of them. I feel like I’m back in college.

PotsNPans October 19, 2011 at 11:03 PM

I didn’t even know those massive Adwords charges were a potential danger, and I might’ve fallen right into that trap.

Texas2Step October 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

And here I was ready to launch a single campaign when I learn that I may be setting up hundreds of campaigns! Better start brushing up now….

silkysmooth October 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

is it possible to make every page on your site a conversion page??

OfftheWall October 31, 2011 at 4:13 PM

You’re right that it’s easy to look only at the Impression metric and fail to look at the number of clicks. Impression can lull you into a false sense of success. But if you aren’t getting those clicks, it might mean it’s time to rewrite your call to action, or make it more prominent within your ad.

OhDonna October 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM

The keyword basics are simpler than I thought they’d be, and certainly worthwhile in order to learn by heart to make sure your ads reach the right audience.

WrigleyF November 6, 2011 at 8:29 AM

@silkysmooth: I don’t think there’s any reason to make every page a conversion page: you probably don’t want every page to have a form to fill out or a product to buy. Still, I’d go for the majority of pages being conversion pages.

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