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In this article I’ll discuss what Google Ads are all about, how they work and when to use them.

What are Google Ads?

what are google ads

I should start by explaining what Google Ads are all about.

They do a number of things. Get more calls, increase visitors to your store, drive people to your website.

Here’s how Google themselves describe the service.

“Get in front of customers when they’re searching for businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. Only pay for results, like clicks to your website or calls to your business.”

In this article we’re going to focus on using adwords to drive search traffic to your site.

Let’s take an example.

Perhaps you want to make sure that when someone searches for a specific search term (referred to as a keyword) your site appears at the top of their search results?

On page SEO may be enough to get you the result that you are after (this is called organic SEO)

If you’d like to learn more about SEO you can have a look at our article “What is SEO and why it is so important”

But what if you want to boost your visibility, and you are happy to pay to do it?

This is where Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) comes into play.

So let’s dive in and take an example.

Let’s take the example of someone searching for “villas for sale Bali”

The idea is that you pay to be listed, and then you will be at the top of the search results, (with AD next to the search result.)

Here’s an example using that search term.

Notice the ‘AD’ in the top right of the search result.

As you can see,  balicoconutliving has already taken advantage of Google Ads and done exactly what you want to do, namely pay for the term “villas for sale in Bali”

This is why they are listed as an ad in the search result example above.

So who is listed where, and why?

How does this work?

It needs some explanation regarding how this works.

Google ads positions are calculated on an auction basis.

Let’s say you spend $10 for your keyword “villas for sale Bali”.

If nobody else is paying for this keyword then you would be listed alone, at the top of the google results.


Let’s say someone else wants to target the same keyword (i.e. “villas for sale Bali”) and they spend $20.

Their result will be above yours as they have paid (bid) more.

OK, so far so good…

So, let’s say 4 people want to use the search term “villas for sale in Bali”, and spend $30, $40, $50, $60 dollars respectively.

Google will only ever display 3 paid ads at the top of the search results, so your ad will not show.

You won’t get charged, you just won’t appear in the results, which kind of defeats the object of the exercise.

So the only way you can be sure to be listed is to be spending similar, if not more money than other people who are going for this keyword.

How do you, (and Google), work out the budgets?

Essentially what I have described above is the core of how it works, but it gets a little more in-depth than talking about just one keyword.

Google Ads don’t just work with single search terms, but rather works with sets of phrases that you want to list for.

When you setup an ad (ad campaign) you type in around 7 or so keywords you wish to target.

For each ad campaign (each ad) Google aggregates these terms and runs internal calculation to determine how to handle them in the search results. These results help them decide who wins a bid for a specific term, and therefore what position they are listed in (if at all).

How do you work out how much to spend?

Google will recommend a number of budget options once you have entered in all of the keyword you want to target.

To get a better idea of what is going on, you are also given the option to enter your own budget.

From here you can see what Google’s number crunching have come up with in terms of the spend that other people are working with, and therefore a recommendation for what your budget could be,

When to use Google Ads

Google Ads can be a great way of getting yourself seen, but of course it is not free!

 I think the best approach is to think about your whole marketing strategy first before deciding to spend money on the service.

It should be used as a companion to other traffic boosting approaches, rather than as a substitute.

The first question to ask is “how is my organic SEO doing?”

I think a fair approach is to get your organic SEO right, and then use Google Adwords to build on top.

I hope you have found this article interesting and I’ve answered the question “what are Google Ads?” satisfactorily

If you’d like to know more, or talk about how we can help with your website or marketing needs then drop us a message and say hi, it would be great to hear from you.

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