Guide | Paid search advertising - beginner tips and resources

A beginner's guide to understanding paid search advertising...

Paid search advertising, PPC (pay per click) is more difficult to do well than it may at first appear. Not only do your keywords have to be relevant to the actual search terms of your customers but your advert has to use those keywords in such a way that grabs attention and the resulting page – to where the ad links – also needs to be deemed relevant. The mantra of Google employees is “relevance, relevance, relevance”.

Advice for beginners

1. Learn about what quality score is and why it is one of the most importance aspects of PPC to understand. The page from Google support here explains it well but the key points from Google are:

Every time someone does a search that triggers your ad, we calculate a Quality Score. To calculate this Quality Score, we look at a number of different things related to your account, like the following:

  • Your keyword's past click-through rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
  • Your display URL's past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
  • Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
  • The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
  • Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
  • Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
  • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
  • Your ad's performance on a site: How well your ad's been doing on this and similar sites (if you're targeting the Display Network)
  • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets – you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices
2. It’s important to understand that although PPC uses an auction type mechanism as a factor to decide placement of an advert (higher or lower), it’s not as simple as ‘the more we bid, the higher we’ll appear’.

3. Due to the fact that Google takes into account the performance of your ads over time (and feeds this into your Quality Score), it’s important to focus on creating the best adverts possible, this means a strong call to action and making use of the ability to test multiple versions of ads. Again, Google has some recommendations for improving the quality of advert here.

4. The best starting point when planning a PPC campaign is to start with your organisational goals and objectives (rather than diving straight into thinking about what keywords might be relevant). Starting with goals means it is much more likely that the resulting ads will be effective. Econsultancy suggest asking questions such as:

  • What products/services/content/events do you currently struggle to get attention for?
  • What conversions do you want to increase?
  • Which web pages aren’t doing well for natural search (SEO) that you could give a short-term boost for using paid search?
  • How can paid search support other channels like display and offline advertising?

Of course your own questions need to be tailored to your individual organisation.

5. Finally, there is a step-by-step help in this intro guide from Google here.