What is Google AdWords? How to get instant traffic

What is google adwords

Once you’ve made your website, the next challenge is to drive traffic to it. There’s no point in having the best website in the world if nobody ever sees it but unless you take some active measures to drive people to it then that is what will happen.

Sure if you’ve got some great content that is really useful to your audience you will hopefully pick up visitors from the search engines but this will take time and it’s far from guaranteed. Very far from guaranteed…

So how can you send traffic to your website right away without having to wait for your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to take effect? What method will start working instantly (within minutes) and can even get you on the first page of Google — guaranteed?

Note: Be very wary of claims by so-called search engine optimisers (SEOs) that they can get you on the first page of Google — guaranteed. They really can’t. Nobody can guarantee results in the search engines. However, there is a way, read on…

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising service offered by Google where you pay to appear on the search results page for specific searches that you choose. You can get traffic to your website instantly with AdWords. Your AdWords advert will appear at the top or right hand side of the search results page, above or next to the organic or natural search results.

You’ve certainly seen AdWords adverts. You may or may not click on them yourself (some people don’t) but millions of people do every day.

Three reasons why AdWords changed advertising forever

There are three things that make AdWords a fantastic tool for sending traffic to your site:

  • Firstly unlike any other advertising medium you are reaching people at the exact moment they are looking for something. If somebody searches for “find cheap car insurance”, it’s a pretty safe bet that they are looking to buy it sometime soon. That’s the perfect time to show them your advert. Compare that with say press advertising where you are showing your ad to everybody in the hope that one in a thousand or more might actually be looking for what you’re offering. With AdWords you show your advert to people who are looking for what you’re offering,  when they are looking for it. It’s a brilliant concept and now you know why Google are taking over the world…
  • Secondly it is totally controllable and you can spend as little or as much as you want to. You decide which searches (keywords) cause your ad to appear, you only pay when somebody actually clicks on your ad and you decide how much you are prepared to pay for each click (generally speaking the more you pay, the higher up the list of ads you will appear and the more traffic you will get). You can set a daily budget which could be as low as a few pounds and you can turn your ads on and off whenever you like – it’s not going to run away with you and you can test the water with literally a few pounds.
  • Thirdly it is measurable. You can see from the AdWords dashboard which keywords are making people click on your ad. You can (and must)  write lots of different ads and test them to see which one works best. You can even setup some code on your site that tells AdWords when somebody places an order so you can see which keywords and ads generate the most orders, and by comparing that with the costs, the most profit. You can ‘tune’ your campaign to give you the best results.

Now I might be sounding like a Google salesman but I’m really not… I just think AdWords offers an unparalleled opportunity for driving traffic to your site. I’ve advertised with Google for years, both for myself and for clients, and there is nothing else like it. It is the biggest source of traffic for my websites and probably always will be.

I set my cost per click to an amount that I know is profitable and leave my daily budgets wide open. I know that as long as I don’t spend over a certain amount per click (which I know from testing with different keywords and ads over a period of time) then my advertising will always be profitable so I will take as much traffic as they can send me.

My AdWords bills have been over £100,000 per month but as long as it makes me more money than I spend, I’ll spend as much as I can!

Increase your website traffic in 15 minutes

The great thing about all this is you can do it very quickly. You can do it right now and have your ads showing up (and visitors coming to your site) in about 15 minutes!

The process is very simple. You need to open an account at google.com/adwords and then setup your campaign. A campaign basically consists of four things — an advert, a set of keywords which trigger the showing of the ad, targeting of where the ad shows, and your bids or how much you will pay (which can be different for different keywords).

Write some ads, choose some keywords, setup your bids and the locations where you want to show your ads, set a daily budget and off you go.

How much does Google AdWords cost?

The big question everybody asks is “but how much is this going to cost me?”. The answer to that is as much or as little as you want it to. You set the budget, you set the bids or cost-per-click and if you don’t want to play any more you can just pause the whole thing or turn it off forever.

You can limit your exposure by setting a daily budget – how much are you prepared to risk to see if this works for you? This depends upon your business and how many other people are advertising with your chosen keywords as the more competition there is, the more you will have to bid in order for your ads to show.

A sensible starting point might be say £10 or £20 per day for maybe one or two days but it could be more or less than this if you wish. It’s totally up to you. I would just suggest that you set the budget high enough that you give it a proper go, and not so high that you lose a pile of money if it doesn’t work.

However if you choose your keywords carefully and don’t go too mad with your bids, your risk is fairly limited.

How much will I pay per click?

This depends on how competitive your market is, how high up the rankings you want your ad to appear and how much traffic you want. You might pay anywhere between 3 pence, or as much a few pounds per click, depending upon your business.

Google will suggest a bid amount and show you the amount they recommend to get you on the first page. Do not on any account take any notice of this! Start low — you can always increase it later. You can still get traffic with bids below Google’s suggested bids, just not as much.

For example some of my keywords that I advertise on carry suggested first page bids of £1.50 — £2.50 but I still get traffic at only £0.08 to £0.10 per click. I would get tons more traffic at £1.50 per click but I know that won’t make money for me.

If you set your bid too low all that will happen is you won’t get any traffic (and you won’t spend any money). If you set them too high, and your budget is too high, disaster can ensue. You can run through a few hundred pounds in the time it takes to say “isn’t Google’s share price doing well”.

Because AdWords bids are basically an auction, the bids tend to find their own level. If the bid is so high that you can’t make money then the chances are your competitors wouldn’t be able to either so the price will be lower otherwise it wouldn’t work for anybody.

I have had clients who paid £10 per click (yes frightening I know!) but their sales were worth tens of thousands of pounds so if it cost them a few hundred to get a sale it was neither here nor there. Because this was a lucrative market, the bids were pushed up to this exceptional level.

At the other end of the scale I had a customer who sold T shirts at a few pounds each and he only paid a few pence per click.

The only way to find out what your costs per click will be, and to see how much traffic you will get, and how this traffic converts into orders or whatever else you are seeking, is to setup a campaign and test it.

Will AdWords work for me?

It’s going to cost you a bit of time and a little bit of money to find out, but if you follow the principles above, your risk is limited. It’s probably going to take you about 4 hours to setup and run a little test campaign, and you can get a good idea of whether it’s going to work for you for under £100.

If you want to learn AdWords, here is a roundup of AdWords training resources that should help you.

That’s not a big investment considering you could be on your way to a steady stream of traffic that earns you money day in day out for years — your own ‘business tap’ that you can turn on and off at will.

I had one client who used AdWords just like that — like a tap to turn sales on and off. When sales got slow, they turned their ads on. When they got too busy they turned them off again whilst they dealt with all the enquiries, and then turned them back on again when it got quiet.

Even if you have an established website with good organic traffic, it’s still worth looking at AdWords as it’s more reliable than organic traffic/SEO. Search engine rankings can disappear overnight as plenty of people can tell you from bitter personal experience!

Good luck and as always, your comments and questions are welcome below.

Frequently Asked questions about AdWords

Q. How does AdWords work?

AdWords adverts appear in the results pages when you do a search on Google, usually above and next to, the organic results. AdWords matches adverts to people’s search queries, to show them adverts that are relevant to their search. Advertisers bid an amount they are willing to pay each time somebody clicks on their advert, and they only pay when somebody clicks on the advert.

Q. What is AdWords Express?

AdWords Express is a simplified version of AdWords, to make it easier for small businesses and new advertisers, to advertise on Google. There is minimal setup involved, and you don’t even need to have a website. It’s a very easy way for people with a limited budget, or limited time, to try AdWords advertising without having to spend a lot of time learning AdWords, or paying for a consultant to manage it for you.

Q. Why use AdWords?

AdWords lets you reach your customers at the precise moment they are searching for something on the world’s biggest search engine. No other advertising platform can do that! Other reasons to use AdWords are:

  • It is instant — your ads appear within minutes, unlike SEO which can take months.
  • It is totally controllable — you can start or stop your ads at any time, and set dailiy budgets to control your expenditure.
  • You only pay when somebody clicks on your adverts, and you set the amount you’re prepared to pay.
  • You can target your audience very precisely, using broad keywords, phrase match, and exact match keywords.
  • Negative keywords prevent you wasting money on adverts for irrelevant queries.
  • You gain insights into what your customers are looking for

Q. How much does AdWords cost?

As an advertiser, you set the amount you are prepared to pay each time somebody clicks on one of your ads. The higher amount you pay (bid), the higher up in the rankings your advert will appear, and the more traffic you will get. Your position in the adverts is determined not just by your bid, but also by your quality score which is based on a number of factors including how relevant your advert and your landing page are to the keyword, and the perceived ‘quality’ of your landing page. It is also affected by what other people are bidding — it is a competitive auction, so if there is a lot of competition, costs will be higher.

Because of all these factors, it’s impossible to say what AdWords will cost to advertise on, as it varies from market to market. Typically it will cost anything from a few pennies per click, right up to several pounds or dollars per click in very competitive markets. The market always finds it’s own level though, so advertising on AdWords should always be viable, whatever the cost is. Tip: to get your costs as low as possible, concentrate on increasing your quality score, by keeping your keywords, ad copy, and landing page very tightly targeted and therefore relevant. Rather than have a broad, scattergun approach, split your advertising ideas into several narrow, tightly-focused AdGroups each targeting a particular idea, with separate keywords, ad copy, and landing pages for each.

Q. What are AdWords Extensions?

AdWords extensions are additional bits of information that appear beneath your advert. They can include things like a link to download your app, location and phone number info, reviews, seller ratings, consumer reviews, links to other pages in your site, callouts of other benefits you have to offer. Some extensions are created manually, if you choose, whereas others are created automatically by the AdWords system if eligible. AdWords extension don’t cost any more, but they will usually increase the click-through rate of your adverts.

Q. What are AdWords Campaigns?

AdWords campaigns are the highest level of organisation in an AdWords account. An AdWords campaign will specify the targeting (location, network and device), languages and bid strategy for your ads. A campaign will typically contain several AdGroups, each of which contains it’s own sets of ads and keywords. AdGroups allow you to target specific keywords and creative ideas, whereas AdWords Campaigns set broader parameters that apply to all the AdGroups within the campaign.

Q. What is an AdWords Landing Page?

To get the best results from an AdWords campaign, you need to send people to a dedicated landing page for that campaign, rather than just to a general web page. Landing pages have special characteristics, designed to optimise conversions. There are a number of tools for creating landing pages, without having to get your web designer involved to build pages for each campaign. If you have a WordPress website, this article on Building WordPress Landing Pages will show you how to do it quickly and easily.


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