Google Adwords Getting Started Guide:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Campaign

google adwords


Google AdWords is Google’s advertising system designed to help businesses thrive. Since July 2018, Google AdWords has been Google Ads. Many people still refer to it as AdWords, so you can use information and tips you find for either AdWords or Ads.

google ad words

Know the Key Terms

Before you get started with Google Ads, you should know a few important terms. You will find them throughout this guide and when you are using AdWords.

Ad Rank 

Your ad rank is your position compared to other businesses that bid on the same keyword. Google Ads determines it based on multiple factors, including your bid and Quality Score.


Your bid is the maximum you will pay if someone clicks on your ad.


A conversion is if someone clicks on your ad and then performs your desired action. That may be calling you, signing up for your newsletter, buying something, or another action.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The cost per click, abbreviated CPC, is what you actually pay if someone clicks on an ad. It can be less than your bid, but it cannot be more than it.


Keywords refer to the phrases or words that someone types when searching for something on Google. Specifically, they are the phrases or words that make your advertisement appear. You will choose the keywords you want to appear for as you set up your ad.

Quality Score

This is a metric that indicates your keywords’ relevance to your ads and landing page. If you have a better Quality Score, you can have lower bids and boost your ad rank.

A Note on Organization

You should also know that there are two organizational levels within your Google Ads account. Campaigns are the higher-level organization, and ad groups are the lower-level. Each campaign can have multiple ad groups, and you can have multiple campaigns.

Make an Account

The very first thing you will need to do to use Google Ads is to set up your Google account. This is very easy to do. Just head to the main page of Google Ads and select “Start now,” which is a blue button near the top of the page. You will be prompted to fill in some information, such as your email address and website.

adwords sign in

Google will also ask you some basic setup questions, such as about your budget. You can change this information later. We’ll go into more detail about setting a budget and bids in a few steps, but you can also skip ahead and take care of that now.

Be Organized When Creating Your Account 

As you initially set up your account, you should do your best to keep it organized. This means you should plan your ad campaigns and ad groups ahead of time for the best results. You want to set up larger categories as ad campaigns and ad groups as smaller ones.

For example, consider a clothing store. You could have one ad campaign for shirts, another for pants, and another for accessories. The shirts campaign could then have ad groups for formal shirts, casual shirts, and exercise shirts. Or you could set up separate ad campaigns for men’s, women’s, and children, then have ad groups for shirts, pants, etc.

Choose a Budget

After you have set up your ad campaigns and groups, you will need to choose a budget. You can control your budget with bids and your daily budget. As mentioned, bids are the maximum you will spend on keywords. The daily budget is what it sounds like — the maximum you will spend per day on a campaign.

When starting, divide your total budget across your campaigns evenly. Eventually, you will see which campaigns do best. You can allocate more of your budget to the campaigns that perform the best and best meet your business goals.

Tips to Choose a Budget

To choose a bid, try to find a compromise between your budget and a bid that will help you rank for your keyword.

When calculating your budget, you want to make an informed decision. As such, you want information, such as your conversion rate and your gross profit.

adwords campaign

Select a Target Audience

You will also be prompted to choose your target audience when you set up your Google Ads campaigns. This will come in the form of a geographic location. You can be as specific as you want, as Google lets you enter a postcode, region, city, or country.

Choose Keywords

The next step is to choose your keywords. You want to choose keywords that people will look for when they want something a good, service, or information you can provide. You also want to make sure that the keywords you choose are relevant to your ad. It increases the chances that they will stay on the landing page and convert.

You don’t have to choose your keywords by yourself. Take advantage of Keyword Planner, a free tool that is built into Google Ads. You can use Keyword Planner to get ideas for keywords that are relevant for your company.

It can also help you figure out how much you need to bid to rank for a keyword. Use that information to confirm that the keyword will not be too expensive for your budget.

Keep in mind that more popular or competitive keywords tend to cost more. Because of this, most beginners to Google Ads should start with keywords that are a little less popular, as they will cost less but still deliver exposure.

Choose a Keyword Match Type

In addition to choosing the keywords, Google Ads has you select a keyword match type. This helps you control how close of a match a search term needs to be for your ad to show up. Options include:

  • Broad Match: Your keywords can appear in any order, or there can be related terms. This is the default setting and shows your ad in the largest number of situations.
  • Broad Match Modifier: This is similar to a broad match but lets you choose specific words that have to appear.
  • Exact Match: Your ad only shows if someone searches for your exact keyword, without any additions.
  • Phrase Match: Your ad will show for searches with your exact keyword, including if there are other words before and after it.

Negative Keywords

There is also an option to use a Negative Match or negative keywords. Use this to exclude words or phrases you don’t want to appear for. For example, if you sell a high-end product, you may want to exclude “cheap.”

Choose Your Landing Pages

Your next step will be to choose the landing page that your ads link to. You should always opt for a landing page that is relevant to the ad and the keyword. Do not have your ad take people who click to your homepage. You will have a lower conversion rate because it is not as relevant.

Ideally, you want to create a separate landing page for each ad. This lets you personalize the pages to match the ad and the audience. For example, if you sell embroidered robes, you could have a landing page for people who want a plush, personalized robe for use at home, another for hotels, and another for bridal parties.

The landing page should feature the main headline from the ad. The call to action should be obvious. Make sure your landing page fulfills any promises you made in the ad. For example, if the landing page promised a free gift at checkout or a coupon code, make sure visitors get the code on the landing page.

It should go without saying, but make sure your landing page is mobile-friendly. If it doesn’t load properly on smartphones, you will miss out on a large market segment.

adwords landing page

Choose Devices

Google Ads will also prompt you to choose whether you want your ad to appear on all devices or just on either mobile or desktop. Ideally, you should think about what devices your customers are most likely to use and whether the landing page is specific to a certain type of device.

Create the Ads

When it comes time to write your ads, you want to be clear and concise. Ideally, you want to include the keyword in the ad. You should also include a call to action, such as “learn more,” “contact us,” or “buy now.”

Important Parts of the Ad

As you create your ad, pay attention to the following components:

  • Headline: This can be up to 25 characters and is designed to draw in viewers.
  • Display URL: This is the URL for your landing page.
  • Text: This can be up to two lines with a total of 70 characters. Use it to show what makes your products or services unique.
  • Call to Action: This is the phrase such as “buy now” or “learn more.”

Link to Google Analytics

To get the most from Google AdWords, you should always connect it to Google Analytics. This is a free tool from Google that gives you insights. You can view your number of clicks as well as what people do on your website, including your bounce rate.


Scroll to top
Skip to content