In this article we will answer questions such as what is PPC? How to start using Pay Per Click advertising? How does it work? We will focus on Google’s system, Google Ads.

An Introduction to PPC

What is PPC? Pay Per Click advertising is one of the most effective methods of targeting your potential customers online. You only pay when someone clicks on your advert, unlike with other online advertising methods such as banner ads where you pay for impressions. We’ll learn how to use Google Ads as it’s the most used platform.

Pay Per Click advertising using Google Ads (Formerly Google AdWords) involves bidding on keywords (any search term) your potential customer types into the search bar. The keywords are the links to the high quality adverts you create. Each keyword has a different price which depends on how frequently users search it, and how many of your competitors are bidding on the same keyword. Google will compare your adverts to your competitors’ ads. The goal is to appear at the top of the search results. Appearing at the top of search results can become quite competitive if you’re placing your adverts on popular keywords, so it pays to understand how AdWords works to get the most out of your budget.

Where would I see PPC ads and how are they different to Search Engine Optimisation?

This article focuses on the adverts displayed on Google’s Search Results and what goes into creating a good advert. However, there are a variety of places you can use PPC ads, such as:


  • Search Results
  • Display Advertising (think adverts placed on the side of websites as you scroll),
  • Social Media Advertising

Paid for PPC adverts always appear at the top of search engine results. Underneath are “Organic Results” and are there due to Search Engine Optimisation. It’s important to note that you can’t pay to be listed at the top of organic results.


As you can see here the top 2 results have the “Ad” sign next to them, showing that they have been paid for. The bottom result has got there through Search Engine Optimisation.

How to achieve a stronger Ad Rank

Google Adswill display your advert based upon its Ad Rank, which considers 2 factors.


  • The Quality Score: How relevant the keyword is to your Ad Group. Your expected Click Through Rate. The quality and relevance of your landing page. The relevance of your Ad Text.
  • Cost Per Click: The highest amount an advertiser is willing to bid for a click on their advert. CPC is discussed later in this article.

The Click Through Rate is simply how many people have clicked on your advert. The quality of your landing page is assessed by judging how closely the content resembles what the customer searched. Making sure you have high quality, relevant content is a must if you want your advert to be shown.


How to spend less and achieve a higher Click Through Rate

Ensuring that you have the highest possible Ad Quality Score will save you money. Google will prioritise your high-quality advert over a lower quality advert, even if the lower quality advert has a higher bid price.

The best Ad Rank will be awarded to the advert with the highest combined Quality Score and Cost Per Click bid rate.

Once your Ad Rank has been determined, it doesn’t mean that your Bid Rate is fixed. You will never be charged more than your maximum Bid Rate, but you can be charged less. The final price you pay for a click on your advert is determined by:


  • The Ad Rank of the advert below you
  • Divide this by your ad’s quality score
  • Add 1p.

What are Keywords and how do I use them?

Google defines keywords as “Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match your ads with the terms that people are searching for.”

When choosing keywords for your advert, put yourself in your customers shoes. Think of all the possible search terms they may use to find your product. Enter the conversation that’s already in your customer’s head and you’ll have success in finding relevant keywords. It helps to know which keywords your competitors are using, more on how to do this can be found here. Each keyword comes with an average bid price. The keyword’s search frequency determines the average bid price as does the number of your competitors who are using it. The more popular a keyword the more competitive it will be, which increases the average cost per click. Keywords which have a lower search volume will be less competitive, so will cost less.

For example, your advert appears if a customer types in “Buy Gibson Les Paul Guitar best price” and “Buy Gibson Les Paul Guitar best price” is one of your keywords. If your competitor only lists “Buy Gibson Les Paul” as their keyword, the search engine deems their ad less relevant and it won’t be given priority.

In this example, let’s say the cost per click for the keyword “Buy Gibson Les Paul Guitar best price” is £1. If a potential customer clicks on your ad, you have now spent £1 to gain 1 customer to your website landing page.


Shopping Cart Icon on Keyboard after customer has click on a PPC advert
Shopping Cart Icon on Keyboard after customer has click on a PPC advert

What’s an Ad Group?

An Ad Group contains one or more adverts that share a similar objective. Using the guitar example, you may have an Ad Group called “Gibson Les Paul”.You can create groups of keywords for each Ad Group to capture as many searches as possible, but it is important for them to remain relevant to what you’re selling. It’s not effective to use “buy beginner guitar cheap” as one of your keywords, as the customer searching for beginner guitars probably isn’t looking to buy the more advanced Gibson Les Paul model. Making your keywords as relevant as possible ensures only interested customers are targeted.

Setting a budget and getting the most out of it

On many search engine platforms, you can control your daily budget. This ensures that you have complete control over your marketing spend and can give you focus on getting the best ROI for your adverts. Many websites show a keyword’s cost per click. Ubersuggest has a free and easy to use tool which will show you exactly that.

As we’ve discussed, it’s not always the best option to increase your budget to improve yours campaigns performance. Knowing how the search engine you’re using ranks adverts will guide you to making better quality adverts and getting more conversions without spending more money.


To conclude, Google Ads is a paid for online advertising strategy which uses keywords to target specific audiences.

Obtaining the best Ad Rank possible should be your main priority, which can be done by


  • Selecting high performing keywords
  • Creating relevant adverts
  • Having good quality, relevant landing pages
  • Bidding competitively on your selected keywords

Google is searched on average 60,000 times per second. Targeting adverts at an almost unlimited stream of customers will prove highly lucrative for your business. Just make sure you are smart with your advertising campaign.

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