Tips for google ads – the basics to get you started

Google Ads can offer instant visibility for the keywords your potential customers might be looking up, but it can be a tricky business, we’re going to share some key tips for getting started with your Adwords account.

Article Info

November 27, 2023 13 mins

What we will cover

When you’re hunting for tips for google ads, you’ll often find a few specifics for how to tweak your account, we cover a few of those but go beyond that by encouraging you think about the whole customer journey.

Finding keywords

First up, the right keywords.

Although it can be tempting to go straight for the most obvious keywords that get the highest volumes of searches, the competition will be higher. It’s better to invest in keywords that get less traffic but are much more targeted. This increases the chances of the person reaching your site being someone who’s found exactly what they’re looking for.

We have already created an article on how to use the Adwords Keyword planner tool to understand and find the right keywords to bid on. So this is a great place to start if you haven’t read it already.

When you’ve selected your keywords, it’s important to use it in the copy of the advert, as this will send a signal to Google that your keyword is relevant to the advert and of value to people searching for it.

We also have a video with our three top tips for google ads.

Setting up the ads: the 3 elements you can play with


You only get a few elements to tweak so crafting a compelling headline is key, often the first element people engage with. Google Ads can feature a single headline or several.

Try to incorporate your keywords from the previous step, and, where possible, ensure you convey your unique value proposition clearly.


Here’s your chance to dive deeper into what your product or service is all about and layer on those USPs. Plus, don’t forget the Call To Action. That’s your nudge for those clicking your Google ad—something like “Shop now for X product” or “Get Y benefit” to guide them on what’s next.


When setting up a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign like Google Adwords, many people automatically enter the home page of their website in the link field. After all, you want people to visit your website, right?

Unfortunately, following that logic is almost certainly doing you out of leads and sales. PPC ads should always be directed to a specific ‘landing page’ which may or may not be connected to the main navigational structure of your website. Here’s why.

With a PPC campaign, you have already begun to draw out prospects from the vast tide of internet traffic. The last thing you want to do is dilute these efforts by sending customers back to a generic home page.

In most cases they will either lose motivation or lose direction completely. Your aim should be to create a consistent user experience, you have already made a promise of a conversation they are joining with the advert, now you need to back it up with the page, then gradually drive your prospect towards a single objective – usually a sale.

Top tip for google ads: Use personas to craft your message

Of all of the things that will make a difference, this is my top tip for google ads.

Whatever the product or service, different customers will value some features over others. Take a hybrid car. These are all the rage at the moment for their ability to cater to both the urban driver and the off-road explorer type.

A car manufacturer might create a number of separate PPC campaigns and associate each with a different landing page. After clicking on an ad, the commuter type might be presented with a picture of the car against a London backdrop with features such as self-parking and internet connectivity highlighted in the text.

The outdoor sports enthusiast (who, of course, could be the same person on a different day!) might follow an ad to a page with the car cutting through rugged scenery and the adaptive suspension and four-wheel drive features popping out.

By targeting landing pages to the precise persona your ad is aimed at, the chance of browsers turning into leads and eventually customers will increase.

Of course, this requires some work up front to truly understand your customers, here’s some help with defining personas.

Landing Pages and Web Metrics

Another powerful reason to send different visitors to separate landing pages is to help with measuring the success of your PPC campaigns.

If you wanted detailed info about the shopping habits of people visiting a large department store would you get more useful data by standing outside and counting people walking into the store? Or by standing inside and counting how many people went into each separate shop?

There is no limit to the number of landing pages that can be set up on a website and each time you create a new one your metrics can become more granular in their detail.

Heres another handy tip for google ads, Google will help you set up tracking codes to your URLs, and you can measure their effectiveness both in your dashboard and using tools like Google Analytics.

Landing Page Optimisation (LPO): Three Elements

The subject of landing page optimisation warrants an article to itself but it can be broadly divided into three elements which need to work together to maximise conversions: design, content and a ‘call to action’ (CTA).

In terms of design, landing pages should be consistent with both the rest of your website and the ad that the visitor arrived from. One newbie mistake to avoid is using the site-wide navigation menu on your landing pages. These should be hidden (or at least replaced by a more restricted custom menu). Landing pages are sometimes termed ‘squeeze pages’ with the content used to push prospects towards the only way out (“exit through the gift shop ma’am!”).

The content should also be consistent with both your website and your ad. This is particularly important when it comes to the keywords you choose because Google (in the case of AdWords PPC) uses the relevance of your landing page as one part of their ad quality score. This determines how often your ad will be served for the bid price set. If you promise apples in your ad but your landing page talks about oranges each click will cost you more – your ad may not even be shown at all.

The final element of a well-optimised landing page is a clear call-to-action (CTA). Never assume that your visitor will know what’s expected of them when they arrive on your landing page. Make sure the page contains only one sign-up or buy button and that it really pops.

Thinking in terms of landing pages instead of your website home page is a massive step forward when it comes to setting up and running a PPC campaign.

Consistency of message

Okay so you came for tips for google ads and you’ve received mostly advice on your landing page, we will circle back around to some controllable in your ads account, but it serves to highlight that the thing that makes you visible isn’t the answer.

I’ve had loads of people tell me AdWords doesn’t work, despite this, we have businesses that have experienced huge growth or continue to rely on it for much of their income. So why such differing views of this platform?

The question isn’t “Does Adwords work?”, the questions are around understanding if your message is clear and compelling enough for someone to trust the exchange of their money for your products or services.

Understand their needs, echo the keyword they have searched with authority and care, and test each step to see if there’s a jolt in the experience for you.

Getting someone to click through to a poor landing page gets you 90% to a yes, but it’s still a no, actually, perhaps this is the top tip.

Set yourself a budget

Okay back to tips for your google ads account, this one is very important, set yourself a budget.

During a PPC campaign, you set yourself a budget and create an online ad – or ads – based on keywords you have identified as being important to your target customers. Each time someone clicks an ad, you pay for it. What happens next determines whether that money returns a profit or is wasted.

The first thing to do when it comes to PPC is set yourself a clear budget. As it says above, it’s only a short-term solution, and not setting a budget can mean things drag on indefinitely. This will cost you money and lose you sales.

Setting a clear budget will ensure that if you don’t get the return (ROI) that you want, you can stop and analyse what’s worked and what hasn’t so you can do better next time.

Google AdWords allows you to set a budget for each campaign based on your targets and how much you want to spend each day.

Set targets

Once you’ve set your budget, the next thing to do is set your targets. In this way you will develop a system where you’re investing in a clear goal and are able to systematically analyse and improve the performance of your PPC advertising.

An example of a target might be selling a certain number of a particular product. This target can then be tied to a budget. Once the budget has been depleted, you can analyse whether the campaign has been a success or failure, whether you’ve sold enough items, and if necessary work out how to do better next time.

If you sell a service and have a long sales process after they have got in touch, keep tabs on those enquiries (using a CRM system if possible), see if they converted to sales and if so what kind of customer they are.

Do your research, continually

The Keyword Planner tool in AdWords we mentioned above is a great starting point, but it isn’t the end, search terms are constantly changing, the system is always evolving, and there is always more evidence in there to help you find patterns over time.

It only takes one keyword to get a wealth of suggestions using the keyword planner tool, you can then refine searches based on location, language and a range of other parameters to play around with. The suggest bid is only a suggestion, and users can determine their own cost per click which could be higher or lower than Google’s recommendation.

Where your ad will rank when it’s displayed is determined as much by the quality of the advert and your website, as it is by the amount you’re bidding. So, simply bidding above the recommended amount won’t guarantee a high position.

The more energy you can continue to add to your account the likelihood of returns you will see being higher.

Add negative keywords

Over time we tend to spend most of our time refining ads for negative keywords. They’re the words or phrases you don’t want your ad to show up for, and often get appended to your ads for example “website designer” may show my ad for “cheap website designer” – knowing that there are cheaper alternatives means I might just not bother paying to join this conversation.

Adding these can save you from irrelevant clicks and wasted ad spend. First off, dig into your campaign’s search terms report. Look for terms that led to clicks but weren’t actually relevant to your offering. Once identified, add these as negative keywords at the campaign or ad group level.

Think broadly—consider variations, misspellings, or terms tangentially related to your product or service. For instance, if you sell luxury watches, you might add “cheap watches” or “watch repair” as negatives to filter out those seeking something different.

Now, let’s talk strategy. Regularly review and update your negative keyword list. As your campaign progresses, new irrelevant search terms might pop up.

Stay vigilant and refine your list to ensure you’re blocking out the noise. Leverage match types for negatives, too. Exact match negatives block specific terms, while broad match prevents your ad from showing for any search that includes those terms.

Balancing these helps fine-tune your targeting and ensures your ad reaches the right audience, boosting both relevance and ROI.

When to Experiment with other Adword campaign types

Knowing when to explore other campaign types in Google AdWords is crucial. It’s tempting to go after the shiny new shopping campaign ad types or display advertising, but spreading your budget too thin across multiple campaign types can dilute your impact and leave you with very little exposure or data to show whats working.

Google will help you with this by not even allowing certain types for small budgets, so start small with some search terms and make sure you feel comfortable that is bringing you a return.

Start by establishing a solid foundation with a single campaign type, focusing on mastering its nuances and optimizing performance. Once you’ve achieved a level of stability and success, consider expanding strategically.

For instance, if your Search Network campaign is thriving and consistently meeting goals, you might experiment with Display or Video campaigns to tap into a broader audience. But keep a close eye on your budget allocation—testing new campaign types should be a calculated move, ensuring sufficient resources are dedicated to maximize impact without risking overall performance.

Balance is key when experimenting with new campaign types. Allocate a portion of your budget specifically for testing these waters while safeguarding a significant portion for your core campaigns.

Gradually scale up based on the performance insights and successes garnered from these experiments. It’s a delicate dance between exploration and consolidation, aiming to achieve a healthy mix that drives growth while preserving your overall campaign effectiveness.

Lastly, let’s shine a light on quality

Finally, you should ensure that the copy and imagery used in every step of the process is of a high quality. If your copy is relevant to your keywords, the call-to-action clear, and the images attractive, then ads will be more likely to rank higher and potential customers more likely to click through.

Likewise, your site should offer quality content and a user-friendly experience that will get the people clicking your ads to where they need to go as quickly as possible.

Hopefully, that offers you a few tips for google ads. If you’ve got any questions about how to get started with PPC, or have a campaign that’s not performing as well as you’d like, get in touch with Vu’s team of e-commerce experts.

The difference with Vu is that we focus on the customer journey, unlike agencies who just focus on Ads, we can help with every stage of the process and make sure you get the maximum return on investment for your PPC budget.

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