With more than 3.5 billion searches every day, 1.2 trillion searches every year and its spot as the #1 most popular search engine in the world, advertising on Google seems like a bit of a no-brainer. With this article, we’ll help you to make sure it stays that way by giving you some tips on how to conquer Google Adwords to market your small business!


But first, let’s do a quick recap.

Advertising vs Organic

Online, there are two main ways to reach new customers. The first is organic, which is best done through using hashtags, UGC (user generated content) and SEO (search engine optimisation) when you post on your channels. This is the kind of thing you should be doing all the time as it’s free and effective.

The second is paid or ‘boosted’ posts also known as SEM (search engine marketing). This is similar to the traditional ads we see on television, billboards or newspapers. Except that online you have the chance to attract a much larger, global audience.

Keywords and PPC (pay-per-click)

In short, what you pay Google for is visibility and these are the two main ways that Google advertising works. Keywords (also referred to as paid search) work by you paying Google to show your site when people search for the terms you choose to connect with your business – which in Google world means on the first page of their search results.

What you pay Google for is visibility.

PPC is a bidding system where Google uses an auction-style bid to set their prices. For any keyword, you have the top bidder – who for example bids £4 for someone to click on their ad. Then you have the next who pay a click at £3.50, another at £2.75 and so on.  These aren’t the prices you pay for the actual click. Instead, the lowest of these bids is used as the price for the least valuable (least visible) spot on the results page. Each spot going up in value (more visible placements) is priced at an incremental pound value higher.

1. Setting your budget

Google AdWords are great. When done correctly you can make £2 for every £1 spent. Having said that, it’s important that you don’t rely blindly on this. Investing in ads should be done as part of a marketing strategy with a proper budget. A smart way to figure out how much to spend is by benchmarking your ROI (return of investment) against the industry competition.

Once you have these set, you’ll be on the right track to doing something great and you can rely on Google for the monitoring and analysis!

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2. Choosing your keywords

Next, you’ll need a keywords strategy. Start by figuring out what makes your small business unique, what people might be searching for that you have on offer and what you would like to be known for – or are already known for. E.g. ‘Fairtrade coffee’.

There are four keyword match types. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Broad match type
This is the default match type that presents your ad to a wider audience when people search for things that have similar phrases or versions.

Broad match modified
This is a broad match but with a bit of restriction. The keywords will have a “+” sign before them. This option has more control over the broad default version.

Phrase match
Here, your ads will be shown when your keywords contain the phrase that someone has searched. This generally results in improved conversions.

Exact match
With this, your ads will only show if someone types the exact keyword. This type gives you maximum control over the when your ads are on display.

Pro-tip: Use broad match and phrase match to drive traffic. Like this, you can see which keywords convert well for your business and set those to exact match so you attract the people who are already looking for you. Then use the Search Terms report to find the terms which work best for your small business and set those to exact match.

3. Optimising your strategy

As we’ve been mentioning throughout – it’s important to keep on eye on how to make the most of your investment. One really good way is by using landing pages to support your keywords/ paid search.

In case you don’t know what that is, a landing page is a web page that your potential customer comes to when they click on your ad. Make sure you know what you want them to do when they arrive there.  A good landing page will include:

  • A strong headline
  • The benefits and features of the products
  • Clear images and graphics
  • Testimonials
  • Directional CTA (Call to action e.g. ‘Shop now’)

These will help you convert more of your traffic by helping them understand the journey you are taking them on.


The best approach you can take is test and learn. A common mistake that people make is not to monitor what is working. As mentioned before – Google Adwords are great but you need to make sure you make them work for you and your small business.

A common mistake is not to monitor what is working.

Don’t forget! The better your SEO, the better your SEM will perform, the higher your result on the search page, the more traffic you drive to your site.

Key take-aways

  • You should use Google ads as a part of a larger marketing strategy
  • Create your Google AdWords account and set budgets
  • Use the right keywords to create relevant (and highly searchable) ads and landing pages
  • Recognise keyword match types and when to use them
  • Optimise your ad copy to maximise clicks
  • Determine the right goals and metrics for your ads

Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes in this series. To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe to our newsletter through the link below!