How AdWords Works

AdWords, the platform that lets you advertise your business online, works according to a Pay Per Click mechanism. The only instance in which you owe money is when someone clicks on your ad that takes them to your website.

These ads can appear on a Google search page, or any one one of Google’s partner sites, reaching a global audience of 90% of all internet users. Google uses Ad Rank to determine if, and where, your ad will appear. This is based on a few things, like which keywords you target, how relevant your website is to Google’s users, and how much you’re willing to spend. All of these things together make up your Quality Score. The better it is, the more people your ad will be visible to.


When someone searches for something on Google, it’s your keywords that will prompt your ad to become visible on their search page. You keywords are a bunch of words or phrases that you select as a trigger for your ad, and these are the words you bid on. For example, if you own a mobile barber service, you could use ‘’mobile barber service” as a single keyword; this will trigger your ad to appear when someone searches for it.

You must organise keywords into groups, called Ad Groups. These are like capsules, filled with related keywords, landing pages, and what your ad will say. Creating a hierarchical structure like this is crucial to obtaining a good quality score and ranking higher up in Google’s search results.

Tip: You should make sure your keywords are very specific and relevant to your product. This is to guarantee that your ad appears to people who want exactly what you’re selling.

Nice and relevant website

Google cares about providing its customers with only the most top-quality resources, and so it makes perfect sense that this is another way for AdWords to rank you. The first page they reach after clicking upon your ad, the landing page, has to be perfect. It should relate to your ad well, be clear and easy to use.

When you finally get a customer to click on your website, do everything to make sure that they stay there.

Quick Tip

Avoid using pop-ups that will annoy or scare customers away. Ensure that your landing page is friendly, with easy navigation towards the ‘buying’ page or whatever you want your visitor to do next.

How much you’re willing to spend

The maximum you are prepared to pay for someone to click on your ad is your bid. The higher your maximum bid, the more money you’ll probably* spend, and the more traffic your site will generate. A lower bid will receive less clicks and less traffic. Check out the billing section to know more about payments.

The logic here is that bidding higher will throw off your competitors and render you at the top of the search results page. However, because Google combines both your bid and quality, it means that even if you bid higher, you may not necessarily be in a higher position—it is the combination of relevant keywords and quality of your site that makes the difference.

* We say probably here because even if you set a higher budget, the amount you actually pay will often be less. The minimum amount to keep your ad running is the most you will pay. It’s kind of like a ‘hypothetical, worst-case’ cost.