How to Create your First Google Ad

Millions of people use Google to search for skilled people every day. This post is for the skilled people who want to be found by the people searching for them.

google-adwords-logoWhat is Google AdWords?

Google have a great product called “Google AdWords” that allows us to show ads in front of searchers based on the “keywords” that the searcher typed.

The beauty of this form of advertising is that your ad should only show in front of people at the moment they decided to find someone with your skills.  This is very different from putting an ad in a newspaper that is irrelevant to the vast majority of readers.

The downside to AdWords, however, is that there is a lot to learn if you want to do it well, and it can lose you money if you do it badly!

Quickly Create an AdWords Campaign:

Step 1: Decide your Goals

Step 2: Login to your AdWords Account

Step 3: Create your First AdWords Campaign

Step 4: Create your First Ad

Step 5: Create your First Keywords

Step 1: Decide your Goals

For this example we take Tom O’Leary, one of the photographers on SkillPages, and show how he can create an Ad on Google to send visitors to his SkillPage, without fear of losing his shirt while doing so.

Tom has a great SkillPage showcasing his photographer skill at the following URL:

Let’s imagine that Tom’s goal is to use his SkillPage to get more work, or to find a job.

He knows that there are many people searching in Google for photographers in London, and is keen to get some of these searchers to visit his SkillPage and contact him.

He also knows from his own search habits that a likely keyword used by searchers is “photographers london”.

When Tom enters this keyword into Google himself he can see that there are plenty of ads by other photographers:

Google search
Once you know the goal of your ad it’s time to create a Google AdWords campaign.

Step 2: Login to your AdWords Account

If you haven’t already created an AdWords account, then you can do so by going to:

If you are based in the UK, then you can claim a free £50 Google AdWords voucher by going to your SkillPage profile and selecting ‘Claim my free ads’:

adwords voucher

Step 3: Create your First AdWords Campaign

If this is your first time logging into AdWords, then you will likely be taken straight to the “Create Campaign” step, otherwise you can create a new campaign by selecting the button below:

Google search

We’ll just concentrate on the Search Network for now:
Google Adwords

Now give the campaign a sensible name and set the geographical location that you want the ad to appear in:

Google Adwords

We’ll just show ads on Desktops and laptop computers for now by unchecking the other two devices:

Google Adwords

Now set a sensibly low starting budget.  This daily budget is there to stop your campaign cost from getting out of control.  (Don’t worry, this daily budget is not a target for Google! )

The daily budget isn’t how we’re going to cap our daily spend – we’ll do that by making sure our keywords are nice and focused so that you don’t waste clicks on people who aren’t interested in your services.  While we’re at it, we’ll also set the delivery method to a better one than the default.

Google Adwords

Set your ads to rotate.  This should be your default setting for all campaigns (we’ll explain why in a later post):

Google Adwords

Finally, select “Save and continue”:

Google Adwords

Well done.  You’ve now created your first AdWords campaign!

Step 4: Create your First Ad

First you need to decide on what keywords to bid on.  Your Ads will be displayed when people type specific keywords into Google that you happened to be bidding on.   The first step to creating an ad is to decide what your keywords will be.

Tom guesses that someone looking for his skills would use the keyword “photographers london”.

If you want people to click on your ad, then you need to make it as relevant as possible to the keyword that the searcher is using.

The best way to do this is to (sensibly) put the words in the keyword into your ad.  Google bolds these words in your ad and this can make your ad stand out.  People typically scan for the words that they have typed in, so you want to echo those words back to them if you want to attract their eye.

In the ads we looked at before, we can see that “photographer” is bolded, but also that none of them mention “London” in the headline.  These ads could likely be more relevant to the searcher.

Google Adwords

You’re best putting a call-to-action in Description Line 2 of your ad.  A call-to-action asks the searcher to do something.  In the ad we’re about to create below we’ve used the call-to-action “Contact Me Today”.

You can send people who click on your ad to any website that you own.  Alternatively, you can send these searchers to a relevant SkillPage you’ve created.  Ensure that the Destination URL points to the URL of the “landing page” where you want the visitor to go to.  This is the web page that the visitor “lands” on.

Google Adwords

Note that for the Display URL, you need to have the correct domain (in this case, but you can put in anything after the “/”.  In this case, we’ve put Tom-OLeary into the Display URL so that the searcher knows they are going to find a specific photographer if they click on the ad, rather than find a directory listing of all photographers in London.

Once we have collected some data about how this ad performs, we can create some new ads to try and better them.   We’ll cover “split-testing” of ads in a later post.

Step 5: Create your First Keywords

This is where you keep your costs down.

We’re only going to bid on one keyword for now, and we’re going to bid in “exact match”.  This means our ad only appears if the user types in that keyword exactly.  The way to tell Google that you want to use exact match is to put square brackets around the keyword, so in our case we use [photographers london].  Using exact match really restricts when your ad is eligible to show.

You can add more exact match keywords into the adgroup if you want, but make sure they are all tightly related to each other.  Examples of other exact match keywords that you could use for this adgroup are:

[photographer london]

[photographers in london]

[photographer in london]

[london photographer]

[london photographers]

You also set a bid price for the keyword.  Google will use this bid price to determine how high your ad appears, or if it appears at all.  By default, you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad.  The amount you pay will not be higher than the bid price, and can be substantially lower.  (We’ll cover techniques that can help you reduce your cost-per-click in later posts.)

Google Adwords

Well done!  You’ve now created your first Campaign, Ad group, Ad, and Keyword.  With luck, this should be approved and running within 10 minutes.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get any visitors to your SkillPage or website yet.  We’ve kept your traffic volumes low by bidding in exact match.  This will keep you out of trouble until you learn how to use the other match types, and how to optimise your campaign.

Feel free to create more Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords in your campaign.

Let us know how you get on, and if you have any queries.

Andy Black, Head of New User Acquisition at SkillPages

About Andy Black

AdWords Specialist

Posted on December 9, 2011, in Get Your Skill Found, Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Some really great points here. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said to start out slowly and set a low daily budget. I prefer to set a low cost per click and hope that there is some unsold add space and I can pick up some cheap impressions. You should also make sure that you do spend at least some time analyzing your traffic.

  2. If I may add another step – Tie your PPC account to Google Analytics to track which ads led visitors to your page and which visits resulted in sales.

    Without this information, you can’t adjust your keyword bids or eliminate less effective ads and keywords.

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