Google AdWords is an online advertising platform based on a pay per click model. It is often simplified to ‘PPC’

Through the AdWords platform, advertisers buy keyword phrases that they want to appear for that are relevant to the product or service that they offer, as well as associated searches or synonyms that may also have the potential to convert. For example, if a customer searches ‘things to do in London’, and your service is a guided tour of London, it would make sense to buy this search term, as well as ‘guided tours of London’. These PPC ads most commonly appear in three places: search engine results pages (SERPs), on a search network, or an ad network.

A search engine results page is the page that displays search results whenever you search for something on Google. Paid ads appear to the top, and right of the organic results. Where they appear depends on the ‘Ad Rank’ that Google assigns you for every auction in which your results are displayed. Ad rank is based on an algorithm that takes into account how much you are prepared to ‘bid’ for a specific keyword, and your ‘quality score’ (Google’s measurement of how relevant your ad and website are in relation to a search query).

A search network, on the other hand, is a collection of other search engines that you can opt into through the Google interface (called ‘Search Partners’) which will show your adverts. Search networks that use Google to supply their results include AOL and Ask Jeeves amongst others.

An ad network (often referred to in relation to Google as the content network or display network) is a network of sites that have chosen to show Google ads on their pages. These can be text ads, more traditional banner ads, or video content, and can feature in various positions on a publisher’s site.

When first starting out with Adwords PPC, a well researched and thought-out process is key to delivering good performance. Researching your keywords, planning your budget and bids, making sure you have the right ad copy, and a conversion-friendly landing page are all crucial to the future success of your campaigns.

Then, there are a host of strategic options to consider. For instance, how will you target users who aren’t actively looking for your brand, but are, perfectly, your target demographic? At which point do you pause a keyword that isn’t costing in? And, crucially, how do you get more from those keywords that are delivering great performance? This is precisely where the eye of an expert comes in handy.