points covered

  • Control Your Budget
  • Get in front of high volume traffic
  • Use keywords to control who sees your ad
  • Advanced reporting to better understand your ads

here’s 5 reasons to advertise on google

A powerful tool

If you’re a small business and new to the game of marketing, you’re probably asking this question. Why should you consider advertising on Google? What can Google do for me that other platforms or outlets can’t? If you’re asking yourself this question, then consider this one fact. According to Google Zeitgeist, the search engine handled 3.2 billion searches in 2012. Industry experts estimate that figure to be 10x that amount today. Stop and think about that for a moment. How many other platforms or outlets can you name that bring in that much traffic? Social media is a close second contender, but it recently has been struggling. In this post, I’ll cover some important things to consider about Google’s advertising platform. If you’re not convinced by the end of it, then I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining.

Reason One: High Quality Traffic

In the paragraph above, I referenced Google Zeitgeist’s statement that the search engine received 3.2 billion searches in 2012. This is an astounding number of visitors. Of course, not everyone will see your ad. I would estimate only a small fraction of that number will actually see your ad. But it’s still quite a lot of visitors. From my experience, Google brings in the highest quality of traffic to your page. This is because only people interested in your product, service, or brand will see your ad. People who aren’t interested in what you offer are excluded.

Reason Two: Target Your Ideal Customer

Google has a variety of advanced targeting options that let you focus in on your perfect customer. When people have a problem and are solution hunting, they turn to Google. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get in front of them right when they need you. Google uses location targeting, keywords, and audience settings to narrow in on your market. If you owned a bakery in town and wanted more foot traffic, you could set a radius around your address so that your ads would only show to people close by.


Keywords give you the option to show on specific searches people are typing into Google. For example, someone might search, “best bakery shop in Portland.” Your bakery business could use “Portland bakery shop” or “best Portland bakery” as keywords. This allows your ads to show up on relevant searchers for bakery shops in the area. This also ensures you don’t show up on any unwanted searches like people looking for HVAC services.
In your campaign and account settings, Google gives you the ability to narrow your market down by audience. You can target people based on demographics, interests, and affinities. If you sold men’s razors, you could target only men of a certain age. But be cautious when choosing audiences. Before you go down this path, you want to make sure you know this audience segment will convert and bring you more leads. Sometimes you might find that the audience segment is too narrow and is losing you valuable traffic.


Reason Three: Control Your Budget

As an economical search engine marketer, I work with many small businesses to advertise effectively on Google within a limited budget. The one complaint I often hear is that people think Google is too expensive. This may be true in some industries like lawyers but not all industries. It can be difficult but advertising on Google within a set budget is certainly doable. In your campaign settings, you have the ability to choose your daily budget. You can also set the max amount you want to spend on clicks, conversions, or impressions. While Google won’t spend over your max CPC, it can go over your daily budget by 200%. I like to use scripts and reports to ensure this doesn’t happen on my account.

Reason Four: Advanced Reporting

Have you ever wondered why customers aren’t converting on a page? Would you like to know what pages prompt them to leave? Or how about how many times they return to your site? I like to tell my friends, clients, family, and whoever will listen that we are so lucky today. In the pre-internet era, it was impossible to track exactly what was working and what wasn’t. Google has so many ways to track how users interact with a page. This provides valuable insights into your customer’s journey so that you can tweak your messaging to fit their experience. In Google AdWords, you can see bounce rate, average time on site, conversion rates, and more. Google Analytics provides you with an even more endless supply of data. Google’s advanced reporting features have helped me to increase my clients’ ROI without having to raise the budget.

Reason Five: Quicker Results

In the world of digital marketing, there are two camps: SEO and SEM. People who do SEO believe their team is the best and tend to be scared of SEM. People who do SEM believe their camp is better and don’t have patience for SEO. I think both are integral to advertising on Google. SEO can help boost your website’s ranking which in turn makes you more favorable with Google. SEO is a great tool that I wouldn’t not recommend, but it can take a long time to kick in. If you aren’t patient or don’t have time to sit around waiting, SEM is the way to go. Advertising on Google gets you in the search results immediately. There is no long waiting period. You simply build your account and hit go. If done right, your ad will always be above the organic results.

Google is a powerful tool for getting in front of the right audience. Besides the features I mentioned above, Google offers even more tools to generate leads. Google Ads shouldn’t be an intimidating thing. Sure, if you don’t know what you’re doing, things can go wrong very quickly. But Google Ads has helped dozens of businesses gain successful leads and build a clientele. I’ve personally seen small businesses be able to expand because it brought in so much revenue. If done right, Google Ads can be your business’ best friend.

  • Organizing the internet’s info
  • The first search engine
  • Innovations in the world of search
  • Stepping stones to Google’s success

The internet’s first search engines

Today, Google dominates the search industry but that wasn’t always the case. In the early 1990s, there were a handful of other search engines that helped pioneer the way for Google and Bing. When the internet was just getting started back in 1990, it was difficult for people to find information online. In order to discover a new site or information online, people usually had to learn of it from word of mouth. People would use file transfer protocol to send information to each other and share sites. This was a technical and slow process, but then Tim Berners-Lee created a web application to surf the Internet more easily. People could now access sites more easily, but they still had to know the site’s URL. This was a perfect dilemma to be solved by search engines.

Screenshot of Archie

The internet’s first search engine was named Archie. Despite popular belief, the search engine wasn’t named after the Archie comic book character but rather was short for archives. It was written and launched by a McGill University postgraduate student named Allen Emtage in 1990. Allen developed the search engine based on a simple idea. He created a database of anonymous FTP sites that Archie could search through. To use the search engine, users would have to log in and type in keywords to find things they were looking for. Since Archie actually predated the launch of the World Wide Web, it could only be used for finding information in public FTP directories. Because people didn’t have a way to surf the Internet yet, Archie provided a valuable service. Two years after its launch, Emtage along with his partner Peter Deutsch formed a company that provided internet Information Services and a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine. By the time the company was launched, Archie had collected over 200 FTP sites and was one of the most favorite web tools. By its peak in 1995, Archie had catalogued over a million pages. Today it is no longer used but many of its search functions can be seen in Google’s search engine.

In 1995, Excite was born. It was a web portal that offered a variety of services such as the weather, news, email, and instant messaging. At its peak, it was one of the most visited sites on the internet. The search engine was started by six Stanford University students in their garage. They had an ambitious goal. They wanted to build a tool that would manage the vast amount of information on the internet. Soon after the launch of their project, International Data Group offered them $80,000 to bring the project online. In the same year, two venture capital firms approach them with an offer over a million dollars. Excite began offering its services online and began expanding. In 1996, Excite and AOL entered into an agreement to make Excite AOL’s primary search engine. In return, AOL got a 20% share in the search company. The search engine also entered into a partnership with Intuit in the following year. For Excite, the future seemed bright but not for long. Unfortunately for the search engine, the playing field became more competitive. Bigger and better search engines like Yahoo and Google began taking traffic away from Excite. In 1998, Excite reported a net loss of 30 million dollars and could barely meet its financial obligations. Over the years, its traffic decreased dramatically and it was eventually sold off to Ask Jeeves.

In the same year that Excite launched, AltaVista was getting started. Researchers at Digital Equipment Corporation Network systems Laboratory wanted a way to drmonstrate their supercomputer the AlphaServer 8400 TurborLaser’s speed and power. It was capable of searching large databases quickly. They built a search engine to test the power of the supercomputer. The researchers built a web crawler that could quickly index every word of all HTML pages on the internet. In 1995, the company made the search engine accessible to the public. It quickly became a huge success as it was one of the best search engines on the internet. With AltaVista, people were able to find useful results quickly and easily. The search engine was so powerful that it could index webpages 10X quicker then other search engines on the internet. In addition, AltaVista pioneered the features that others hadn’t thought of. Before it, other search engines would create directories of the web. Instead of doing this, Altavista created a complete index of the web. This allowed it to show users more relevant results. Despite its innovations in search technology, it wasn’t able to keep up with the advanced capabilities of Google. It was bought by Overture Services in 2003 and then acquired by Yahoo in the same year. In 2013, AltaVista was officially shut down by Yahoo.

The year 1994 saw the creation of another search engine that would quickly gained popularity. Yahoo was started by Stanford University students Jerry Yang and David Filo. They began by a simple directory of online websites that were organized in a hierarchy. Originally, they just wanted a place to organize a list of their favorite sites. But they soon realized that other people wanted the same thing. As word spread about their useful directory, it grew in popularity. At first, it was called Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. But as their site’s traffic continued to increased, they quickly realized its full potential. They renamed it Yahoo and incorporated it in 1995. From the beginning, Yahoo had great success. With a variety of digital content plus an email and search engine service, Yahoo quickly became one of the internet’s favorite places to hang out. In 1995, Yahoo went public and raised 33.8 million dollars by April of the next year. But like the other search engines before it, Yahoo wasn’t able to compete with Google. It reached its peak in 2000 with an all-time high share of $118, but that was the last achievement it would claim. In 2017, Verizon acquired Yahoo for 4.5 billion dollars after Yahoo first declaring bankruptcy.
Google is the most powerful search engine on the internet today, but it has these early search engines to thank for its success. Each search engine contributed powerful innovations that transformed the way we access the internet. From keywords to web crawler, they helped shape the world of search and provided Google with stepping stones to its success. Archie was the Godfather of search engines. Excite created a way to manage the internet’s information. AltaVista innovated the way web crawlers work. Yahoo showed the world that people wanted a search engine service. Without a doubt, the internet today would be a very different place without the innovations of these early search engines.


points covered

  • Define Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • How Does SEM Work?
  • Why Is It Important?

What’s search engine marketing?

define search engine marketing

When it was first introduced, people used the term search engine marketing to describe both search optimization and paid advertising. But over the years, it’s become its own thing. It’s now used to define all paid advertising on search engines. Search engine marketing or SEM as some people call it covers all paid advertising on Google search, Bing, and the display networks of either search engine. Some people would include Yahoo search as well but I think that platform has died.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is important because it helps businesses gain useful traffic and leads. Advertisers use it to increase their website’s visibility in either Google’s or Bing’s search results. This allows them to get valuable traffic to their site that they might not have otherwise gotten. Because of Search Engine Marketing, businesses are able to increase their conversions and brand awareness.

How Search engine marketing works

With SEM, businesses and advertisers pay a certain amount to drive qualified traffic to their website. When you do a search on Google, you’ll see about three or four Blue Links at the top of the results with the word Ad next to them. These ads are a result of such engine marketing. Advertisers create an account on either Google’s or Bing’s marketing platform and build campaigns that will serve ads in the search results page. Whether or not their ads will show and what position they will show in, depends on their quality score, ad rank, and bids. For Google specifically, advertisers are judged based on their landing page experience, budget, and ad copy. 
Before setting up your first search engine marketing campaign, you should know who you are marketing to, how much it will cost to break even, and what kind of value you want to receive. Google is great for promoting both services and products. For services, you can use Structured Snippets, call extensions, and site links. For products, you can use Google shopping ads to display beautiful imagery of your products and great descriptions.
After deciding your budget and audience, you can start to build your first campaign on the search engine network. The beautiful thing about search engine marketing is that it gives advertisers a lot of options to work with. You can conduct keyword research to find relevant keywords that will direct high quality traffic to your site. You can craft beautiful ad copy that will grab your audience’s attention and make them click. You can choose the location you want your ads to show in so that you can target the right audience. You can manually control your bids so that you won’t ever go over budget.
Search engine marketing is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. According to Boston Hospitality Review, 79% of guests booked a hotel online after searching on Google. In another study, assistant professor Reena Malik found that SEO and SEM were the most effective ways to increase sales. While SEO is a great way to send traffic to your site, most businesses don’t have the patience to do it. SEO can take up to a year before you start seeing good results. On the other hand, SEM offers immediate results. With search engine marketing, you simply have to create a campaign and choose your budget to start showing your website in the search page results.


How do ad groups work?

In a previous post, I described campaigns as a house that organizes all of your ad groups, keywords, and ads. If campaigns are the house, then ad groups are the rooms in the house. Like rooms, ad groups have a certain theme and its keywords and ads apply to that theme. Before creating my ad groups in my Google Ads account, I like to open up a Google Spreadsheet and start organizing lists of themes. I’ll do industry analysis and keywords research to understand what people in my market are interested in. This helps to broad my focus and catch ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of. In this post, I’ll explore what ad groups are and the best practices for creating them.

Ads Groups organize the keywords and ads into themes

Keywords allow your ads to show on specific searches

Ads provide users with info about your product or services

Ad Groups are based on themes that are relevant to your products or services. Some examples of ad group themes are desserts, beverages, and snacks. In the desserts ad group, some of the keywords might be chocolate chip ice cream, carrot cake, and blueberry cupcakes. If you were a real estate agent, some of your ad groups might be selling houses, buying houses, or top real estate agent. You want to make sure that your ad group themes are relevant to the services and products that you sell.

Pro tip: When creating your first ad groups, build for simplicity. As your account grows, it will become more and more complex. By starting off simple, your keywords and ads will be better organized.


You can set bids at the campaign, ad group, and keyword level. Creating your first a group, you are prompted to set a default bid. This bid will apply to all your keywords when you first create them. If you add new keywords the group, the default bid will apply to them too. After your ad group has been created, you can adjust your keyword bids accordingly. Please note, your default bid doesn’t doesn’t limit how much you spend per ad group. You can only limit your spend by adjusting your keyword bids and campaign budget.


Your keywords allow you to control what searches your ads appear on. If you’re a real estate agent, some of your keywords might be “real estate agents near me”, “real estate agents in my area”, or “top real estate agent”. When a user searches on Google for top real estate agents in the area, your ads could appear.

There are a few different keyword match types that allow you to control what kind of searches your ad appears on. The five keyword types are broad match, broad modified, phrase match, exact match, and negative.

Broad Match
Your ad can show up on any searches related to your keyword. For example, if you are a real estate agent and your keyword was top real estate agent, then you could possibly show up on searches for:
– top real estate agent in my area
– what’s a top real estate agent
– how can I become a top real estate agent

– real estate agents top scores

Be very careful when using broad match keywords. They have the potential to show up on almost anything and can cost you a ton of money if not used correctly.

Broad Match Modified
Your ad can only show up on searches that contain keywords with a plus sign. For example, if your keyword was +top +real +estate +agent, then the searches you could show up on are:
– where’s a top real estate agent at
– top salary for real estate agent
– top real estate agent in my city

– top schools for real estate agents

Broad match modified gives you a bit more control than just broad match but be careful when you use it.

Phrase Match
Your ad will only show on searches that contain your keyword phrase. For example, if your keyword phrase is “top real estate agent”, then your ad could potentially show on searches for:
– top real estate agent in my area
– find me a top real estate agent
– top real estate agent near me

– how much do top real estate agents cost

Unlike broad match modified, you’ll noticed your keyword phrase isn’t broken up. There are no words in between. Only at the end or beginning. I like using phrase match because it gives me more control.

Exact Match
Your ad will only show on searches that exactly match your keyword. After Google’s recent update to its algorithm, exact match will also include variants of your keyword. Variants can be misspellings or singular or plural forms of your keyword. For example, if your keyword is [top real estate agent], your ad can show on searches for:
– top real estate agent
– top real estate agents

– top realtors

Negative Keywords
This allows you to exclude searches you don’t want your ads to appear on. For example, as a real estate agent you probably don’t want to show ads on searches for vehicles. By adding vehicles as a negative keyword, you can make sure your ad never shows on those searches.


After finding awesome keywords for your ad groups, you can start building relevant ads. Great ad copy is very important because it is how you attract uses to your site. A few great tips are using the keyword in the headline, delivering a concise message, and making it as relevant as possible.

To make your ads look bigger, you can include extensions. A few extension types you can use are sitelink extensions, structured Snippets, call out extensions, and call extensions. These are great ways to promote your product and get customers to click your ad. When writing great ad copy, make sure to follow Google’s ad policy. For more information on ads, check out my other blog posts.

  • Campaign definition
  • Setting up goals
  • Using language settings
  • Budget & Bidding Strategies

What’s a Google ad campaign?

Excellent question! A campaign in your Google Ads account is what organized your ad groups, keywords, and ads. It’s how you target a specific location and groups of people. Imagine you’re building a house that you want to be perfect. You know the location you want it to be in and how you want it decorated. A campaign is the same. A campaign has one or multiple set location depending on your market. Your ad groups, keywords, and ads are like the interior of the home. In order to set up a smart campaign, you first have to know how you want to build it and how much you can spend.

  1. Campaigns organize your ad groups, keywords, and ads.
  2. Campaigns can have one or more targeted locations and also target specific groups of people.

In your campaign, you can adjust settings for your budget, language, where you want your ad to show, target location, demographics, audiences, dating strategy, and more. 


One of the first steps in setting up your campaign, is choosing the right goal. You want to select a goal that matches what your marketing objective is. For example, you can choose website traffic, leads, or sales as a goal. After setting up a goal, Google will show you recommended features and settings to help you achieve this goal. But be careful when choosing a goal. By choosing a goal, you could potentially exclude certain settings that you might want to use. Besides that, goals are fantastic way to organize your campaign and ensure your hitting your objectives. 

Campaign Type 

Google gives you a couple different options for advertising on its Network. Before even creating your first campaign, you have to select which kind of campaign you want. The campaign type you choose depends on the marketing objectives you have. Here’s a breakdown of the campaign types. 

Search Campaigns 
This allows you to advertise on on the search results of either Google or its partners. Search campaigns have a pay-per-click bidding model. 
Display Campaigns 
This allows you to show your ads on different websites across the Google Display Network. You can control where you’re ad shows by using your targeting settings. 
Shopping Campaigns 
This allows you to advertised your products with product listing ads on the Google search and shopping results. Uses will see a picture of your product along with a small piece of info. 
Video Campaigns 
This allows you to show video ads on YouTube and the Display Network. These ads can appear in the YouTube search results or when someone is watching a video. 
App Campaigns 
This allows you to advertise your app on Google search, display, Google Play, and YouTube. Google uses responsive ads to effectively promote your app across its networks. 

Google Networks 

Depending on your campaign type and marketing objectives, you can choose which network you want your ads to appear on. Google has three primary networks: Google search Network, Google Display Network, and the YouTube Network. Whether or not your ad will show on these networks, depends on your campaign type. For example, the search Network can you show display ads. And you wouldn’t want to run search ads on the YouTube Network. 
Simply put, if you are running search ads, can you use the search Network. If you are running display, app, or video ads use the Display Network. 

Target Location 

Using specific target locations will help you tailor your ads and keywords to your Market. In your campaign settings, you can choose locations and languages that you want to target. Google gives you the option to target locations by radius, cities, County, zip codes, or countries. When choosing your location targeting, you can select to target people in your location or who are interested in your location. 
You have the ability to target people based on their language. Google goes off the language setting on the user’s browser. If you wish to target just English speakers, you can set the language setting to just English. Pro tip: try adjusting your language setting to all languages. If the user’s brass faucet to Spanish but they are using your keywords, then they understand English or the language you are advertising. 


Using audiences is a great way to target people with specific interests, intents, and demographic information. There are a number of ways you can utilize the power of audiences but make sure it aligns with your marketing objectives. Each campaign type has a different set of ways to use audiences. You wouldn’t use your audiences on your search campaigns the same way you would on your display campaign. 
A few things to consider when setting up audiences are their demographics, interests, and intent. What is their gender and how much do they make? What kind of things are they interested in? Are they ready to make a purchase? 
Audiences also allow you to set up a remarketing campaign to target people who have visited your site but didn’t convert. This is a cheap and effective way to bring visitors back to your site. In another post, I go over remarketing audiences and campaigns. 


It’s crucial you know how much you are willing to spend before you set your campaign up. Depending on your industry and location, Google ads can either be expensive or affordable. I highly recommend doing competitor research just to understand your industry and how much others are spending. In your campaign, you can set a daily budget. This tells Google how much you are willing to spend each day on your campaign. Please note, Google has the potential to spend up to 200% of your daily budget. So it’s wise to create a safety net when planning your budget. In another post, I provide an in-depth guide to budget planning. 


Bids allow you to control how much you are willing to spend per impression or click. There are a couple different ways you can bid on your ads. You can pay for clicks, Impressions, conversions, or video views. Each bed type has a different strategy that comes with it. When starting out with a brand new search campaign, I like to use a manual CPC just to understand how much the clicks cost in my industry and what the valuable keywords are. Google also has smart bidding options which allows Google to control your bid amounts. While this is great for large accounts, I wouldn’t recommend it for small accounts with little or no data. For more information on bidding strategies, see some of my latest blog posts.

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” – Tim Berners-Lee

one man’s solution that lead to the internet

Before the internet revolution, it was very difficult to share information. In the 1980’s when the internet was just beginning to get a start, only about 15% of the U.S. population owned a computer. The machines that people did own were big, noisy, and incredibly slow. If you wanted to send your friend a file, you’d have to download it from your computer, physically walk over to their machine, and upload the file. This posed a large problem for many businesses and organizations. 

In 1989, an English engineer named Tim Berners Lee had a vision for a system that connected the world’s information. At the time he was working as a software engineer for CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. He noticed that scientists and others at CERN regularly had difficulty retrieving information.

In an interview with W3.com he recalls, “In those days, there was different information on different computers, but you had to log on to different computers to get at it. Also, sometimes you had to learn a different program on each computer. Often it was just easier to go and ask people when they were having coffee…”

This was a problem that needed solving, and in 1989 he found the solution. He started a project based on the concept of hypertext, to make sharing information easier among researches. To demonstrate his idea, he built a software prototype called ENQUIRE. His ambition was to interlink documents from not one computer but many. ENQUIRE was a simple hypertext program that allowed him to do just that. This was the start to the world wide web, but soon he realized more was needed to connect the world.

In 1990, he wrote the first application to view the web called the World Wide Web. It was later renamed Nexus so as not to be confused with the abstract term World Wide Web. This allowed people to visit pages, share docs and information, and do so much more.