How to Use Google AdWords: The Ultimate Guide

How to use Google adwords

When you log into Google AdWords, what do you see? The answer is “nothing much” and it’s probably the #1 reason new marketers are so intimidated by the service. By now, we all know that keyword research is important but, for people just getting started, the process can be an frightening one to undertake.

Fortunately, we’re here to tell you that, while Google AdWords may look a little scary, it’s actually an incredibly effective tool that, when used properly, can transform your keyword research and SEO experience forever. If you’ve never dabbled in the AdWords waters before, here’s how you get started:

Step 1: Create an Account

The first step is a simple one – head to the AdWords website and set up an account by clicking the “Start now” button.

Google AdWords -start now-


You’ll be asked to enter your Google account information if you’re already an existing Google user or, if not, you’ll be asked to start a new account entirely (if you need more help with this, check out Google’s tutorial here). If you have a personal Google account but you want to use AdWords to research keywords for your business, you may want to create a separate business-only account now. Google recommends doing this and it can help keep things organized in the future.

Once you’ve developed an account, you’ll be asked to sign in and confirm your account. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to create your first AdWords campaign.

Step 2: Research Keywords

AdWords is a powerful keyword research tool and selecting the right keywords to research is a big portion of finding AdWords success. To get an idea for the keywords you should be targeting, take a look at your website, which should naturally include a whole host of terms that describe your products, goods, or services. Take popular active-wear dealer Prana, for example.

Immediately, you get a feel for what Prana does and what the company is all about and it’s pretty safe to surmise that one of their main keywords is simply “clothing” and, specifically, women’s and men’s clothing. Both of those categories are huge, though, and when you dig deeper you find that the site actually has dozens of sub-categories within each of the larger categories. Hover over the “women’s clothing” tab, for example, and this is what you see:

Prana screenshot

Each of these sub-categories is targeting a keyword.

In order to determine which keywords your company should be targeting, do a similar appraisal of your site and compile a basic list of the most common keywords on your company’s services or products pages. Compile these into an excel spreadsheet to keep them organized and head to step 3.

Step 3: Use Google’s Keywords Tool

Once you’ve compiled your preliminary keywords, you can head to the Google Keywords Tool to search for related keyword phrases. To search within the tool, you simply enter one of your previously gathered keywords to search for similar words and phrases you may want to target. When you’re doing this, ensure that you’ve selected your location and country under the “advanced options” tab. Once you’ve entered your keyword, the tool will produce a list of related keywords, as well as important information like search volume and average cost per click estimates. These metrics will be helpful as you move into deciding which keywords to base your campaign around.

Step 4: Choose Your Keywords

Once you’ve put together your keywords list and evaluated each keyword for related search terms and search volume, it’s time to choose which keywords to target. Just because you compiled a list of 10 keywords doesn’t necessarily mean you should advertise for all of them and choosing carefully at this step can help you save time and money down the line. When evaluating the results of your keywords, take the following things into consideration:

  • Cost: If you’re a small business that’s running your first ad campaign, you probably don’t have a huge advertising budget. The more keywords you link to your AdWords account, the more you’ll pay out, so it’s wise to focus on only a few at first. Focus on the keywords that are the most relevant and hold the most promise for profit and relevance and work out from there.
  • Relevance: When you look at the Prana example, “women’s yoga clothing” is more relevant to the brand than “Women’s dress clothing” and, as such, should be targeted first. This keyword is not likely to be targeted by other brands that offer products different from Prana’s and will help users find exactly what they’re looking for. When choosing your own keywords, ensure that each is relevant and specific to your actual products.
  • Search Volume: While search volume is important, it’s not the single deciding factor for keywords. Keywords should be evaluated on the basis of relevancy first. Remember that the more specific or targeted a keyword is, the lower its search volume is likely to be. This isn’t a bad thing and will actually make it easier to rank for that keyword phrase. 

Step 5: Creating Your Campaign

Once you’ve decided on your keywords, it’s time to create your first campaign. Head to Google AdWords and click the “Create your first campaign” link. You’ll then be asked to decide what type of campaign you’d like to run (check out this tutorial for a more detailed explanation of the different campaign types and their strengths and weaknesses) and then you’ll be asked to set your location and language.  You’ll also be asked to customize the campaign for different networks and devices and, finally, to select a bidding and budget option. Once you’ve done all this, you’re ready to publish your first ad and track its performance.


Although using AdWords for the first time can seem intimidating, these 5 steps make it simple to create your first AdWords campaign. For more information about how to use AdWords effectively, contact Bigfoot Media. We’re here for all of your digital marketing needs and would love to help your business create a game-winning strategy.

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