Google Ads Search Certification: A Cheat Sheet (part 1/3)

(not sponsored unless Google wants to pay me)

Hello hello! As we all know by now, Google is probably the closest company to the Illuminati. They track ya, they track your info, etc. etc. As marketers, now’s your chance to harness this Google-power! Learn about how to make Google work for you! Today I’ll be talking about “Google Ads Search”. Specifically, the Google Skillshop which has a bunch of other classes as well. This blog will include the first three sections from this course so tune in for part 2 and 3! Let’s jump on into it!

Grow Your Business with Google Ads

Remember, the most important part of your campaign is that it matches your business objectives! To do this, Google Ads are “built around three principles: relevance, control, and results” (Skillshop, 2019).

  • Relevance means that Google won’t be showing your ads to just anyone. As I mentioned in the intro, Google is pretty top tier in tracking their users and this is to your advantage. Google Ads become targeted to the audience. This will increase interest and conversions from the ad.
  • Control means that you can control stuff like budget.
  • Results mean; well, results! Google Ads are cool in this sense because you pay per result. For example, you know the sponsored sites in Google (the search engine)? The company only pays for that ad placement when you click.
    (Skillshop, 2019)

Google has more than just featured search engine optimization (SEO)-type ads though! There are five basic ad campaign types Google offers.

  • Search. These are the ads that show up when you search for something. This isn’t just for Google search engine though; it also includes YouTube!
  • Display. These are just regular visual ads that pop up when you’re on a site.
  • Video. These are video ads! These are commonly found when watching videos on YouTube.    
  • Shopping. These are like little visual carousels of products consumers can buy.
  • App. These are campaigns to specifically promote your app. These could be shown on/around YouTube videos, in Google Play (app store), or as a search ad. So essentially, it’s a combo of a few campaign types, but only for apps.    
    (Skillshop, 2019)
And here is an example of a search ad on Google AND a Shopping ad!
Here’s an example of a search ad on YouTube

There’re also specialized campaigns for local, hotel, and discovery (Skillshop, 2019). Local is for driving local business (offline). Hotel is for hotels (showing rates and availability to consumers easily). Lastly, discovery is to promote awareness and engagement (through ~discovery of the business). Google also offers a “Smart Campaign” which does everything for you. Personally, I find this suspect due to the lack of control, but it is an option.

Explore the Value of Google Search

SEO is integral to business. People are searching every day and usually they “Google” it. If your ads are appearing alongside organic results, it may incline customers to click.

Before you start your campaign, it’s important to know the answers to four key questions. This is so you’re not going in blind (and wasting your time and money)! These aren’t the only questions to think about before your campaign though. Remember, campaigns are to fulfil your business objectives so know what these objectives are first!  

The Four Questions to Know Before a Campaign

  1. Where do you want your ads to be seen?
  2. How much do you want to invest?
  3. What do you want to share in your ads?
  4. What keywords will match your customer’s search terms?
    (Skillshop, 2019)

Other questions to think about include: do you want to target a specific device? What about a specific language? These all help shape your audience. Remember, Google is very focused on relevance and delivering relevant ads to consumers! This makes things like keywords and device targeting very important!

Mini-Lesson: Keywords

When adding keywords, you want to think like a business but also a customer. By changing the phrasing or word choice of a keyword, it changes the relevancy of the ad to a consumer. Let’s consider this example. You own a luxury cosmetic company that sells clear lip gloss and you have an ad campaign of your gloss. A consumer searches for “best luxury clear lip glosses 2020”. How does your keyword choice affect the match?

Google keywords are split into five match-types (broad to narrow). These are:

  • Broad match  (lipe gloss)
  • Modified broad match (+lipglass)
  • Phrase match (“clear lip gloss”)
  • Exact match ([luxury clear lip gloss])
  • Negative (-cheap)     
    (Skillshop, 2019)

So, a broad match is the most generic and will likely reach the biggest audience. This includes spelling mistakes, synonyms, or anything related search term (Skillshop, 2019). A modified broad match is similar but only if the keyword or a close variation is present. To do this, add a plus (+) in front of the keyword (Skillshop, 2019). A phrase match will match to your keyword only if that exact phrase is typed. To do this, add quotation marks around the phrase (Skillshop, 2019). An exact match will only match your keyword if it means the same thing. This includes misspellings, synonyms, plurals, etc (Skillshop, 2019). To do this, you add brackets around the keyword (Skillshop, 2019)! A negative keyword hides the ad from customers searching that keyword. For a luxury lip gloss brand, hiding the keyword “cheap” means customers searching for cheap lip gloss won’t see your ad. To do this, add a minus (-) in front of the keyword.   

Google tip: Phrase match is good for search flexibility. It’ll give you more reach while still targeting a specific customer. Exact match is good if you’re trying to only target that specific customer (Skillshop, 2019).

(Skillshop, 2019)

“But that’s so many keywords I need to type!” you may be saying. Well, Google has your back. They offer Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) where you specify things like your website’s pages, ad template, and budget and they’ll autogenerate ads for you. DSA uses machine learning to make sure it’s hitting all the relevant customers and phrases. This is great for reach because it’ll autogenerate ads for searches you might’ve missed, it’s all automated for you so you don’t need to put in a lot of work, and you’re still in control (Skillshop, 2019).

Understand the Google Ads Auction

What are ad auctions? They are exactly what they sound like! They’re auctions you participate in to get your ad to a featured position. Obviously, this is very important for you because a prime spot could lead to more clicks! So how does ad placement even work; relevancy, money, and AdRank.

Firstly, Google only wants to show relevant results. So, if your site is relevant to whatever the consumer searches, you’re halfway there!
Second, money. You could bid any amount of money (per click) for your ad to be featured. Google notes you’d only need to pay one cent more than the next highest bid per click in practice.
Lastly, AdRank. Your Google AdRank considers five factors (this is the basis of your Quality Score):

  1. Your bid (the max you’re willing to pay)
  2. Ad quality (based on expected click-through rate, relevancy, and landing page experience)
  3. Relevancy (is it relevant to what’s being searched?)
  4. Ad format & extension impact (how will these additional things impact the ad’s performance)  
  5. Context of query (what’s the context of the Google search? Would your company help?)
     (Skillshop, 2019)

Click HERE to find out how to check your current quality score.

Note: Your AdRank will influence how much you pay per click. This is because higher-quality ads (high ranking) are seen as more helpful to the user. This means they “typically [will be] lower [in] cost, [have a ] better ad position and more advertising success” (Skillshop, 2019).

Veruca Salt from willy wonka, bad egg scene
Improve your quality to be a good egg (unlike Veruca!)

Mini-Lesson: Improving Your Quality Score

Focus on three components, expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience (Skillshop, 2019).

Expected Click-Through Rate (eCTR)
This is based off how likely Google thinks your keywords would lead to an ad click (Skillshop, 2019). This means it’s smart to constantly improve due to consumer preferences’ changing. Tips to improve this are:

  • Be specific. Include specific and relevant keywords (especially in the headline)
  • Try different calls to action!
  • Highlight your competitive advantage. Why should consumers buy from you?
  •  Create time or location specific ads. For example, holiday deals?
    (Skillshop, 2019)

Ad Relevance
Remember! Your ad needs to be relevant to the consumer’s search! This means it’s integral you make your ad as relevant as you can! Here are some Google-provided tips:

  • Utilise negative keywords. If your ad for bike accessories isn’t relevant to users looking for scooters, blacklist scooters! This makes your ad more specific (and relevant)!
  • Specify a device. The user experience is different on mobile and desktop! Specify the device or try different creative (to fit the device used!)
  • Be local. Localization is great, especially if you’re advertising brick-and-mortar!
  • Include relevant search terms to copy. This could make the content seem more relevant to users.
    (Skillshop, 2019)

Landing Page Experience
As mentioned before, part of ad quality is determined by landing page experience! This means users expect next-to-instant gratification for clicking your ad! This could be a speedy answer or clear relevance. Here are some tips to improve your landing page experience:

Your web page better load fast!
  • Send traffic to the proper page! People expect instant relevance so if your ad is for a cool necklace, take the user straight to that product.
  • Consistency. Follow through on what the ad says. If you’re advertising a sale, you better have a sale!
  • Be transparent and trustworthy. Make users feel they can trust you and your site.
  • Improve loading speed. People want results quickly so the quicker your site loads, the happier the user.
  • Rethink mobile. Mobile use versus desktop use is a different experience. Consider having a streamlined mobile webpage so it’s easier for users to navigate.
    (Skillshop, 2019)


So, what are the key takeaways from part 1? Firstly, relevancy is everything! Regardless of how incredible your ad is, Google won’t show it to users if it’s not relevant to the search. Therefore, it’s integral you take into account the best ways to make your ad relevant. For an example, let’s say you own a small pizza shop and you want to advertise on Google. Step 1 is to decide your ad type. Due it being an ad for your small pizza shop, you decide on just a search ad for now. Next, you need to decide your ad’s purpose and keywords. After you work out your business objectives, you need to choose keywords. You input: [Pizza], -Stromboli, “local pizza”, as a few keywords. Lastly, you want your ad to be featured prominently so you want a high AdRank. From this, you decide to take action to improve your Quality Score. To do this, you change your ad headline to “Delicious Pizza Locally: Call now for fast delivery in-city!” and make the ad go straight to your business’s contact information. You also specify the ad’s location to your city. This highlights your competitive advantage of local delivery. But what next? Tune in for part 2 coming later this week to find out!      

This could be your happy face after a successful Google pizza ad! (PHOTO BY LARRY WONG/POSTMEDIA)


Skillshop. (2019, September 7). Google Ads Search Certification . Retrieved from Skillshop:

2 thoughts on “Google Ads Search Certification: A Cheat Sheet (part 1/3)

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