Google adwords and online advertising cheat sheet.

Published in Marketing

Here's a quick guide to get you going in online advertising fast. This is by no means comprehensive and meant simple help online advertising noobs who are discovering Google Adwords for the first time.

Google Explains Adwords like this: "An online retailer drives traffic to the website by showing ads in response to relevant keywords on search engines and on Display Network webpages the target customers are likely to visit."

Online advertising is made up of three types:

  1. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
  2. Display Network advertising (putting an add on a website)
  3. SERP Advertising (Search Engine Results Page advertising)

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is where you make landing pages specific to you product and service, concentrate the content to be high quality with accurate keywords (make it good and on topic). Then you create (and encourage others to create) links to that page using the key words. This will generate value to the search engines and your pages will feature highly in search engines bringing in targeted traffic. This (SEM) refers to non paid traffic, traffic that finds its way organically just because you website is online and has been found by the search engines.

Improve SEM by:

  • Adding quality content to your website
  • Make sure pages have human readable URLS
  • Include pictures or diagrams with accurate text descriptions in the metadata (alt-text)
  • Establish links both internal and external to the pages

Display Network Advertising is almost entirely made up of PPC (pay per click). The advertiser signs up, selects keywords which trigger the adds, decides how much to bid for each/all keywords. The ads will appear on web pages with those keywords and the advertiser then pays whenever a user clicks on an add. Generally speaking, these ads will be cheaper so you will get more traffic but it will be a lower quality (less likely to make a purchase).

Display Network Advertising is best for:

  • Brand advertising
  • Advertising with high generic interest
  • Promotions which require the user to take non purchase actions (like joining a free club or entering in a giveaway).

SERP advertising is when you advertise only on the Search Engine Results Pages. The advertiser signs ups and bids in keywords. The ads will show alongside the search result when people search. Generally speaking the ads produce more accurate targeting and therefore warmer (higher qulaity/more likely to buy) customers. The downside is that it can cost quite a bit more because it is better targeted.

SERP is better for:

  • Reaching directly someone who is already looking for your product or service
  • Increasing quality traffic from your target market with a higher likelyhood of making a purchase
  • Directing a buyer to your landing page so that they will (hopefully) make a purchase.

Styles of online adverstising:

There are two main styles of online advertising based on their objectives:

  1. Direct response. Direct response advertising is when the advertiser wants the visitor to take direct action when he/she arrives at the site. This means ideally the visitor will sign up for something, make a purchase, register or take part etc. Usually you choose Search Engine Results Page advertising for ads which require direct response because it is easier to target customers already with a need and therefore get a higher ROI (return on investment).
  2. Branding. Branding is simply association and recognition. The goal is to associate the brand with quality images, websites, celebrities and music to steer a persons impression of the brand and create value. For this reason, Display Network Advertising is often used for branding because it has the potential to deliver the right imagery to a larger audience for a lower cost.


  • If you are selling something on a limited marketing budget you should concentrate on Display Network Advertising with little bit or SERP.
  • If you are trageting a specific audience with a hgihly atractive offer or simply trying to reinforce an idea or bring attention to a concept or brand, then you should mix SERP and Display Network Advertising (keeping a clos eye on R.O.I).
  • All website will be listed in the search engines (unless you speecifically ask not to be) and therefore require some degree of SEM, how much effort you put into this is up to you. My advise is to cleanly follow the fundimentals of providing good accurate content that provides benift to the customer and Google will do the rest.