Absolute Beginner's Guide to Google AdWords - Part Two

Published on: Sep 18. 2013

About the author

Planning is half of the work ahead. We’ve seen numerous campaigns that went wrong just because they were poorly structured, hard to optimize or didn’t address the needs of end clients.

What are the potential problems you need to take into account?

  • Account size
  • GeoTargeting
  • Languages
  • Networks
  • Account management and testing

Account size

You will start with a small account, but what will happen when it grows? With poor account structure, you will end up chasing your own tail and trying to rewrite campaigns. You will lose time and money. Take time to plan your campaigns and beware of the campaign limits.

Those are:

  • 100 campaigns
  • 2000 ad groups per campaign
  • 2000 keywords per ad group
  • 300 display ads per ad group


Planning is half of the work. DON’T skip this step and go straight to the account. You don’t know how big your account will get or what obstacles and problems you may encounter. Why is this so important: you will not lose too much time when you have to tweak or implement your campaigns.

Planning is half the work. Photo by Steve Jurvetson


Potential problems in the future:

  • Your account will grow
  • You will end up in bid-wars and you will have tough time to see what’s working and what’s not
  • You will want to separate display and search network
  • You will want to have more languages
  • You will give account management to someone else and they might have a tough time handling it

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
- Benjamin Franklin

The structure and tips:

  • Separate Search and Display Network in the beginning
  • Separate your products into campaigns (carefully)
  • Separate your target markets (countries and languages)
  • Plan for one-time test campaigns
  • Beware of the limits (100 campaigns 2000 ad groups per campaign 2000 keywords per ad group 300 display ads per ad group)


First thing you should do is plan this campaign on your computer (Word, Google Docs, Excel etc). Here is the roadmap:

  • Plan the campaign structure
  • Plan ad groups
  • Do keyword research for one group
  • Write ads
  • Scale it
  • Do the necessary work in AdWords
  • Implement tracking
  • Test
  • Fine-tune



Google AdWords allows you to target your campaigns to specific geographic locations, from whole countries, down to the city level.
You can define the area in which you want your ads delivered by using several options:

  • Entering specific locations manually - you can define countries, states or even cities you want to target
  • Radius targeting - by specifying the radius and selecting the center location on the map

Google recommends a minimum radius of 10 miles or 20 km when using radius targeting option.

You can exclude areas in which you do not want your ads to appear by either entering specific locations manually or by entering locations in bulk.

If you are targeting an international audience it might be a good idea to create separate campaigns for each country. Also keep in mind that since the introduction of enhanced campaigns in July 2013, you can set bid adjustments to all targeted locations.

Google AdWords geotargeting options - Use them!

Advanced location options

Advanced location options allow for a greater control over who sees your ads. By default, Google shows your ads to all the people in, searching for, or viewing pages about your targeted locations. This setting can cause your ad to appear for people physically located outside your targeted locations.
If you specifically want to limit the audience for your ads to only those people that are physically inside your targeted locations you need to change the advanced location options.


Using language targeting allows you to choose the languages your target audiences uses. This is especially useful when targeting ad placements on the Google Display Network. Be sure to write the ads in the language you are targeting because AdWords won't translate them for you.

Understanding networks

The concept of Google Network is quite easy to understand. It consists of all the places where an AdWords ad can appear, including Google sites and webpages that are part of Google AdSense program.
The Google Network is divided into Search and Display Networks.

Google Search Network is a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear, such as Google Search, Google Maps, Google Product Search and other search partners such as AOL.



  • It is simple to set up and manage
  • You can set unique keyword bids
  • You can use negative keywords to exclude unwanted impressions
  • You can use ad extensions to show your physical address, phone number or a photo of your product



  • Huge competition on the Search Network will drive up your costs
  • CPC is dependent on your Quality Score
  • You can only use text ads


Google Display Network consists of partner websites and other specific Google Websites such as Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. When you are advertising on the Display Network, Google uses contextual targeting to match keywords with page content.



  • Unlimited traffic potential due to the huge size of the Display Network
  • Advertising on the Display Network helps with branding
  • Display Network has lower CPC than Search Network
  • You can manage ad placements manually
  • You can exclude web sites, categories or topics
  • You can utilize remarketing



  • Initial setup is more complicated
  • Negative keywords are used only as a guide to determine your targeted audience
  • More time-consuming to manage as opposed to Search Network advertising
  • Takes longer to optimize due to much lower CTR than on the Search Network

Account management and testing

Quite often people make the mistake of not thinking how they are going to manage their campaigns while planning the initial campaign structure.

One of the most common mistake seen here is the practice of stuffing too many keywords in a single ad group. I've seen this happen way to often.

Why is this bad? Well, ask yourself, is it possible for your ads to be relevant for each keyword in the ad group? If you have hundreds of keywords, the answer is, probably not. Likewise the testing process on such an ad group will be significantly harder.

You need to structure your campaigns in a logical order so that your keywords are tightly knitted into small ad groups with highly relevant ads. This way you will have a considerably easier job managing and testing your campaign and ads in the future.

10 Google AdWords Commandments

To leave you with some food for thought, I am going to present you with a couple more guidelines that will make your life easier and can help you if you get stuck while planning your AdWords campaigns. So without further ado, I give you our 10 Google AdWords Commandments.

  1. Do your homework - Research
  2. Don’t make assumptions – Test
  3. AdWords are here to make money for Google not for you
  4. AdWords can make you money – If you invest time and money
  5. You have to spend money to get the data
  6. Work with your data and your guts
  7. Don’t enter bidding wars unless you have to
  8. Know your customers
  9. Using AdWords without conversion optimization is a financial suicide
  10. Competition is good – You can learn from them


Stay tuned for part three, where I will talk about keywords and ads. As always, leave any questions or feedback in the comments section.


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