Adventures in Internet Marketing: Google AdWords (Part Two)

Editor’s note:  This is the fourth in a series of posts about Internet algorithms that can be helpful when doing content marketing and in selling your own work and the second post about Google AdWords. Last week, Part One discussed some basics; this week I dig into AdWord pros and cons. ASJA Confidential welcomes any and all story ideas and suggestions on this and other related topics!

Once again I searched—you guessed it—Google to learn more about AdWords. Even the phrase “pros and cons of AdWords” was ranked with AdWords. Interestingly enough, a non-AdWord linked source, the UK digital marketing company Hallam Internet, came up with most complete and concise list of advantages and disadvantages.


Results can be instant

AdWords ads can be great if you’re looking to drive traffic to your site quickly: if you’re launching a new book and want to drum up enthusiasm and click-throughs. This is in contrast to Search engine Optimization (SEO) which can take weeks, sometimes months to saturate Google.

Creating an AdWords campaign can be fast

You can be up and running with AdWords in a very short time—as long you know what you are doing (see “Cons” below). Once you become familiar with the process, you can set them up quickly. Your ads will appear as soon as they’ve been approved, which could be right away.

Search results can provide great exposure

While some of us may skip over the links with the little square ad boxes, many people do not. And there you are, at or near the top (or possibly the bottom, where folks click through for more information) of the first page of universe’s hugest search engine! Like they say, “Location, location, location.” That, and “timing is everything.”

They are bigger and better

In 2016 the size of the text ads increased, meaning that the advertisements are larger and take up more space in the search results. Ads have also become increasingly engaging, with options to add site links and structured snippet extensions. They can even look better than your organic, non-AdWord Google listings.

You can test and improve ideas and measure results

In the spirit of throwing it against the wall to see what sticks, AdWords can be an effective and low-cost way of testing ideas before committing SEO or a larger campaign. You can gain insight into what readers/clients are looking for by experimenting with keywords and combinations of same along with what works (or doesn’t) in Web landing pages. You’ll be gathering a huge amount of data in a very short period of time. It’s an efficient and fairly cost effective way of figuring out how to drive potential clients/book buyers to your site.

You control budget and timing

Thanks to “long-tail” key words, specific phrases consisting of two or more target words that people are more likely to type in or dictate when looking for a particular product or service, you can set up focused AdWord campaigns within a reasonable budget. You can also turn AdWords off and on at will, such as between publication of books or when you busy with backlog of projects.


You pay for each click

You pay whenever someone clicks on your ad, whether or not they buy the product or service. So if you miss the mark with AdWords or even if your timing’s off, you might get a whole lot of nothing, despite a large number of clicks.

The learning curve is ginormous… and can be tricky

With something this complicated—and potentially expensive, especially if you’re designing a website and media campaign, you’ll need to spend a lot of time not only learning how to do it correctly but constantly monitoring it to make sure that it’s going in the right direction.

Plus, slipups can cost you dearly. For example, failure to put in the proper negative keywords to prevent your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase (such as “free”) can result in your link being shown to the wrong users.

Cost-per-clicks are going up

Competition can be fierce and cost-per-click keeps increasing. If your keyword bid is too low then your ads could be relegated to page two or three of the search results.

If you have no budget, your ads will stop

AdWords have a very short shelf life. So when you’re out (of money) you’re out (of ads). Compare this with the longer term investment of SEO, which also has a lengthier shelf life.

You must follow a rigid format

Although there are several formats, each has very strict character and length requirements. Ideally you’ll need to include an attention-grabbing headline, keywords, benefits and a call to action. It can be an art as much as a science; some of these tips might help.

Your landing (Web) pages need to be top-notch

They probably are anyway—we are writers after all—so maybe this isn’t such a negative. However, as mentioned last week, Google looks at the quality of your landing pages in terms of relevancy to the search query, also evaluating them with an eye to Quality Score, has an impact on how much you pay for your clicks.

Source with adaptations:

Once I learned a bit more about them, I did provide appropriate AdWord suggestions to the potential client by doing relevant Google searches. But like trying to fix my own computer or the toilet, I’d rather leave that to the experts to avoid disastrous results. Still, in this case, a little knowledge can be very useful thing.

If you missed or want to re-read last week’s post, check it out here. And here are the previous two posts in this series: Adventures in SEO (Part 1) and Adventures in Analytics (Part 2)