How Google Ads Work

Google Ads is surely a marketing tool you have heard of and you probably know a thing or two about it already. But as a small business owner or blogger, you may feel that you should understand better how Google Ads work and what you can do to optimize the reach of your ads and ROI.

There are so many online guides about Google Ads, that it’s impossible not to find almost any type of information you need. But, we felt that there’s a need for a comprehensive guide that doesn’t get overcomplicated, and still manages to describe the way Google Ads work.

Here is a concise description of the mechanisms behind Google Ads and the main indicators you will use.


The Basic Idea behind Google Ads

Google Ads – formerly known as Google AdWords – is an advertising service provided by our favourite search engine. Businesses or individuals can pay for their webpage to be shown in the search results for certain keywords. The more you pay, the more likely it is for your page to show up in the SERP (search engine results page.) However, the amount you are willing to pay isn’t the only variable that will influence your ad’s placement.

Not to mention, you have numerous other ways to get your brand seen, and it doesn’t have to be limited to the Google search results page. As you have probably noticed already, Google shows its ads just about anywhere you look.

Enter the Google Search Network and Google Display Network.


The Google Search Network

You can publish only text ads on the Search Network. They will appear on Google’s results page, Google Maps results and other Google platforms, such as Google Shopping. When you enter a keyword in the search bar, Google will show you related ads discreetly marked with a green box on the top of the SERP.

If you are looking for a product, then you might also get a Google Shopping carousel of ads at the top of the page. Getting listed there requires submitting the products or services you are selling, and detailed information about them. Rich content is very important for your reach, as we will soon find out.

Advertisers bid on certain keywords to make it to the top of the Google Search Network. An ad or group of ads that will be shown when the selected keywords are entered in the search engine is called an ad group. This type of classification is very useful in your Google ad campaigns, helping you maximize your results by extending the keyword collection that can trigger your ads.

To summarize, Google uses this network for paid search. The most common way of paying for an ad campaign is by bidding the price for a click on the ad. This is called cost-per-click, and it influences your ranking on the selected keywords that trigger your ad group. You can also pay for the impression your ads make, which means the number of times it is shown to potential customers.

Google Search

The Google Display Network

The other Google network that shows paid ads is the Display network. Hundreds of thousands of websites are affiliated with Google, accommodating Google ads on their space. You surely noticed ads on blog pages, YouTube videos, mobile apps, and so on. These pages and channels are part of the Display Network, and they use background information and targeting to attract potential customers and preferably make them click on the ad and end up buying something.

While the conversion rate is not as big as on the Search Network, it is still important to have ads here, as the Display Network might get clients you didn’t even look for.


Google Ads Remarketing

This is where Google ads get really interesting if you ask us. Remarketing means reaching out to the people who have already interacted with your page in the past. Based on what the status of their last visit was, you can follow-up and encourage them to take the next step. A good example of remarketing is reaching out to people who have landed on your page through organic search but didn’t buy anything yet. Google ads can help you target them with a call to action to attempt a sale.

Google Ads

Ranking on Google Ads

But how do you stand out among all the other businesses who pay for their ads? That is where Google Ad Ranking makes a difference. You must know what makes Google show an ad first and how to increase your ranking by being more relevant than your competitors.

The indicators that will influence your ad’s ranking on Google ads are:


  • The Bid Amount: While it is important, it cannot perform as a stand-alone factor
  • Ad Quality: Learn more about the quality score below
  • Relevance: Make sure your ad matches the search query


Ranking on Google Ads depends on many things, including the context of the search. Don’t rely on a certain formula to bring you the best results. You must always check your campaign’s performance and adjust as you go based on statistics provided by Google.


Google Ads Quality Score

We have mentioned previously how the CPC influences your ad group’s performance, but that it is not the only variable that counts. If you want to see how your ad is doing, then you must check its quality score in the Google Ads dashboard.

An ad’s quality score takes various indicators into account, which are compressed into three main categories:


  • The Expected Click-Through-Rate: Your page will have an average CTR based on how many times an ad was clicked on, versus how many times it was shown.


  • The Ad’s Relevance: A relevant ad will increase the quality score by offering the correct information to any individual who is viewing it.


  • The Landing Page Experience: If the information in the ads and landing pages is not consistent, your quality score will suffer. Make sure the landing page is consistent with the information in the ad.


As you can see, Google is very interested in showing the most relevant results for its users. Simply paying to be shown first is not enough, you must make sure your content is relevant, accurate, and it actually helps the Google user find the product or service they are looking for.

If you are excited about improving your Google Ads campaigns and you want to go deeper in their functions and mechanisms, contact the Adwords specialists at Australian Internet Advertising and find out how to create better-performing ads. We are eager to share our knowledge and experience with you and help you dominate the search engine results page.

Get in touch with us and let us develop an effective Google Ads strategy or review yours and make it profitable.