Getting Started with Google AdWords. Your step-by-step Safe-Start Guide.

This guide will direct you through the process to set up your first Google AdWords campaign and ad group. We'll get you started in the safest, lowest cost, way by bidding on your own Brands.

You can read through this guide or follow these links to your area of interest:

Before you Start - Do you have a Website?

Sign up for Perry's 5-day tips & free chart just for the email marketing master class.

Google's Starter Edition option will guide you through to create your first webpage as a part of the setup. You should NOT start running Google AdWords without your own website. Single page websites do not attract the best quality scores or visitors from the Adwords system.

Select or create your Account
  • Go to and click the Try AdWords now button or click on the button above.
  • You will be setting up an Ad Group for your Brand Names so you will need a second Ad Group to bid on
    a product or service.
  • Click the Continue button.
  • Google will then invite you to use an existing Google accoount for Gmail, etc or to create a new one.
  • Select the Currency, default UK £.
    The only way to change the payment currency is to create another account.
  • If you have created a new account then you will need to verify the email address where you will be able to open a new window with a Create your first Campaign button. Click this.

Select Language and Location Targeting

The next screen presents options to target the language and location of your audience with English and UK preselected as defaults.

 The UK Location is a good place to start. You can easily add other countries later. 

 The term 'language targeting' here is not totally accurate. 
You really target the language of your audience with the words that you will add as Keywords.

Google is filtering by the Interface Language preferences set on the visitor's search results page so your Search button becomes Suche, see left, when the preference is set to German. 

Google is starting to suggest that you can select other languages. The suggestions, above, were for a Cambridge local campaign.

Will the Japanese Whisky buyer visiting Spayside change his settings on his laptop to English to see ads for Malt Whisky?


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When you progress to your products and services Ads, think about the native languages of your likely customers who will still be using English to search. Would a London plumber's merchant want to exclude Polish?
PPC Promotion will mostly tick all 41 languages available.


For your Brands Ad the default English and UK settings are fine so click the Continue button.

default AdCreate your first Ad

You will be presented with 5 lines to create your first Text Ad below the current default UK example Ad for a London Hotel. As you type into the five entry lines this will change to preview your AdWords text ad.

The four displayed lines limit the number of characters in English to 
25 characters for your headline and 35 characters for the other three lines of description and display URL.

  • Type your company name or brand into the headline.
        This should be the only Ad group where you do this but the
        searchers will have typed in your brand.
  • These searchers will be looking for your company or brands. 
        Are there other companies with similar names? Then add
        information about your location as well as products or services into
        the description lines. Confirm they've the right "DD Jones & Sons".
  • Has you company changed its name? Here you should show the
        old name with the new to help educate your customers.
  • Type or copy in the address of your home page or contact us page
        into your Display URL line.
    This will automatically appear in the Destination URL as well.
If your landing page is too long to fit into the Display URL then paste it into the Destination URL and use a simpler
but valid address on your website to display. You can miss out http:// and even the www. at the beginning if needed.

Choose your Keywords
The term Keywords here can be a bit misleading here. Google and the other pay-per-click, PPC, advertising channels, 
Yahoo and Microsoft Live, work best with phrases of 2 of more words.
You will see a box where you can type in your keyword phrases, each on a new line. 
Google may also have some suggestions that it has worked out from your text ad words. If these have picked up on your products etc then it is best to ignore these this time.
  • Type in your company name or brand.
  • Type in common variations with Ltd., Limited and without.
  • Type in any common misspellings, phonetic spellings and typos. 
        Ask the person who opens the post for suggestions.
  • Type in variations with one of the words missed out in long company names.

If your brand has a lot of good keywords for your business, which is very good on the internet generally, then you should be careful here!
Holmes Estate Agents 
for example, changed to Homes Estate Agents will be starting to compete will all Agents with an ad that is only targeting people who already know them.


Case Studies

A firm with historic names gets over 50 clicks a month @ 2p. 
Their CTR of 10% proves customers use their old names

Brand & Material = 40% CTR @ 2p.
Short version of same brand = 30% CTR.

If all your words do combine to a unique brand then
  • Add square brackets around them to tell Google to match the Exact Phrase e.g. [].
  • Add double quotes around the brand to tell Google to use phrase matching which will match the words in that exact 
        order but will also allow other words before and after. So "" would be triggered by 
        'John at'.
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When you move on to create more ad groups and campaigns you will find that using these matching options
can help you to optimize your AdWords.


Do you know any words, negative keywords, that would confirm that the searcher was NOT looking for your company.
If your company is one of several Jones' in town including a chain of butchers then put a minus sign in front, e.g. -butcher .

Decide on your Daily Budget and Maximum bid for each Click

Your Daily Budget limits the costs of your campaign. Google will not exceed this on average in any 30 day period. At this time put in a pound or two. 
The aim of this exercise is to help you learn without wasting your cash.
Google gives no money-back promises if you make an expensive mistake!
See our Google Needs Watching page.

Remember when you add Ad Groups to your Campaign then you may need to increase your Daily Budget using Edit Campaign Settings, see later.

Next put a low figure into the Maximum CPC box, say 10p, if you have a unique brand.

In most cases your Ad will have little or no competition or the competing Ads will be badly targeted such as eBays.

Click on Googles View Traffic Estimator link to see what it says. If it predicts you budget will be spent then you can adjust and iteratively check again Typically the Traffic Estimator will not have enough data to go on as in the note below

An expensive prediction will probably reveal some keywords that are too general for your brand. Go back and remove these.

Google has started allowing advertisers to bid on their Competitors brands in the UK and Ireland since 2008. 
If others ARE bidding then adding your own group, with the perfect match to your website will significantly increase the cost to your competitors for clicks. Your click-through-rate will also be much higher as your customers will be looking for you.

We have set up dozens of these Brands campaigns bringing a steady stream of visitors for under 5p per click.

If your Brands campaign brings in so many visitors, even at 2p, that is spends your budget then increase this since this is a small cost to be welcoming potential clients who are actively looking for you. But in this case check the keywords that are bringing in your visitors.
Should these search terms be finding your website at the top of Google's free listings?

Review your Keywords and Ad then create another one!

  • Click Continue to bring up a screen with your Ad, Keywords and settings.
  • Review these then click Save this Ad Group.
  • This will bring up a page with two options. Go to your Campaign Summary page or add another Text Ad.
  • Select the Add another text Ad.

The real success of Google AdWords, generating the majority of Google Inc.'s billions, was as a result of testing.
They also allow every advertiser to test their messages. Your additional ads are shown in rotation until Google  detects that one is getting a better response or click-through-rate. Then you can change the poor Ad copy and try to beat your better Ad.

This is an idea perfected in US magazines over 100 years ago with the codes in the corner of cut-out coupons and recorded in
Scientific Advertising
 by Claude Hopkins.

Got better things to do?
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Help me with Adwords. 
This works a lot faster with Google's system giving results within weeks or even days not the weeks and
months of Claud's day.


Set up your payment method and start your Campaign.

The Google Adwords billing centre is changing for the better but we have not seen the new version in the UK yet. One major improvement will allow advertisers to easily switch from 
pre-pay to post-payment options or 'manual payments' to 'automatic payments' so this is not the big decision it once was. The following guide will be updated when this change has been rolled out in the UK.

Click Continue to Billing Preferences or if you have missed this option click on the 
My Account Tab then Billing Preferences and Account Setup.

  • Select UK and time zones to suit.
  • You big choice in billing methods is between postpay and prepay billing. The prepay option seems attractive; 
        it puts an absolute limit to your spend. This is the only option using Microsoft's adCenter PPC system.
        The postpay option also allows you to control your spend using the budget options and will continue to show your
        ads when they start working. One client lost their best week of the year because their prepay budget ran out!
  • The next choice is direct debit (bank transfer for prepay) or credit card. Credit cards are easy with all US firms but 
        these have expiry dates. The direct debit is the lowest maintenance option.


Edit your Campaign Settings


  • When you have finished your Ads you will be returned to the
    Campaign Summary screen.
  • Click on the Edit Campaign Settings link at the top of the table
    with your Ad Group in it.
  • Give your Campaign a meaningful title such as UK search if you plan to add groups or have separate campaigns for overseas etc.
  • Scroll past Budget Options to Networks and bidding.
  • Leave your bidding strategy to default Max CPC bidding.
    We did recommend the Budget Optimiser for beginners but it has become too clever
  • Click to remove the Tick next to The content network, see right.

The way your Ads will work on the content network, next to editorial content, is completely different.
You will target these differently and create completely different Ad copy. With search the user is looking for answers, in many cases
they find it best to actively look to the Sponsored Links for their answer.

With the content network their goal is to find out about the story that went with that intreagueing headline. 
You will need to distract their attention to get them to browse away from the online magazine.

Learn about the search network first and discover your best keywords and Ad copy. Always create separate campaigns to bid on the content network. In these cases it is best to hire an expert!

Congratulations you've set up your first AdWords Campaign!

Have you found this easy to follow?


Just skimmed to here? Don't have the time to spare? Find this is all too detailed?
Look at Why Adwords?  page and see some better things you can do with your time.

Adwords CAN win new leads & you can get someone to do it for you. See our competitive service offers


Have you created your first adwords group using your own company name or brands? 

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Rob got started by downloading Perry Marshall's eBook, "The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords", now also in paperback


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