I want to understand the deal with Google Ads

Learn how you can get started with Google Ads for your paid marketing campaigns


Today, let us talk about an important channel to get quality leads for your startup — Google Ads

Why Google Ads?

You see, SEO takes time and it isn’t always possible to rank for all keywords.

However, Google Ads:

a. Gives you the ability to present yourself in front of a potential customer immediately

b. Has almost no dependence on your domain’s reputation

c. All this when customers are searching for something relevant to your product

This is a power most other channels can’t give you.


So, we discuss the process of:

  1. Keyword research: Steps, tips & also great tools.
  2. Writing Ad copy: Pointers to improve quality score.
  3. Landing page optimisation: Focus on both quality score & conversion.

Additional Context


I discuss all this in quite a bit of detail, in this report. Do give it a read. Just 5 mins from your schedule — please :).

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No-VC Report #10


I want to understand the deal with Google Ads. Is it worth my time, money & effort?



Yes, it is worth exploring. However, Google Ads and SEO aren't mutually exclusive - use Google Ads as another channel of acquiring leads. Start with a small set of keywords and scale it over time. Else, it can suck quite a lot of money quickly.


Why and when to worry about this?


a. Rationale

SEO takes time and it isn't always possible to rank for all keywords. Alternatively, irrespective of your domain's reputation, Google Ads immediately gives you the ability to present yourself in front of a potential customer, that too when they are searching something relevant. That's a power most other channels can't give you.


b. Timing

We explored how startups use Google Ads to even validate their startup idea. However, our focus here is to capture actual leads for your startup. This can be done anytime after you "launch" your startup.


Especially, if the SEO channel in your industry is dominated by big players, breaking into it quickly might not be possible. So, use Google Ads to start delivering leads for you while you work on building your SEO front.







a. Realistic expectation

Google Ads can be very costly and also untenable for small startups to compete against established companies. So, set budgets limits and quickly establish the acquisition cost of a lead. In the long-run, you need to figure if this is a profitable channel for you.


b. Process

Uncovering all nuances of Google Ads isn't possible in a 5-mins report. However, we will take a strong step in exploring the channel.

After setting up your account, the process can be divided into the following steps:

i. Keyword research

ii. Writing Ad copy

iii. Landing page optimisation


i. Keyword research

  • Start with high-intent keywords
    • Basically, those that suggest that customers are closer to making the buying decision
    • These would be keywords that indicate customers searching for alternatives, or include words of intent.
      • For e.g. In the recruitment industry "hire", "find" are words of intent

  • With the above premise, use the Google Ads Keyword Planner:
    • Enter keywords you think your customers might search
    • Specify the geography you wish to target
    • This gives you a list of options related to the keyword entered, along with the monthly volume, competition and bid range.
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    • Shortlist keywords that have good volume but also those that make sense to you from a per-click cost perspective

  • You can also shortlist keywords by using tools like SpyFu that give you competitor information. Other than their keywords, you get:
    • The amount they are bidding for
    • Top recommendations of keywords that you should consider and loads of other nuggets
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Note: At this point, you should understand the concept of Quality Score (QS) and Ad Rank.

  • QS: Google Ads estimates the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages by assigning a number on 10.
  • Ad Rank: Roughy, it is a combination of your Quality Score and the amount you bid for the keyword. This determines if your ad will be shown by google and if yes, at what position.


ii. Writing Ad copy

  • The headline is split into 3 parts (separated by a '|') in which you need to:
    • Make your pitch
    • But also importantly, to optimise the quality score:
      • Make it relevant to the keyword you are targeting
      • Simply said, ensure that the keyword appears in as close a form as possible directly
  • The description is split into 2 parts:
    • Here's your chance to tell your customer why they should consider you above others
    • Make the sentences short and punchy
    • Talk to the buyer: Non-tech buyers do not need tech specs. Instead the solution you are offering to their problem in plain speak
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  • URL is of two types
    • One where you specify the link you want google ads to redirect the user
    • Another a "display url" which is shown in the ad. Here is another place to infuse the keywords
  • There are additional parts such as extension which you can read about here


Pro-tip: Learn from your competitors. You can see their ads either through your Google Ads dashboard OR by plainly googling the keyword OR by using tools like Spyfu


iii. Landing page optimisation

  • To prepare a landing page, you can read our earlier report
  • Here again to optimise the quality score, you should infuse the keyword on the page
  • This includes:
    • The page title
    • H1 tag (and if possible other Hx tags)
    • Across the content on the page without stuffing it
  • Ensure that the page load speed is good and it is also responsive
  • Distribute the call-to-action buttons tastefully across the page



Closing points & Pro-tips

  • There are many ways to bid for ads. This article does a good job of summarising them.
    • Don't try manual bidding initially
    • Go with the automated bids - possibly Target CPC. Over time you can move to Target CPA
  • Keep a close eye on how your ad performs
    • Analytics is visible in the auction insights tab inside keywords on the google ads tool
    • Important metrics include the quality score, top of page rate, abs. top of page rate, impression rate and of course, cost per click & acquisition.
    • Keep tweaking the ad copy, landing page copy & CTAs, your bid amounts & strategies to get the desired outcome


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