Google Ads Checklist: Getting Started with Google Ads

Google Ads

Google Ads, Google’s online advertising platform, allows businesses to display ads on Google’s search results pages and across its network. This powerful tool can dramatically increase visibility and drive targeted traffic to your website if used correctly. However, launching a successful ad campaign involves careful planning and a clear understanding of the platform’s features. To help you get started, this blog post will provide a checklist of the essential requirements needed to create an impactful Google Ad. Whether you’re new to online advertising or looking to improve your existing efforts, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to build a strong foundation for your ad campaigns.

Important Terms to Know

First things first, let’s go over some important terms that you’ll come across in your Google Ads journey.


Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into Google Search, which then trigger your ad to appear. These are not randomly chosen but are carefully selected by you during the setup of your ad campaign. The purpose of these keywords is to match the queries that potential customers might use when they are looking for the products or services you offer.


Bids refer to the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each interaction with your ad, such as a click. Bidding plays a crucial role in determining where and how often your ads appear in search results or on websites within Google.

Quality Score

Quality score is a critical metric that reflects the relevance and quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. It is essentially Google’s rating of the overall user experience that your ads and landing pages provide when users search for your keyword(s). This score ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

Ad Rank

Ad Rank in Google Ads is a critical metric that determines the position of your ad on the search results page. It is calculated using your bid amount, the components of Quality Score (which include the relevance and quality of your ad and landing page), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

CPC (cost-per-click)

 Cost Per Click (CPC) is a fundamental pricing model used in Google Ads where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their ads. This model allows advertisers to bid on the keywords they believe are relevant to their target audience, with the cost determined by the competitiveness of the keyword and the maximum bid they are willing to pay per click.


Conversion refers to a specific action that you want your visitors to take after clicking on your ad. This action could be anything from making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a software or app, to making a phone call to your business.

Setting your account up for success

Setting up your Google Ads account effectively from the start is pivotal to running successful advertising campaigns. The key is to organize your products or services into clear categories and reflect this structure within your account. Ideally, your account setup should mirror the organization of your website. This involves creating campaigns and ad groups within these campaigns to maintain the clarity and relevance of your ads. Campaigns should represent broader categories of your offerings, while ad groups should focus on more specific items. By targeting your ads with precision, you increase the chances of reaching customers who are most interested in your specific products, enhancing both engagement and conversions.

Setting a Budget

When you set a budget, you’re essentially telling Google the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on your ads over a certain period. This can be on a daily or monthly basis, depending on how you prefer to allocate your resources. It’s important to start with a budget that you are comfortable with and that reflects your business’s marketing goals and operational capacities. Keep in mind that your budget can be adjusted at any time, allowing you to increase your spending if the ads are performing well or cut back if they are not delivering as expected.

Choosing Keywords

The ideal keywords are those that your potential customers are likely to use when searching for products or services similar to yours. Start by brainstorming terms that are directly related to your offerings, including both broad and specific terms. Utilize tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords that balance a high volume of searches with a manageable level of competition. Also, consider incorporating long-tail keywords—more specific phrases that are usually longer and less common but can lead to higher conversion rates due to their specificity.

Keyword Match Types

In Google Ads, keyword match types are crucial as they determine how closely a user’s search query must match with your keyword for your ad to be considered for display. Understanding these match types helps to optimize your ad campaigns by controlling who sees your ads based on how they search. Here are the different keyword match types you can use:

Broad Match: This is the default setting for keywords in Google Ads. It allows your ad to show for searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.

Phrase Match: Phrase match offers a balance between reach and precision. Your ad will show only when a user’s search includes your exact keyword in the exact order you enter it, but possibly with additional words before or after.

Exact Match: This match type gives you the most control over who sees your ad because the user’s query must be very close to your keyword. It includes your exact keyword or very close variations of your keyword only.

Negative Match: This match type prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. If you add a negative keyword to your campaign, your ad won’t show for any search that includes that term.

Set The Landing Page

The landing page is the first place a potential customer arrives after clicking on your ad, so it’s imperative that this page closely aligns with both the advertisement and the keywords used. If your ad promotes a specific product or sale, such as a discount on yarn, direct users specifically to the page where they can view and purchase the yarn, rather than to a general homepage. This strategy significantly enhances user experience by reducing the effort needed to find the relevant product, thereby increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

Write your ads

The final step in preparing your Google Ads campaign is crafting the ad itself—a critical component that can determine the success of your efforts. Writing a compelling ad involves creating a headline and description that not only catches the eye but also clearly conveys the value of what you’re offering. Your headline should grab attention and include key terms that you’ve targeted with your keywords, as this reinforces the relevance of your ad to the viewer. The description should build on this by highlighting unique benefits, promoting special offers, or providing a clear call to action, such as “Shop now” or “Learn more.” Remember, the goal of your ad copy is to entice users to click through to your landing page, so make every word count.

Run The Ad!

Running a Google Ad involves more than just setting it up and letting it go; it requires ongoing management and optimization to ensure it reaches its full potential. Like most things in marketing, once your ad is live, it’s time to monitor its performance. Use Google Ads’ built-in analytics tools to track metrics such as click-through rates, impressions, and conversion rates. Analyze this data to understand how well your ad is performing in relation to your goals. Make adjustments to your bids, keywords, or ad text based on this data to improve effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

For many businesses, Google Ads can be a great tool to add to a marketing strategy. If you’re looking to expand your digital marketing efforts to Google Ads, try out these steps to get the lay of the land. Have questions about the process or want help getting started? Our team is here to help!