I get asked about Google Adwords a great deal by a diverse group of clients and if I’m honest the answer I give is slightly different each time depending on the type of business. Earlier this week  beauty blogger Karen from “Liverpool Lashes” mentioned me in a blog post, this was then shared on various Facebook groups and some of the lovely girls from the The Creative Beauty Group asked me to elaborate on Adwords.  So here we go, a crash course on Adwords, what they are, how they work and more importantly, Do you need them?

Google Adwords and Adsense

Google makes the majority of it’s income from advertising. It’s not always that obvious to see as the company offers lots of great free things such as Google the search engine, Youtube, Blogger, Gmail and so much more. When you stop to think about it, their business plan is nothing short of genius! Let’s take YouTube for example, This is a platform where ALL the content is user generated, Sure Google provides the servers on which all the videos live but it then allows the uploader to allow ads to be displayed via Adsense ( Adsense is an account whereby you earn a percentage of the ad spend from adverts shown on your videos or website) and the revenue from these adverts is split between the owner of the video and Google.

Google’s search engine works in the same way. Google indexes every website on the internet and then uses a very complex algorithm ( a process or set of rules) to decide in what order it displays the results when a search term is entered. Generally, there will be ten organic results on each page, this varies sometimes with page one especially on local searches as Google has now started to show local map listings too. Above the organic  listings and to the right are Adwords.

How Much Do Adwords Cost?

First of all let’s consider how Adwords pricing works. In a nutshell when you use Adwords you begin by designing a little advert that will display above and to the right of the organic search results. You then select phrases that will trigger your advert to be displayed. once this is done you’ll then set a bid price on each keyword or phrase that you’ve selected that you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your advert. If nobody clicks then you won’t be charged.

The amount that you pay depends amongst other factors on how popular the search term is, to give you an example, if you wanted to rank for the search phrase “Pink Frogs” then the cost per click will be very low, quite possibly pennies as I can’t imagine that there will be a lot of people bidding for that phrase. In comparison, if you wanted to bid on the search phrase “Pension advice” then you’ll pay considerably more, quite possibly in excess of £10 per click. It’s basically an auction and the more popular the search phrase, the more you’ll pay per click. The highest bidder gets to be the first advert and so on. ( assuming of course that you meet a minimum quality score, more on that later)

Adwords – The Basic 3 Points To Remember

I could write for days on Adwords as the system is very complex and in depth. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here however as I want to get onto the more important matter of DO YOU REALLY NEED TO USE Adwords. So if you’re completely new to the Adwords system then take a look at this PDF from Google to understand more about starting with Adwords

So Lets look at some do’s and don’ts of using Adwords.


If you’re a nail tech in Southampton for instance and you were to simply bid on the word “nails” then can you imagine how many clicks you’d get? you’d get people from all over the UK ( you can set a geographical area on Google adwords but it rarely works, it depends on many things to detect a persons location including the region in which their broadband suppliers hub is based) plus you’d get people who are searching for nails that are used to hammer into wood. Instead use 3 or 4 word phrases such as “nail salon in Southampton” ” Acrylic nails Southampton”


In addition to setting your keywords, you can also choose keywords that don’t trigger your advert. So for instance, lets say you’re still a nail tech in Southampton and you’d bid on the phrase “one stroke nail art” then you’d set your negative keywords as photos, how to, lessons, tutorials etc. So if anyone was searching for “photos of one stroke nail art” then you can rest assured that your ad won’t be triggered.


Staying with our nail tech example, imagine your website has a page for acrylic extensions ( don’t be tempted to call these liquid and powder by the way, see my blog post about keeping it simple ) Then if you were running an ad on adwords targeting the phrase “nail extensions Southampton” etc then make sure that the destination URL (the page that the people see first when they click your ad) is set to point at your acrylic nails page. This is simply because Google has a quality score, it indexes the destination URL and checks how relevant the page is in relation to the text in your advert. The higher the quality score the less you have to bid for each click.

Should I Use Google Adwords?

We’re back to that question that has many answers! Ok, let’s look at why this can be answered in many ways. I have clients who spend circa £500 per week on Adwords, Why? Well simply because they operate in a highly competitive industry and they sell a product online and so target the entire UK market. Whilst I blog and write articles at an alarming rate for them so that they rank for certain long tail searches (a phrase containing many words, this is how most people search on Google in order to get the most relevant results) they still find it difficult to rank high enough on page one for other phrases. They work on the basis that every £10 in clicks will return £100 in sales. We spend a great deal of time analysing click patterns, conversion rates, bounce rates etc and finely tune the account ( currently running around 3000 search terms across 15 adverts).

To put things into perspective though, this same client spends a minimum of £1000 per month on an ongoing SEO program with me. The reason for this is simple. SEO is ongoing, once a blog post or article has been written and written well, then it will continue to rank for certain search terms for long into the future, generating countless amounts of sales and therefore it’s a worthwhile investment.

Adwords For Local Businesses

A lot of my clients have local businesses, they know their local market, they can give me a list of local townships and villages in which they wish to do business. It’s for this reason alone that I really can’t bring myself to condone the use of Adwords. Really I can’t. The only time I think a local business should EVER consider using Adwords is if they have just launched a website and are waiting for it to rank organically.

Ranking organically on a local level isn’t difficult. It really isn’t. If any business comes to me for a web design or SEO and they operate in a regional area then it’s very easy to get them to rank somewhere at the top of page one of the search results. There may be millions of other websites that turn up in the results but getting above them ethically isn’t difficult. Imagine how much money is wasted relying on Adwords when with a little planning and effort you can be at the top of the organic results permanently for FREE!

Take a look at this screenshot, you can see that the search phrase is popular as there are countless adverts appearing on the page but look who takes the top two search result places underneath the adverts! One of my clients.

Google Adwords For Local Businesses


Let me demonstrate further, type in the search terms below and see the results

“Shellac Course Chester” – divinebydesignbeauty.com – page 1 position 1

“Trade Beauty Supplies Dorset” – creativeacademy-plus.co.uk page 1 position 1

Trade salon supplies north west” – creativeacademymanchester.co.uk page1 position1

“Nail Training Edinburgh” – thefingertipscentre.com page1 position 1

There’s lots more phrases that the above sites rank for and I could bore you with pages of other sites that I’ve helped to rank but you see the trend? It isn’t just a fluke, there’s no secret sauce, it’s just about quality content, quality optimisation and it’s something that can be applied to any website! Do it right and you REMOVE the need to use adwords.

Is Your Website Doing You Justice?

This is going to be self contradictory as my website is in desperate need of a makeover but my point here is this, Does your website offer anything to the visitor? My site needs a spruce up only in so far as it looks a little dated now, it’s got that Dame Edna feel to it. The content is fine as it’s packed with info, tips, tutorials etc so that it gets lots of visits. Consider this:-

One of the most critical things that Google judges a website on when deciding where to rank it is the content. It’s originality, it’s relevance to the search term and it’s overall quality INCLUDING grammar and spelling!

So, what is your content like? Have you copied it from elsewhere? Have you wrote a few lines half arsed? is your content original and fresh? is it informative? Is it relevant to the search terms that you’re trying to target? Would it make a client want to pick up the phone? If not then trust me, don’t even waste your money on Adwords as even if they click on your ad, what are they going to think when they land on your website?

Do You Want To Be At The Top Of Google Without Paying For Adwords?

I’m guessing the answer to that is yes. Well here’s the thing, the good news is “It’s not hard” I’ve put some links to other articles that i’ve wrote about the same subject just below this paragraph. Take a look through them. Email me if you have any questions. If you live in the UK then keep your eyes open for dates when I’ll be holding hands on workshops at various locations including Manchester and Bournemouth. During the workshops we’ll be looking at how to easily get on page one ( and probably dominate it) along with how to blog, how to optimise your website, how to create great articles that convert into sales, how to research keywords, how to beat the competition and how to cook the perfect carbonara! Just checking you were still awake!






Do you use Adwords for your business? Do you see now the reasons that you should start to put some effort into ranking organically instead?