My Most Asked Questions About Using Google Ads

Here are some of the most asked questions and answers from my recent live webinar with SCORE about getting started with and using Google Ads. From the 3/12/24 SCORE webinar “Getting Started with Google Ads” Watch Now.

Q: Can Google Ads accidentally spend a lot of money?

A: No, unexpected high charges are unlikely. You control your budget through a spend limit. Google Ads stops spending once that limit is reached and only resumes if you manually reset it. You can adjust this limit anytime.

Q: Does using Google Ads require a fee or contract?

A: No. Google Ads uses a pay-per-click model. You only pay when someone clicks your ad, and there’s no signup cost or contract.

Q: I only pay when someone clicks my ad, right? Not when they click a button on a regular website?

A: Exactly. You only pay for clicks on your ad, regardless of the button’s call to action (buy now, learn more, etc.). These clicks take users to your desired landing page. You then track conversions (actions like purchases) from there.

Q. What about fake clicks from robots (bots) inflating my costs?

A: Unfortunately, completely stopping bots isn’t possible.  However, you can make it harder for them by:

  • Use targeted audience demographics to reach genuinely interested people, not bots..
  • Target your specific local areas to avoid irrelevant clicks.
  • Pick relevant keyword terms people searching for your product will actually use.
  • Use negative keywords to further reduce irrelevant clicks and exclude competitors.

Q. What’s the best way to budget for ads?

A. Trial and error? Seriously, start low, go slow. Don’t go to $500 a day. If you’re not prepared for that. Just start slow. I almost always start at a $1.50 or so until the ad has been running for a week, maybe one week, just to make sure of the stability of the platform before I throw a lot of an investment toward an ad. 

Q What if my business offers a service instead of a product. for example, like installing epoxy flooring?

A. Your Google ad doesn’t have to be for a product. Target searches for your services like “install epoxy flooring” with keywords like “epoxy flooring.”  Looking for customers in your local area? Great! Your ad can appear with a clear call to action: “Call now” or a secure “Contact Us” link.

Q. Google offered me $500 toward ad spend. Is this legit?

A. Yes, sometimes google will offer new businesses a $500 ad grant, but you first have to spend $500 to get the $500 bonus. And it has an expiration date on it. So if you’re inclined to do that, start spending and check your expiration date to make sure you use it before the deadline. 

Q. Will buying an ad put you on the top of the Google search?

A. Getting an ad won’t guarantee the top spot in Google search. Here’s the key point:

  • Ads appear separately above organic search results.
  • Top placement within the ad section depends on factors like your ad’s bid and relevance to the search query.

So, an ad increases your visibility but doesn’t guarantee the absolute top position. So guessing which words and phrases to pay for is the game.

Q. How do Google Ads compare to Facebook ads?

A. Different strengths:

  • Targeted searches—Google Ads: Targets users actively searching for products/services (think “buy running shoes”). Strong for immediate sales and specific keywords.
  • Targeted interests—Facebook Ads: Targets users based on interests and demographics (think “people who like fitness brands”). More suited for brand awareness and broader audience reach.

And Facebook is really good for local events or local businesses to get people in the doors.

Q. I have a nonprofit Google Ads grant and it was switched to the expert mode. Is there any way to change it back?

A. Unfortunately, Google Ads doesn’t allow switching back to Smart Mode once your account is in Expert Mode. This applies to both regular accounts and those with grants. However, there’s still good news: Expert Mode offers more control and flexibility: You can still manage your grant effectively in Expert Mode. And get help if you need it.

Q. How do I get Google Ads help?

A. Google support for ads is right there at your fingertips on the ads page. I use them regularly, and they do respond, and they don’t try to hard sell you. 

Google Ads Help Center: This comprehensive resource offers articles, tutorials, and answers to frequently asked questions: https://support.google.com/google-ads/?hl=en

  • Contact Google Ads Support: Google offers various support options within your Ads account. Look for the “Help” section or contact options available directly through your account interface.
  • Google Ads Experts: Google connects you with certified professionals who can provide personalized guidance and assistance.

Remember, for urgent concerns or specific account-related issues, contacting Google Ads support directly through your account is the most efficient approach.

Q. Do you suggest we pay for keywords for the Google searches? I see a lot of content writers are presenting their skills for this. What do you think about that?

A. I think that with a little thought and a little reflection and a little help from Google Keyword Planner, you can write your own keywords list.. You don’t need to pay someone. 

Benefits of Paid Keywords:

  • Pros:
    • Targeted reach: Reach potential customers actively searching for your product/service.
    • Measurable results: Track clicks, conversions, and adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Cons:
    • Cost involved: Requires budget allocation and ongoing investment.
    • Expertise needed: Setting up and managing effective campaigns can be complex.

I’ve found a really easy way to do it is to ask 10 customers or 10 people who know you and know your business, “What would you type in the search bar. If you were looking for my product or service, or what I offer?” Those words and phrases then become your sample keywords, and you build on those. 

Case Study

Can the keyword search terms include a product or competitor’s company brand name? 

Potentially. Using the Hobby store client example: They sell Traxxas products. A lot. One of our Google Ads was suspended for using Traxxas in the headline and description……but that’s our biggest selling brand!! And this IS in the store’s product line. We had to go to Google and say, “Look, this is really us. This is what we’re doing. Can you fix it?” We had the manufacturer call Google to tell them it was okay for us to use Traxxas in our ad copy. Totally acceptable.

Now on the flipside of this, one client (new carpet cleaning company) used Google Ads in Expert Mode. Targeted competitor names as keywords in their descriptions and headlines. The “Call Now” prompt drove phone call leads. When he was mistaken for a competitor (because of the keywords of his competitors) he would offer his own services to book the job. He now focuses on his own keywords, but competitor names stay accessible in case potential clients search them.

It’s important to remember that Google Ads can be complex, and professional help is recommended for businesses seeking to maximize their return on investment.

If you need a hand, shoot me a message and Let’s Talk! 

Here are some additional resources to help you get started:

Tags: Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ads Grant, Keywords, Search Terms, Ad Budget