What is Google Ads?

And how the Quality Score directly affects the performance of your Google Ads campaign.

In short, Google Ads is the largest sponsored links tool on the Internet and one of the most revenue-generating and successful campaigns in content marketing.

Certainly, you may have already heard about Google Ads (or Google AdWords, as it was formerly called), but, naturally, you do not understand how it works and, therefore, do not consider the possibility of including it in your Digital Marketing strategy.


In fact, questions about Google Ads range from its functionality to the correct way to use it to generate the highest possible revenue. This lack of knowledge causes some people to misuse the tool, often going in the opposite direction of positive results.

1. What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform. Through this service, users are shown sponsored links when someone performs a search for certain keywords. Ads can be displayed on different platforms, such as on results pages (or SERP – Search Engine Results Page), Google Maps, Gmail, etc., and even on partner sites that provide space specifically for the presentation of these ads. Whether using a computer or a mobile device, your potential customers will be able to find your ad when they are doing a Google search, watching a video on YouTube, or simply visiting a partner site on that platform.

2. How does Google Ads work?

The best way to use all the platform features is to know how it works and what it can offer. Google Ads works on a prepaid basis — that is, the advertiser determines the maximum amount they want to pay for each click and the maximum monthly ceiling to use for a month. The platform’s advertisers will compete with each other to gain position in the search results as if it were a kind of auction. The campaign ranking establishes the position (place) where the ad will be found on the Google page to the other ads. This ranking is defined by the maximum amount the advertiser is willing to pay per click (CPC) and the campaign’s quality score (a score that Google assigns to your campaign). To advertise on Google, you must have a Google account. According to the marketing objectives, the tool will guide the advertiser in creating ads that will effectively recommend different formats and channels.

2.1. Search Network Ads

Advertising on the Search Network means creating ads that will show on Google’s search page and on partner sites that use Google’s search engine. The ads appear in text format as sponsored links in these channels and appear prominently, first on the Google search page, whenever the user searches for subjects (keywords) related to the ads.

2.2. Display Network Ads

The display network comprises Google’s partner sites and apps, which display image, dynamic, and video ads to their own visitors. The display network also includes its network of services such as Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. The advertiser will be able to target the ads by subject and interests of the target audience, and Google will select the partner sites that best fit that visitor profile. The Display Network uses visual ad formats such as images and videos and generally reaches over 90% of Internet users worldwide. Exactly, for this reason, it is indicated for brand recognition and remarketing campaigns. Unlike the Search Network, which works with the user’s search intent, the Display Network allows you to reach a wider audience by segmenting them, for example, by specific contexts, specific target audiences, and specific locations.

2.3. local campaigns

Did you know that when you search on Google, for example, “restaurant near me” the results are the result of Local Campaigns? Well, it is through local campaigns that you can create ads that will help your own customers find your physical establishment. Google will show a map, with your business highlighted, to a person looking for businesses like yours in your region.

3. Quality Index

Quality Score is a diagnostic tool that aims to give you an idea of the quality of your ads compared to other advertisers. Quality Score is a very important part of this for Google to determine the placement of each ad. The Google Ads Ad Quality Score is an assessment made by Google to determine if the ad, keywords, and landing page are relevant to the user. We all, of course, want to have high-quality ads that are directly relevant to our target audience, as this means these ads will receive a lot of clicks and a lot of conversions. Google, in turn, too, because only when the public is interested in the ads (when they click on the ads) does Google earn!

3.1. How do I know if my Google ad is really good?

Well, your ad is part of a campaign, and the campaign will be part of a strategy. If your business is making a profit, if your brand is getting the recognition you want, then the strategy is working, the campaign is successful, and your ad could be really good. Still, and according to Google, the quality score is calculated based on the combined performance of 3 components:

  1. Predicted Click Through Rate (CTR): The probability that your ad will receive a click when it’s displayed.
  2. Ad relevance: The level of ad’s match with the intent inherent in a user’s search.
  3. Landing Page Experience: The relevance and usefulness of your landing page to people who click your ad.

That’s why it’s important to optimize your campaigns, always aiming for higher rates, as this practice guarantees lower costs for better positions.

3.2. More Tips for a Better-Quality Score

  • Ad Keywords: Target your themes and words into small, similar groups so that relevance comes “naturally”.
  • Ad attractiveness: Make sure your ad is written in a way that someone researching will consider it as made for them, thus ensuring higher CTR (the most important factor of IQ) ratings.
  • Relevance of your landing page: Make sure your landing page contains relevant and original content (including your keywords). The user should be directed to a specific page of the content they are looking for.
  • Your Account History: The overall CTR of all ads and keywords sets a history in your account, which is taken into account to generate the first Quality Score (the one before the new campaign goes live). In extreme cases, it’s worth considering creating a new account.

3.3. The 100 meters and the marathon

Putting your ad first in Google’s results list is the goal of all of us. But the objective, by itself, is very vague, as it does not answer important questions:

  • FIRST, when? What day and at what time?
  • FIRST, for how long? For one day? For a month? Ever?
  • FIRST, why keywords?
  • FIRST, where? Faro? Algarve? Portugal? In the world?
  • FIRST, at what cost? With what consequences?

In fact, appearing first guarantees, for the searched keyword, a higher probability of click by the user. But the cost to always appear first may be too high.



The metaphor

Allow me the metaphor: imagine that you are running the marathon (42.195 km) and that, since the first meter of the race, you cannot stand to be in second place and, therefore, does not spare any effort to ensure, at all times, the first position. Well, your biggest objective (if not the only one), which will be to cut the goal in the first place, can be called into question if you don’t know how to manage the efforts from the beginning. It doesn’t matter if you are first in the first 100 meters, second or third…. All that matters is cutting the goal first! It doesn’t matter if a competitor of yours, eventually, even with a poor quality score, places an ad above yours. Most likely, he, for example, has set a very high cost per click and, spending the ceiling, disappears in 2 hours and/or 3 days. Your strategy is yours! It will not be the same as your competitor’s. It was defined based on your goals. Which will be different from your competitor’s. If your goals, however, change, you should adjust your strategy!

4. The proper budget

Google tells us a little bit about the right budget for each campaign, but there isn’t, in fact, an equal answer for everyone. So how can you choose the Google Ads budget that’s right for your business?

Well, for many companies, this question gets to be pretty straightforward. After all, it’s just simple math, right? So, if 30% of digital marketing spend is going to go to Google Ads, is it enough to set aside a third of your budget and allocate it directly to Google Ads?


As simple as this approach is, when we go a little deeper, it quickly becomes clear that this kind of arbitrary equation is not the best way to calculate a budget. If your goal is simply to set a number, it works, but if your goal is really to create a Google Ads budget that delivers results, then you’ll have to dig a little deeper into things.


Unfortunately, most companies don’t think about budgeting in those terms. Instead, they are based on arbitrary revenue percentage, click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), or cost-per-conversion. Budgeting based on expected costs is like saying, “Here’s the money I want to give Google.” It’s easy to spend money on Google Ads. Making money from Google Ads requires a lot more thought, planning and effort.

We sell value, not time

We like data, how things connect, even when they seem far away. In fact, we only believe in data. The rest is “guessing”. We do not work with guesswork at Webfarus. Want results for your business or company? Talk to us! Our aim is to help companies succeed in the online environment through efficient digital marketing actions. We believe in delivering solutions, not services. We sell value, not time.

marketing digital para dentistas

About Luís Horta

He has been a teacher in Portuguese Public Education for over 25 years. So far, he has helped create and develop more than 700 businesses in different areas in his career.

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