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  • Writer's pictureJosh McRay

How do pay per click ads work?

Pay per click ads are actually pretty easy to understand up front. They act as the middle man between keyword searches and the website that traffic is being directed to. Without ads in a Google Ads campaign, no traffic would be generated...ever!

Ad Construction

An ad typically consists of 4 components. There are headlines, URLs, descriptions, and extensions. When put together, these pieces make an ad that looks extremely appealing and provides tons of information to clients.


There are 3 headline spots that can be used to grab a customer’s attention. You can use sentence fragments, full sentences, or just single words. I typically use title case and stick to meaningful phrases. ALL CAPS will not fly with Google Ads. It is looked at as spammy and manipulative, so stay away from testing that strategy.


The URL is the destination that you are sending customers to. It needs to be an https:// address for Google Ads to send traffic over to it. There are also ad extensions located at the end of the URL that can be used to increase click through rate. This DOES NOT impact where customers are sent. It is an aesthetic enhancement for increasing CTR and that is it.


2 lines are provided for descriptions in an ad. This is where you can provide more information into what makes your business different and what the call to action is. This is an area where punctuation can keep an ad from running. For example, you wouldn’t want to end both description lines with exclamation points. Stick to writing clearly and thoughtfully.


Ad extensions are used to lengthen out ads. They are additional formatting that give additional links to click on, phone numbers to click on and call, and even location information. These are extremely useful, and as many of them as possible should be setup for each campaign. Google Ads will determine which ones get shown and when.

Once the Ad is Setup

Once you have a keyword and an ad setup, all you need to do is set a bid and wait for the ad to get shown in a search (it is way more complicated than that, but we’re just covering basics). When an ad shows up, a customer clicks on it and is directed to your website. That’s it! That is what an ad does. It might seem lackluster, but it is the attention grabber for the entire campaign. If your ads aren’t written well or formatted well, you’ll never get traffic over to your site. Your ad might not even show at all. Don’t take your ads for granted. Spend time researching best formats, best practices, and the common needs/frustrations of your customers. Then, write awesome ads!

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