How do Google Ads work? Google Ads explained

Read time: 6 minutes

We are often asked “how do Google Ads work and should I use Google Ads to advertise my business?”. Google Ads can seem quite daunting at first. There are many acronyms and technical terms to familiarise yourself with, different types of ads to learn about, and many features to explore. But once you learn the basics, Google Ads will become one of your favourite digital marketing tools.

Google Ads are a great way to advertise your business and generate leads. But to create a successful Google Ads campaign, we first need to answer the question “how do Google Ads work?”.

In this blog, we’ll break down how Google Ads work. If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, this post should help you!


How do Google Ads work?

To break it down, Google Ads works like this:

  •  A customer searches for a product or service
  • Google finds businesses advertising that product or service
  • Google shows the most relevant ads, with the company bidding the most money positioned up the top of the search results page
  • The customer clicks on the ad that they determine is most relevant to what they’re looking for
  • The business pays for the ad after the customer clicks on it

The customer searches for a product or service

The potential customer has turned to Google to find a product or service they need. Google Ads gives businesses the chance to advertise their products to people already searching for them.

Google finds businesses advertising that product or service

Just like how Google finds all the websites that are relevant to a search, it simultaneously looks for any Google Ads that are related.

When someone searches in Google, Google will find every webpage and advertisement relevant to the keyword or keyphrase the person typed in the search bar. If a business has listed that same keyword or keyphrase in their Google Ads, their ad might show up in the search results.

Looking at how Google Ads work in more detail

Google shows the most relevant ads

Google will rank all the relevant ads it finds in order of who has bid the most money for that keyword.

For example, a Gardening Supply Company X has set up a Google Ads campaign and has listed “gardening pebbles” as a keyphrase. When someone Googles “where to buy gardening pebbles”, Gardening Supply Company X’s ad will likely show up at the top of the search results.

But, if Gardening Supply Company Y has bid more money on that keyphrase, their ad will show up first, bumping Gardening Supply Company X’s advertisement down further in the search results.

Tip: Use your keywords in your ad copy. You can include your keywords in the headline and description of your ads. This helps Google recognise your ad as being relevant to the searchers keyword/keyphrase.


The customer clicks on the most relevant ad

If the searcher has decided that your ad is relevant to them, they will click on your ad and view your website.

It is important to make sure your ads are only showing up for relevant search terms. If your ad shows up for a keyword that is irrelevant to what you’re selling, you may waste money paying for clicks that aren’t likely to convert to sales.


The business pays for the ad

Google charges the business once someone has clicked on their ad. You won’t be charged if your ad shows up in the search results and nobody clicks on it.


Follow us on Facebook to learn more about expanding your online presence!

Did you know redsteps web are a team of digital marketers who specialise in all things digital marketing? If you want to take your digital presence beyond just having a website, contact us to find out about our other services!

related posts

4 terms that Measure backlink quality

4 terms that Measure backlink quality

Measuring backlink quality can seem like a daunting task. There are many ways the value a backlink adds to your website can be measured and this adds to the complexity of understanding backlinks…

read more


Get in touch with us today about what it is you are trying to achieve and we will do our best to come up with solutions that solve your business problems!