How to set up a Google Ads search campaign for your small business

In this 10-minute read:

  • Why use Google Ads/Adwords
  • How to set up your Google Ads search campaign
  • How to view your ad results
  • Additional steps for digital marketing

Google Ads can be a great resource to keep in your tool belt of digital marketing strategies. It helps you show up at the top of Google’s relevant search results almost immediately. 

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We’ll walk you through the best cases to use Google Ads for your small business and how to get your campaign set up. 

Why use Google Ads for your small business

Google Ads can work in a variety of ways for your small business. You can create shopping ads that display products from your site, image display ads that show up across other websites, and search ads that show up in Google’s search results. 

We’re going to focus on search ads for this article, and here are a few reasons why you might want to use search ads for your business. 

  1. Search ads are a great short-term strategy for showing up in the search engines. Almost as soon as you start your ad campaign, your website is shown at the top of the search results. 
  2. Google Ads can be a good solution for displaying limited-time promotions when it doesn’t make sense to do a long-term SEO campaign for them. 
  3. Google Ads can help boost your online traffic/sales and drive customer conversions through the roof when optimized well. 
  4. Google Ads is constantly learning from users’ interactions with your ads and adapts how it displays your ads to increase conversions. 

If you need a good short-term strategy to start driving traffic to your website before your SEO campaign kicks in, or you just want to start seeing more sales on your website, follow the guide below to set up your Google Ads search campaign. 

How to set up your Google Ads search campaign

Let’s get started. 

Step 1: Create a Google account and log in to Google Ads

First, you need to have a Google account to log in to Google Ads. If you already have a Gmail, then this step is done!

Using a business Google account for your Google Ads campaign is smart because it allows any data associated with the campaign to stay with the business for future owners, managers, or marketers to use for other campaigns. 

Go to and click “Sign in” to log in with your Gmail. 

When you log in, select “New Google Ads Account.” 

Step 2: Create a new Google Ads campaign

Next, you’ll be brought to a screen to start setting up a new campaign for your new Google Ads account. We advise you to look to the bottom of this page and click “Switch to Expert Mode.”

This will allow you more capabilities to optimize your campaign and maximize your conversions. You may not be a professional marketer, but we are, and we’re going to walk you through it. 

Next, select the type of campaign you want to run. For this specific guide, we’re walking you through setting up your search campaign. So, select “Search.” 

Choose a goal

Then, choose the goal that applies the most to your Google Ads campaign. 

You’ll be given the option to select the ways you want to reach your campaign goal. Select all that apply from the following:

  • Website visits
  • Phone calls
  • Store visits
  • App downloads

Then provide the information such as website, phone number, address, and app info so that Google can help you track the activity on your ads. Click “Continue.”

Name your campaign

Under “General settings” enter your campaign name. You can also select “Show more settings” to display a dropdown menu that allows you to enter a start and end date for your campaign. If you want to run your ad continuously, just disregard this section. 

Update targeting and audiences

Scroll down the page to narrow down your targeting and audiences. If you are trying to get nationwide leads or traffic, then you can leave “United States” checked. 

But if your business is local, you’ll want to check “Enter another location” and enter specific cities or regions to display your ads to. 

Click “Advanced search” if you’d like to add locations in bulk or add a radius to your location target. 

By clicking “Pin Mode” you can even drop a pin to be at the center of your radius rather than choosing an address or city. Click “Save.”

Pro tip: Under Locations, click “Location options.” Check the item under “Target” that says “People in or regularly in your targeted locations.” This will keep your ads from showing up for people in other countries or states who are simply “interested in” your targeted locations and not actually in them.

Next, select your languages and audiences. Type in any other languages that are applicable to your campaign. 

If this is your first campaign, then you won’t have any audience options, so you can move past this. But if you’ve created other campaigns, you can select an audience from one of those to add to this campaign. 

Add your budget

Now, you can add your budget for this specific ad campaign. You have to add a daily limit to your campaign. We just like to take how much we’re willing to spend monthly and divide it by 30 to get a rough estimate for your daily limit. 

Google will use this as a guide for displaying your ads each day, and once it reaches your daily limit, your ads will stop showing until the next day. 

There is no general recommended budgets for a Google Ads campaign, as this can vary greatly between campaigns depending on your industry and goals. You may have to experiment with this to find your sweet spot for getting the most conversions and return on your investment. 

Under “Bidding,” you’ll only have the option to choose “Clicks” or “Impressions” for your bidding strategy until your campaign has made some conversions. 

We recommend starting with “Clicks” and then switching to “Conversions” after your ads have been running for a little while. 

Check out this article to add conversion tracking to your campaign. 

Include ad extensions

Ad extensions are additional links and pieces of information that you can include on your search ads. They are great to include not only because they offer more information for potential customers, but they also make your ad take up more space in the search results–making them more visible and appealing to click on. 

For a sitelink extension, click “New Sitelink Extension” and fill in the fields provided:

  • Sitelink text (i.e. About Us, Products, Videos, Fun Features, etc.)
  • Description line 1
  • Description line 2
  • Final URL (where the sitelink points to on your website)

Sitelink extensions are great for highlighting other relevant pages on your website. 

Callout extensions are perfect for advertising additional reasons that customers should choose you, like Free Shipping, Hand-Crafted, Pain-Free, Low Cost, etc. Pick some unique attributes about your business and enter them here. 

Click “New Callout Extension” and enter at least two callouts. Click “Save.”

Call extensions allow you to enter your phone number to your ads. Customers can then call you directly without even clicking on your ad (win-win since it costs you money for each click you receive). 

Click “New Call Extension” and add your phone number. Click “Save.”

Click “Save and continue” to move on to creating your ads. 

Step 3: Set up Google ad groups

Next, we’ll set up ad groups. These are a good way to organize your ads if they fall under different categories and will require different types of search phrases. 

For example, if you want to use Google Ads to promote a new shoe sale and a grand opening for another location of your store, you’d want to set these ads up in different ad groups so you can target them differently. 

Leave the “Ad group type” set as “Standard.” Name your ad group(s) and add any relevant keywords for your phrases. We recommend only starting out with 10-15 highly relevant phrases with the “quotation marks” around them. See our example in the photo. 

The quotation marks around your keywords will tell Google that you only want your ads to show up for searches that include that phrase. The ads may be displayed to other searches that are very similar. This will help weed out unqualified traffic. 

The more keywords you enter, the more unqualified traffic and clicks you might drive, meaning you’re paying more than you need to. You can always add more keywords later if you aren’t getting the results that you want. 

Click “Save and continue.”

Step 4: Create your Google ads

Now for the fun part–setting up your ads. This is what people will actually see on Google when your ads are displayed. 

We recommend creating 2-3 ads to start with. This will give Google multiple options to display, and then you can see which ads perform the best. 

Include the following in your ad:

  • Website URL
  • Three headlines (make these attention-grabbing and relevant)
  • Two descriptions (include keywords and additional details about your ad)

Click “Done” to save your ad. 

Click “New Ad” above the ad creation section to create more ads for Google to choose from. 

Once you have created 2-3 ads, click “Save and continue” at the bottom of the page. 

Step 5: Add your billing information

You can’t start running your ads until you have a way to pay for them. On this final step of the campaign set up, add your billing information into the fields provided:

  • Promotional code (if applicable)
  • Account type (business or individual)
  • Business name
  • Bank account or credit card
    • For bank account, include name on account, account type, routing number, and account number
    • For credit card, include card number, expiration date, CVC, cardholder name, and zip code

Click “Submit.”

Now your ads are officially set up! It may take up to 48 hours (though usually less) for Google to review and approve your ads. Once that is done, they will start showing up in Google searches and you’ll start seeing results. 

How to view your Google adwords search results

Once your ads are approved, Google will start showing them in searches that include your keywords. Then you can view the results from your ads, like how many impressions (searches they’ve showed up in) and clicks they have received. 

Log in to with the same Gmail you used to set up your account. You’ll be brought to an overview or dashboard for your search campaign. 

You can then view your results by Ad groups, Ads & extensions, or Keywords. In the left menu bar, click the option that you want to filter your results by. 

When you click one of these options, you’ll be shown the number of clicks your ads, ad groups, or specific keywords received, how many impressions they received, the cost per click, and the total cost for all of the clicks. 

You can also filter by specific dates to see how your ads perform week to week or month to month. You can even click the “Columns” icon in the menu bar below the dates to add additional metrics into your view. 

Now, just sit back and watch as your ads start bringing in traffic. 

Take these additional steps to further optimize your Google ad search campaign as you start getting more traffic and clicks on your ads. 

What can you do in addition to Google Ads/Adwords search?

Google Ads is a fantastic strategy for getting immediate traffic and short-term results. But it can be an expensive strategy to maintain for a long period of time. 

If you want to start showing up in the search engines organically, you should compliment your Google Ads strategy with a long-term search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. SEO takes time, but it helps you show up in search engine results without having to pay for ads forever. 

Here are a couple guides that can help you improve your SEO:

Another way to improve your online reputation and help with SEO is to get more online reviews. Solutions like Womply’s reputation management software can help you automate and streamline the vital process of managing your online directory listings and reviews, saving you valuable time every week. 

Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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