Joy Gendusa
Joy Gendusa

So you gave pay per click (PPC) a try, and it betrayed your trust royally. Been there! Let me guess, you were paying like $10 for a click. And then all those pricey clicks had the gall to abandon your website, without even leaving an email address to follow up with. The nerve!

Here’s the deal: you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. There is a learning curve to this Google marketing thing. But, with a little of the right knowledge you can make PPC work for you, and you don’t have to be an online marketing guru.

Yes, it’s a pretty complicated system. No way around it. That’s why I’ve written this three-part series to help you understand how to navigate Google AdWords and turn PPC into a valuable marketing option for your HVAC business.

Part 1, this article, provides a quick overview of what AdWords is and how it works.

Part 2 will supply five ad creation tips on how to maximize your cost per click (CPC).

Part 3 will explain how to navigate the many targeting options Google provides.

Let’s do this thing!

Pay per What?

Pay per click (PPC) is marketing strategy where you run online ads through Google and only pay for the ad space when someone clicks on the ad. Easy enough, right? You pay per click. You know what these ads are, even if you don’t know it. Just do any Google search (maybe type in “air conditioning repair” to really get an idea of what your competitors are doing), and these are the ads at the very top of the search results and the far right. They should be marked by a yellow “AD” next to the link.

Google’s PPC platform is called AdWords. You need an account, and it’s free, but you should wait until you are ready to actually launch a campaign to do so, because Google prompts you to start your campaign right away. (You can always pause it later if you need to, and won’t be charged anything while it is paused.)

Paying for PPC

PPC pricing works on a bidding framework. Basically, when you create your ad, you tell Google how much you are willing to pay to have your ad show up in searches for a particular keyword, like “Denver AC Repair” or “My house is so hot!” Google suggests a good place to start, but you can bid whatever you want. Obviously, the higher you bid, the more often (and higher up on the page) your ad will appear. The way you find out what keywords are best to bid on is by using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, which looks like Figure 1 above.

As you can see, Google provides you with useful metrics on every keyword to help you find good ones to bid on. Ideally, you want to find phrases with lots of average monthly searches and low competition/bids. That isn’t always possible, but it’s a goal.

The Types of PPC Ads

There are three kinds of PPC ads.

1. Text Ads

These ads show up along with Google’s organic (non-paid) search results. They can also show up on other websites if you want (but more on that in the later articles).

2. Display Ads

Display ads are the visual banner ads you see everywhere. That’s because display ads can show up on any site in Google’s Display Network, which is huge and includes many big name sites, like,,, and a ton more. They look like Figure 2 above.

3. YouTube Ads

YouTube ads are the little text ads that show up on the bottom of the video when you are watching Charlie bite his brother’s finger. They are pretty standard and can be clicked on to take you to the website or you can close them.

So that’s AdWords in a nutshell. Hopefully this cleared up some questions for you. But if you are still unclear about any of AdWords functions, shoot me a question in the comments and I’ll do my best to sort it out for you.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next article in this series, where I’ll give you five tips on creating PPC ads that maximize your cost per click.