Common PPC Questions and their Answers

When it comes to PPC (Pay Per Click advertising) and SEO, there are lots of things to learn, and sometimes it can be difficult even to get your head around the basics. And when you’re starting out, or trying to juggle all your different business hats, you’re bound to have dozens of questions.

Here’s a guide to some of the most common PPC questions I get asked by business owners like you. And, if you can’t find an answer you need, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

You might also find this guide useful:

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PPC Basics

What is PPC?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It’s a form of paid online advertising that charges based on the number of clicks on an ad.

Google ads dashboard

How does PPC advertising work?

earchEach platform will be slightly different, but you generally start with a campaign, which contains one or more ads. You choose a budget, your assets (which can include text, images and video), a budget and a goal, and then your ads are served across a network of platforms.

You can monitor your ads and adjust them in order to get the best results. You can also pause them, run them for a set period, and often choose the type of audience that gets to see them.

Learn more in my beginner’s guide to Google Ads.

What are PPC campaigns?

A campaign is a set of ads with a similar theme. You can run multiple campaigns at a time on platforms such as Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.

What are PPC keywords?

A keyword is a word or phrase that a searcher types into search engines like Google and Bing. Ads will show up for certain keywords depending on chosen or automated criteria. For many campaign types, you can choose the keywords that trigger your ads.

What are negative keywords?

PPC ads on platforms such as Google and Bing display when particular phrases (keywords) are typed into the search engine. For certain ads, you can select the keywords you show up for.

On the flip side, if a keyword is irrelevant to your business – or you want to exclude it to avoid competing with another of your ads – you can mark it as a negative keyword. This tells the platform that you don’t want your ad showing when that particular phrase is searched.

Where do PPC ads appear?

Where PPC ads appear depends on the platform. When using Google Ads, your adverts will show on Google Search and on Google properties such as YouTube. If you advertise with Meta, your ads will appear on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

The placement of ads on a specific website can also vary. On Bing (Microsoft Ads), you might see them above or below the organic (unpaid) search results, or on the sidebar.

Most PPC platforms also have an extended network of websites where they’ll display banner ads and other forms of advert.

Ad placements on Facebook

How can PPC help your business?

A business needs customers and there are lots of different ways to get that. One way is through PPC ads: you pay a certain amount of money per day and your ads are shown to an audience who may be interested in your product or service.

There are lots of different ways of promoting your business, but PPC has a number of advantages. This includes being able to see your exact results (unlike, for example, in traditional printed media like newspapers); serving directly to people who have shown an interest in your product/service; and faster results than alternative methods such as SEO.

How do I start PPC advertising?

Firstly, make sure you have a decent basic understanding of PPC. Because this is paid advertising, you can lose a lot of money if you go into it with no idea of what you’re doing. Fortunately, the basics are quite straightforward and there’s a lot of information out there.

Read some of the following guides to get you started:

Budget and spending

What is a good cost per click (CPC)?

How long is a piece of string?

The answer to this question will depend on your product, industry, competition, audience, strategy and more. Ultimately, you need to take a look at your profit margins and decide for yourself a good figure. If you’re spending £5 per click to sell a product that only costs £6, then it’s not a good CPC. But if you’re spending £5 per click to sell a product that costs hundreds of pounds, that spend is much more worthwhile.

What is the minimum spend required to run Google Ads?

There is technically no minimum spend on Google and most other platforms. You do, however, have to choose a daily budget, so consider this when you’re deciding how much to spend. And, while you don’t have to spend lots of money to advertise, you want to  find a balance between not spending too much and receiving no views because of too low a spend.

Do you pay for Google Ads if no one clicks?

No, you don’t pay if no one clicks on your pay per click ad.

Conversions and Costs on Google Ads

Is Google Ads cheaper than Facebook?

Google Ads and Facebook are two of the big PPC players, but which is cheaper will depend on your strategy. And you should, of course, remember, that cheaper isn’t always better.

Facebook is usually considered the cheaper option on the basis of Cost per Click (CPC). However, Google users are often more ready to buy, so require fewer clicks before they make a purchase.

Read more on Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.


What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

In very basic terms, SEO is “free” and PPC is paid for. SEO is a long-term strategy that involves improving your website to make it more appealing to users. PPC can be used as either a short-term or a long-term strategy and requires payment upfront, though your ads do still need to appeal to users.

It’s best to use both SEO and PPC together, as they overlap, but it’s possible to do one or the other and still get good results.

Read more of my SEO guides and PPC guides.

How do PPC and SEO work together?

You don’t have to do both PPC and SEO together, but your marketing will certainly be stronger if you do. While the two don’t necessarily affect each other directly, they do have an overlapping effect and some strategies work well in both areas.

For example, if you target a specific keyword in PPC, your ad may show at the top of the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If you have also used SEO to get your website to the top of the organic (unpaid) results, your website is listed twice instead of once. That means you take up more space on the screen and users are more likely to click through to your website.

Learn more about how SEO and PPC work together.

Strategy and campaigns

What is a PPC strategy?

Like any other kind of strategy, a PPC strategy is a plan that aims to get you the best results based on set goals. A strategy could involve improving sales or increasing brand awareness. It will drive the type of ads you use, your budget, the length of a campaign, and a number of other factors.

Get started with some Google Ads strategies for beginners.

What is a Google Ads Performance Max campaign?

Performance Max is a shopping ads campaign that is powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. You provide a number of assets (images, copy, etc.), and Google will mix and match these to create the best ads across a range of platforms.

Learn more about Performance Max.

Selecting Performance Max in Google Ads

Does PPC work?

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when it comes to PPC. If done well, your return on investment can be doubled, tripled and more, through the use of paid advertising.

Of course, like anything, success for one business will look different for another. And whether your ads work will depend on the skill of the person running them, the industry you’re in, your budget, and much more.

PPC ads won’t work for everyone, but for the majority of businesses they are an effective way of reaching a larger audience quickly and consistently.


Can you run Google ads without a website?

In most cases, you will need a website in order to advertise with Google, or other advertisers such as Microsoft. This is because your ads will be, in some way, linked to your website so a user can click through for more information.

The one exception is for businesses that serve a local area. If you are a local business, you can create a Google Business Profile and run a Smart Campaign on Google. This doesn’t require a website, but your advertising options will be limited.

It’s reasonably easy to create a basic website if you’re not yet ready to splash out on a web designer. Take a look at website builders such as Wix and Weebly to get started.

Homepage for Google Business Profile

Why am I not seeing my PPC ads?

Some beginner users of PPC ads will wonder why they never see their ads on Google, even when they search terms that are directly linked to their business. There can be a number of reasons for this, including:

  • Your ads aren’t targeted to searchers like you
  • You’re not bidding enough money on an ad, so your competitors are outranking you
  • The ad campaign isn’t targeting the right keywords

Rather than trying to manually find an ad by using a search engine, go to the platform and take a look at the data provided. This will give you lots of helpful information, including how many times your ad has been seen, and how many times it has been clicked on.


Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a big topic but hopefully this Q&A will give you some of the confidence needed to get started. Remember that many of the answers will depend on different factors including your industry, experience in digital advertising, your strategy, and the type of ads you’re running.

You can find more in-depth details about PPC advertising across my blog.

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