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From Beginner to Pro: 21 Free Adwords Tutorials For 2016

With the growing PPC budgets come increased demand for experienced pay-per-click services. It's no surprise, then, that PPC and SEM jobs are on the rise. As we continue to move forward into the second quarter 2016, the need for quality PPC analysts and Google Adwords managers intensify.

Though brands are allocating large portions of their marketing budget to Adwords, learning effective pay per click strategies doesn't have to break the bank. It can be overwhelming trying to learn this new skill - with countless courses and guides, many would-be Adwords consultants are scratching their heads and wondering, "Where do I start?"

Let's get one thing straight: learning the fundamentals of Adwords doesn't cost a cent. If you're just starting out, don't buy in to expensive training programs or monthly subscription services. There is plenty of free information on the Internet which teaches you everything you need to know about Google Adwords.

We looked sought out the best free tutorials on the web today, covering every facet of the Adwords universe. They're broken down in to 11 categories:

unbounce ppc guide to marketing

Unbounce is the leading authority on conversion rate optimization. They consistently write content that explains complex ideas in simple terms, and their Noob Guide to PPC is no different. The guide covers the absolute essentials, from campaign setup to keyword targeting and Ad rank. If you're just getting started and looking for help setting up your first small campaign, this guide is for you.

The Google Adwords support center is an excellent resource for any and every PPC consultant, from beginner to expert. But it wasn't always this way - the Adwords help was, for a long time, outdated and sporadically updated. Times have changed though, and Google regularly updates the Adwords tutorials it evolves.

My favorite thing about the Adwords support guides: they come in video format. If you're a visual learner, then these videos are an excellent resource and explain detailed PPC concepts with simple, short cartoons. Given that Adwords is the major PPC platform and belongs to Google, it's worth a visit to the Adwords support site to stay abreast of the latest goings-ons with the Adwords platform.

unbounce ppc guide to marketing

When it comes to internet marketing, Neil Patel is a household name. He's the founder of two marketing companies - Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg - and regularly blogs about marketing topics on his eponymous blog and QuickSprout.

This Adwords guide, like most of Neil's content, is in depth with amazing attention to detail. He does a great job of explaining the value of Adwords for SMEs, both now and in the future. Looking at PPC from a high level, it's easier to understand the importance of granular things like landing page optimization and conversion tracking.

The best part about this guide: the examples. Each section has a real-world example, accompanied by annotated images that clearly explain the thought process. This is a great guide for anyone who's already set up their first campaign or two and is looking to take their Adwords PPC game to the next level.

word stream

The folks at WordStream are trusted experts when it comes to pay per click advertising. Yet despite their extensive expertise, they explain technical concepts in a way that is generally accessible and easy to absorb. Such is the case with their '6 Steps Guide' to paid search account structure.

Laid out sequentially, each step covers a defend aspect of campaign structure. Chief among these, as they point out, is doing your due diligence in the two phases before the campaign even starts: planning and keyword research. For many PPC consultants, including (and perhaps, specifically) the veterans, there is a temptation to rush through the planning and keyword research phases. The fact is, these do not scale well; every campaign is different and will be structured differently.

Website structure, products and services, and the location of customers all play a part in PPC campaign structure and should be considered to help the campaign succeed over time.

CPC strategy adwords tutorial

If you're setting up a campaign for an ecommerce site, this PPC tutorial is an excellent resource. Using the example of a retailer selling women's jeans, the CPC Strategy team shows how a properly structured site at the outset allows for easy expansion later on. Another example of how, when it comes to PPC, moving slow is actually moving fast.

Kissmetrics PPC guide

If you've been anywhere near the pay per click advertising industry in the past 15 years, then you probably feel like the topic of keyword search has been beaten to death by now. But the fact is, smart advertisers know that success comes from the fundamentals, and nothing is more essential to PPC than effective keyword selection.

In this keyword research PPC tutorial, veteran marketer Beth Morgan shows us how to truly identify the keywords that will convert searchers into buyers. The right keywords are those that match the interest and intent with a searcher when are at a particular stage of the buying cycle. Rather than grouping keywords by their grammatical similarities (the 'traditional' way of doing keyword research), we should, according to Beth, group them according to likelihood to convert. In doing so, we can appropriately allocate more budget to the keywords that will have the highest ROI.

paid insights ppc guide

I'll cut right to the chase: this keyword research tutorial drops a value bomb tip, and it's one that almost every PPC consultant I know completely overlooks. It's quite simple: talk to the customer!

So often we set out to crest the perfect Adwords campaign with the perfect keywords (as if such a campaign was even possible), without even asking the customer about their needs. "Me! Me! Me!" is the default way our minds work, so it's crucial that we take a step back and remember why we're doing PPC in the first place: to deliver an amazing experience to another human being through our advertised product or service.

A simple, conversation is all it takes to reveal unique keyword insights, both positive and negative, that can save time and money down the line.


Unbounce has created this brief, useful tutorial for writing PPC ad copy. The biggest takeaway here is, not surprisingly, write like a human speaking to other humans. Focus on the end needs, wants and outcomes of your target customers. Speak their language. Don't be afraid to get personal, explaining what you can do for your customer in the ad copy.

white shark media adwords guide

Without a doubt, the most important part of Adwords ad copy is the headline. It's the largest part of the ad, the part we see first, and what triggers an emotional reaction. In this tutorial for writing PPC headlines that convert, PPC expert Andrew Lolk at White Shark Media takes a deep dive into the art and science of writing amazing headlines. Almost as important as knowing what to do is knowing what not to do. This guide helps avoid those pitfalls write away, laying out 8 common mistakes to avoid when writing Adwords PPC headlines, including copying competitors or using generic wording.

With this in mind, the guide then lays out a complete blueprint for writing headlines that convert, including tips for saving space and which words to use to build trust with customers. But without a doubt, biggest takeaway from this guide is that writing effective headlines is about much more than throwing your main keyword in the headline and hoping for the best. In fact, as Andrew points out, many off the best headlines today omit the keyword entirely. So next time you're writing headlines for ads, test a few sans-keywords.

white shark media adwords guide

Following on their epic tutorial for writing attention-grabbing PPC headlines, Andrew Lolk at White Shark takes us even deeper into the world of ad copy with this guide to writing hyper-targeted descriptions for Adwords ads. For someone without much experience writing descriptions, this guide clearly lays explains their two-fold purpose: to attract the right audience while, at the same time, deter the rest.

The tutorial walks us through best practices for writing descriptions that help you stand out from your competitors and convince the consumer to convert. Among these: call to actions, USPs and offers that relate to the audience you want to attract, to name a few. Whether you're a total novice or pro copywriter, White Shark's Ad Writing 101 are excellent resources for improving your ad copy skills.


Oli Gardner and the Unbounce team continue to unleash their PPC knowledge with this epic 50-page ebook for building the ultimate PPC landing pages. This is Unbounce's bread and butter - building better landing pages for PPC marketers - and it's definitely worth the read.

The ebook covers everything from user intent, attention ratio (the amount of the page dedicated to converting the visitor), to optimizing mobile landing pages. For example, the guide explains the difference between responsive design and dedicated mobile landing pages, and when to use each. Once again, Unbounce takes complex concepts in the PPC marketing space and distills them into a clear, concise tutorial.


This "Entertaining" Guide to building and optimizing landing pages is written by none other than Oli Gardner, the founder of Unbounce and leading PPC expert. Covering many of the same ideas as the PPC Landing Page ebook, this tutorial takes a more light-hearted approach, sprinkling in a variety of fun examples and light-hearted memes. I, for one, enjoy this style of writing as it helps me learn and absorb material much more easily.

search engine watch adwords tutorials

Not to be outdone by Unbounce, this incredible PPC tutorial truly covers every detail for building PPC landing pages. Not surprisingly, given that author Graham Charlton is editor in chief of ClickZ, a long-time authority in the digital advertising and pay per click space.

The checklist overlaps with Unbounce guides in many areas, but also stands out in others. Namely, it looks at a high level view of the different types of landing pages, and when to use them. Graham also shares a few points for capturing visitors who don't convert, but may end up converting later on in some other way.

Overall, this sequential checklist is a nice summary of the essential steps to take when building PPC landing pages and definitely worth a read!​

Kissmetrics PPC guide

PPC consultants spend a large part of their careers searching for the ideal keywords to target – those that lead to the most clicks and conversions. However, fewer devote as much time and energy to building a negative keyword list, despite the crucial role that negative keywords play in maximizing the ROI of an AdWords campaign. The fact is, negative keywords are equally important to the success of any PPC marketing campaign, and this tutorial from Kissmetrics shows just how to identify and use negative keywords effectively.

Author Igor Belogolovsky points out that building a negative keyword list is about more than just omitting keywords like "free", "torrent" or adult-related searches. While that aspect is important, it's also about identifying "blind-side" keywords that may drive up conversion costs - ie, keywords you would not expect to show up for searches unrelated to your brand. This negative keyword tutorial is simple and straightforward, and a quick read for anyone looking to optimize their keyword lists.

Word Stream

Everything you could possibly want to know about Ad Extensions is in this ebook from Wordstream. Seriously, everything. That's why we chose at this the sole free PPC tutorial in the Ad Extensions category.

The ebook is broken down into 6 sections, one for each of the different extension types: Location Extensions, Product Extensions, Sitelinks, Call Extensions, Communication Extensions, Offer Extensions.

Adwords is constantly releasing new extensions, and it's a tool that isn't well understood nor utilized by most PPC marketers. This guide clears the confusion, giving use cases and examples with visuals for each extension types. Save and bookmark this PPC Ad extension guide - it's a resource worth coming back to.

ppc hero adwords remarketing guide

Google Adwords remarketing is perhaps one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools on the web today. And yet, there are many PPC marketers who don't know exactly what remarketing is or how to use it properly.

In Google's own words, "remarketing lets you show ads to people who have visited your website or used your mobile app before. When people leave your website without buying anything, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads as they browse the web, as they use mobile apps, or as they search on Google."

This in-depth tutorial from PPC Hero explains Adwords remarketing in its entirety, covering everything from list building, member duration windows, custom combinations and the interaction of all three. There's a lot of information here, so it's best to move through it at your own pace. Remarketing can take some time to set up, but once it's up and running it's a powerful tool in any PPC marketer's arsenal.

state of digital adwords scripts

A State of Digital consistently puts out short, helpful content and marketing guides. I love their content because it so easy to read, and this guide to Adwords scripts is no different. A quick read (4-5 minutes), it explains what scripts are, when to use them, and how to use them most effectively to save time and money.

Author Jackie Hole even goes so far as to include a few example scripts for her readers in the article itself. Though scripts are oft-considered the exclusive domain of coders and Adwords techies, this guide does a good job of explaining this in non techno-jargon, making it a great primer on Adwords scripts for beginners.

koozai adwords scripts

This Adwords Scripts tutorial from Sophie Howell at Koozai is not for beginners. Each type of script is covered in depth, with specific use cases and examples of each of the 15 or so categories of scripts.

An excellent resource, Sophie includes in the article 100 different Adwords scripts to copy and paste for immediate use and implementation. For the PPC professional with some knowledge of scripts, this list may prove invaluable - offering up Adwords account management shortcuts on a silver platter.

crazy egg adwords customizers

Have you heard of Ad customizers? Announced back in 2014, Ad customizers are a neat tool from the Adwords team that lets you dynamically update Adwords ads without any extra effort. Ad customizers are a godsend for Ecommerce PPC marketers who deal with lots of inventory that constantly changes stock and price. It bypasses the need painstakingly hunt through Adwords ads adjusting prices, discounts, and product information.

In this nifty guide to Ad customizer use from Crazy Egg, author Gary Victory explains why Ad customizers are important, how to implement them, and how they help increase conversion rate, explaining that "Ad customizers can nab the customer at that crucial decision-making moment with the right kind of incentive…[helping avoid] banner blindness." Check out the last few paragraphs for some cool examples of Ad customizers at work!

seobook adwords tools

In the fast paced world of online advertising, the right tools can literally make the difference when it comes to narrow success in business, or total failure.

This list of free and paid PPC tools from SEO Book includes everything you could possibly need as a PPC marketer: Paid Competitive Research Tools, Bulk Keyword Editing Tools, Bid Management Tools, A/B Testing Tools, Tools Offered by Search Engines, and others.

Also see:

The Only SEO Tutorials You Need in 2016 PPC Dashboard Template (useful for anyone looking to get in to PPC)

Did I miss any amazing PPC tutorials? Let me know in the comments below. I'm all ears if you have one!