If you’re considering dipping your toes into the waters of Google AdWords, you almost certainly can benefit from taking a look at some information about the program and how to use it before taking the plunge. There are a million sources offering everything from pretty basic data about how to use AdWords all the way to complex courses that cover every possible aspect of how to take advantage of each and every feature included in it.
The best place to start, however, is directly at the source – Google. Google has provided an incredible amount of information and training material on AdWords, most of which is free for anyone to access and use. There is no need to have an active account to start learning about the program, and you can explore the variety of possibilities and features to judge its usefulness to your situation without having to commit a dime in actual budget.
Here are five different types of training and information on AdWords that Google supplies for those interested in finding out more about how AdWords works, and to help those already signed up for the program in tweaking and perfecting their advertising campaigns. These are in addition to a robust help center and forum where one can browse around and discuss the program with other users.
1. AdWords Beginner’s Guide (http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=21899)
This guide is the best place for those new to AdWords to spend time at if they are looking for information on the basics of the program. Each step in the process is laid out with explanations of what the various terminology means and what action is required, and links to other areas of the guide that provide more information on related topics. At the end of each step a link is provided to the area in the Google Help Center that deals with the topic should you have questions not covered here. The data provided is extremely comprehensive, but you may wish to open another instance of your browser so you can look at screenshots of the items being described and explained in your actual AdWords account. As a reminder, you do not need to have an active AdWords account going in order to access the program or experiment with the settings.
2. AdWords Glossary (http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=15464)
In any program as complex and full-featured as AdWords is, there is a lot of terminology. For those who are new to the program or just considering whether or not it may work for them, it’s worth keeping the link to this comprehensive glossary handy. Organized into a basic section and an “all terms” section, the glossary covers more than 100 terms, and since some of the definitions are complex and specific to AdWords itself, program users need to understand their meaning and implications to take full advantage of the program’s features.
3. Google AdWords Online Classroom (http://www.google.com/adwords/onlineclassroom/)
This is a good place to start if you like video instruction, are new to AdWords, or want to find out some more information about some topics to help you make the most of your online efforts. The videos are comprehensive and range in length from a few minutes to 20 minutes or longer. Most are targeted to the beginner, so even pure amateurs will find them understandable and informative. The main areas covered are (1) Getting Started; (2) Tips for making your ads better; (3) How to measure success; (4) Beyond the basics; and (5) Specifically for agencies.
4. Google AdWords Optimization Center (http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=21804&from=21804&rd=1)
The Optimization Center is an area where AdWords users can find tips and help on ways to attract more customers to their business. Each account feature (ads, keywords, targeting, bidding/budgeting, and account structure) has a number of tips associated with it, and the data can also be organized by level of expertise or by advertising goal. For example, if you are looking for ideas on how to improve your ad position, you can access the optimization center’s tips related solely to this topic.
5. Google AdWords Seminars (http://services.google.com/ads_inquiry/awseminars)
To help AdWords advertisers and encourage others to try the program, Google offers periodic seminars in a variety of locations in the US, the UK, and Australia on various topics related to AdWords, Google Analytics, and Website Optimizer. Topics are divided into a 100, 200, and 300-level series (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) for each of the three major topic groups. The seminars are not free, and usually run 2-3 days in length. If you’re looking for seminar instruction of this kind, you can’t go wrong with this training – although the instructors are not affiliated with Google, they have been chosen with care and Google strives to include the latest changes/additions to the program in these training sessions to make sure the information provided is up-to-date.