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What’s the difference between Google AdWords and Google AdSense

And how to make both work for your business

· small business,google,adwords,search

By: Emily LaDrig

In the simplest terms:
AdWords- You spend money

AdSense- You make money

But to give you a bit more insight, the difference between Adwords and Adsense, and which to use, really comes down to the goals for your business. AdWords allows you to advertise your business’ products and services (spend money) on the Google search results pages (and its network of affiliate partner sites) while AdSense is a platform you can use to display Google Ads (make money) on your website or blog.

Google AdWords- Advertise your business to attract more customers (aka, spend money)

Google AdWords is an online advertising service developed by Google, where businesses like yours pay to display ads like short copy, product overviews, and video content within the Google ad network to potential customers.

Getting started with Google AdWords is quite easy. You would create your ad (copy, overview, video) and provide your budget, and then you get to choose where and when you want your ads to show up. Once the ads start appearing on Google or one of its affiliate sites, you will pay each time a person clicks on your ad. One of the many benefits of AdWords is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad- known as Pay-Per-Click.

Signing up for the AdWords service is free and you can start with any budget and adjust up or down as you go. Some businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars per month, while others invest several hundred dollars per month. It works with any budget. You just have to willing to put in a little work.The AdWords platform provides tools and insights so you can see in real time which keywords are working in driving traffic for you. Use these tools to adjust your keywords and your budget as you go.

AdWords allows you to pay for your listing to be shown higher, which is really great if you are struggling to up your ranking. Organic and paid listings both appear on the search engine, but they are displayed in different locations on the page. Below I have highlighted paid ads vs organic ads.

3 Key Benefits of Google AdWords

1. Get more customers to your site

Whether you’re looking for more website visitors, more leads or more calls, Google AdWords will get your business in front of the people that are searching for a solution to a problem that you can solve.

2. Find the right people, at the right time

Since you don’t pay unless a customer clicks on your ad, that means that you’re paying for qualified customers who are already interested/ready to buy. These leads are pretty close to ready to buy, so it is up to you to convert them and provide an answer to their question.

3. Showcase your business locally or globally

Google AdWords allows you to target your ad to a specific audience in a specific location, so you can pick the country or city, or even set the distance to within miles of your store. This means only the customers you want are seeing your ads, so you’re not paying for customers you can’t help.

Google AdSense- Display ads on your website or blog to earn revenue for your business

AdSense is the platform you can use as a website or blog owner so that Google ads are shown on your website. When someone clicks on an ad that is shown on your website you will get paid a portion of what the AdWords advertiser pays.

If you own a website or blog that has good traffic you can, and should, be earning revenue from it. Advertisers love a spot that gets a lot of eyeballs, such as a very popular blog. Earning revenue by placing ads on this site seems easy, but you must know how to convince advertisers to place ads on your site, while providing them with data and insights to ensure they are spending their budget wisely.

Google AdSense provides the platform to help you in this situation. AdSense allows website owners to earn revenue from their content or ad spaces by selecting and displaying ads for you. Once you sign up for AdSense, any advertiser in Google AdWords can start placing their ad on your website. Google takes care of all of the work of finding the advertisers, reporting the data and collecting the payments. All you have to do is open up the space on your site and cash those checks.

Google does take a commission from your ads for providing this service though. But the amount they charge is well worth the impact it has. Millions of website owners make a living from ads today thanks to Google AdSense.

3 Key Benefits of Google AdSense

1. You decide which ads can and cannot be shown on your website

Whether it is a plain text ad or rich media ad, horizontal or vertical, you decide what ads can be displayed on your site. You also get to choose the content, colors and categories so you can make sure that it aligns with your brand or image.

2. Ads are mobile optimized

As you know, most people are visiting your site or blog on their smartphone. So it is key that everything on your site, including the ads, are optimized for customers to have the best user experience possible.

3. Google handles almost everything

Google takes care of processing and collecting the payments to their advertising network, plus they track all of the clicks and views so you know which ads are performing well and how, why and when you’ll get paid.

Hopefully this helps clear up the difference between AdWords and AdSense, but also gives you some insight into which tool could best help your business grow. Use AdWords if you want to pay to get more customers and use AdSense if you want Google to pay you for ads to be displayed on your website or blog.

Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, a 2nd stage business accelerator that helps small businesses excel and grow in the digital economy. Have questions about keywords or search engine optimization? Hit her up at

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