How to Write Your Own Ads on Google AdWords

Welcome to Part 4 of our ‘How To Advertise on Google’ series. Our topic today is the ads themselves. We will cover: the anatomy of ads on Google, guidelines for writing ads, and best practices for writing killer ads for your business. Let’s dive in!

If you’ve ever wanted to be in advertising, now is your moment to shine because when advertising on Google you get to write your own ads! In order to learn how to write effective ads for Google, you need to understand the anatomy of an ad. There are different parts to ads and understanding them will help you be able to write the best ad copy for advertising on Google. Using AdWords allows you to write ads yourselves, but it’s not a simple process. You need to write an ad which will grab people’s attention, drive them to your site, and get people to buy your product/service.

Structure of Ads on Google

When using Google, you probably do not notice all of the ads on the page. Usually, the first result when you search for something on Google is a paid ad. Doing this type of advertising can be a powerful way to reach an expanded audience, but how do these ads work? There are 3 main components that make an ad: headline, description lines, and Display URL.

Using our an example from Shane Co. Jewelry Store, here is the breakdown of the ad:

Headline: Shane Co.® Jewelry Store

  • While you write your own headline, Google will automatically insert the domain name of your site; in this example it is shaneco.com which comes at the end of the headline

Display URL: www.shaneco.com/Jewelry_Store

  • This is where people will go when they click on the ad

Description Lines: Jewelry You Can’t Find Elsewhere. 60-Day Return & Lifetime Warranty.

  • Google breaks this into 2 total description lines
  • In this example, Shane Co. has 2 separate sentences to fill up both description lines. Google puts both of them together into a single line in this view.

Google’s Ad Guidelines

When writing ads, you have to adhere to specific rules from Google in order for your ads to be eligible. These guidelines range from how long the ad can be, to keeping proper syntax.

  • Headline length can only be a max of 25 characters
  • Description line is broken into 2 separate lines, each with a max of 35 characters
  • Display URL has a max of 35 characters
  • Cannot use excessive capitalization
    • Bad example: GET YOUR FREE QUOTE TODAY!
    • Good example: Get Your Free Quote Today!
  • Can only use an exclamation point (!) once in the ad
    • Exclamation point cannot be used in the headline
  • Cannot use phone numbers in ads unless your business name is a phone number
    • Example: 1-800-FLOWERS

How To Write Ads for Google

It’s best to think about writing ads looking at the 3 components we discussed earlier.


This is your chance to get your business name out there and grab the attention of people searching on Google. Most people will only read the headline of an ad before deciding to move past your ad or read further. Strive to include one or multiple of the following in your headline:

  • Your business name – stands out and is the foremost thing people see in your ad
  • Best Offer/Feature – if you have an offer that you use all the time, put it here
    • Warning: You cannot use an ad permanently if you have a temporary sale which ends
  • Ask for an action – “sign up now”, “buy now”, or “save today” are great attention-grabbers

Description Lines

These two lines give you room to describe more about your business, offerings, and services. If someone has made it past the headline, you have grabbed their attention. Now, you need to reel them in with a well-rounded pitch using only 70 characters of text.

  • Sales, Offers, or Free Stuff – let potential customers know what benefits they can get
    • Ex: Get 10% off your 1st purchase
  • Features of your product/services – let us know what makes your business unique/special
    • Charges batteries in less than 1 hour
  • A description! – quickly detail what your business does or provides to customers
    • Build your own website with our templates
  • Incorporate your keyword – any time you mention a keyword in your ad it gets automatically bolded by Google
    • This is a huge advantage to give your ad more punch and all you have to do is think about the keyword(s) you are using and incorporate it into your ad
    • Using our earlier example: I searched for ‘jewelry store’ and those words were in the ad and so they showed up bolded to add pop to the ad

Display URLs

This is simply the web address (URL) for where your ad will take people who click on it. There is a secret pro tip regarding Display URLs: they do not have to be the literal web address people are taken to. This is what is called a “vanity” URL in that it is really there for looks.

Google requires only that the domain name of the URL matches with the domain you are taking people to. Example: if your site is www.homerepair.com then your Display URL would need to start out with www.homerepair.com because that is the “domain name” of your site. So why is this vanity URL important?

After starting with the domain name, you can add anything you want on to the end of it. From our earlier example, Shane Co had it’s Display URL end with /Jewelry Store. While that is just for show, it’s a free bit of space you can use to highlight your business again. Consider reinforcing your important services and/or keywords at the tail end of the Display URL.

Example: Let’s say you offer free consultations to your potential clients.

Display URL: www.businessname.com/free-consultation


You are now on your way to becoming an advertising expert! Following these ad-writing basics will set you up with ads every bit as good as the biggest companies. Interested in learning even more about writing killer ads for Google? Stay tuned for our follow-up article: 5 Tips for Killer Ad Copy!

Next week in our ‘How To Advertise on Google’ series we will put all of the pieces we’ve reviewed together. We will take your keywords and review how to organize everything you’ve built for optimal efficiency. If you enjoy this series, please sign up for our email newsletter to get all of our new blog posts every week. You can also follow me on Twitter @rbsjackets.


Headshot of Chris LaFay

Chris LaFay

Chris's goal in life is to conduct connection and bring heart to every interaction in life. He puts humans above to-dos. He consistently brings the band back together, leveraging long-term relationships across a swathe of experience to empower career transitions, life event pivots, and, ultimately, an incredibly versatile, flexible, and creative team for his clients.