Sponsored Links in Google: How to Get Your Ad in Google's Paid Links

What Are Google Sponsored Links?

Google sponsored links, another name for Google ads or AdWords ads, are an option that Google offers to sites and businesses that want to pay a fee to appear in the search results for relevant search queries. Google sponsored links are an excellent way to gain brand exposure and attract qualified visitors to your website.

So how do you get placement there, and how much do sponsored links cost? In this introduction, you'll learn the basics of getting your site featured in Google's sponsored links section.

First, let's establish where the sponsored links appear. In the below example of a Google search engine results page (SERP), you can see two sponsored links sections, one above the "natural" or organic links and one to the right of the organic results. Those links in the yellow boxes are highly desirable due to their prominent placement on the page as well as the product images, ratings, price information, and other elements that entice users to click.

what are google sponsored links

These sponsored results differ from the organic Google results in that they're paid. However, don't make the assumption that organic results are free just because sponsored results are paid. Both organic and sponsored results require sustained effort and cost to maintain.

Google's Sponsored Links Auction

To have their ad appear in Google sponsored links, companies enter an auction to show their ad if it's deemed relevant to a user's search query. This "auction" is performed millions of times per day, and the position of your ad depends on your Quality Score for the keyword you're bidding on, as well as your bid.

How much does AdWords cost Google ad auction

If your ad qualifies to run in the auction and appear on the SERP, you'll then be charged a small fee every time a user clicks on your ad. This is called pay-per-click marketing or pay-per-click advertising (PPC) because the advertisers pay Google for each click on their ads.

How do you "win" this auction so your ad appears in a desirable position for the query you're bidding on in AdWords? It's all about your Quality Score. The higher your Quality Score, the better your ad positioning. The following factors (among others) affect your Quality Score:

  • The relevance of your ad to the search query
  • The relevance of the keyword to your ad group
  • The relevance of your ad to its landing page
  • The historical PPC click-through rate (CTR) of the ad and its ad group
  • Overall historical account performance

Notice anything in common between these factors? They're really all about proving your relevance to the end user. If your ad truly delivers relevant value to the people using Google, then Google is more likely to feature your ad in those sponsored links on the SERP.

How Much Do Sponsored Links Cost?

At this point, you're probably thinking: This all sounds great, but exactly how much money will I have to pay per click for those sponsored ads?

contextual display costs

There's no single, one-size-fits-all answer, because Google ad costs vary greatly depending on your industry and business type and lots of other factors. However, we can provide some ballpark figures for sponsored links costs:

  • The average cost per click for a sponsored link is between $1 and $2 on the Google search network. The average cost per click on the Display Network is under $1.
  • The most expensive keywords in AdWords and Bing Ads cost $50 or more per click. These are generally highly competitive keywords in industries that have high customer lifetime values, like law and insurance.
  • Giant retailers can spend up to $50 million per year on sponsored links in AdWords.
  • The average small business using AdWords spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on their Google paid search campaigns. That's $100,000 to $120,000 per year.

Keep in mind that millions of businesses around the world use Google advertising because it pays off: They make more money from those sponsored link clicks than they're paying. So don't be scared off because sponsored links aren't "free." They can often deliver better results, faster, than chasing rankings through the unpaid results!

Learn more about how much Google ads cost in this guide.

Get More Help with Google Sponsored Links

If you're ready to get started with placing sponsored ads on Google, but you're not sure where to start, we can help! Check out PPC University, a free learning resource that will teach you the basics of Google AdWords, from setting up your first campaign to making all the right optimizations that get you results and lower your costs.

If you need more help, sign up for a free trial of WordStream Advisor. WordStream Advisor is the #1 rated software in customer satisfaction for Google advertising management. We'll be your trusted advisor, making customized recommendations to help you succeed, every week.