The 6 Best (Free!) AdWords Tutorials for Beginners Right Now

by Mary Lister June 7, 2016
June 7, 2016

Starting to advertise online is intimidating. Especially when it feels like gambling—there is an auction? I have to bid on keywords? How do I set a budget? What is a campaign? What are extensions?! (You get the point.)

I can empathize. I’m still figuring out what AdWords can offer, which is why I think everyone should have these easy and free AdWords tutorials to help walk through the process.

To be clear, I don’t think you need ALL of these tutorials. You can probably just choose one or two—but whether you prefer reading, videos, or a more active learning experience, there’s something for everyone here!

AdWords Tutorials

Google Partners

The best tutorials by far are from Google. There is a lot of information out there about AdWords – what better place to find the truth than from the all-powerful creator of AdWords? This was the first place I turned when I wanted to figure out the basics of AdWords and Google did not fail me.

Even if you’re not trying to get AdWords Certified, I found the Google Partners exam study guide for the Fundamentals exam was informative and easily understandable. It can be hard to find (why you hide this, Google?) but it is clearly a treasure trove of information once you get there. It has an online guide you can walk through, complete with nice little videos, as well as a downloadable PDF version.

Google AdWords

Google Partners also has a YouTube channel, which is another great place to find a pal to walk you through AdWords basics. The most recent video for AdWords fundamentals was posted February 16, 2016; recently enough that I trust all the info there is correct and up to date. Again, this is structured for people who are trying to get certified but it is just generally helpful.

Google Partners Tutorial

When you’re really ready to commit and start putting up ads, Google has a step by step process to walk you through each step from login to launch. Before you get to this step, make sure you’re fully prepared with keywords and specifics on how you want to break out your campaigns and ad groups. If you’re still saying, “Ad groups, what are you even saying?” you aren’t ready! Go back to school!

Step-by-step Tutorial

AdWords 101 has a TON of courses on Google AdWords, tons of AdWords tutorials and walk-throughs of the basics…BUT the vast majority of those courses are not free. The best free tutorial I could find is “AdWords 101: The Beginner’s Guide to AdWords” by Jeffery Lane. Not only is his voice very calming, his instructions are extremely clear.

AdWords 101

This course is 1.5 hours long—I know, that seems daunting—but if you are truly interested in learning something, it will keep you engaged. Best part? You can always pause to take an ice cream break and come back! Because everyone needs to converse with Ben & Jerry when they are trying to learn some confusing new thing about the internet.

How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign (from Scratch)

Phil Frost wrote this killer blog post for Kissmetrics which not only walks you through step-by-step setup of campaigns in Google AdWords, but he also drops some nice tricks on research to do before you even log into AdWords. I found this ridiculously helpful—doing keyword research and having a plan before you have to pull the trigger makes the process feel more organized. Less panic is good.


He also has a PDF AdWords checklist that you can download for free (prep yourself for the upsell post-download) which is a good source of information once you know the basics. The PDF doesn’t walk you through setup as thoroughly, so it’s a good idea to know what things like conversion pixels and ad scheduling are prior to settling into these tips. Yes, both the blog post and downloadable PDF are long. But for good reason! They are comprehensive and (if you follow directions) will help you win at AdWords.

How to Use Google AdWords: A Simple Setup Tutorial

The Hubspot blog has a great post written by Amanda Sibley that can help an AdWords newbie curate a list of reasonable keywords, create campaigns and ad groups, and set bids. What I like about this post is Amanda’s walk-through of definitions without getting bogged down by semantics. Each new piece of the puzzle fits nicely into her story, so anyone can understand that AdWords is all about writing tricky ads directed toward the right kind of people. Just kidding! Not tricking, optimizing.

Simple AdWords Tutorial

No surprise here, Hubspot has a downloadable guide as well! Again, you’ll have to face some upsell to get it, but it is free and includes just about everything you need to know when you’re starting out. And yes, this guide is older (2012 is practically the dark ages) but the setup is still essentially the same! Some of the screenshots may just look a bit different on your screen.

Google AdWords Made Simple

Neil Patel put together a great post about why you should be using AdWords to grow your business, and how to get started. This is a long post, but don’t get scared away! It is an easy read, has all the terms you need to know, and lots of pictures.

Neil also points out some tricks of the trade, such as websites for brainstorming keywords and more extensive videos to review your results. He is able to simplify the process without telling the audience that it will be easy. The post also has an example of a Dominos ad, excuse me while I go order a pizza…

Building a Brilliant Paid Search Account Structure

The last tutorial I have to recommend was written for WordStream by Margot da Cunha. Margot takes the reader through 6 steps to build out an AdWords account, from keyword research through adjusting ads and ad groups. It’s short and sweet, just the essentials, and it stresses the importance of campaign-level structuring (which I think is sometimes overlooked. It’s big! Pay attention!). The best part is that Margot doesn’t leave you hanging at the end, asking yourself, “Okay, but what now?” The post explains that the whole process has to constantly be adjusted to make sure you are not spending too much money and that you’re hitting your goals.

By the way, this post is part of PPC University, and if you’re trying to learn AdWords, PPC U is definitely a great place to start! Get started with the courses in PPC 101.

Go Forth and Conquer AdWords

When I started writing this post, I knew 1/5 of the information I now have on AdWords. These guides work! So, get out there and do the dang thing!

AdWords for Beginners

Find out how you’re REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.

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