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More about Paid referencing


To be positioned at the top of the search results, on the first page, there are two methods of referencing. One is free and the other is paid: it is Search Engine Advertising (SEA).

Paid or natural referencing, what are the differences?

SEA (Search Engine Advertising) consists in buying places on the commercial links, called sponsored links, which appear at the top of the page. The SEA implies the purchase of keywords via one or several advertising agencies (Google Ads - ex-AdWords, Microsoft Advertising - ex-Bing Ads, Yahoo Sponsored Links). This advertising system is very quick to set up and allows to have instantaneously targeted visitors at the auctions, when it is correctly managed.

If this second solution should not replace the first one, we can obtain better results by combining the two.

The natural or organic referencing, also called SEO (Search Engine Optimization), essentially amounts to optimizing the HTML code and the textual content of the website by choosing strategic keywords related to the company's field of activity or expertise. This results in the positioning of the site in the first results of search engines. However, this requires the regular publication of quality content and therefore a long-term work, for a relevant result on the long term.

What is Google Ads (AdWords)? How does it work?

As mentioned above, Google Ads (formerly called "AdWords") is an online advertising system that aims to generate targeted traffic to a website. It is the ideal platform to quickly generate traffic for your online business. AdWords is an auction market where companies buy relevant keywords through ads, on which their websites will appear at the top of the organic search results. However, the highest bids don't always win.

Of all the known platforms, AdWords is by far the best with more than 1 million businesses using it, to which it ensures very high returns on investment. It accounts for 95% of Google's annual revenue.

When creating your ad campaign, several pricing options are available, depending on the location of your ads.

The CPC (Cost per Click) corresponds to the "search" part. Billing is per click. The ads are displayed above and below the organic search results and are differentiated from them by a small indication "Ad" in bold black text.

The CPM (Cost per Thousand impressions) is for the Display part. The advertiser pays for a certain number of displays of its ads that are shown on the Display network (partner sites that rent part of the space on their pages to Google).

It should be noted that according to some studies, excluding the category "part below the waterline (line separating the directly visible part of the page without having to scroll, from the invisible lower part)" helps to improve the performance of campaigns. In this case, the ads of your SEO campaign on the Display are only displayed if they are fully displayed when the page is loaded.

CPA (Cost per Acquisition) is the amount spent per conversion.


Google Ads offers its customers an excellent value for money thanks to complex algorithms, for a successful user experience.

AdWords campaigns of the "search" type are the most used. With CPC, the advertiser only pays for the eventual click of the user on the link, and not for the display. For example, I decide to appear on the keyword "SEA agency certified Google Ads", and I am ready to invest up to 70 cents per click, knowing that its cost can be between 0.01 and 50 euros. Google will offer me to appear on the queries related to the word "SEA agency certified Google Ads".

Everything starts from the user's request. Google will look if there are companies that are positioned on this keyword. If this is the case, then an auction is triggered. I could appear in the second position of the sponsored links, the first having then decided to pay 1 euro per click for example. In other words, Google will only show my ad to people if no other company has placed a bid of equal or higher amount than mine within the available space.

However, things are a little more complicated than that. If another company pays more for the same keyword, its ad will not be visible or better positioned, because other criteria come into play: namely the relevance of the ad (or the landing page) with respect to the keyword, determined by the "quality score".

This one allowing to weight the bidding.

The quality score or Quality score

The quality score is a score that Google assigns to each site, for each keyword used by it. So we have a note by keyword. Having a maximum of 20 keywords in an " Ad Group " will be judicious, so that each Ad Group is extremely relevant for the specific keyword. Many Ad Groups are given a low " Quality score " because of the lack of relevance to the hundreds of keywords they contain.

Indeed, the " Quality score " is between 1 and 10, and Google will give each site a basic score of 7 for each keyword used. This score can then go down or up depending on the relevance of the ad.

To determine this relevance, it performs an analysis based on the history of your ad vis-à-vis the keyword, as well as the semantic relationship between the two. This implies that the content of the chosen landing page is relevant to the target audience. A high click-through rate (CTR) will then allow you to obtain better scores and to go up to 10. Otherwise, the base score will decrease.

In addition, the higher the " Quality score ", the less the advertiser will have to pay to be well positioned.

In short, in order for your Google Ad Group to generate the most clicks possible, it must be of very high quality.

And to do this, the relevance of the landing page to the relevant keywords is an important factor.

How to choose keywords for successful campaigns?

Exactly as for a natural referencing strategy, except that the latter is free, you must choose your keywords carefully. The advertiser must put himself in the shoes of his prospects and start by asking himself what they might want in order to land on his website. It is therefore very important to take enough distance from your business to better understand the needs of your prospects.

Moreover, thanks to the multiple functions of Google Ads, it is possible to display your commercial links only to a certain audience. This can be very useful to precisely target your prospects. For example, if the company sells French regional products on its website, visitors from other countries might not be interested.

For a company that is already launched and has sales under its belt, the use of Google Analytics can help to find out what people are really looking for to land on its product pages. Even though it is not a SEO tool, Google Analytics is essential to obtain important and strategic data such as the bounce rate or the number of page views per visit and per keyword.

For a company that is just starting out, the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool is specially designed and adapted to determine the interests of its prospects and what could lead them to its website: once in the "Find new keywords" tab in the tool's interface, you can see the monthly search volume for these keywords - associated with a region - as well as a low and high estimate of the maximum bid (the CPC) associated with each keyword. This gives an idea of the search volume and CPC to be paid according to our positioning strategy.

If the accuracy of this information leaves something to be desired, it is nevertheless a very good basis for work.


Once your ad enters the competition, Google determines your display position on the results page based on the quality score and the maximum bid (CPC max) you set for the keyword in question.

Display position = Max CPC x Quality score

Let's imagine that I invest 1 euro on a keyword, with a quality score of 3.

Now let's imagine that my competitor only invests 80 cents but has a quality score of 7.

I would get: 1 euro x 3 = 3.

My competitor will get: 0,80 euro x 7 = 5,6.

My competitor will thus be ranked ahead of me, although I placed a higher bid than his. So the maximum bid does not always win.

How to manage your budget for a profitable Google Ads campaign?

To understand the amount of money to spend, some mathematical calculations are necessary.

There are 3 main variables to evaluate the costs related to the management of Google AdWords campaigns and to determine the budget and the price per click.

If your company sells furniture for $200 and you make a profit of $50 per piece of furniture sold, you have $50 of leeway per sale.

Then, if for every 1000 page views, 10 people buy, that gives you a conversion rate of 1% (the conversion rate is the percentage of people who actually buy when they arrive on your site).

Setting up and optimizing campaigns

AdWords campaigns can be published in many formats: text, visuals, videos, animated images, etc.) depending on the type of campaign selected (display, search, or both). They generally include 2 or 3 titles, one or two lines of description and the URL of the destination page. However, there are constraints related to the number of characters contained in each of these elements:

The title is limited to 30 characters maximum (including spaces).

Each description line must not contain more than 90 characters.

2 optional paths can be introduced after the URL of the destination page. They are each made up of a maximum of 15 characters, and allow you to add additional information on what will be found on the landing page for example, and to make the ad even more relevant for prospects.

To this can be added other additional information such as the address of your company, a price, etc..

Why use a certified Google Ads (AdWords) agency in Hong Kong?

The experience and expertise of a Google Ads (AdWords) certified agency in Hong Kong like ours represents an undeniable asset to guarantee a return on investment with AdWords. Indeed, it has the advantage of employing SEO experts who have passed the Google Ads certifications allowing such an approval to the agency; but also the advantage of having managed and made profitable many paid search campaigns for different companies in different sectors of activity, such as the industrial sector, construction, online trade, real estate, automotive etc.

Entrust the elaboration of your company's digital strategy to an experienced professional!

ICGX, SEA agency and certified Google Ads agency (AdWords) in Hong Kong

Contact us to benefit from our expertise and you will be able to accurately measure the profitability of each of your campaigns and the return on investment they bring you.

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