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Google AdWords helps Website owners advertise their online businesses on a Pay per Click (PPC) basis under the umbrella of Search Engine Marketing. It offers site-targeted advertising on several distribution scopes, on local, national and international levels. It is Google's leading advertising product and its main source of revenue.

Website owners can choose keywords related to their business or Website features, which will then prompt their ads whenever people search using any of those keywords. The ads, which the Website owners themselves create, are short, consisting of a title line and two content text lines; image ads are also optional. They will appear on the screen, alongside and sometimes above the search results, under the title of "Sponsored Links." This is an efficient way for publishers to advertise their Websites on the most relevant pages as they determine them to be and bring greater traffic to their sites. It is distinguished from Organic Search Engine Optimization methods, which do not involve payments or bidding for listings of any sort.

The ad's position on the search engine results page is determined by both the advertiser's bid and the clickthrough rate it generates. Popularity of the ad is taken into consideration by Google to mean higher relevancy and usefulness. The advertised Website's quality, namely the landing page, is also a factor in the positioning of the ad.

Ads may appear on partner networks other than Google, such as Ask.com and others. At these search engines the ads appear according to the various factors of keyword relevancy, the Website publisher's bid, the landing page quality and additional factors. AdWords is tremendously successful, but rather complicated to use, leading many advertisers to hire Search Engine Marketing expert companies for consulting and managing their advertising campaigns.

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