PPC interview questions


Ready to dive into a career in search engine marketing? If yes, then we are here to help you prepare for any upcoming job interviews for search engine marketing job roles also known as PPC marketing. The below SEM/PPC Interview Questions and answers have been divided into 4 broad categories

  • Basic SEM/PPC interview questions for beginner/fresher level job roles
  • Advanced SEM/PPC interview questions for job roles with experience
  • Google AdWords interview questions that are specific to Google Adwords
  • Open-ended interview questions that test your logical thinking


Basic Level SEM/PPC interview Questions

These are the must-know SEM questions and answers that judge your basic understanding of search engine marketing. These SEM interview questions are likely to be asked to a fresher applying for a beginner level SEM role.


Q1. What is search engine marketing (SEM)? Why is it important?

Search engine marketing is a paid way of marketing a business on the search engine results page of prominent search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It is done by bidding on keywords that online searchers enter when looking for certain products or services. With this process, advertisers can display their ads in the results of those search queries that contain the keywords they have bid on. Since the online marketplace is increasingly competitive will millions of businesses targeting online consumers, SEM plays an important role in increasing the visibility of a company website on search engines.


Q2. What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay per click. In Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing the advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad, irrespective of the outcome. The various types of PPC ads are search ads, local search ads, display ads and remarketing.


Q3. In what ways is SEM better than SEO?/Why chose SEM over SEO?

  • SEM is measurable and trackable. You can monitor how your campaigns are performing and keep track of impressions, clicks, and conversions. You can also view the traffic you’re receiving and how the results match up to your budget.
  • SEM provides a better understanding of the behavior and search patterns of the customers.
  • SEM results show to a select target audience. SEO results do not. Through SEM, you can (depending on the publisher) select what audiences you want to see the search results by assigning filters based on age, location, income, habits, and more. Through SEO, you cannot specifically choose who will see your search results.
  • The impact of SEM is immediate, while SEO takes time. SEM allows you to quickly set up campaigns, create ads and find new customers and prospects.
  • With SEM you can test your marketing efforts. It gives you the flexibility to immediately turn SEM paid ads off and on. Hence, you can quickly revise your ad copy, target new audiences, and change landing page content to test your new strategies. This flexibility lets you see differences in your strategies immediately. On the other hand, in SEO, it would take a lot of time to monitor the results of new strategies.


Q4. In what ways is SEO better than SEM?

  • SEO is free while SEM requires a monetary investment. In the case of SEM, you pay each time a user clicks on an ad. Hence, you must have a budget for continually showing SEM ads. On the flip side, in case of SEO, you are never charged when a user clicks on an organic search result.
  • SEO adds value over time while SEM does not. SEM works only when you pay for your results to show. As soon as you turn off your ads, your SEM strategy ends. But an SEO strategy intensifies over time and leaves lasting results.
  • An SEO listing has a higher click-through rate (CTR) than SEM listing when displayed on the first page of SERPs. It has been observed that the first few organic search results typically have the highest CTRs.


Q5. What are the essentials of a good PPC landing page?

A good PPC landing page must consist of

  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • A well-designed layout
  • Images that connect with the audience
  • Trust symbols
  • A list of benefits
  • A clear CTA (call to action)
  • A lead capture form


Q6. Which tools do you use for keyword research?

Make sure you have a basic working knowledge of the tools you mention in the interview. Some of the popular keyword research tools are

  • Google keyword planner tool
  • KWFinder
  • SEMrush
  • SpyFu


Q7. Why we still focus on text ads while creating Display Campaigns?

Text ads are considered important because not all ad publishers will allow image and video ads. So using a text ad it helps to get maximum reach.


Google AdWords Interview Questions & Answers

Search engine marketing /Pay Per Click marketing is currently all about Google Adwords. Hence, you must be well-versed with the working of Google Adwords, Below are the important Google Adwords interview questions and answers that will help you answer more confidently in your job interview.

Google AdWords interview questions

Q8. Briefly explain Google Adwords

Adwords is Google’s online advertising platform that lets you target interested people to your website via search engine ads. The ads are created by taking keywords into consideration. Adword follows the bidding concept i.e., the more the price you pay for a keyword, the higher will be the ranking of your ad when someone enters that keyword in search. Also, these AdWords work on ‘pay per click’ which means you pay the amount you have quoted, only when somebody clicks on your ad.


Q9. Why use Google Adwords?

Google Adwords provides a competitive edge to the advertisers. The important benefits of using Google Adwords are:

  • Immediate exposure – Your ad can show up in the top 5 results on Google’s search engine results page
  • Reach & relevance – Target your potential customers with relevant ads in a timely manner when they perform a Google search for your products, services or business.
  • Geotargeting – You can target your ads to the right consumers by selecting geographic locations
    Reporting – Google AdWords reporting lets you analyze which keywords are working and which are not along with other factors and lets you edit your campaigns accordingly.
  • Flexible Budget – Google AdWords works well for all types of budgets and allows you to manage your bids and budgets.


Q10. What is Ad rank?

Ad rank determines the position of your ad on the Google page. Ad rank is determined based on your bid for that keyword and quality score.


Q11. How does Ad rank affect CPC?

Ad rank determines the actual cost-per-click that your competitors pay when someone clicks on their ads. Google charges you CPC fee with the below calculation
Your CPC = The ad rank of the person below you/ your quality score + $0.01


Q12. Explain how Google auction works?

Whenever an ad is eligible to appear for a search, it goes through the ad auction process to determine whether or not the ad will be shown and if yes then in which ad position it will appear.
Here’s how the auction works:

  • When someone types in a search query, Google Ads system finds all the ads that match the keywords in the search query.
  • The system then selects the ads that are eligible by taking into account factors such as country location and so on.
  • Out of the selected ads, only those with a sufficiently high Ad Rank are shown.


Q13. What is an ad group in Google Adwords?

An ad group contains one or more ads that have similar targets. An ad campaign consists of one or more ad groups. The ad groups organize your ads by a common theme.


Q14. What is the Google Quality Score? What factors constitute a quality score?

Google’s quality score is calculated to determine how beneficial and relevant your ad is to the user. It is calculated based on your ad’s CTR, quality of your landing page and keyword relevance. Quality score is very important as it determines your CPC and ad rank. The quality score ranges from 1–10. The higher your QS, the lower you pay per click and the higher the position you get on Google.

Quality Score = Keyword’s Click Through Rate + Ad Text Relevance + Keyword Relevance + Landing Page


Q15. Explain CPC, CPM, and CPA.

CPM stands for cost-per-mile (mile being Latin for one thousand). In CPM, media companies charge advertisers for every 1000 impressions.

CPC stands for cost-per-click. It is the rate that websites charge advertisers every time someone clicks on their ad. If the CPC for a site is $5, and an ad gets 1000 clicks over the course of a month, the advertiser pays the publisher $5,000.

CPA stands for cost-per-action (also known as pay-per-performance or cost-per-acquisition). In the CPA model, the advertiser only pays if a user clicks and performs a specific action.


Q16. Explain what is conversion optimizer in Adwords?

AdWords Conversion Optimizer is a tool that helps in analyzing what auctions are most or least likely to convert and acquiring maximum conversions possible. Instead of manually manipulating bids and generating conversions at a cost, conversion optimizer automatically highers or lowers bids so conversions are generated within a defined CPA limit.


Q17. Mention some of the Google Adword Ad Extensions?

Ad Extensions are additional snippets of relevant information about your business that can be added to your AdWords text ads. Some of the popularly used Ad extensions in AdWords are

  • Sitelinks
  • Call Extensions
  • Location Extensions
  • Social Annotations
  • Seller ratings
  • Mobile app extensions
  • Offer ads
  • Communication Ad
  • Review extension
  • Image and drop down navigation Ad extension


Q18. Explain what is CTR and how to calculate it?

CTR stands for the Click-through rate. It indicates the percentage of visitors who clicked on your ad. The formula for calculating CTR is

CTR = (Total clicks on an ad / Total Number of impressions) X 100


Q19. What do you mean by impressions?

An Impression is created when an advertisement/post is displayed on a user’s screen. In other words, the number of impressions is determined by the number of times the advertisement is loaded on the user’s screen irrespective of what action the user takes.


Q20. What is Google Ad API?

Google Ad API is designed for managing multiple client accounts or large campaigns. representing large, tech-savvy advertisers and third parties. It allows developers to build an application that

With Google Ad API, you can build an application that directly interacts with the Google Adwords server and performs the below activities:

  • create keywords, ad text, customized reports, and landing pages.
  • develop new tools and applications to help you manage accounts
  • Synchronize Adwords data with a business’s inventory system to manage campaigns based on stock.


Q21. How many Keyword match types are there in Google AdWords? Do Keywords match types influence the bid amount?

Yes, Keyword Match Types influence the bid amount. The different Keyword Match Types are:

Broad Match: Broad Match is the keyword match type that allows you to reach the widest audience. When your keyword is Broad Match, your ads may appear whenever a user performs a search using any word in your key phrase, in any order.

Broad Match Modifier: Broad Match Modified keywords work by attaching ‘+’ to the specific word in your keyword phrase that you want to lock in place. When you lock a word in place, you are instructing Google to show your ad only when that word appears in the search query.

Phrase Match:- In phrase match, you lock the keywords by mentioning them within quotes. Your ad will appear only when someone searches for your exact keyword phrase in its exact order, but the search query may include some additional words at the beginning or at the end of it.

Exact Match- The exact match keyword will only match to search term you provide; no additional words or close variants are considered.


Q22. What do you mean by a negative match keyword?

Negative keywords are the search terms you want to exclude from the campaign. It helps you prevent your ads from showing up for search queries that have nothing to do with your brand.


Q23. Which two settings cannot be changed after creating an Adwords account?
Time zone and currency cannot be changed once an Adwords account has been created.


Q24. What is AdWords A/B Testing or AdWords Experiments?

AdWords Experiments is a feature in Adwords to perform A/B Testing. It lets you mock your campaign’s set up and edit it without affecting the original campaign’s performance. This draft can be either applied to the original campaign or it can be run as an experiment. If a draft is run as an experiment, then it will test the performance of the changes made to the campaign and compare it with that of the original campaign.


Q25: In what ways an Adwords editor can be useful?

  • It helps you to do offline changes.
  • It lets you access multiple accounts under the same roof
  • It can do bulk edit like moving campaigns from one account to another


Advanced Level SEM/PPC Interview Questions

If you have a few years of experience under your belt, then the interviewer will try to test your knowledge by asking questions that showcase your practical skills. Most of the SEM interview questions would revolve around how well you performed complex tasks in your previous job. While answering the questions try to connect the answers with instances from your previous work experience and provide relevant examples if necessary.

search engine marketing interview questions

Q26. What is remarketing? What are the benefits of remarketing?

Remarketing allows marketers to display ads to visitors who’ve previously shown interest in the product while browsing through the web. Remarketing benefits in the following ways:
It improves brand recall and helps in re-engaging with the consumers
It leads to an increase in conversion rate
It targets a specific and relevant audience who are likely to buy


Q27. What do you consider when writing an ad?

An ad copy must be compelling. It must include the right call to actions (CTAs), attractive yet relevant visuals, eye-catchy headlines, and enticing text to make the viewers click on it. Writing multiple ads and performing A/B testing to find out the right one is a good idea. An ad copy that can connect emotionally with the consumer is a winner.


Q28. What did you do when you saw your average position drop?
If I see a drop in my average position, I will perform the following checks to know what went wrong.

  • Data Accuracy
  • Penalty
  • Google algorithm updates
  • Major site changes
  • Links missing
  • Competitors
  • Mobile-First Indexing
  • A change in the SERP


Q29. What are micro-moments? How does it matter in marketing?

Micro-moments refers to the moments when people reflexively turn to a device – usually a smartphone – to learn, research, watch, or buy something. These moments are known as are intent-rich moments when decisions or preferences are made. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are quite high. They expect brands to immediately show them exactly what they’re looking for when they’re looking.
These micro-moments are important to marketers because they create the right opportunities to convert a searcher into a customer for the following reasons:

  • The majority of online consumers aren’t brand committed and hence can be easily influenced.
  • You can target your competitor’s customers by providing them the information at the very moment they needed it.
  • You can create brand awareness goals. Smartphone users often discover a new company or product while conducting a search on their devices.


Q30. What is DCM?

DCM Stands for DoubleClick Campaign Manager. It is a system that helps in managing advertisements across websites and mobile devices. Its a demand-side platform of google where we can buy digital media ads by using programmatic strategy.


Q31. How can I see whether a particular keyword is triggering my ad or not?

By using the Ad preview and diagnosis tool we can see whether a particular keyword is showing our ad and if not it also shows the reason for it.


Q32. An instream ad that is 60 seconds approx is using the CPV bidding method. How the CPV for the ads is charged?

In CPV, a view is counted when a viewer watches a minimum of 30 seconds of the video ad or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first. Hence the CPV for the ad is charged only if the viewer watches the video for at least 30 seconds.


Open-ended SEM/PPC Interview Questions

Prepare yourself to answer the following SEM/PPC Interview Questions. These will test how well you know about search engine marketing practices.

Q33. How do you test ad copy?

Q34. How do you decide how much price you can pay for a click in a PPC campaign?

Q35. How do you select the keywords you’d like to target?

Q36. Describe a time you ran an A/B test. Talk about your process, results, and hypothesis.

Q37. How budget forecasting is done in SEM?

Q38. What can be done to reduce the cost of paid ad campaigns without losing traffic to the site?

Q39. How do you work with a limited budget in high CPC environments?

Q40. Which targeting methods in display advertising will give a wide reach?

The answers provided in the post are generic in nature and aim to give you a broad understanding of the subject matter. Feel free to add in your points and examples as deemed fit. We hope the PPC/SEM Interview Questions and answers in this post provide you the needed confidence and help you excel in your forthcoming interviews. All the best!

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