More than 85% the word population searches on Google. Therefore, advertisers who are not taking advantage of the search engine’s capabilities are missing out on a crucial opportunity to grow their business.
Google AdWords vs. Search Engine Optimization
To start, it’s important to know that there are two separate ways for businesses to rank on Google’s results page. The first is torank organically. That happens when Google deems the content or products on your website as relevant to a user’s search query, and therefore lists your website naturally in the search engine organic results. Business owners have the ability to rank their website for high return-on-investment keywords on Google, if they follow the search engines guidelines.
Even when business owners give their best efforts at SEO, they find that premiumorganic rankingsare still out of reach. This is especially true when you realize that you’re in a competitive industry like insurance, real estate or plumbing. Fortunately for these industries, there is pay-per-click advertising, otherwise known as PPC. This type of advertising allows business owners to bid on the most pertinent keywords in order to appear above those organic search listings.
Should I replace SEO for Google AdWords?
Business owners often ask themselves if they should replace SEO and use SEM, (Search Engine Marketing). The short answer is no. Ideally you would be using both forms of search engine marketing in tandem since both have different strengths. Where one struggles, the other can pick up the slack. For example, if you just can’t seem to get your website to rank organically despite all of your best SEO efforts, you can then bid on those exact keywords via Google AdWords. You can pay to play via Google to make sure your website is ranking high for exact phrases you want. Or in the opposite scenario, if a certain phrase has become too expensive for you to bid on, you can work on the content of your site to rank organically for those phrases without paying for them.
The biggest benefits of using PPC is speed, targeting capabilities and the measurement of performance. While SEO is always an important aspect of a company’s digital marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how you can utilize the paid portion of Google when the unpaid portion isn’t enough.
So, how does a business get started with PPC? It all begins with AdWords. AdWords is the platform created by Google that allows advertisers to pay for their products or services to be shown on the Google network. Essentially, AdWords is the sandbox for advertisers to take advantage of those benefits listed above.
Let’s start with the first of the three benefits: speed. We’ve talked a lot about organic listings being a trusted, natural way for your business to be seen on Google. One downfall, however, is the amount of time it can take for the changes you make on your website to be picked up and recognized by Google. Those changes do not take effect instantly. In fact, it can take several weeks for Google to acknowledge them and rank your site accordingly. PPC, however, is immediate. Since it is a paid tactic, the changes you make in AdWords are recognized by Google as soon as you implement them. This is an obvious win and a huge reason for advertisers to make sure they use AdWords as a part of their overall digital marketing strategy.
Target your market
The second benefit is the many targeting capabilities that are available to advertisers by using AdWords. This is arguably the most important aspect of PPC because it gives advertisers very granular control over what they are paying for. Ideally, advertisers want their ads to only show up when it is the most relevant and more likely that the user will take the desired action on their website. With PPC, not only can you control the keywords you show up for, you can also select keywords you absolutely do not want to show up for. Additionally, you can target based on location, language, or a user’s device type.
One popular targeting method is by utilizingAdWords’ daypartingfeature. This allows advertisers to select the specific days of the week and times of day they want their ads to be shown. If you only want your ad to be shown during business hours, you have that option.
The targeting options in AdWords can even get as advanced as audience targeting. Would you like to message users who have been to your site previously but have not converted differently than a brand-new user? That’s an option within AdWords by using the different remarketing lists available to you. All of these targeting methods make SEM a very cost-effective form of marketing because it allows advertisers the ability to decide exactly when, where and how their ads are showing up.
Measure your performance
Lastly, a key aspect of PPC is the ability to measure ad performance. SincePPC advertising is always accruing real-time data, that gives advertisers endless ways to view that data and decide whether or not their campaigns are successful. Depending on what your goal is, there could be a multitude of factors you look at to decide if you are seeing success. For example, if your goal is brand awareness, you could look at the number of impressions served and how many of those users actually clicked on your ad to go to your website. If your goal is getting as many conversions as possible, you can simply implement conversion tracking in your AdWords account and view which keywords are driving conversions and which are not. Based on the data you are seeing, that will inform what changes and optimizations to make to your account.
That brings us to the overarching way to be successful in AdWords: optimization. By no means should an advertiser set up their account and then never look at it again. Once there is enough data in the account to make smart choices, advertisers should certainly start tweaking their campaigns. This can be done various different ways including at the keyword level, ad copy level or even the landing pages you are driving users to.
Focus on keywords and ad copy
The keywords are the backbone of a strongAdWords PPC campaign and therefore require a lot of time and attention from the advertiser to get just right. You should constantly be monitoring performance and adding in new keyword opportunities, pausing keywords that are not performing against your goal metrics, and also adding in negative keywords on a frequent basis to make sure you are reaching a qualified audience.
The actual ad copy itself is also a good place to make optimizations. Often times, advertisers will implement two separate ads in each ad group in order to A/B test them against each other. Which messaging resonates more with users? Which one is getting more clicks and a higher click-through rate? From there, you can use those learnings and apply them across more areas of your account. Identifying trends in your account and using them to gain more traction is a great way to be successful.
What about my landing pages?
A third area to look at for optimizations would be the landing pages you are driving the traffic to. Is it obvious what you are asking users to do on that page? Are they getting to the page and immediately leaving because it’s not what they were looking for? These are questions to ask yourself when analyzing the landing page performance. If you are seeing a high volume of people clicking your ad, but a low percentage of them are actually completing the action on the page, that could potentially signify that the users are not getting what they are looking for from that particular landing page. If that’s the case, you could either edit that page to make it more user friendly, or you could test sending them to a new page on your website altogether.
Digital marketing as a whole is very effective, but SEM is particularly special because you are reaching people who are actively searching for you. In other tactics, such as social media or display media, you are putting your brand or product in front of people who may or may not be looking for it. However, with PPC, you are present when users are already taking that first step – they are actively looking for something that you can help them with. This makes PPC an incredibly useful and smart decision because you are making sure your brand is present when users are already at the bottom of the funnel and ready to take action.
The benefits of using PPC advertising onGoogle AdWordsare endless. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to reach users who are already looking for you. By putting in the time and effort up front to create a solid campaign structure, you will be setting yourself up for success in the future. The speed at which your account will be live, the in-depth targeting capabilities and the availability of granular data for success measurement are just three ways that PPC can benefit your company. The list only goes on from there.
If you are thinking about getting started with AdWords, the key is just taking that first step. Since you can set your daily or monthly budgets at whatever price you are willing to pay, there is no fear that you will spend thousands of dollars on something unsuccessful. You can start the process with just a small amount of budget allocated to your PPC campaigns until you get the hang of things and are ready to spend a lot of time and effort around it. You just have to be ready and willing to get started!
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