Time to Talk About Paid Search Advertising
We’ve already looked at how the increasing use of smartphones is driving searches for local businesses in Google. We’ve also looked at how you need SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to get your website to appear on the first page of search engine results.
However, if you’re a new business or competing in a crowded market, you probably need to invest in Paid Search Advertising. Because whereas SEO takes a long time to work, Paid Search Advertising is instant, measurable and relatively cheap.
Paid Search Advertising allows you to target ads to people doing Google searches. It’s a good option for new businesses who usually have to wait months for their SEO to kick in, or businesses who remain stuck lower down the search engine results page. PPC visitors also show more buyer intent – they are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. And according to Google, search ads can increase brand awareness by 80% and 75% of people who find local, helpful information in search results are more likely to visit the physical store or business.
What is Paid Search Advertising?
Paid Search Advertising, commonly known as PPC (Pay Per Click), is used by businesses who want to appear highest in Google searches. The first two to four results of a Google search can often be PPC ads (especially in ecommerce searches) – and have an ‘ad’ icon to the left of the URL. There may also be display ads on the right side of the page. The rest of the search results underneath are ‘organic’ – there because of their Google SEO ranking.
PPC means the advertiser only pays Google whenever a person clicks on their ad. PPC is also used on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and LinkedIn. 65% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn paid ads. The ads can be text, video, social or native. To launch a PPC campaign on Google (or Bing), you need to a Google Ads account.
How PPC Works (on Google)
Every time a person does a Google search, Google ranks all its advertisers choosing the most relevant ads to appear at the top of the search results. The more specific and relevant your ad is, the greater the chance it will be selected.
To be relevant you must have the right keywords related to what people are searching for. Your ad copy is important. When creating an ad in Google Ads, you select terms that your ideal customers would search for when using Google. However, all your competitors are doing the same thing – and there’s only space for a couple of ads at the top of every search results page. To have a better chance of being selected you’ll probably need to spend more money on ‘keyword bids’. This is a bit like an auction. There’s a great infographic here that explains keyword bidding in more detail.
You can use tools such as HubSpotAds and Social Media Ads to decide which channels to use in your campaign. You can also use WordStream’s free Keyword Tool so determine what’s relevant to your original keyword suggestion.
But Isn’t SEO Better (and Free)?
Often in digital marketing departments there’s separate PPC and SEO teams who like to spend their time arguing over who gets the most traffic or best ROI! But even if you’re top of the organic results, on average 41% of clicks go to the PPC ads on the search results page.
Understandably, organic traffic has declined since the introduction of PPC, but as of 2017, as this study shows, traffic from PPC and SEO was split evenly at 50%.
It takes three to six months for SEO to work, so PPC is more immediate and you can make adjustments in real time (to your keywords, ad copy or spend) to tweak your campaign. Also, whenever Google changes its algorithm, your SEO strategy needs to follow – taking time and money and then patience waiting for the results to kick in again – so it’s not really free. If you’ve invested in SEO then you may as well invest in PPC which has a more measurable ROI.
This is why PPC is a great option for a new business or a website that’s lingering lower down in the search results. At the moment there are so many local businesses using SEO alone, hoping that they remain in the top three of search results, or for those businesses below, hoping to rank higher some day. With PPC you could be guaranteed a top spot in the Google rankings pretty much instantly – helping to drive more traffic to your website, increasing phone call queries, leads and walk-in business or ecommerce sales.