Have you ever considered whether pay per click (PPC) advertising is a necessary marketing tactic? Or do you think it is too much of a risk?
Although organic SEO continues to be an effective method of increasing your websites visibility, how Google presents search results has dramatically evolved in recent times, presenting opportunities for businesses looking to push on to the next level.
Getting to the top of Google
Google Adwords is the most successful PPC advertising service available. It’s responsible for a lot of revenue income; not just for Google but for thousands of online businesses.
Way back in 2000 when Adwords was first launched, PPC advertising appeared at the top of the search results page as well as the right-hand column. The adverts were placed in coloured boxes to show that these were not organic search results and were highlighted as ‘sponsored links’.
Over the years, a lot of testing has taken place to change the location and presentation of ads but what remained throughout is that these were adverts and not organic search listings. More screen real estate was always afforded to natural search results.
These days, PPC adverts are displayed similar to search results with only one discernible feature to separate them; a small ‘ad’ logo. They now also include additional ‘features’ that entice searchers to click on the adverts.
The above screenshot shows PPC advertising for one of our clients. They are at the very top of Google for a competitive search term ‘Whirlpool Parts‘.
Straight away, it’s clear there are a number of differences between the adverts in the top three positions and the organic search result at the bottom of the image. Star ratings, links to pages further in the site and phone numbers are all simple features to include in adverts that influence searchers to click through to your site. Although some features can be added to organic result pages, it’s harder to do and you still have to get your website ranking in the top positions.
The screenshot also shows just how effective PPC marketing can be. With the right set-up, our advert is able to place at the top of Google above the brand’s own website. Because of this, our client now receives more traffic from PPC than any other source.
Advantages of PPC over organic
Although it is still important to invest in achieving the highest positions naturally in the major search engines, PPC advertising does offer a number of additional advantages that can really aid a business looking to generate more leads or sales.
The key advantage is the versatile nature of PPC. Adverts, targeted keywords, your targeted audience, these can all be changed at a moments notice to meet your requirements at a specific time. This is really useful for businesses who have rebranded, or diversified into a new area and need to be visible instantly. Rather than wait for your organic search results to take hold, you can create a new campaign and push it live.
Another advantage of PPC is the ability to target people further along in the buying cycle. With SEO, you are looking to tip the scales in your favour to rank for particular keywords and capture people who are browsing. With PPC, you can target very specific terms to get your adverts in front of the people you want to target. If you have what the user is looking for, at the right price and a simple checkout process, capturing the sale should be straightforward.
One area that PPC really does excel is being able to target areas you wouldn’t be able to rank organically for. There are giants in every industry that dominate the more competitive search terms, competing against them can be very difficult. With PPC marketing, you can gain exposure for these competitive search terms even against household names.
Everyone should use PPC advertising – as long as they’re doing it right
Having more control over your placement within the search engines means you can create more effective marketing campaigns that will see an immediate ROI. For instance, you may decide that to target organic search throughout the year but invest in PPC advertising during seasonal trends to increase the exposure your brand or goods and drive conversions. You can then use the data from your PPC campaigns to form more effective marketing, or even to boost your SEO strategy.
The thing to remember with PPC is that it’s very simple to set up but really hard to get right. I have spoken to many people who have said “we tried Google Adwords but it just ate away our money and we didn’t get any sales”. Then, when I look at their accounts, I see poorly configured campaigns that aren’t actually doing any targeted marketing with ads that will never convert.
Take your time when setting up a PPC account and don’t just leave it to run. Keep checking back on a regular basis and optimise it further using the data it provides you to really get the most out of it. Speak to Google Partners and Adwords experts and get their advice, they have spent years using the platform and can spot errors a mile off.
When you invest some time in PPC advertising it will become an integral component of your marketing campaigns and you’ll find it offers opportunities that you can’t get from any other form of marketing.
If you would like to speak to us about PPC advertising, please get in touch.