What’s paid search and how do I get a slice of the action?

What’s paid search and how do I get a slice of the action?

What’s paid search and how do I get a slice of the action? 1920 1080 George Cotter

Competing to get new customers online can be a daunting prospect. It doesn’t matter how shiny you think your website is, if none of your target customers can find it when doing their research it’s not going to attract new customers. That’s where pay-per-click advertising can help.

Depending on your industry you’ll likely have some big competitors with a lot of marketing know how and it may seem like they dominate the online marketplace. That’s where an effective Google Ads or wider pay-per-click strategy can get you in on the action. You can quickly engage your target customers and get them to start thinking about your products and services.

Google Paid Ads

The beauty of a paid ads campaign is that you only pay when you get a result, which in this case is a click through to your website. Using effective targeting you can ensure your ads only appear to the most qualified users. Google Ads filtering allows you to combine geo-targeting, keywords and basic demographics to ensure your ads only appear in front of relevant people.

A basic Google Ads campaign allows advertisers to instantly appear at the very top of search results without needing to adopt any risky marketing strategies. The search results below the paid for positions are the “organic” results which will generally be dominated by larger competitors. They are more cost effective but often involve long term investment to build and maintain.

Paid Visitors vs Organic Visitors

The simple difference is that you can pay for instant search engine visibility or organically build rankings in the natural search results. Organic growth takes a lot of SEO expertise and long term content enhancements. Building paid visitors is much quicker, and in fairly terms, easier.

Organic growth involves planning and executing a successful content strategy and ensuring your website is fit for purpose which meets with Google’s latest algorithm updates.

A PPC campaign allows your business to appear just above the top organic ranking but running a cost effective paid campaign takes more than just having a big budget. Google rewards websites that provide useful and engaging content. By ensuring your keyword targeting, ad content and landing pages are in sync with each other (and are set up to build conversions) it can actually result in you bidding less to appear above your competitors.

How does the Google auction work?

As we’ve already alluded to in order for your paid ads to appear you tell Google how much you’re willing to pay for a click on each individual target keyword. You’ll likely have a large range of bid amounts across your campaigns depending on the competitiveness of the keyword in question or what value you put on a customer enquiring about a certain product or service. It’s natural to assume that you’d be willing to pay more for a website visitor looking for a high value service over something more low key.

If you bid high enough your ad will appear alongside other advertisers, however the position your ad appears in is firstly down to the amount you bid but also your ‘Quality Score’. The Quality Score is a metric Google uses to judge how effective your keywords, ad text and landing pages are going to be. The higher your quality score, the more likely it is your ad will appear. Plus, if you have a higher Quality Score than your competitors you should be able to regularly appear in the top positions for a cheaper click cost.

It may sound complicated and often it is but in simple terms the Google Ads auction isn’t just about being the highest bidder. If your Quality Score is too low your ads won’t appear at all regardless of how much you bid on a keyword.

Achieving the best return on investment

You may have done extensive keyword research and created highly engaging ad text which attracts lots of clicks from potential customers. The key to converting your paid for visitors now is your landing pages – i.e. the web page visitors land on after clicking one of your ads. 

It’s common practice to create dedicated landing pages for any PPC campaign that are separate to your main website. Unlike achieving strong organic rankings, an effective PPC landing page isn’t just about content. The words on the page are important to your Quality Score but any landing page can be much more about driving sales.

A high converting landing page not only looks great but also includes some kind of special offer and a clear call to action – such as a quick enquiry form. It’s also common to test the response of different page layouts or different offers in order to maximise your return.

Here’s our top tips of creating the best landing pages:

  • Keep your page designs simple. Content will be easier to read and users won’t have to wait too long for the page to load.
  • Include a special offer and clear call to action near the top of the page.
  • Don’t use big blocks of text, bullet points are more effective.
  • Test different versions to achieve the best ROI.

Remember, the more successful your ads are the more money you’re going to spend. So as well as building a great user experience on your website you should also ensure you set affordable daily budgets and bids of each keyword within the Google Ads dashboard. Costs can quickly mount up once you start running PPC campaigns on competitive keywords.

About The Author

George Cotter

I launched Tall Marketing to bring fresh ideas and digital marketing strategies that are both current and change the way local businesses think about marketing themselves online.

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