Next time you search using Google, notice the ads that are featured in the ‘sponsored listings’ section and down the right hand side. They’re pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and are a way of promoting your website using paid listings on search engines. They’re called pay-per-click because every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay a fee – so in essence, you’re buying visits to your site instead of earning them organically through SEO.
In Google’s case, PPC ads are placed through AdWords. When you use AdWords you ‘bid’ on keywords; whenever a search takes place, Google selects a number of advertisers to show on the results page. How these are chosen is quite complex – it uses various factors including the quality and relevance of their keywords, the size of their keyword bids and their Ad Rank (based on the amount the advertiser’s willing to spend and their ‘Quality Score’, which takes into account click-through rates, relevance and landing page quality). In fact, it’s so complex there are even exams on it (which, of course, we’ve passed!).
Good question. SEO is a very effective way to get visits to your website without paying, but can take a while to get off the ground. PPC has a number of advantages, especially in the short-term. It allows you to reach the right people at the right time, and to choose when and where you want your listing to appear right down to a local level. As you only pay by results how much you invest is up to you, giving you flexibility in budgets too.
Given that both ways of getting your website noticed have their own benefits, there’s a very good argument for combining the two.
PPC is a great choice at the start of a campaign while your SEO is still getting off the ground, and offers solid and predictable results in the short-term (it can get expensive after a while though). It’s also a great way of giving site traffic a boost, and a relatively cheap way of testing new keywords for your SEO campaign. On the other hand, SEO can provide more predictable and cheaper results in the long-term, and is much better for building your brand and growing your business.
Our online marketing experience shows that a campaign using a mix of SEO and PPC can work well, because they support each other.
As Google has such a complex way of choosing which advertisers to feature, it’s vital to get your ads right. They’ll be judged on three things:
The relevance of your keywords Your PPC keyword list should be relevant, exhaustive and constantly being refined.
The quality of your landing page It’s important to look at the whole customer journey once they click through to your landing pages (Google does!), by making sure they’re optimised with relevant content and clear calls to action.
Your Quality Score This is how Google rates the quality of your keywords, landing pages and overall PPC campaign – and it’s important because if you have a better Quality Score you’ll get more ad clicks at lower costs!
The other way to be certain of having a truly effective campaign is to talk to one of the North-West’s leading experts in PPC – Thrive.