Search engine advertising is a great way to ensure that your content is being found on major search engines, but is it right for you? Read on to find out.
Organic searching versus paid search engine advertising has been a hot topic on the web in recent years.
But despite the bad reputation that paid searches sometimes get, the option of paying to get your website at the top of a search continues.
The world’s largest search engine, Google, receives more than 40,000 queries every second. Developing a strategy that helps your business get clicked during a fraction of those queries is essential to succeeding in the digital market.
Not sure whether paid ads or organic techniques are the best choice for your company? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about paid search engine advertising.
Competition is Fierce and Organic Growth is Slow
There are more than one billion websites online today, and that number continues to grow every second.
In contrast, the average web surfer looks at just 96 websites a month.
Even if you narrow the field to only websites that feature content that is similar to yours, the competition is still fierce.
When a web surfer begins to type a search into Google, Google begins looking at more than 200 signals. They use these signals to try to deliver the exact answer that the web surfer is looking for.
Targeting these signals, whether through organic methods or search engine advertising, is what allows websites to rank in the first few results when a search is entered for keywords that that website uses.
Through a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, you could very slowly increase your ranking on Google and other search engines.
But unless you operate within a very narrow niche that has a low number of websites related to it (which is highly unlikely with so many websites online today) your odds of getting to the top ranks on a Google search are slim.
You’d need to spend many months or even years creating content for your website that features strategic links and keywords.
As you put in that work, other websites are doing the same thing. It’s a race to see who can pack their website with the most links and keywords. If you’re not already in the race, you have a lot of ground to cover before you can catch up.
This further delays how long it will take you to even land on the first page of Google’s search results for a given keyword, let alone land at the top of the page.
That’s where paid search engine advertising comes in.
Types of Paid Search Engine Advertising
There are two main types of search engine advertising. Let’s briefly review them.
The first is Cost-per-Click, or CPC advertising, also known as Pay-per-Click, or PPC. This is a lead generation technique that can help you increase traffic to your website that will hopefully translate to increased sales.
With this type of search engine advertising, the advertiser (that’s you) gets an ad that appears whenever a certain search is run.
That search could comprise several keywords all related to a single product, service, or business.
For instance, if your company is a bakery located in Cincinnati, some keywords that might generate the ad would be “Cincinnati bakery,” “best bakery in Cincinnati,” or specific products that you sell, like “cakes,” “cookies,” etc.
Thanks to Google’s ability to determine where a web surfer is located, your ad may still be generated even if the word “Cincinnati” wasn’t typed into the search bar, so long as the web surfer was searching from somewhere in Cincinnati.
Every time a web surfer clicked on your ad, you would have to pay the search engine a certain amount. The amount that you have to pay would depend on several factors, including how many searches Google’s algorithms expect your keywords to get, and whether other companies are also advertising for the same keywords.
If multiple companies are all advertising for the same keywords, the company whose ad appears at the top of the search results would pay the most per click.
The other type of search engine advertising is Cost-per-Impression or CPM.
This type of ad works in a similar way to CPC ads. But instead of the advertiser paying each time the ad is clicked, the advertiser pays for every 1,000 times the ad appears on a page.
Landing Sales vs. Building Brand Awareness
Often, CPC ads are used by businesses looking to sell products. On the other hand, CPM ads are better suited for businesses trying to get their name out an build a reputation for their company on the web.
If your website and business are designed to sell a product or service, then CPC advertisements might be able to help. When web surfers search for your product or service, they are often doing so with the intent to buy. They will see your ad and may click it to learn more about your products, services, and prices.
But if you aren’t trying to sell a product or service, then CPM advertisements might be the better choice.
When web surfers run a search for something that isn’t a product or service, they are often looking to learn rather than buy. If they do click on your ad, you won’t get a return on your investment. But you will be getting your name out there and building brand awareness.
Google’s Optimized Layout
Prior to 2016, any paid search engine advertisements for a given search on Google appeared on the right-hand side of the search results.
This meant that organic search results were front and centre, and paid search advertisements were secondary, off to the side where web surfers were less likely to click on them.
That all changed in 2016.
New Search Results Page
Now, up to four paid advertisements appear at the top of the list of search results for any given search on Google. These paid search results blend in with the list of organic search results.
Additional paid search engines result appear at the bottom of the page of search results.
If your company plans to target keywords that tons of other advertisers are already targeting, this means that even if you were to get your website to the top rank among organic search results for those keywords, your website would still be below up to four other results.
If your website is ranked much lower, these paid advertisements could very likely push your website to another page of search results, making it even less likely that web surfers would find it.
Because these changes have made paid search engine advertisements so much more likely to receive clicks than they were previously, competition has also increased among advertisers.
If you do opt to invest in paid advertisements, you’ll need to focus on making the most of the few lines of text that you’ll get to try to convince web surfers to click on your link and visit your website.
Using the Right Keywords
Sometimes, even with paid social media advertising, your business still won’t successfully land clicks.
There are several factors that can threaten the success of your paid search engine advertisement strategy.
One threat is using the wrong keywords.
Choosing the right keywords to target is definitely a process. It can be tempting to throw advertising money at many different keywords to try and ensure that at least a few will be successful. But if any of your chosen keywords aren’t successful, this will be a drag on your marketing budget.
Even if your website is linked to a keyword that isn’t right for your business, web surfers may still click on it. But when they get to your website and realize that it isn’t what they are looking for, they’ll quickly leave. You’ll still have to pay for that ad, and you won’t have landed a sale.
Researching the Market
Instead, it’s a good idea to do some research on what keywords similar businesses are using. Or, get some help from a professional, who will be able to help you figure out which keywords work and which don’t so that you can quickly adapt your strategy to make the most of your budget.
Figuring out your target audience is the first step of any successful marketing strategy. Knowing your target audience and their habits will help you determine which keywords you should be using.
Is This Advertising Right for You?
Paid search engine advertising comes with plenty of pros and cons, and may not be the best answer for every company.
Your business is unique, with its own unique needs and demands.
Have you tried to build your business through organic search engine ranking techniques to no success? It could be a sign that you need to invest in paid search engine advertising.
Or it could be a sign that your organic search engine ranking strategy needs tweaking.
Figuring out whether paid advertisements or organic strategies are best for your company isn’t an easy decision. Consulting a professional can help you ensure that you are investing your time and money into something that will give you a return on your investment.
Not sure which path to choose? Contact me today to learn more about what paid search engine advertising, social media ads, and more can do for your business!