The Merits of Paid Search
There are a ton o’ strategies to generate online traffic. Naturally, some are better, easier, or cheaper than others.
But when push comes to shove, if you’re serious about generating bonafide leads because your livelihood depends on it, it would be irresponsible to not take a cold hard look at pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, aka, “paid search.”
Along that vein, Google Ads are built to attract high-intent audiences on SERP pages with strategically written ads for specific search keywords. Advertisers often see quick results from targeted visitors clicking on their ad… because it’s intentionally relevant to their search query.
PPC ads appear in the SERPs listing as soon as they’re approved, resulting in potentially instantaneous leads (depending, of course, on their efficacy).
According to a Clutch survey,
For those who are hands-on, PPC statistics are easier to measure than SEO statistics, making it easier for marketers to track ROI and manage budgets.
And for those who question whether search ads usurp any available keyword listing opportunities for organic content, Google Research shows that 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused.
So when you want results yesterday and organic SEO and fairy dust aren’t driving traffic to your business, Google Ads are a viable resource for any size business.
The merits of SEO
Alternatively, SEO is the evergreen approach to long-term organic traffic. Meaning, if you don’t want or need immediate traffic, leads, or sales, and you’re creating a library of information, SEO might get you to the first page of the SERPS … IF you’re very good at keyword research, copywriting, and meeting the myriad of ever-changing 200+ ranking factors required to get you crawled, indexed, and listed in the first place, before anyone will ever see a link to click on.
Proponents of the SEO camp assert that organic traffic is more valuable than paid search because your brand has the potential to live in perpetuity for specific keywords (of the extremely long-tail kind). And yes, there’s a healthy amount of research to back this up.
PPC or SEO?
However, SEO takes time to rank a website in the SERPs and there’s never any promises of how long it might live there – two important consideration for some businesses.
And let’s not forget to address the difference between traffic, clicks, and conversions. Just because someone clicks on your page-1 organic link doesn’t mean that they’ll buy something from you (unless you’re writing a review and include an affiliate link). Because when someone is in a buying mood, they’re looking for deals or reviews, not reading fodder. So unless your article is extremely compelling, odds aren’t great that it will convert a visitor into a sale.
- 50% of people who click paid ads are more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link (Unbounce)
- 98% of searchers choose a business on page 1 of the SERPs (BrightLocal), emphasizing the importance of ranking on the first page of Google
This is where PPC shines. Its pièce de résistance is to sell something (or encourage engagement). So when this is your end goal, SEO really can’t compare.
And let’s not forget that PPC allows advertisers to retarget people who click on their ads! Any time business owners can re-market to people who have demonstrated a viable interest in their offerings, is a huge competitive advantage! And who doesn’t like to be a leg up on their competitor?
Sure, you can accomplish comparable metrics if you’re a Google Analytics aficionado but, in our experience, this is foreign territory to the average business owner.
Speaking of Advantages...
As for conversions, WordStream attributes Google Ads with a 4.4% conversion rate.
The takeaway here is that the shopper’s motive to buy online is typically higher when presented with a specific ad, versus something to read (organic SERP listing).
Why would anyone use Paid Advertising over organic results?
For starters, let’s acknowledge that you’re paying to drive traffic to your website for the purpose of selling either a product or service (portfolios and contact information are secondary to this).
And to facilitate this awareness, you’re only three options are:
- Organic SEO (content creation)
- Word of mouth (mom’s bridge circle)
- Pay for it (ad buys)
And let’s not be naïve in our awareness that your competitors are already using Google Ads to promote their own business. So, on any given day, those organic listings that you’ve worked so hard on, are being pushed further down the listing with your rival’s prioritized ad listings. Bummer.
In many circles, PPC is a universally acceptable “cheat” for jumping the SERP queue that is usually dominated by big brand organic results. Because if you do it right, you can rank ahead of them for your dream keyword!
The best part about PPC ads is that they’re performance-based, meaning that you don’t pay for your ad unless someone actually clicks on it. Looking is free.
The Common-sense Approach to Paid Advertising
We understand that you probably want to fund your ad campaign with the sales that it generates. Unless you have money to burn, your goal is “sales,” not “Likes”.
We also understand that most people learn PPC on-the-fly, resulting in predominantly unfavorable experiences. So if you have the slightest apprehension about any aspect of the whole PPC process, consider sticking with what you’re good at, and farming out that things that you’re not.
Try not to view hiring a Google Ads agency as an unnecessary expense. If you get nothing else out of this post, know these two things:
You don’t need to have a large budget for PPC campaigns
You don’t have to cheap-out with the DIY approach of flinging spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks. PPC is a science but if you approach it the wrong way, you may never experience the glee of outranking competitors in the SERPs.
A good Google Ad agency will pay for itself
It’s not uncommon to realize 4-9x your return on ad spend IF you know what you’re doing. Lowering the cost of conversions can creatively equate to paying less for the agency (not to be confused with lowering the frequency or quality of conversions).
DIY-ers have a very long learning curve to get there (especially since account history can play a factor in securing favorable bids and well, beginners obviously don’t have a ‘history’ to benefit from).
Paid Advertising is NOT a Panacea for Customer Acquisition
If you learn nothing else from this post, understand that when you embark on a PPC campaign, there is the expectation that you will already have a process in place to qualify, transition, or otherwise influence potential customers who click on your ad. Make it easy for them to buy (often spontaneously) the thing they clicked on and you have a winning campaign.
The Google Ads landscape
Of all the ad networks (Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Advertising, etc.) that support paid advertising, Google is clearly the dominate provider.
To give you an idea of just how many searches are processed EVERY DAY (currently over 104,000 search queries every second), open this live link and let it run on your computer for the better part of the day. The last time I let it run, it was over 6 billion searches per day!
I mention this to illustrate the significance of building an ad campaign that lives on a network of this magnitude. If you can get past the monetary investment (which is only as much as you want it to be) and can see the 6 billion searches-day-bigger-picture, you’ll appreciate the more do-able opportunities available within your local market.
As the #1 search engine (86.19% global market share), Google is the de facto channel for attracting an audience. And if this weren’t enough, Google operates the #1 ad network, reaching 90% of internet users!
These two points alone justify the stat that people are 4x more likely to click on a Google paid search ad than any other search engine.
So for the budget-conscious, if you want to get the most bang for your buck in your efforts to reach your target audience, it makes cents to spend your ad budget on the platform with the most dominant presence …and where the majority of people are searching.
PPC and SEO?
Regardless of whether you’re a new or existing business, paid advertising is a business expense that historically outperforms SEO. And in many cases, performs better when used in conjunction with SEO.
To this point, Google recognizes that advertisers often buy ads even when they’re already organically listed on page-1 because they want to control the messaging of their ads, suggesting that search clicks are only 70% as valuable as paid clicks.
New Media Campaigns also affirms that PPC is more effective when used in conjunction with SEO.
How We Work with Our Clients
There are a lot of moving parts to an ad campaign. And a responsible Google Ads agency will be mindful of a client’s budget and the degree to which it can be stretched.
Executing, managing, and tracking a campaign are fundamental elements that require an acute understanding of the process. Even more so, is an awareness of outcomes, especially as they pertain to specific markets and/or niche verticals, all in the name of lead generation.
Above all, a Google ad agency worth their salt will ensure that you have a pre-existing inbound sales funnel, and that it aligns with your campaign goals. Our tried-and-true Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies target highly responsive searchers. But those leads have nowhere to go without an effective sales funnel.
They’ll also know how to build a quality score to ensure that Google not only accepts your ad but ranks it competitively (low quality ads don’t necessarily win the #1 spot even if they pay more for their ad placement).
If you can’t find an ad agency who can carry on a conversation or support a track record in these areas, move on.
At Elite Digital Marketing, our Google Ad specialists’ idea of fun is to find the most prudent ways to optimize your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy so that your paid search ads attain the best possible outcomes, based on specific keywords.
This includes spying on competition (a favorite pastime), personifying the customer journey (as it relates to your campaign goals), and knowing which metrics to ignore and which ones to double down on.
Among other things, a successful Google Ads campaign includes:
- Competitive keyword research
- Questions & buzz words
- Click fraud prevention
- Market-specific campaigns
- Humanized PPC ads
- Low PPC churn rates
- Metrics and tools to measure ROI
- SEM strategies
- Ad copy
- A/B Testing
- Ongoing management and analysis
- Budget awareness
- Many other strategic inputs
Work With Us
Our goal is to evaluate your competitive advantage by revealing opportunities for decreased spending and increased conversions, especially in contrast to your competition.
We’re not just pursuing clicks (except we kinda are), but we’re prioritizing driving traffic to your website which, ideally, converts leads to customers (and if it doesn’t, we can help with that too).