There are a number of different approaches in the digital marketing industry to boost traffic and paid search is one option that guarantees visibility on the web. A paid search advertisement essentially means that you can pay for your website to appear on search results pages like Google. Paid ads usually appear in specific sections of the results such as the very top, the right hand side or in a separate shopping section. Paid search ads look slightly different than organic search results because they have a symbol in front of them which says “ad” but they will ensure that a website will be seen when people search specific keywords related to the business. Over time paid search results have started to look more similar to organic results. In the past paid ads were more apparent with different colored listings which could cause them to be skipped over by internet users. Now with only the small ad symbol, users are more likely to choose paid search results instead of favoring organic results.
Paid search ads can be placed on any major search engine results page or SERP including Google, Bing and Yahoo. Google has its own offering for paid search known as AdWords and Bing and Yahoo share networks with their search tools known as Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini. Search engine pages like Google consider paid search important because most of its revenue comes from advertising. Ads on Google come either from the paid search tool AdWords, display advertising through the AdSense network or pre-roll ads on YouTube. Because advertising is so important to SERP revenue, paid search ads will always be a part of the search experience for users and marketers alike. Paid search may even become more dominant in the future as search engine pages find ways to make them less transparent to users as they already have in recent years. New businesses that are struggling to increase their online presence often use paid search as an easy and straightforward way to boost traffic.
When smaller businesses need to compete on SERPs for visibility, paid search is a good option especially if their current organic optimization strategy is not working yet. Paid search ads are not necessarily a major expense either but they will require a bit of research and planning in order to make sure that they are effective. Before beginning a paid search ad campaign it is important for businesses to identify their goals for the account and how they want to execute their ads. The account structure should be organized into campaigns that are then separated into groups that combine ads with certain keywords. Campaigns should be structured in a way that searches are general in the beginning and then get more defined as people move closer to making a purchase.
One of the first steps once you have decided on your campaign is researching and testing keywords to determine which search terms would be most effective for your paid search. You should test keywords in various match types to develop your list of keywords as well as negative keywords. When using tools like AdWords, negative keywords are certain terms for which you do not want your ad shown when they are typed into a search engine. A negative keyword list could include words like “free” or other terms that would not be relevant to your business when users search for them. With AdWords you can choose a list of keywords which would lead to your ad to appearing in the search results. It is important to spend some time researching keywords so that you have a better idea of what search terms will lead people to make a purchase. You can get ideas from the keyword tool in AdWords or the Google Insights Tool which can provide some suggestions. There are different types of keyword match types to consider when putting together a list including broad matches, broad match modifiers, phrase matches, exact matches and negative matches. As you continue using paid search you should analyze your keywords and review query reports or web analytics to make sure your campaign is effective. If you are not seeing the results you want you can adjust the keywords and continue to analyze your campaign.
To analyze your keywords more effectively you can use the search terms report that AdWords offers which will show the list of your keywords and how they are performing. The list will include keywords that you have added to your campaign as well as others that are not currently included in your account. Those that are not added are keywords that people are typing into Google search so those terms may also be useful to you in the future if you want to add more keywords to your campaign. The search terms report will also show the conversion rate for users who click through your ad for each keyword. Any words that perform well can be also be added to a search engine optimization campaign and you might consider making a landing page that is geared toward your best performing keywords. Reviewing your click-through rates and conversion rates can also help you determine which of your keywords are too general. When keywords have a lot of impressions but a low click-through or conversion rate they may be too general and you need to add more specific terms.
When creating ads you should think about the type of text that you want to include in your ad and make sure that is compelling and consistent with other areas of your campaigns. Keywords should be placed in the ads to make them more relevant and there should also be offers and call-to-actions included in the ad. Your paid search ads should be unique and dynamic but make sure the review Google’s guidelines on what they will and won’t accept for paid ads. Another important aspect of your ads is the location and country in which they will appear as well as the language set for the ad. If you use analytics you can see where your visitors are coming from and you can adjust the ads accordingly. Make sure to consider whether your visitors are using computers or mobile devices so that your ad is compatible to different formats. You can target desktops, laptops or tablets with some campaigns and use others to target mobile devices because they each offer different experiences. Your mobile campaign can include a list of shorter keywords that people are more likely to quickly type into their smartphone when they are on the go. Keywords for desktops or laptops can be a bit longer or more specific to accommodate what someone might be more likely to type in when they are searching for something at home or at work. When creating your mobile campaign you should always have a separate landing page for those paid search ads.
Most paid search ads work through pay-per-click bidding or PPC as it is more commonly known. A PPC ad means that you don’t pay simply for the ad to be displayed and you don’t have to pay if users ignore and scroll past the ad. With PPC you will only pay when users click on the link in your ad which can be much more effective than other types of paid search such as paying per impression or CPM. Bidding on impressions means paying for an ad that may not even lead to users seeing your website. When you pay for each click then you have a much greater chance of benefiting from the ad by converting visitors without losing much money on the paid search. PPC is a good option especially for businesses that are just starting out and need to build up more traffic on their website. Bidding for PPC means that you set the price for certain keywords based on what you think the value of a click would be for that word. The lowest bid will be used as the price for the least visible spot on the results page and then the spots going up in value will be priced incrementally higher. Google uses an algorithm called ‘quality score’ to make sure that the ads people are displaying are always relevant to the keywords they are bidding on. If you have a higher quality score you may get a higher position in search results because your ad is more relevant.
The important thing to keep in mind once you have set up your paid search ads is to use all the tools available to continue tracking your different ad campaigns. Google AdWords offers automatic tracking for impressions, clicks, average position and cost. You can also implement conversion tracking to see how many users become customers once they reach your landing page. Google Analytics also offers different insights into your ad campaigns like bounce rate, time on site, pages visited and plenty of other valuable data. Paid search can be an effective way to reach more people online and increase your visibility overall or with specific keywords. Even if you have had some success with your search engine optimization strategy, paid search ads are always beneficial as a part of a larger online marketing strategy.
If you need help setting up your online paid campaigns, taking over management, or optimizing your existing campaigns give us a call today at 1-800-932-5421.