Is paying for AdWords worth it? Well, yes and no.
To someone unfamiliar with pay-per-click (PPC), opening the Google AdWords dashboard might look like a seven-headed monster that no entrepreneur can slay. I saw this time and time again during my time at Google. It’s a big reason why my co-founder and I decided to start AdHawk in the first place.
AdWords is complicated and can be overwhelming, which means there is a lot of misinformation floating out there and plenty of myths that call for some debunking.
We at Adhawk have had thousands of conversations with clients and potential clients about these myths, so I’m going to put the most common ones to rest today. Let’s get debunkin’.
Myth No. 1: The top ad position is always the best.
It’s automatically assumed that the first results are going to give you the most return for your money, but that’s not necessarily true.
A study by Hallam Digital found that while the top position drove the most clicks, the second and third positions drove three to four times more conversions, respectively. They conclude that providing useful information, optimizing your landing page, adding extensions, using relevant copy and improving your overall quality score should always be a higher priority than anything else.
They further suggest that the second and third results receive more high-quality clicks because the first position draws in a mass audience, many of whom are not qualified to drive that coveted conversion.
If your ad is not in the first position and you’re still driving conversions, budgeting correctly and turning a profit, then so be it. This brings me to the next myth.
Myth No. 2: Every business needs to double down on PPC advertising.
PPC is more effective for some businesses more than others, but what it really boils down to is budgeting. Brett Farmiloebreaks it down into these three easy formulas:
- (Revenue / Sales Period) / Average Sale = Number of Customers
- Number of Customers / Conversion Rate = Number of Leads
- Number of Leads / Conversion Rate on Traffic = Amount of Traffic
What this means is that if the price to acquire a customer is greater than the customer’s lifetime value, PPC is not worth it for you.
This might be the case for low-traffic and high-competition industries, where PPC advertising may cut margins and not scale.
Myth No. 3: You don’t need PPC if you have high-ranking organic content.
Organic strategies like SEO, social and email go hand in hand with PPC strategies. If you have the bandwidth and resources to execute, do all of them.
Building organic traffic is a great strategy that will pay off in the long run. That being said, managing and updating your SEO efforts after every Google algorithm update can start to feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. The advantage of PPC advertising is how quickly it can be spun up to scale your business, and the relative stability it brings to the table.
The numbers speak for themselves. Paid search results drive 1.5 times more clicks than organic traffic, primarily because paid spots drive traffic to customized landing pages. Organic content is a great way to generate an audience, but if you want a predictable and direct method of acquiring customers or driving conversions, PPC is the way to go.
If you already have high-ranking content, you can double-rank on Google by creating paid ads for the same keywords your organic content ranks for. That’s double the real estate and double the chances for conversions.Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Myth No. 4: Google is far superior to Bing.
For the record, no search engine is going to beat out Google in the near future. But Bing is in second place in terms of market share and it’s starting to gain significant traction.
Bing has its shortcomings (like less-advanced ad options), but it provides options that Google doesn’t, like being able to share budgets among all your campaigns.
Bing’s future is entertained by the fact that more than 50% of all search queries are now done through mobile. With Bing powering AOL, Yahoo, Amazon and Siri, things are looking bright.
This means Bing has a different user base than Google, which can provide a profitable opportunity to reach a new audience. For Search Engine Watch, driving conversions on Bing proved to be 63.23% cheaper than on Google.
The next time you hear one of these myths, share your newfound myth-busting knowledge with a friend, or tweet at me @AdHawk.
According to digital marketing expert Jordan Kasteler, 1 in 3 of all Google searches has local intent. This means users search for and expect local information
SEO for businesses in 2017 will be revolutionary.
Within the space of 3 years, it has become significantly easier to find businesses, stores or items nearby, creating a shift in user’s intent and search behavior.
Users no longer have to include their location in search queries, such as inputting “coffee shops in Queens” into Google.
This trend has given way to the “near me” search query – Google “coffee shop near me” while in Queens, and Google will fetch coffee shops in your local area.
According to digital marketing expert Jordan Kasteler, 1 in 3 of all Google searches has local intent. This means users search for and expect local information in SERPs, and now more than ever, priority should be given to optimizing on-site and off-site strategies for local SEO.
Below are a few things to note when optimizing for local SEO in 2017.
#1: Title tags and meta descriptions still work
Title tags and meta descriptions are on-site HTML elements which reflect the content of your page, and are shown in SERPs and browser tabs as text. With Google increasing the width of the SERP to 600px, the length of title tags falls between 40 and 50 characters (best practices) while meta descriptions should be a maximum of 160 characters.
Titles display what your page is about to both visitors and search engine crawlers, while meta descriptions summarize the content of your page. Your title tags and meta descriptions must include the keywords you are trying to rank for, for example, “cheap hotels in Las Vegas” (title tag includes a keyword and locality).
Titles and meta descriptions must be unique, compelling and descriptive, as this can affect click-through rates from search results to your page.
Using the length guidelines above, ensure your title and descriptions are displaying in full on the SERP. Use tools like Yoast’s SEO plugin, SERP preview tool, and SEOmofo to emulate how your title tags and meta description will look in search results.
#2: Keyword research
Keyword research represents the very foundation of your SEO campaign and when done properly, keywords can drive traffic and rankings for your web pages. Keywords represent terms and phrases people type as search queries to find local businesses.
Keyword research for local SEO involves optimizing your web pages for keywords with geo-modifiers – i.e. place names and locations. For a furniture making business, a generic, non-local keyword might be “furniture makers” but for businesses optimizing for local SEO, an acceptable keyphrase would be “furniture makers Portland” or “furniture makers Portland Oregon”.
To optimize your keyword research for local SEO, brainstorm keywords or phrases with a geo-modifier that customers might use when searching for a business like yours. Run generated phrases or words through Google Keyword Planner or Keyword.io to get keyword ideas together with monthly search traffic stats.
Keyword research can be time-consuming, but rewarding when done properly. For a more in-depth guide, check out our complete guide to keyword research for SEO.
#3: Optimize for Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places, allows you to display your business hours, phone number and directions to your office on Google Search and Maps. This service is free and will aid your SEO efforts, as your business is listed when customers search for your services.
When optimizing your Google My Business page, remember to upload your business logo and photos of your business (staff, office building, etc.).
For an online business with no physical location, you can hide your address, but be sure to fill in and validate every other piece of information entered. A misplaced phone number or wrong address can result in you losing customers and revenue.
#4: Local structured data
Structured data, sometimes referred to as schema markup, are codes which are added to websites to provide search engines with in-depth information about your products, your business offering, prices of your products, location-based offerings and much more.
According to ACMQUEUE, a measly 31.3 percent of websites use schema markup, and most of these on a very basic level. Schema markup on your websites make your business stand out in the SERP with things like rich snippets, which in turn will boost your CTR.
There are various options for businesses when implementing Schema markup, you can optimize your website according to your business type (dentist, travel agency, etc.), events (business listing in upcoming events) and location (location markup).
Google is forcing marketers to use schema markup and is rewarding websites who use this feature as structured data helps crawlers understand your web pages and the content in it. To check if your website is optimized for Schema markup, you can check out Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
The above points are a drop in the ocean for optimizing for local SEO, but implementing the points above will have you generating results and better conversion rates.