Many business owners who are new to the world of online marketing often consider pay per click as their main channel of advertisement. As what is essentially the internet’s oldest form of direct marketing, PPC ads continue to be one of the most prevalent methods of inorganic link building. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every search engine website displays its own custom PPC ads on every SERP it shows. Although PPC usage remains constant across the web, the prominence of this popular marketing method is not even across all ad networks.
Recent reports indicate that paid search activity is up year after year yet still dwindling in some markets. According to an article from Search Engine Land, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 15% increase in PPC campaign activity for American companies. At the same time, Google’s cost-per-click rates have been following a downward trend that continues its decline from 2011. While Google’s CPCs are down another 5% from last year, the Yahoo-Bing adCenter network is up by nearly 20%. Google is quick to defend its low CPCs as not being indicative of the overall health of their company, but many SEO industry analysts are quick to claim otherwise.
The Cause of Google’s CPC Decline
Although the declining popularity of AdWords may make some business owners question their PPC relevance, the fact is there’s no concrete reason to doubt the effectiveness of a Google ad. Even though Microsoft continues to push its own search engine along with its advertising partnership with Yahoo, Google still remains at the top of its game when it comes to user activity – especially on mobile platforms. Some SEO experts have seen the company’s recent CPC decline as being a result of businesses trying to go where the competition isn’t.
adCenter, being a relatively newer PPC network than Google AdWords, has a greater draw to it due to the relative lack of market saturation. This isn’t to say that Bing’s PPC results will yield dramatically better results than those ads hosted on Google’s SERPs. Rather, the chance of securing better conversion rates when using adCenter is slightly higher for certain search terms. Of course, regardless of whatever network you go with for your PPC campaign, nothing beats having a strong keyword.
The Best Outcome with any Ad Network
If business owners want to run a pay per click campaign that gets the results they want, they need to implement excellent PPC behaviors instead of fretting over which network they should pick. In particular, there are a few choice guidelines to live by when it comes to solid cost-per-click campaign management.
- Research your campaign keyword thoroughly. An excellent selected keyword is one that is not too broad so as to get overshadowed by other ads but also not needlessly specific either. Always consider using negative keywords to help narrow your focused campaign term for best results.
- Determine the budget of your PPC campaign prior to getting involved with the keyword-bidding process. If you find that the search term you want to use is out of your reach, decide whether or not it’s worth it to simply select a term that is lower ranked.
- Choose an appropriate platform for your PPC ads. As I mentioned before, Google AdWords carry more weight on mobile devices that Microsoft adCenter. If you feel that the good or service you provide would appeal more to a mobile market (ie. cell phone covers, rechargeable batteries), then choose what you feel your ad network based on that.
As always, I encourage our blog’s readers to reach out to us and contact us with any questions they may have regarding PPC ads. We have extensive resources regarding PPC management along with other various PPC services. I can also be emailed directly at email@example.com.
Are you happy to read me; or, do you have a case of the Mondays? I know I got some people to smile with the Office Space reference. We maintain things of interest or necessity in long-term memory. Ingraining company-related sentiments into consumer minds is branding. Focus on building a brand is a cornerstone of marketing.
Think about it. As competitors struggle to best one another in all verticals, leveraging the ‘next best’ search engine optimization tactic, focusing on sought keywords and phrases, your brand can begin creating positive associations to your brand, ‘owning’ your name and related associations.
Remember a while back when Stephen Colbert asked his followers to make him the “Greatest Living American”? I saw another SEOmoz post today related to branding a group of people. The idea of marketing is to increase traffic to your brand, correct? Ideally, keywords related to goods and products would not mean (as) much if your brand received a healthy, regular flow of traffic, correct?
Think about it. If your brand is enjoying traffic and exposure and releases a new product or service, a smaller ad budget is warranted regarding ‘ranking’ for those terms; your brand is already ‘ranking’ with consumers. New and ongoing information may only need intense marketing through social media accounts, home pages, newsletters, blog posts, etc.
Rather than leverage immediate rankings (some brands, with great rankings in mind from the start, are getting mauled by Panda as of late), impress consumers with a solidly-built community. I know. The process takes longer; but, the company is in business to provide value rather than make money, right? We all need money; but, don’t underestimate the perception of consumers. We observe the difference; and, we have plenty of options…
Pay-per-click management garners short-term exposure, allowing a brand to take presence in the SERPs while focusing on branding, raising awareness about the company, the site, executives, workers, philosophies, and so on. PPC can be the rental home of your marketing pursuits; but the never-ending process of branding (Don’t allow for stale branding.) is how your business settles in a niche, making a home for itself along with a community of followers.
Joanna Lord wrote a post a while back on leveraging inbound marketing. There are great insights in the post regarding building a brand community with a variety of content. I celebrated the idea, making the connection between branding and online success:
I think a brand can’t go wrong in making further connections with customers and strengthening current ones. In a time when there is so much competition in all verticals, branding helps consumers view your brand as unique, distinguishable from the competition. Talk about savings on marketing costs…’optimize’ branding efforts, get browsers to come to you through brand-name searches and ’favorite bar’ clicks, those are the kind of ‘rankings’ branding can get.
The time to start branding is was yesterday. Rather than going cuckoo for keywords and rankings, possibly collecting wrist slaps from the Panda, go cuckoo over your customers and building a lasting brand. I saw Rand Fishkin wearing this shirt in the latest White-Board Friday post. I want one; the message is loud and clear and relates to products, services, and branding…
It’s March 20; spring is springing. Have you planned a vacation? What about a break from organic search? Have you moved on down the pay-per-click road yet? I like to think of PPC as the vacation-rental home of search engine optimization; high costs and needed diligence usually limit longevity of accounts; yet, brands find the experience effective in achieving exposure and increased revenue.
You MUST have heard about changes on the Google horizon. Rather than panic and take novice action, I suggest brands steer attention to reliable SEO consultant sources, professionals who can clearly explain the situation, in your terms. Unfortunately, anxiety leads to novice action, which leads to poor (ironic) results; this is a dynamic influencing many SEO beginners. It doesn’t have to be you!
The Bad of Organic
There’s good and bad observations to be had on just about any topic. Search engine optimization is celebrated because it helps brands increase exposure, helping companies find desired markets. It also helps consumers field desired goods and services. However, natural search is ultimately judged by search engine algorithms. Modifications, updates, and penalties take place; some think these changes are fair while others entertain different views.
To truly understand the dynamic between search engines (like Google), brands (SEO clients), and users (all of us), please read Chris Countey‘s blog post on search; he does a very good job at succinctly explaining the industry and its effectiveness.
The Good of Organic
Yes, the process is slow, not entirely static and sometimes unexplainable; but, natural search engine optimization works in creating more exposure. I write about branding a lot, the overall impression created by a company upon its market and beyond. SEO (and more exposure), facilitates branding in many ways:
- It introduces key executives to the public
- It gives a brand a voice and personality
- It enables introduction and proper instruction regarding services and products
- It ingrains brands in respective target markets’ long-term memory (IMO – the ultimate goal of natural search is to create brand-centric habits; what’s better, vying for keywords or having an informed target market come straight to your site for needs?)
But, like buying a home, it takes some time to settle in, to engage in a community.
The Vacation of PPC
Take a vacation from anxieties and concerns connected to organic results; consider implementing PPC management into your overall online marketing campaign. As referenced above, it does demand diligence and dollars (depending on your vertical). Many brands celebrate the notion due to an easy-to-trace ROI. Three Deep wrote a good post on working dollars recently; the post strengthens suggestions relayed here. Can you run a business leveraging pay-per-click alone? I’m not sure about that; it would definitely make sense to include natural optimization (you eventually ‘pay off’ that home; you’ll always have to rent your PPC vacation home). Continue interest in natural SEO, but definitely inquire about mixing in pay-per-click management as well.
Do you have questions about upcoming Google changes, natural search engine optimization, or pay-per-click services? Please contact WebiMax; we’re here to inform and help. Continue to read our SEO blog for regularly-updated SEO information.
Happy Valentine’s Day, valued WebiMax readers. Are your customers headed, straight as an arrow, toward your site’s services and products, not just today, but each day of the year? Search engine optimization facilitates a love connection and the endless search for brand attention. Brands engineer goods and services to meet the needs of valued customers. Online marketing helps align and spark brand-consumer connections.
Online marketing has become diverse (offering an array of separate yet intertwined initiatives), yet ‘separate’ services ‘connect,’ working well together to create online success. For instance, copywriting (an essential SEO need) is complemented well by social media usage (gives content further extension and exposure). Let’s consider more search engine optimization, inter-service love connections:
Technical SEO < —— > Pay per Click
Technical SEO addresses the on-site needs of a Web property such as meta data, ensuring search engines properly read a site’s pages and understand what on-site elements are ‘communicating’ to engines and users. This helps a brand’s exposure on the search engines; as Comscore’s January SE data reflects, users mainly leverage Google (Google Webmaster tips) for search at the moment.
Addressing technical needs helps search traffic and PPC (pay-per-click) services complement technical notions well, giving brands immediate opportunities for increased exposure. While PPC demands meticulous attention to ensure ROI, it’s a good service to leverage while natural SEO efforts gain momentum.
VSEO < —— > Web Design
I read a good post today on Google+ by Erica McGillivray. If you’re using Google+ (Rand Fishkin urges all people in marketing to develop a strategy), you’ll notice personalized search results and interests of others in your circles. Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed more videos finding way into SERPs. Video production is another method of conveying information; in some cases, video can better communicate than text (think about DIY projects). A number of vendors opt for video production and VSEO (video search engine optimization), allows for better exposure.
Your brand may love the idea of VSEO, deciding to host a number of on-site videos. Web design services invigorate and improve the design and usability of Web properties. While your brand is producing videos, it is necessary to improve the look and function of its associated online properties. Videos intrigue attention while Web design implementations aesthetically please browsers and improve user satisfaction.
Copywriting < —– > Social Media
Great content is essential for every brand. While video, infographs (see infograph of StumbleUpon success via Distilled), podcasts, and other varieties of media are expanding our interpretations of ‘content,’ copywriting (have you been paying attention in copywriting class?) remains an integral part of a successful SEO campaign.
Of course, brands desire increased readership and traffic. Social site, like Google+ above as well as Twitter and Facebook (read Todd Bailey Facebook tips). Social media sites allow for real-time sharing and increased exposure to Web site content and properties. If a brand is producing content, social media becomes a complementary process it can’t afford to pass over.
Thanks for reading – Happy Valentine’s Day
Lately, we’ve been covering pay per click and paid search topics as reports illustrate the surge in demand for these advertising services. Amongst the data that have recently been published, new data released today by ZenithOptimedia (advertising and communications firm), states Google owns 44 percent of the global advertising market. That number represents a 10 percent increase over the past 5 years. Not only does Google own the majority of this market, the industry titan also accounts for 85 percent of all searches.
With Google’s dominating presence in these key areas, it is important for marketers, advertisers, and search marketers to accept their guidelines and play by their rules. Google has made excellent strides forward this year with cracking down on unscrupulous search firms utilizing black-hat optimization methods. Although there is no such thing (yet) as black-hat paid search, as a marketer looking for a PPC company, it is vital to contract with a Certified Google AdWords Partner. These companies demonstrate the understanding and expertise of how to properly leverage and design paid search for their clients.
Online ad expenditures are expected to continue to climb over the next 4 years, as models end at 2016. A recent analysis by WebiMax founder and CEO Ken Wisnefski states that there is a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines right now illustrated by the dramatic upsurge in Thanksgiving holiday expenditures. Although advertisers are being cautious right not, including those in Europe who are presently dealing with debt-ceiling uncertainty, one thing is clear; Paid search is booming and Google is leading the industry with second-place (Microsoft, 4 percent) far behind.
Paid search has more or less taken over as one of the leading forms of advertising on the internet. Traditional techniques including mass-media (newspaper, television, radio, etc.) have been suffering over the past couple years as challenging economic times have caused advertisers and marketers to be cautious and even abandon their marketing initiatives. A recent report by the Newspaper Association of America projects newspapers will achieve a new low in advertising sales in 2011. The Association expects ad revenue to be $24 billion, almost 50 percent less than its peak of $49 billion in 2005. While this sharp decline in newspaper advertising certainly includes concerns over the economy, at the same time, cost-efficient advertising including paid search has been surging.
Paid search includes the implementation of pay per click services to create targeted ads on search engines including Google, Yahoo! and Bing. While PPC is still a relatively new concept to marketers, its results thus far are astounding. Google release their Q3 earnings report in October and posted a $10 billion increase in revenue, 23% of which is due to a surge in paid search revenue. While this is a small piece of the puzzle, truth is research indicates paid search is expected to continue its upward trend thru 2016 (*important note models end at 2016).
As paid search becomes the new era of advertising, marketers should pay attention to the reputation of PPC companies. Ensure your PPC firm is a Certified Google AdWords Partner. Also, make sure the firm has a reputable list of clients and has demonstrated their expertise in the field.