One of the oldest questions in digital marketing (“How can I get to the top of search results?“) has one very simple shortcut:
You can pay for it.
Way back in the last century (1998), a search engine called Goto.com gave advertisers the chance to use an auction system pay for the privilege of being the first result result. Want to be at the top of the list? Simply pay a penny more than the next person. It was an idea that turned the internet upside down.
In the two decades since, Google Adwords has become synonymous with PPC advertising. Even though the tools, targeting and auction system have become more complex, the same basic idea is at work. You can pay to appear in search results. The price may be as little as 20 cents per click (for your crafting blog) or $200 per click (for your personal injury law firm). The average is typically in the $1 to $2 per click range.
Pay Per Click is a Darwinian world where only the most effective campaigns survive.
But whether you’re paying 20 cents or $200 per click, the real question is return on investment. Not all PPC campaigns, and not all ads for the same keyword, deliver the same ROI. Pay Per Click is a Darwinian world where only the most effective campaigns survive. In our two decades of experience with PPC, here are some of the lessons we’ve learned:
#1 – Use Your PPC Campaign to Gain Intelligence for SEO
In the last few years, the information about what search terms people use to find your website has almost completely collapsed. The first line in almost any Google Analytics report for Organic Keywords is “Not Provided,” which means “Basically Worthless.” The reason for this is increasing privacy restrictions, security protocols and Google’s own near-monopoly on this valuable information.
There are various ways to tease out this information, but none is as easy or as accurate as running a simple PPC Campaign, where you’ll get actual search volumes for desired search terms and click-through rates for your ads. That’s actionable intelligence. Among other things, now you can know:
- Which search terms people actually use.
- Which search terms to avoid targeting, because they send worthless traffic.
- Which terms to use for organic optimization, because they produce useful engagement.
#2 – Experiment and Invest the Time Get Useful Insight
An important rule for PPC advertising is always to be testing. You need to run your experiments long enough to ensure you have reliable, consistent data. While PPC advertising gives you near instant feedback, nothing worth doing happens overnight. Look at the first few months of your campaign as learning experience. Once you’ve done a series of experiments with different keywords, ad variations and landing pages, you can use that information to improve the effectiveness of your campaign going forward.
#3 – Use Conversion Tracking
Is your campaign working? How do you know? The most direct measurement is to setup conversion tracking. You can set up a series of actions you want your visitors to take, like spending a certain amount of time on the site, downloading a whitepaper, or filling out a contact form. Conversion tracking doesn’t track everything (did they visit your website, then call?) it does provide a direct measurement of the effectiveness of your keyword targets, ads and landing page.
#4 – Save Money and Improve Results by Optimizing Your Landing Pages
One of the most significant innovations in Adwords over early PPC programs is that the auction isn’t simply based on the amount you are willing to pay. When you create a landing page that engages visitors, answers the question implied in the search term, and matches the offer in the ad, you’ll boost what Google calls your “Quality Score.” Ads with a better quality score perform better and they’re rewarded with a lower cost per impression and cost per click. Basically, the more effective your ad and the more effective your landing page, the less you’ll pay!
#5 – Use Jack Welch’s “10, 20, 70” Rule
Jack Welch made famous a rule for evaluating employee productivity. The top 20 percent of the workforce is the most productive, the 70 percent in between do a fair job, and the bottom 10 percent actually cost a company money through non productivity. By using a process of continuous evaluation and improvement, he always eliminated the bottom 10 percent, rewarded the top 20 percent and worked to improve the effectiveness of the middle.
Your PPC campaign should work basically the same way. Always reinvest in your top performing ads and keyword combination. Always eliminate the bottom 10 percent. And then look for ways to optimize what’s in between. Rinse & repeat. This continuous process ensures that your PPC campaigns will always be improving over time.
- 5 Adwords Tips to Improve Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Our 13 Best Money-Saving PPC Tips . . . Ever!
At Brick City it’s our job to help you succeed online. Give us a call at (352) 351-1131 or email us with any questions.
I promise that if we can’t help you, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.
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