For people who already have their websites set up correctly – implementing the right techniques and methods in SEO – running an effective paid search campaign is a terrific way to supplement channel acquisition traffic. Paid search advertising is a form of PPC (short for Pay-per-click) advertising, where PPC and Paid Search are sometimes used interchangeably. However, PPC can also include display and video advertising, which appear throughout the Google Display Network and YouTube, respectively. PPC can also refer to other platforms, like Facebook Advertising or Bing, but Google AdWords still reigns supreme in the SEM world.
Basically, paid search advertising is paying to ensure that a link to your site with a brief description is placed at the top spot in a SERP (search engine results page). With paid search advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Hence the term “pay-per-click”. There are certainly other bidding methods and options, but this is where PPC is essentially derived.
An organized, effective paid search campaign is arguably the best way to make your website known to a broad audience, especially relatively new websites with near-zero popularity. You would have to wait for some time to notice the effects of your organic SEO strategy (which should be the main goal—building a long-term strategy). But, this can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to fully take hold.
However, with paid search advertising campaigns, you get extremely fast results (and enough to get the ball rolling). Bid on the high performing keywords today and by tomorrow your ads are already showing up in the SERPs in the top spots—something you could only dream of getting in a brief period with an organic SEO strategy.
Google AdWords is still the king of PPC search advertising. And if you’re new to the art of digital paid search advertising, the interface can both overwhelm and excite a marketer, especially with Google AdWords brand new interface. If you’re struggling to reach your paid search campaign goals, take a step back and revisit some AdWords basics. Here are 4 secrets to launching an effective paid search campaign:
1. An Effective Paid Search Campaign Requires More Than Just Money
A lot of beginners go into paid search advertising with the notion that they can get higher paid search rankings more than everyone else if they place very high bids on short-tailed keywords. Some believe that the ads are just shown on the SERPs in a random order, while others believe the ads are arranged based on the amount of the bid. The truth isn’t what you would expect.
Google uses a more complex algorithm compared to other search engines. It considers the estimated value of the landing page, the click-through rate for the website, and the bid amount. However, the bid amount is less important than other factors. In reality, you should only pay what you have to in order to rank for a particular keyword.
Instead of increasing your maximum bid, strive to improve landing page experience, improve landing page experience, and increase your click through rate! These factors will weigh heavily on the placement of your ad. While there are several slots at the top of the SERP, sometimes, your ads can get thrown to the bottom of the list, or worse, if too poor quality, can fail altogether.
2. Poor Landing Pages Are Unacceptable
Before you decide to run a paid ad campaign, you must optimize your site for user experience. It doesn’t matter the amount of money you’re spending on an ad campaign; if your website is not up to standard, you won’t get any results. Carefully plan a landing page for each Ad you write. You can create these pages in advance of your ad campaign. On the other hand, you can also choose a strong page on your website, one that already has decent traffic. You can optimize this page specifically for the ad campaign by making edits, including keywords you are targeting in the campaign. It’s completely up to you, but don’t just pick a random page for the destination of your ad.
You could lose a lot of money on paid advertising if the landing page for your campaign is in poor condition. Landing page experience is It has to be informative, well-optimized and highly relevant to the target keyword. If you’re targeting “daily exchange rates” as the keyword, ensure that your website has valuable and up-to-date information on exchange rates for the major currencies around the world. As a bonus, you can even build an actual currency converter on your website, using the updated exchange rate information. Engagement is key to improving the landing page experience metric!
3. Quality Content Beats the Rest
The cliche “content is king” is true for every website out there on the Internet, and that remains to be one of the truest constants in the world of advertising, today. Yes, you have to provide visitors with informative and relevant (that’s the keyword) content. If you fail to provide top-notch copy, you’ll most likely end up with a very high bounce rate. This number will be coupled with lower session times and decreased pages per session.
With quality content, make sure you are not just putting words on a page. Add a sidebar with links to other important, but relevant, pages. By doing so, visitors can easily navigate to them, thereby improving the quality of experience. Also, include visual elements (especially images, video, and interactive media) and avoid writing long blocks of boring text (your visitors aren’t bots, after all). Overall, your website should be visually appealing to visitors and take advantage of the full functionality of your site.
4. Always Link Your Ads Directly to the Product Or Service You’re Offering
Let’s say you have a website that allows people to convert money from one currency to another and you’re targeting “daily exchange rates”, ensure that your ad leads directly to information on the exchange rates, or you could link to the currency converter page itself.
You might feel there are other pages of your website which are more catchy and impressive, but you have to remember that the choice isn’t really yours to make. You have to get into the mind of a potential visitor and find out what they’re thinking (i.e. looking for) when they type in your target keyword. As long as they get what they need, they won’t really care about the other pages. Once you have them “hooked”, they will naturally notice links to other interesting pages which could be of use to them. If you do this right (with sidebars, headers, and similar webpage elements), you can get them to spend more time on the website—with just a single webpage!
As a matter of fact, most of the first time visitors to a website come through second and third tier pages, and not through the homepage. This shows that the homepage is not really a great place to link an effective paid search campaign. Instead, use a well-optimized and beautiful landing page instead—don’t forget they’re called “landing page” for a reason. Get in the mindset of the user’s journey. Think of the situations that put your user online in the first place. Why are they searching? When you know, or can conceptualize, where the user starts, you can carefully craft the perfect landing page to convert that user to a lead!
Take time to build and optimize a landing page that will guarantee conversions, or hire an SEM expert to do that for you…
And there you have it, 4 secrets to effectively optimizing a paid search campaign through Google AdWords. Don’t throw your money at poorly designed user journey funnels, or half-baked keyword research. Optimize your paid search ads for peak performance!