Since search engines proved their worth as potential marketing machines, there have been countless cycles of search optimisation evolution. But as many techniques for optimisation become obsolete or are rendered illicit, some withstand the test of time, such as pay per click ads. Of course, pay per click extends beyond search marketing and into other areas of the Internet too.
Being a long-running method of marketing and a very useful tool in target marketing — pay per click management is one of the facets of interactive marketing online that entrepreneurs need to be well-acquainted with if they intend to succeed on the web.
Paid Versus Organic Search Marketing
Among the best methods of pay per click advertisement is placement on search engines. Ads are typically text-based and contextual, matching keywords used in search queries. Because of this, pay per click search marketing is managed through a bidding system where businesses bid on the keywords they want their ads to be associated to, and a mixture of factors dictate which ads get placed on which searches.
For business owners new to the game, it is important to delineate organic from paid search marketing. Organic search marketing is search engine optimization (SEO) where elements of websites and website content are tweaked to focus around targeted keywords. SEO extends to HTML elements and website content. Paid search marketing is keyword-bid-based pay per click advertising, as explained above, and businesses pay a set rate per click that their ads receive. Obviously SEO is free whereas paid search marketing through pay per click costs a set amount per click — which is tantamount to paying for the possibility of a conversion. Organic search marketing can drive as much as 70% of your website’s traffic, but paid search marketing drives targeted traffic — people who are more likely to convert into sales.
The comparison is akin to general ads that endeavour to spread awareness compared to targeted ads delivered to people who actually care or are interested and are thus potential leads. So which one of these search marketing options is best? Most businesses engage in both, at least to a certain degree. After all, pay per click search ads are relatively low cost means of marketing to a lot of interested people compared to other means of advertising, and SEO is essential to spread awareness through the Internet.
Pay Per Click Management
Pay per click ads are not limited to search engines, but as they are the most typically used, let us delve into them briefly. Google AdWords is Google’s own pay per click program. You bid for keywords and Google decides which ads get a spot based on a combination of factors, including, but not limited to:
- The keyword bid — Higher bids are prioritised, of course, but Google wants to ensure quality experience of their users, so aside from this important facet, they also calculate:
- The ad — Is the pay per click ad well-formed, presenting and does it contain relevant keywords?
- The landing pages — Landing pages are the webpages where visitors “land” after clicking links, and for Google, their responsibility towards excellent user experience extends to where they potentially send them when clicking on pay per click ads. Therefore, Google also grades landing pages using their own quality score which is apart from PageRank, which is primarily used for SEO.
For optimal pay per click management, you need to have a separate dedicated budget for paid search, and when this runs out you should cease all campaigns. Of course, the goal is to keep it going so a portion of your revenue should be allotted for this certain aspect of your search marketing. If you’re on AdWords, pay close attention to Google’s guidelines on bidding, keywords, and landing pages, which they explain in sufficient detail. The same goes for any other pay per click program you apply to –always adhere to the rules set by the company. Otherwise, you can get penalised.
Let us briefly delve into one last important point in our rudimentary discussion of pay per click management: long-tail queries.
Bidding on Long-Tail Queries
You probably already heard about long-tail queries in SEO. Long-tail queries are user queries using phrases with four or more keywords — different sources cite different numbers that qualify as long-tail, but the bottom-line is the use of multiple keywords. These users tend to get more specific results in their searches, because the number of keywords limits the matching websites. Now we get to the technical part: according to statistical theory, in any normal distribution of statistics (such as the statistics of users using search engines), the population is denser in the long-tail of the distribution (in our example of users using search engines, this means that there are more people using multiple keywords). This means that hypothetically, you should target multiple keywords or what has come to be called long-tail queries because more people use them — or at least more people who are probably more interested use them.
While this theory has had its share of detractors in SEO, it is statistically proven, and it makes sense. People who use more keywords probably know what they want compared to people who use fewer keywords, indicating that they are trying to glean more general information from search engines. In pay per click management, it is a good idea to invest on a couple of long-tail query keywords in your campaigns, because in these keywords bidding is generally less competitive, and you perform more targeted marketing on people who are more likely to convert.
This is just an elementary introduction into pay per click management for search engines, but it should give you a head start. Keep in mind that pay per click ads are more targeted marketing tools that cost only per click, but you also have to bid for the keywords related to your campaign for most programs, including Google’s AdWords. Keywords, the ads themselves, and the landing pages are typically the dictating factors on whether your ad is placed on search results, and finally, long-tail queries work.