Search marketing can include many aspects of digital marketing and traditional marketing, although it is generally seen to encompass paid placements, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since SEO is covered in another lesson, we’ll focus upon paid search and pay-per-click.
Paid Search and Pay-Per-Click PPC
The perception of SEO is that in some way it’s free, although companies invest a lot of time and resource in this process; despite this it is still extremely popular. In reality the most direct route to gaining a high rank in any search engine is via a paid search, using an approach such as Pay Per Click (PPC). The most popular approach to PPC is via either Google AdWords or Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! (Yahoo! uses Microsoft’s search).
PPC has quite a few similarities to traditional advertising in the way that you pay for an advertising position; you will have seen paid search whenever you do a Google search for a popular keyword term for example Christmas. At the top of the results, and along the side of any results you will see a series of paid for or sponsored adverts; these all belong to Google and are paid for by its advertisers. So if you want a prime position on some search results then you pay for search using PPC. Most people today will to look for the natural search results, although many don’t; in fact some prefer to click on the adverts in order to find products, services and solutions that meet their needs.
You do not pay for the advert until somebody clicks on it. So for a popular keyword it might cost between $.10 or $10 per click, and the advertiser essentially specifies the amount that he wishes to spend and pays Google in advance; it’s a great business model and this is why Google make so much money; it provides an easy-to-use, targetable and measurable advertising campaign solution.
Again there are many informative videos on the topic:
The position of your PPC advert generally relates to the amount that you bid; the more you pay the higher you rank, at least in theory. However others believe that the way that the advertisement is composed might make it more attractive than some of its competing ads; therefore a more popular advert in terms of click through rate might rank higher and therefore make more money.
As with much digital marketing, because it is fairly new search marketing has a number of pros and cons:
Search marketing advantages:
• if users, do not click on adverts often they will be read them anyway; this means that you are getting your brand in front of a big audience and perhaps not paying for it via a single click.
• you can have your adverts in front of your customers quickly. Speed is a huge benefit this kind of advertising, since you don’t have to wait for a newspaper to be published and distributed for example.
• Cookies can be used by Google; after you click on an advert marker placed on your computer so that the next time you visit the Internet and are exposed to Google ads, specific adverts can be targeted at you; it remembers you!
• The algorithm for search marketing is largely based on the price that you bid, versus click through rates/quality of your advert; it is far more straightforward than the more complex algorithm for SEO.
• You know that you will be able to see your advert on a Google search using PPC, since it is far more reliable than trying to predict search engine behaviour.
• Using software, you can directly workout your return on investment based upon search advertising.
• Google AdWords is highly targetable and it is supported using software that can be straightforward and simple for some users, and more technically advanced for larger more informed users. Companies can target by time-of-day, geographical location, keywords and keyword groups, as well as other more refined targeting approaches.
• unlike traditional advertising, you are not actually paying the advert to be displayed as you would in a magazine, for example. So there may be many exposures which might create awareness or desire, before a user actually clicks through and you pay; this is an extra added value dividend to the advertiser.
Search marketing disadvantages:
• Today users are far more wise to search marketing techniques. If your advert is not compelling users will consider it irrelevant; in fact in some keyword groups the adverts are more relevant than others.
• the PPC accounts are so complex that you might spend a disproportionate amount of time working on the nuances and tweaking your campaign.
• therefore the more complex campaign needs specialist knowledge and skills to be effective, and this is an additional cost to your advertising campaign.
• For some businesses which are small or which have a low turnover, PPC might not be useful; advertising in local magazines or newspapers might be far more cost-effective.
• Beware! Some keywords and niches are very expensive, and at popular times when keywords become competitive one can spend a disproportionate amount on advertising online.