When it comes to search engine marketing, there are two strategies you can use in your marketing: search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising. Together they form a powerful strategy in reaching your online audience. While there is a cost associated with paid search (while SEO doesn’t cost money) it’s an investment in your marketing that’s worth the cost. Here are three reasons you should add paid search to your marketing mix.
1. SEO Alone is Not a Complete Strategy
There’s no “magic SEO formula” that can guarantee your website will be ranked at or near the top of a search engine results page (SERP). Google, Bing, and Yahoo search algorithms often change, thus SEO tactics change with them. Rather, SEO uses best practices that simply increase your chances that you’ll reach your online audience. Therefore, you still run the risk of not reaching the online audience you want. Paid search ads are an excellent way to make sure you’re appearing where your audience is searching online.
2. Consumers Are Searching Locally Via Mobile
Consumers are researching and finding the products and services they need via their tablets and smartphones in increasing numbers. In fact, one survey noted that consumer use of smartphones in the shopping research phase grew 39% from 2012 to 2013. This steep growth rate illustrates how mobile phones are more than just a means to call a company — consumers are using it increasingly as a shopping-research tool.
When it comes time to contact a company, 61% of respondents in a different survey said that the “click-to-call is most important in the purchase phase of the shopping process.” And the “call button” in Google search results was used by 70 percent of respondents. So make sure your company website is mobile-friendly and that you have a paid search program in place so that mobile device users can learn more about your company and find you as they search and surf for products and services.
Ad extensions is the umbrella term for the various features that can be part of your mobile ad. Examples include: sitelinks, call extensions, and location extensions (just to name a few). These extensions add robust functionality to your mobile ad and help you to promote the important components of your business: including phone number, your address, and user ratings. Mobile ads with extensions also have an edge in getting ranked higher in Google’s latest ad rank algorithm update.
3. Helps Branding and your Reputation Because Positive Content Is on the SERP
Paid search ads also appear more quickly on the Internet than SEO results, which can help you to be found more quickly than if you just use just SEO alone to be found online. Also, when you create a text ad, you control what your audience sees about you, which is especially important when bidding on your business name because you can’t control what’s in an organic listing. By owning more of the “shelf space” on the search-engine results page (SERP), you’re improving your reputation and increasing your brand awareness because people can see and click your ad. And, when your online audience clicks on your ad, you’re helping to improve your Quality Score (the number from 1 through 10 that Google assigns to your advertising based on keywords, your landing page and your text ad). Because the more people who click on your ad, the higher your Quality Score goes up, which helps to improve how often your ad will appear and whether or not it will appear at or near the top of a search result.
Paid search ads also help you to craft specific messages for segmented online audiences. For instance, if you’re a dentist and you offer several services, like teeth whitening, braces and general dentistry, you can create three different ads using specific keywords that are related to these specific services. This ensures the right message is reaching the right audience.
Are you using paid search in your advertising? Let us know with a comment!