4 Reasons You Don’t Have to Be First to Win Search Engine Marketing

When it comes to investing in search engine marketing, the climb to the top of the search engine results can get expensive. You may be trying to drive more clicks from potential customers by positioning yourself as the highest bidder for keywords relevant to your business. But, having your ads placed in the first position doesn’t guarantee that your campaign is generating more qualified leads or more revenue for your business. There are several key factors you have to consider aside from an aggressive bidding strategy.

These are the four reasons why you don’t have to be in first place to win search engine marketing.

1. You’re still sharing the first page with your competition.

Bidding for the first page position may make sense in order to ensure your ad is seen before your competitors’ ads. But, the average customer performs a number of searches when looking for a product or service, so your ad will be one that they see while researching online. Just because they click on your ad doesn’t mean they’ll stop shopping.

So, what can you do instead? Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing allow up to four positions at the top of the first page for businesses to show their ads. Your ads need to be intriguing, relevant, and stand out from your competition. If possible, offer a special or promotion that will grab the attention of consumers and direct them to contact you. Your ads can show below the first position and have a higher engagement rate if your text is more compelling.

2. Your website is the driving force in selling your business.

While text ads may catch the initial attention of online consumers, your website is what makes the real first impression for your business. It doesn’t matter if you pay $5 for a visit or $50 – consumers will not contact you if your website loses your online audience’s interest.

It’s also important to consider your consumers’ mobile experience. Now, more than half of online consumers browse the internet using mobile phones instead of laptops or desktop computers. If you’re not providing a positive experience for mobile users by running a website that is mobile-friendly, driving more expensive clicks to your website will result in an even greater loss in your return on investment.

3. Your budget may not be effectively utilized.

When paying for clicks in the first ad position, your cost per visit is going to be more expensive than what your competitors are paying. Your paid search visibility will be limited as your budget restricts the amount of visits you can afford. If your ad is showing more consistently in the second or third ad position, your cost per click will be less expensive, and you will be able to get more visits for your budget’s worth.

Rather than trying to show up in the first ad position until your budget runs out for the day, consider showing your ads during select hours of the day. Implement an ad schedule in which you control when your ad shows up for relevant searches. It’s important to know when consumers are more likely to click on your ad and contact you once they visit your website.

If you’re a plumber running a special for emergency plumbing jobs 24 hours a day, you may want to bid higher for clicks during hours when consumers will be home instead of at work. Your bids should be set higher for when customers are more likely to search for you. You don’t have to bid for the first ad position, but at least bid more aggressively to show at the top of the page so you may still afford more clicks during hours with higher activity.

4. Your bidding prices should be based on conversions, not just clicks.

If you’re driving paid visits to your site, your ultimate goal should be to drive conversions so you can benefit from a return on your investment. Conversions may count as clicks that result in phone calls, emails, web form submissions, or other actions on your site that indicate consumers are interested in your business. It’s important to track these conversions because it allows you to determine what is most effective for your search engine marketing campaign. If you’re only tracking your cost per click to ensure your ads are showing in the first position, you could be paying more than necessary with fewer leads to show for it.

ReachLocal offers conversion-based optimization for pay per click campaigns. Our platform is designed to recognize what keywords are driving the most conversions while determining the best prices to bid on for these conversions to occur. If you own a pet salon, conversion-based optimization helps determine if a keyword like “best dog grooming” is generating more leads and adjusts the bid to show in the ad position that works best for you.

We pair this technology with a search engine marketing expert that monitors your campaign’s performance and makes adjustments as needed. Having that human touch allows your campaign to perform based on observations of your consumers’ behavior with a strategy that’s focused on more than just paying the highest cost per click.

Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

Your strategy for search engine marketing should not just focus on showing up in the first ad position. Your goal shouldn’t even be to show up all the time at the top of the page. In order to effectively drive relevant traffic to your site, you must consider the proper utilization of your budget, how to garner clicks that are more likely to convert based on keyword quality, and have compelling text ads that will allow your business to stand out from your competition. Learn more about search engine marketing on our blog.

Jason Obenhaus

Jason Obenhaus is a Digital Marketing Expert at ReachLocal who specializes in search and display advertising for SMBs. His experience in account management allows him to effectively communicate and strategize with clients to help them achieve their marketing goals. Recognized by upper management for his work and dedication, he continues to enthusiastically help his clients grow their businesses. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing music, and reading.

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