With Google’s recent search results changes it appears that paid search is growing in attention to the detriment of organic.
Paid advertising — like Google AdWords — is a terrific way to increase traffic to your site and can increase prospects, but it can quickly become a costly endeavour if you are not careful.
Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is possibly free, but behind the scenes requires a whole lot of effort to be able to reach a good ranking and maintaining it.
Paid Search: Google AdWords
Before getting started with Paid Search you will need to know what listing you want to appear for. The Google AdWords instrument is an excellent resource for assessing and understanding traffic and keywords for your industry.
One key issue with this tool however is that it will push you more towards very broad keywords. These are nearly always much more expensive and much less effective.
Many marketing managers have complained that they were putting a massive amount of money to Google AdWords and getting traffic but not getting quality leads. The truth is they noticed their advertisements were coming up for things they did not even do – and they had wasted almost all of their budget.
In starting a campaign attempt to understand what your customers are typing in to find your services. Often, it’s not the broad (called ‘head’) expensive search terms, but what are known as ‘long tail’ terms — often much cheaper with less competition but a potential goldmine for new enquiries.
This is the single biggest mistake business owners — and even internet agencies — make when setting up a campaign. Setting a head key word or phrase opens you up to all types of loose variants of that sort of term — often many are completely unrelated to what you’re doing.
Additionally, it is important to frequently review your campaign. You can see the search terms that have been used where you paid result appears as well as what people click on and you can block this phrase from appearing in future – resulting in savings. Again, many people including agencies either don’t much knowledge about this feature or don’t take the opportunity to filter the campaign.
In spite of the changed search layout it’s still proven that only 30 percent of consumers will click on a paid advertisement result, the remainder — the vast majority — will select the page to the organic search results.
Additionally, according to a recent poll 26 percent of net users indicate that they use some kind of Ad Blocking program. This leaves AdWords and other paid search totally useless.
Organic Search: SEO
SEO ‘costs’ nothing in order for your site to appear in search results. However, the process of attaining that ranking (and maintaining it) can involve plenty of money and time.
SEO relies on hundreds of individual factors that form part of a search engine’s algorithm when ranking your site. In Google’s case, the current algorithm changes they’ve put a focus on good quality content — writing quality web content and information for your visitors.
Generally speaking your rank is composed of variables on your page (search-engine) and from your webpage (off-page).
On page factors include tags and code that make up your web design. Things like TITLE tags, Descriptions, Heading tags and much more are analysed and indexed. However, as mentioned before much of the rank comes from an analysis of everything you have on the page — content.
Off page factors are slightly more difficult, but normally include links to your site from other websites. Further recent changes to Google’s algorithm though have meant that business-related sites are the focus and in many cases, you don’t need a lot to achieve a good ranking. There is an argument however, that if sites are connecting to you (rather than just your main page but subpages too) then your web page content must be relevant and useful to users — Google will therefore pay more attention to your site.
As the web continues to mature many businesses are developing their sites, putting more into these as a vital marketing tool and reaping the benefits. This also suggests that the goal posts are moving, your site may once have rated well but because perhaps it’s code was not actually targeting anything, you’ll now start to fall behind.
AdWords is a fantastic way to ‘immediately’ appear at or ‘higher up’ in search results. But take care to monitor search phrases and exclude what is irrelevant to avoid wasting money. Of course, the minute you quit spending the results vanish.
SEO may be free, but requires a whole lot of effort so as to rank well. And as your competitors realises that the internet is an excellent marketing tool it means increased effort must remain higher in the ranks.
Today, there’s a case for the two to both be part of your marketing plan but ensure you constantly track results and reporting to maintain an effective campaign.