Paid search advertising, more commonly known as Pay Per Click, or PPC, is a key component to generate immediate leads for growing your business. This also represents the "digital handshake" between a business and a buyer who are seeking a product or service using keywords to find them in Google or other search engines.
There are many factors contributing to the success of (or lack thereof) your Pay Per Click campaign, but it is worth knowing these important fundamentals and best practices because it is and always will be a proven marketplace to generate immediate leads or phone calls for your business. Whether you are looking to hire someone in house or for a professional PPC management company, these are some of the SEO basics you NEED to know about.
Professional PPC Management
Keywords- This should consist of all words and phrases used to find your business, your products or your website. This list should not include just the “core” single word keywords, like "insurance" or "vitamins." Instead, focus on the actual product and use long-tail keywords such as “high risk car insurance Boca Raton Florida” (not “car insurance"), “heart sensitive weightless supplement” (not “weight loss pills”), or “locked out of my house in Boca Raton” (not “Boca Raton locksmith"). These types of keywords are likely to bring you higher quality traffic, and the competition for these keywords is generally much lower.
Landing Page Design- These are like mini websites used specifically for generating lead capture in the form of emails or a phone call using a tracking number for products and services. Content must contain targeted keywords from your campaign, not keyword overkill by just stuffing numerous words into copy that has no readability. To drive conversions, your landing page should have a clean layout, contain relevant photos or short videos, and prominently display your call to action and phone number at the top and bottom of the page. Your landing page should be highly specific to the product, service or special offer mentioned in your text ad, and this too should be rich with the same keywords bringing people to your site. Or, in general, making your business money.
Website Design- Is your website prepared to receive the traffic generated, or will you just be wasting your money? Some basic considerations: Is your phone number visible at the top of every page, at the same place? Digital marketing has some proven best practices when it comes to website design, or even landing page design for your PPC campaign. Consider the Three-Second Rule: in just three seconds can that website visitor find a clear way to communicate, clear understanding of who you are, clear understanding of what you do or the service your provide, and why you do it better?
Text Ad Copy- Make sure to include your keywords in the ad, and a "unique selling proposition," something that makes you special. For example, free shipping or a 20% online discount. Most importantly, if you are a “public service” type of business, make sure you include a local or toll free phone number. By the way, vanity phone numbers are outdated. Instead, use a click-to-call number and link so mobile users can easily dial your number from the text ad.
Quality Score-Landing Page/Website- This is a separate topic with many contributing variables. All search engines have proprietary formulas called Quality Score for deciding where and when to run your ad, and at what price.
Keyword consistency between your text ad and your landing page- This will influence your quality score, which can improve your page rank, increase the frequency with which your ads are shown, and lower the bid prices of your top-performing keywords. While Google continues to refine Quality Score formulas, the core components remain the same:
- The historical click through rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google (Note that CTR on the Google Network only ever impacts Quality Score on the Google Network — not on Google);
- Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account;
- The historical CTR of the display or destination URLs in the ad group;
- The quality of your landing page;
- The relevance of the keyword to the ads in ad groups;
- The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query; and
- The account's performance in the geographical region where the ad is shown.
Keep in mind there are slight variations to the Quality Score formula when it affects ad position and first page bid:
- For calculating a keyword-targeted ad's position, landing page quality is not a factor. Also, when calculating ad position on a Search Network placement, Quality Score considers the CTR on that particular placement in addition to CTR on Google.
- For calculating first page bid, Quality Score doesn't consider the matched ad or search query, since this estimate appears as a metric in your account and doesn't vary per search query.
Also keep in mind that searchers are more likely to click on a text ad from a brand they recognize than from one they don’t. So, make sure you are targeting your search ads to local areas where consumers are more likely to recognize your brand name. You can also build brand awareness with online display advertising that is highly cost-effective for reaching local consumers. And, using display advertising in conjunction with search can lift the results of your campaign by up to 22%.
Brand Recognition- How your staff interacts with customers who call or visit can impact the number of conversions you get from your ads. Recording your phone calls is an effective way to grade and improve the way your staff responds to customer inquiries, greets visitors and solves problems. Great customer service can result in more sales and return visits and help generate positive reviews and referrals.
Customer Service and Online Reputation- Your online reputation is made up of the blog posts, reviews and comments written about your business and it can impact whether or not a customer chooses to buy from you. To manage your reputation, learn what is being said about you by searching for your business name on search engines and review sites. You can respond to negative reviews that require your attention and ask your customers to write positive reviews about your business to improve what customers see about you online.
OK, so we now know that ad groups are basically a structural component within your PPC account. So why should you bother with them? What makes them important?
Ad Groups (The foundation of your PPC setup)- Search engines look to your ad group structure as to how they are organized to determine which keywords your ads will display for, so when creating an ad group, you want to make sure that you're offering integration and consistency:
Integration – Create a system where you're consistently creating keyword groups, ad text and landing pages that are tightly integrated to each other.
Consistency – Think about the consistency of your message. Your ad copy and landing pages should speak directly to the searches people are typing to find your product, service or website. If you have an e-ommerce website, your ad groups may be different products or product categories. This can be a very mundane project to set up, so hiring a professional PPC management company to do the job for you may be helpful. Many search marketing agencies are now Google-certified partners and have the expertise needed to assist you in areas where you may not have enough staff or time to handle the job internally.
Conversion Rate Optimization- Equally, if not more important than search engine optimization, is conversion rate optimization. Not only will a higher conversion rate lead to a higher ROI, it will also help your ranking. Google and major search engines alike reward you for providing a great user experience.
Optimize for Clicks – Google will try to always show ads that are likely to provide more clicks to your offer. This is useful if you are looking to drive traffic to your website.
Optimize for Conversions – This will allow AdWords to show ads that have the highest conversion rates. This is useful if your business is more concerned with conversions than just generating traffic to the site.
Ad Rotation/Split Testing – Rotate evenly and measure the CTR and conversions of a variety of ads, pages, etc. You can also rotate all ads evenly for a set amount of time, and then optimize.
E-Commerce PPC/SEO Campaigns
E-commerce advertising can be a complex endeavor based on the number of products and nature of the online store. Developing effective strategies for e-commerce PPC is essential to thrive among the competition. Here are my top seven MUSTS for a successful e-commerce PPC campaign:
1. Keep it simple: Always simplify the process of purchasing products on your e-commerce site. Use a clear, simple product search and navigation, and only put information useful to the specific need. 2. Use high resolution pictures of your products: No matter how well-designed, nobody will pay attention to your product if your images are low-quality. Also, use more than one image for each product if possible and at various angles. 3. Provide specific thorough details about the product. This will ensure your consumer is well-informed. 4. Shopping Cart: It is important to simplify the purchase experience for the consumer. Whether it is changing the quantity of items, removing an item, calculating taxes or shipping costs, actions must be easy to perform. 5. Use a range of payment options: Include credit cards, PayPal or Google checkout. You want to be able to conduct a transaction with anyone who wants to buy a product on your site. 6. Product Comparisons/Similar Products: Most websites will find benefit from letting consumers compare two or more products at once. Give the user recommendations: A classic example is, “People who bought this, also got this.” This alone can increase your sales. 7. Shipping form: Keep it simple, and consider free shipping for a specific amount purchased or line of products. Also, if billing and shipping addresses are the same, only have your clients fill in the form once. Also make sure to offer shipment tracking.
Sergio Aicardi is the proud owner of The Miami SEO Company and works with the No Risk SEO Team. His responsibilities include developing business relationships and optimizing internal processes to ensure the business is constantly growing, while constantly enhancing the quality of services rendered. He has been in the industry for over six years, and his core competency is in analyzing traffic data to enhance campaign performance.
Sergio's last article for SEMrush was "How to Use SEMrush for Your Search Engine Marketing Services."