As regular readers of my blog posts will know I am an advocate of content marketing. The contribution of relevant content to organic search results, brand positioning, lead generation and social media is undisputed. Content marketing has had a profound effect on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) industry and many companies who built their business on SEO are struggling to re-invent themselves and catch up with the changes.
So if content marketing is such as major contributor to organic search results why am I recommending that you should also consider Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising in your marketing plans for 2015.
Firstly, the old way of “doing” SEO has changed. It’s no longer feasible for anyone to say “I can get you ranked #1 in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPS) for this term”. Nowadays Google take into account factors such as your search history, location, sites previously visited, how Google profiles you and whether the searcher is connected to you/your company on Google+ (check your Google profile by searching for google ads preference and clicking the link). So we get different search results displayed when using different PC’s (or Macs) and by using different browsers. Google also ranks your website differently on a mobile device.
The only way to guarantee getting onto the first page of Google for a key phrase is through paid search.
Secondly, when a searcher types their search terms into Google they will receive results from various sources. Your online content is in a battle for space with PPC results, Google My Business results, Review sites and News sites
So what does that mean for your business?
The image above is a screenshot taken from my PC, in case you haven’t noticed it’s significant because there are no organic results showing. The total screen area is dominated by Paid Ads, review sites and Google My Business results (Google+ Local). Okay, if I had a bigger PC screen perhaps I’d see some organic results but the point is this, over 90% of people don’t scroll below the fold in the SERPs results. If my results are not showing on that real estate, I’m missing out.
Admittedly the SERPs results in all market sectors are not as extreme as this but with the trend towards larger text based ads through the introduction of site link extensions and now Call Outs and Google experimenting with image based ads in SERPs (in addition to Shopping Ads), you can see that we’re moving towards a world where we need to review our current attitudes towards paid search and maintain a balance between content marketing and paid search.
The advantages of Content Marketing
We used to say that it’s important to get on the first page of the search results, now if we really want to get found we’re aiming to get in the top 3 results and that’s difficult in a crowded world. Therefore it’s important to have a content marketing strategy in place as the creation and publishing of content that’s relevant to your audience and how that content is shared across social networks is becoming a key factor in search rankings.
A few months back I wrote a blog article titled “Make sure your website is working hard for you” based around web content and structure and today it still holds true. It is still extremely important to get these ranking factors right and if you’re doing it properly and your competitors aren’t, then you have an edge.
However, one of the mainstays of the old ways of search engine optimisation was building inbound links, links that are relevant still help your ranking but Google is increasingly looking at social signals as a key ranking factor.
Many business owners don’t understand enough about SEO and some SEO companies have played on this to their advantage sometimes to the detriment of their customer’s businesses.
It’s definitely worthwhile using Google webmaster tools to take a look at the inbound links to your site. I’ve spoken to many businesses that have seen a decline in their ranking due to bad links gained mainly by outsourcing to “SEO” companies who undertook a paid link programme that’s now come back to haunt them.
Key point 1: Content marketing is much more than an SEO tool. It is an extremely important aspect of raising brand awareness, thought leadership, lead generation and differentiation.
The advantages of PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
Many people still frown upon the idea of using Google AdWords or any kind of PPC advertising. “I never click on them” – doesn’t mean your clients or customers don’t. “I tried it once, it didn’t work and cost me a fortune” – normally means it was never set up or managed properly.
Google make 98% of their revenue from PPC, if it didn’t work ,advertisers wouldn’t use it and Google wouldn’t make any money. PPC is not going away, it continues to evolve and technology allows pretty accurate targeting, especially in the mobile environment. So you can ignore it or embrace it and if you embrace it you could get a business boost over those competitors who choose to ignore the benefits PPC offers.
The reality is that many searchers don’t realise they’re clicking on an Ad and probably don’t care as long as the result is relevant to their needs and wants.
Organic search optimisation needs a medium to long term approach, PPC advertising can give you positive results within an hour of going live. If your business is seasonal or you are looking to launch a new product and want to give it a boost or if you’re looking for immediate results then PPC can help your business.
With PPC advertising you can set a daily budget, you can switch it on and off whenever you like, you can be very specific in who you target and really, really importantly, you can track and measure the results.
PPC advertising is not restricted to the Google search network. Bing and many of the social networks offer a PPC advertising option. Image based ads can be used on the Google Display network and YouTube offers its own version of advertising, managed via the Google AdWords platform.
Keypoint 2: It’s not just important to take initiatives to drive traffic to your website, you need to drive visitors to relevant landing pages with specific calls to action (CTA’s) designed to increase the chance that they will make a conversion.
It’s no longer an option to consider each marketing tool in isolation. The combination of various tools and formats will produce greater results and many of your prospective customers will prefer receiving your offer via different formats. If you really want to succeed you need to have a marketing plan that considers all options. The objectives of that plan will guide the decisions you make and the tools you use. And that includes content marketing and PPC advertising.
Other points to consider to help that success include:
- Making sure you have a Google+ account and that it’s linked to your Google My Business account
- If you do consider Google AdWords, make sure to connect to your Google Analytics account
- Don’t forget the power of video
If you’d like some more information on how I can help you with your content strategy or setting up and managing your Google AdWords account, get in touch. Rame Marketing also offer one-to-one and group marketing training and workshops to bring you up to date with digital marketing. I look forward to hearing from you. Contact us today on 01803 413481 or email [email protected]