When you search for something on Google, at the top of the results page there are a few entries with “Ad” against them. AdWords is the system that is used to put up those adverts.
It’s also referred to as “pay per click” (PPC) because that’s exactly how it works – every time someone clicks on your ad and is sent to your site, you pay Google.
How does PPC relate to other SEO tactics?
Getting clicks from the organic search results below the adverts is obviously cheaper, as you don’t have to pay for them. But it can take a long time for on-page and off-page SEO to take effect, so businesses often use PPC to get in front of people until organic SEO is working.
Some businesses use PPC all the time as they find it a cost-effective way of getting people to their site. Google often offers free vouchers for AdWords to entice people to try it out so you could dip a toe in the water and see what results you get. It also costs nothing to set up a Google AdWords account to play with the system and find out how it works.
What’s involved in AdWords?
You must know your keywords well otherwise you’re blowing money away. In the AdWords system you can select all manner of keywords, including negative ones that you DON’T want to target.
For example if you are a locksmith operating in the Tameside area but you focus on property rather than vehicles, you could target “locksmith in Tameside” and have “car” and “van” as negative keywords. This will prevent the system showing ads to people who want vehicle locksmiths instead.
You also must make sure your website is working well so that people are sent to it from an advert they are likely to buy, or phone you, whatever you need. It is usual to set up a specific page to link to a PPC ad – a “landing page”. You can then tinker with that page to improve conversions.
How much does PPC cost?
Unfortunately the answer genuinely is “as long as a piece of string”, because Google changes the price per click depending on its perception of the value of keyword phrases.
There are numerous factors that govern the price, including:
- the quality of the page you are sending consumers to,
- how well that keyword or phrase has performed in the past,
- the percentage of times an ad is clicked on after being shown (the “click-through rate” or CTR),
- the number of competitors bidding for that keyword or phrase,
… and probably many more which Google does not share with us.
If there isn’t much perceived value in the keywords you’re using but they are relevant to you, you will get quite a few clicks for a pound. But the sky is the limit for popular ones – insurance, loans and mortgages are the top subject areas, where certain keywords can cost a hundred pounds or more.
PPC is complex
Doing PPC well can be quite difficult, with a lot of trial and error. There are many agencies out there who will operate an AdWords account on your behalf so if you do want to try it, ask us and we can put you in touch with a trusted partner.