We've all seen Google ads before - you do a quick search and up at the top, you see a little ad icon, meaning these are results that businesses actually pay for. Sometimes organizations will ask our digital marketing experts, "Is it worth the money? We really want to rank, and Google Ads seem like a good way to do it."
Here's some advice from our digital marketing team!
Top 3 Instances When Businesses Should Use Google Ads
Paid search IS quality traffic, because people are at the point of need. They are searching for something with the keywords in the search engine that you're able to provide a direct answer for. Once a user reaches this point you can facilitate the answer they are looking for immediately, leading to additional conversions.
For this reason, there are a few instances where we really encourage clients and website owners to use Google Ads. If you're looking to claim the top spot in Google, oftentimes paying for an advertisement is one of the quickest ways to outrank others. It's important to be strategic about when you're using Google Ads though, and you must be careful when setting up an account. You'll definitely want to adjust your Google Ads settings to make sure they're not taking advantage of your budget.
#1: If You're Not Ranking on Page One Organically
When you have valuable content on your website and a great product or a service to offer, but you're not necessarily ranking on page one, you should be using paid search to get there. You need to be on page one to make an impact, and Google Ads are a way to supplement some of that quality page one traffic while you're working on your organic efforts and building up SEO momentum. With both of these options, you're facilitating whatever inquiry a user may have with your content directly, and our team will see really good conversions from both organic and paid traffic for that reason. So, while you're working toward getting your content on page one in search results, we recommend opting for paid ads first.
#2: When You're Trying to Rank for Competitive Keywords
We also recommend utilizing paid search for competitive industry keywords. There are some industries that are extremely competitive, and you've probably seen a search result with multiple types of ads at the top. These ads could be:
- Text Ads: These are the ads we described at the beginning. They're meant to look more like organic results, but they have a small ad icon indicating that it's a paid text ad.
- Google Guarantee: These are service offerings that Google is willing to put a green check mark next to, and they're willing to help facilitate that transaction since those businesses have completed background checks.
- Map Ads: In the Local Pack, you can see where different organizations are in the community around you. You're provided with their address and contact information, and there are advertising opportunities within this space.
In these competitive searches, there could be only one or two organic results on the page. In this instance, if you want to rank for that keyword, you're going to have to pay for Google Ads to get there.
#3: New Brands Should Use Ads to Drive Traffic
If you have a new brand, you might need to rely on Google Ads to get your name to show up in search results. At Blue Compass we just launched our new event space, West 48. As we worked on making a splash with that name and that trademark in the market, we needed to use Google Ads to facilitate some momentum. We wanted to make sure people looking for a venue could find our helpful content and get our contact information instead of being directed to a press release or something like that. Google Ads allow you to control how people see your new brand in search results pages.
When you launch something new it can take a long time to rank organically. Sometimes it can take months for you to show up on page one because Google wants to make sure your content is going to be valuable for users. Google wants to see how people interact with your website to give it some credibility. In those cases, it's very valuable to pay because you can get your result on page one almost immediately.
Pairing SEM & SEO For Long-Term Success in Search Results
Unless you have an incredible budget, relying only on search engine marketing or text ads probably isn't the best strategy. The perfect storm would be a combination of both! SEM paired with SEO is a natural fit.
There are ways you can combine the processes for each to save time. When thinking about keyword research for instance, you can be much more efficient if you research for both paid and organic at the same time. If you're already looking for what questions are being asked, how people are using these terms, what kind of content they are looking for, etc., then you can answer for both paid and organic in one sitting. You can also optimize content for both in the same way like by making sure your keywords are included in headings and in the first 100 words. That's true whether you're optimizing for organic or optimizing for paid search. When you can combine parts of these processes together, you can get a really healthy result from your search traffic.
An Example of Monopolizing Search Results Using SEM & SEO
We had an organization come to us recently, and they wanted to show up on page one for a certain term. It was associated with their brand, and there were a lot of negative results that weren't from their website that they didn't want that showing up when searching for this term. Our experts did a couple things:
- From an SEO perspective, we really pushed to get more of their branded pages to rank for that term. We tried to get some of their social accounts to show up as well to help as that is considered a branded term.
- We suggested incorporating SEM & Google Ads to also monopolize the results of a certain keyword. This would let them control the text showing up at the top of the search results for that term.
Taking control of search results can be really difficult. Sometimes it's easier if it's your branded term, the name of your organization for instance, but it can be really, really powerful because it gives the user a plethora of options that all point to you.
Google made an update a while back that made it more difficult to accomplish this, however. The update now only allows you to have two results from a single domain on a single page. There can be instances where you want more than two results. For example, a service line page and a contact page ranking for similar terms, or maybe you have a blog and a service line page. Those are instances where you can supplement a third option into the search results with Google Ads. When they said you can only have two results per page from a domain, they're only talking about organic results. If we need to monopolize the page with three, paid search is a good way to get around that rule.
Where Should Google Ads Send Users?
Many business owners make the mistake of pointing all Google Ads campaigns back to their homepage with the assumption that users will find any information they need there. When following SEM best practices, your homepage is almost never a good idea. There should always be a landing page that's detailed and talks about whatever this ad pertains to. If you're trying to gain brand awareness with your ads, you want users to understand the value of your company. You want them to understand what sets you apart. Your homepage probably has some of that information on it, but your homepage is also a web that leads to your interior pages.
If we were doing a branded campaign for Blue Compass, we want to focus more on our About page, where we're able to talk about all four of our service lines right off the bat. We're able to talk about what sets us apart, what our competitive advantage is, and what our mission and our values are that really sets our team apart in the world.
Interior pages are almost always the way to go to get the best results for your keywords. Sometimes there is an interior page that will facilitate a need for users based on services you offer or you might have a product that's going to fix whatever they're looking for. Sending users to these pages with Google Ads will help them convert faster.
Too often, business owners also want to mistakenly send traffic to their contact page. While clicking on the result and contacting the business is usually the primary action you're looking for, if that contact page doesn't have enough information to sell them on why you're the best, then sending them to that page is not a great solution. The page that the person is sent to and the ad itself must live in harmony, and should generally have the same content and purpose. This plays into your website's quality score, which plays into your rank, ad rank, all of those things.
Contact Blue Compass to Dominate Search Results With SEO & SEM Best Practices
If Blue Compass can ever give you a hand with Google Ads or any type of paid online ads, don't hesitate to reach out to us! In the meantime, check out our SEM services and recommendations in our SEO Guide.