Wish you were on page one of Google’s search results? Currently, there are only three ways to achieve this. You can get to the top through search engine optimization (SEO), a business listing with Google, and paid Google AdWords advertising.
If you have any experience with mobile marketing, you likely have some understanding of how mobile SEO is different from web-based SEO. But there is an even bigger concern when it comes to ranking on page one. That is the extent to which search engine real estate is limited by paid advertisements.
Paying your way to the top of the search results is a surefire way to increase the visibility. Whether you are looking to rank for your website, mobile site, or app. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re thinking about taking the plunge there are pros and cons of using Google Adwords you should know.
How Does Search Engine Paid Marketing All Work?
In this post, I’m going to be focusing on Google AdWords, although I’m going to be tackling other formats for paid search engine advertising in the future. AdWords can be used for both traditional websites and mobile sites. Google recognizes whether the person searching is using a desktop or a mobile device, and returns the appropriate results.
Google AdWords allows you to identify keywords related to your business, and to bid on them. So if you bid and win, your pre-prepared ad will appear at the top of the search results when someone initiates a search containing one or more of your keywords.
However, Google doesn’t just let anyone who’s willing to shell out some dough onto the front page. Instead, the determination of who gets top spots is based on a combination of bids and quality. Ads are assigned a quality score based on relevance and usefulness. So, the highest bidder doesn’t always win one of those prized positions. You must be both good and willing to pay.
Bidding is auction-style, and you end up paying a per-click cost or a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) that is based on your max bid, ad ranking, and quality score.
Pros and Cons of Google Adwords – Is it worth it?
AdWords can be worth it. In the mobile format, people are more likely to click on one of their first results. But your miles may vary depending on what kind of site or app you’re advertising. Many game apps tend to lead to erroneous clicks, which add up and have a negative impact on your bottom line. You’re more likely to get the right kind of clicks if your business is local and you target local searchers.
Your return on investment will depend on a number of factors. These include your industry, the type of content on your page or app, and the keywords you choose to bid on.
For big companies, it makes a lot of sense to use AdWords. The jury is mixed on whether the same holds true for smaller ones.
For experts, there’s a bit of a heated debate surrounding the effectiveness of AdWords as a tool for small businesses. A 2014 piece in the New York Times “You’re The Boss” blog suggested that AdWords was expensive and impractical for small business owners.
I disagree that AdWords is always a losing proposition for small businesses, and I wouldn’t advise you to dismiss using AdWords without considering your specific situation, budget, and strategy. Before you dive in though, you should consider the pros and cons.
Pros of Google AdWords for Small Business
- AdWords is instant – You can literally have leads and sales in minutes. Once your ad is live, you could theoretically be on page one right away.
- It’s controllable – You decide when, where, how much, and to whom. If you do your homework, study, and measure your results, you can fine-tune a campaign to drive your best leads.
- It’s guaranteed – Imagine running a newspaper ad and being guaranteed that your ideal customer – looking for exactly what you had to offer – would see your ad first. It’s a powerful concept.
Cons of Google AdWords for Small Business
AdWords is a waste of time and money if you aren’t willing to invest quite a bit of effort. It will financially hurt your business if you aren’t paying attention to and continuously refining everything. This includes keyword selection, negative keywords, and headlines to bidding, calls-to-action, placements, landing pages, conversions, and more.
The smaller your budget is, the more work you need to put into your AdWords strategy. Since AdWords placement isn’t based solely on bidding, an extremely well-developed strategy can get you to the top of the results page even if your bid isn’t the highest.
Basically, AdWords hurts you when you approach it with no understanding of its intricacies. But, if you take the time to learn about it and keep up with monitoring and refining your campaign, you could see some great results.