Pay-per-click advertising has become a standard in online marketing, and is easily the bread and butter of online sales for small and medium-sized businesses. These businesses can easily carve out a substantial share of traffic through pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, but a new study by WordStream shows that most small businesses are missing the ball — and wasting an average 25 percent of their PPC budget.
The study looked at the PPC decisions of 500 small and medium-sized companies in a variety of niches including hospitality, retail and B2B. While these companies find PPC effective enough to spend an average of $1,200 a month on it, the total number of clicks (and ultimately customers) is much lower than it could be because of key strategy and implementation mistakes.
To understand the losses it’s vital to look at exactly how PPC works. PPC is not just online advertising; it’s a process of inserting ads into search results. A company could go to Google AdWords, for example, and buy the keyword “Chicago football gear.” The ad would appear in all searches for that phrase, and the company would pay a set fee every time someone clicked on it. But that leads to two stumbling points:
- What if your ad draws the wrong clicks? That could be because the ad is unclear or deceptive, or it could be because you chose the wrong keyword and the people who click your ad aren’t really looking for your product or service. Either way, you pay for empty clicks.
- What if you’re overpaying for each click? The best search engines want to maintain a certain level of quality and relevance in their results, even their ads. They will rate a company’s site quality, discounting the highest-quality sites and marking up the price for low-quality ones.
That means that PPC campaigns and SEO are intimately connected. A spammy site with low PageRank and link-farm backlinks gets less organic search traffic and pays more for clicks. A competitor with quality content and good links instead gets a win-win. And the basic keyword research you should be carrying out for SEO purposes can be fed directly to your PPC strategy.
At EverSpark we believe that paid traffic and organic search rank work together. Both are the result of building the highest-quality content while using basic best practices such as conversion tracking and ad split-testing to maximize results. While these practices can be daunting to a small business owner, they lead reliably to increased sales and a bigger return on your PPC investment.
If you want to make sure you’re getting the best of both your SEO and PPC efforts, call or email EverSpark for a free evaluation today.