When I begin working with a client on their pay per click management, the first step I take is to compile a list of keywords to target. Using feedback from the prospect, analyzing their site and their competitor’s sites and using various tool I usually create a very extensive list. Then I pass this on to client to review and approve.
Recently a client returned a list with a number of words crossed off. This isn’t surprising as there are usually words eliminated because they don’t apply to a company’s products and services. Yet, in this case many of the words eliminated I thought in fact were ones we needed to target the most. When I reviewed the list with him, I mentioned this. His response was that his company’s site already ranked for these words and so there was no need to target them with PPC. I guess the response of my client shouldn’t have been all that surprising, as I’d heard it before. My client believed that people would be more likely to click on the natural rankings (which was true) and wouldn’t click on the ad (which was untrue).
The thinking is that by running an ad it could take away clicks from the natural listings. Yet, study after study shows that the opposite is true. There are people who will often click on an ad over the natural listing. And if it’s not your ad they are clicking on then it’s your competitors.
In fact many major brands, such as Dell purchase ads ta rget their brand name, even though their company site ranks number 1 for their name. This allows them to dominate the results page.
A recent case study reinforced the importance of running ads for highly ranked phrases. A marketing technology company, Resolution Media and Kenshoo, analyzed a year’s worth of US pay per click and organic campaign data from the Imaging and Printing Group of Hewlett Packard. Although IPG had a number one ranking for a phrase, nearly 40% of prospects clicked on their accompanying ad instead. If the site had a lower ranking for a phrase the importance of a paid campaign only increased. Resolution Media and Kenshoo summed up their analysis by stating that prospects from pay per click ads were actually more profitable from those that clicked on organic listings. I’ve had this experience with a number of my clients.
I do SEO for clients in addition to pay per click and even when I’ve achieved a top ranking for a phrase, the ads we run for the same word are regularly clicked on. For example, I have a client who runs a plumbing company and his site ranks number 1 for various sewer related phrases. Yet, we spend hundreds of dollars each day for pay per click for these phrases and his phone rings more because of these ads, then the number 1 organic listings. How do we know this? When we stop running the ads, the phones nearly stop ringing. If you achieved success with your site in the natural listings, don’t think the work is done. Run ads for these words. Not only does it provide business from people who might not click on your ads, it provides you with two listings on a page. This also reinforces your image of a company being top in your field. This can increase the number of clicks on your natural listing.
Google even allows for advertisers to see data now when a site is running ads along with its natural listings. According to Google this report allows you to "compare your performance for a query when you have either an ad, an organic listing, or both appearing on the search results page." Pay per click should be an integral part of your marketing campaign. If you're not sure if your company would benefit from paid ads, then contact me. We can discuss how to take full advantage of it while improving your natural listings, as well.