Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
Getting your website to appear in organic search engine results is one of the most important web marketing strategies. But don’t forget about search engine advertising, too. Pay-per-click ads are among the quickest ways to drive website traffic to generate more leads and sales.
In this article, I’ll address five reasons to include search engine advertising — i.e., pay-per-click ads — in your local marketing strategy.
1. Target Consumers by Geography and Search Terms
Search engine advertising allows you to reach a specific geographical area. If, for example, you offer services or ship your products only to specific zip codes, cities, or states, you can optimize your campaigns to those areas. You can also target specific consumer segments with keywords, and otherwise weed out disinterested consumers with negative keywords. This can result in more qualified leads than you may receive from organic search listings.
2. Dominate the First Page of Google
Even if your site shows up in the top organic results for a certain keyword or phrase, you still should use pay-per-click advertising.
That’s because while you might be showing up in the organic results, it always helps to appear multiple times, dominating the first page of Google and relegating your competitors to the second and third page. The more often consumers see your brand, your company, and your website on the first page of the search results, the more likely they are to click it.
3. Instant Results
Although organic web marketing has a shelf life of years, it can take time to achieve. Most businesses simply do not have the time to wait for leads or sales. This is where search engine advertising can solve your short-term revenue needs. As soon as your advertising campaign goes live, your ads start appearing to your prospects. This is a good way to increase your revenue, or keep it steady, while your organic web marketing efforts build.
4. Measurable Results
One of good things about search engine advertising is that there are typically no gray areas. It’s black and white. The results are so measurable that we can see exactly what ad or part of an ad is working or not working. With organic search marketing, it can take time to interpret the results.
5. More Engaging
Search engine advertising is much more engaging than organic listings on a number of levels. For example, you can create an ad to take prospects to a video or specific offer. You can also place extensions in your ads that allow viewers to easily call you, see your location, sign-up for your newsletter, and several other possibilities.
In competitive markets and in competitive business categories — insurance, hair salons, restaurants — there can be hundreds of businesses trying to appeal to the same prospects. Having your website show up as a single listing in the search results is likely not going to get the attention of consumers, especially with the other visuals that could be on that page.
To illustrate, we’ve replicated a potential search results page in this infographic, below. A search results page on Google could have as many as eight distinct sections. The name of each section appears on the right in the infographic; the location of it is on the left.
If you consider the amount of information being presented to the searcher, relying only on one of these segments may not produce meaningful clicks. The focus should be how to get into many of these areas.
But, regardless, search engine ads with extensions will help to get you noticed within 24 hours and start seeing traffic to your website. Ad extensions increase searcher engagement with your ads and your company. I addressed Google ad extensions last week, at “Understanding Ad Extensions in Google AdWords.”