Getting to the top of the Google search results is a tough task. Depending on the term, it can take months of building relationships, creating content, and writing to get the ranking you want. When you start an SEO campaign, your rankings likely aren’t as great as you’d like. But thanks to Google’s AdWords program, you can essentially leapfrog several pages of results and get your page to appear on the front page (at the top, even) with advertisements.
Let’s create a scenario. You’re an apparel seller, producing clothing for various sports teams. For your St. Louis Blues apparel, you would like to appear on the first results page for the term St. Louis Blues Apparel. But, an even greater term, with a wide reach, would be simply St. Louis Blues. By plugging the term into various tools, you can see what you’re up against.
Not surprisingly, search terms for professional sports teams are very competitive because you’re against other retailers, sports sites, fan blogs, and the team itself. Before you get discouraged, you need to take a look at the AdWords competitive landscape:
While organic competition is extremely competitive, the paid market is open for the taking as well as very cost-effective. With quality copy, proper keyword targeting, and a great landing page, your apparel company can advertise on the first page for a very difficult keyword for the cost of a cup of bad coffee.
You may be thinking, well why even bother with SEO if I can get to the front page for a few bucks? This example, of course, won’t work for every keyword in every industry. Some industries, such as insurance, can have CPCs of more than $50, and when you’re spending that much for a click, it can become precarious if the clicks aren’t turning into customers.
Other roadblocks include users who are becoming educated about advertisements – and possibly trusting organic results more. You could also be continually out-bid by a deep-pocketed competitor that is willing to spend obscene amounts of money to bump your ads.
The name alone, “pay-per-click campaign,” can initially be unsettling to your business. Thanks to the stories of Groupon’s disastrous effects on businesses, companies are worried that they will suddenly be saddled with massive costs from a PPC campaign. Luckily, the interface makes it easy to monitor and set costs, and if the costs start getting too high for your tastes the campaign can simply be turned off. More than likely, though, an effective PPC campaign will have you increasing your budget, instead.
While ‘hacking’ may be strong working, but the fact remains that you can quickly be among the heavy hitters of search in just a few minutes with a PPC campaign. Just don’t get left out in the cold by neglecting your SEO efforts while you advertise.