If you’re running a business, Google is going to be a major resource when it comes to gaining new customers – and even retaining old ones. If you don’t yet know how to use Google to your advantage, you could be losing out on sales, income, and essential growth for your business.
There are two main ways that you can use Google for your business. You can opt for an SEO strategy, which involves optimising your website for various keywords, and providing informational content that can direct a customer to your products or services. Or, you can use Google Ads, the official advertising platform for Google and the number one source of revenue for the search engine.
While both these methods are highly valuable for any business either online or offline, in this blog we’re going to take a look at Google Ads: what they are, how they work, and whether they’ll be beneficial for your business.
What are Google ads?
Google Ads is Google’s official advertising platform. It operates via a PPC (pay-per-click) model, and it can be incredibly useful if you’re looking to get quick results and temporary gains.
How Google Ads work
Google Ads works by allowing you to bid on keywords and search terms that are relevant to your business, products, or services. With your own data, you’ll probably already have a number of search terms that you’d like to target: for example, a plumbing company in Leeds might want to target the search term “plumber Leeds”.
When you use Google Ads, you’re effectively paying the search engine to put your services at the top of Google’s results page: when users search for one of your targeted keywords or phrases, they’ll be presented with your services first.
When it comes to costs, you’ll only pay Google money when someone actually clicks on your paid ad. But before you pay anything, you’ll first need to win the bidding war: Google Ads functions via a second-price auction system, meaning that you’ll have to score the highest bid amongst your competitors in order to secure your place at the top of the results page.
(Note: a keyword is just a phrase or term that users put into Google when browsing for services, such as “hotel London” or “hairdresser Leeds.”)
Google Ads: Pros
There are a number of advantages when it comes to using Google Ads for your business, most notably the visibility factor. Google remains the most popular search engine in the world, with 5 billion daily searches. Other advantages include:
As mentioned above, Google Ads can help you get quick gains and quick sales. If you’re able to make a customer’s first experience overwhelmingly positive, you can even use Google Ads temporarily as a means to pull in new customers, and then focus your attention on retaining them (via promotions, discounts, loyalty rewards, etc.)
People don’t always use Google for the same reasons, and user intent can be broken down into the following categories: informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional. It’s for this reason that social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are not the best places to advertise: you might be able to target your core demographic, but most people aren’t using social media for commercial purposes.
This is why Google is the perfect place to advertise your business: if you’re able to advertise your products or services under a targeted keyword, you’re literally directing customers right to your services for something they’re already looking for. This makes it more likely that those who click through will make a purchase.
Access to customer data
Google Ads allows you to monitor your customers’ shopping habits, and see what types of ads generate the highest number of clicks. With this information, you’ll be able to optimise the landing pages on your website to attract even more customers, and fix those that don’t pull in any viewers.
Google Ads: Cons
Like any marketing or advertising model, Google Ads isn’t perfect – and it certainly isn’t a one-way-ticket to business success and visibility. For one, digital advertising is extremely expensive:
Depending on the type of business you’re running, you can end up spending anything from £5000 to £30000 per month on Google Ads. For small businesses, this kind of investment is simply not sustainable – especially if it’s not returning any sales. (In general, Google Ads have a clickthrough rate of 2%.) While paid ads can temporarily boost your visibility, the return on your investment might not be substantial at the beginning.
Your high place in Google’s search results will only be maintained so long as you keep paying Google for your campaign; as soon as you pull your paid ads, your content will be removed and placed organically within Google’s search results. If you don’t have the means to maintain Google Ads every month, this can lead to instability when it comes to revenue, impressions, and site growth. Rather than a linear upward scaling of your business, you might experience intermittent highs, followed by your impressions, sales, and overall engagement plummeting.
Paid vs. Organic content
Some studies have shown that Google users tend to skip over paid advertisements when searching. This might be linked to the trust factor: if users are searching on Google for informational purposes, they’re likely to avoid or ignore anything that appears commercial. Don’t forget that paid Google ads will be marked with a small ‘ad’ symbol, indicating that it isn’t part of their organic search results.
How to Use Google Ads Like a Pro
Despite the various drawbacks of Google Ads, it can still be a great way to increase your website’s visibility while winning quick gains and sales. If you want to get the best out of your Google Ads program, we’d recommend taking the following tips onboard:
Target achievable keywords
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on your ad campaign, don’t target the most popular keyword terms related to your business. Google ranks its keywords by price, with those that have the highest search volume costing the most. The best types of keywords to target are what we refer to in SEO as “low hanging fruit’ search terms – aka, easy gains. For a keyword to be considered “low hanging fruit,” it must combine low competition with a high search volume. This allows you to pay less upfront, and hopefully receive a better return on your investment. This also applies to long-tail keywords.
Combine Google Ads with SEO
While an ad campaign can help grow your business in a short time period, an SEO strategy will help to grow your business organically over time. Like Google Ads, an SEO campaign allows you to target relevant search terms, and direct users to high-value informational content on your website. SEO isn’t a temporary quick-fix: a good SEO strategy can set your business up for years of organic traffic. Even better, an SEO strategy means that your content ranks organically, giving your website that all-important trust factor.
Make your content great
As Bill Gates once said, content is king. There’s no use in spending money on a costly advertising campaign, only for users to immediately click off your site because it’s poorly-written, slow to load, or hasn’t been updated since 2015. The user experience is highly important when it comes to creating conversions, so hold off on any ad campaigns until your content is up to par. An SEO consultancy in London can help you optimise your onsite content and prepare your website for an ad campaign.
Google Ads can be a great way to gain quick sales and boost your business’ visibility. But it’s important to remember that it’s not a quick – nor easy – fix when looking at a long-term strategy for your business. To maximise your ROI, you’ll first want to ensure that your content, services, and customer experience is up to standard.