Search Engine Marketing: Everything You Need to Know About PPC

Search Engine Marketing: Everything You Need to Know About PPC

Digital Marketing Consultant Washington DC - Alex Lloro


Digital Marketing Consultant

 Have you thought about adding Search Engine Marketing to your current strategy? Before you dive in, there are some things you need to know. Here are the basics to help you get started. 

There are two parts to an online search marketing strategy. One is search engine optimization (SEO) and the other is search engine marketing (SEM). You can learn about when to use each of them in this article: PPC vs SEO: Outlining The Pros, Cons, and Differences.

Both have the same ultimate goal of your website being displayed at the top of a search engine results page. The difference between the two is simple. SEO improves your organic reach, whereas SEM improves your paid reach.

The majority of consumers who have the intention to make a purchase are clicking on paid advertisements after entering a search query into Google.

If you focus all your efforts on SEO, you're missing the opportunity to be displayed beyond only organic search results. Read on to learn more about the basics of paid search marketing and the steps that you need to take to get started.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing, also sometimes known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing, means that companies pay a fee when consumers click on their ads.

There are different types of PPC options, including social media advertisements and display marketing like the ads you see on YouTube.

When you're starting out with paid search marketing, you will want to focus on the text ads displayed on search engines. These ads are the easiest way to get a basic understanding of paid search marketing.

In a nutshell, marketers running paid search campaigns are bidding on links to their website on Google AdWords. The links that they bid on are based on keywords that are relevant to their company's product.

Understanding Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords)

In a landmark announcement, Google revealed that it's iconic platform, Google AdWords, will be put out to pasture by the end of 2018. In its place, marketers will now be using Google Ads, which they promise will be bigger, better and, most importantly, a more comprehensive solution to paid search marketing management.

Luckily, this is not as big of an overhaul as it may seem on the surface. Google wants advertisers to be able to manage all of their advertisements in one place. The basic concept of the platform will remain the same.

Google Ads is the platform that you use to run your PPC campaigns. With this platform, you can carry out keyword research, design your advertisements and monitor their success.

PPC vs SEO: Outlining The Pros, Cons, and Differences

You may be wondering how does Google decide which advertisement to display to each user.

The easiest way to understand how Google's display algorithm works is to think of it as an auction where every website has been assigned a rank. This rank is determined by several factors.

When you enter a search query into Google, it analyzes the keywords in the search query, the maximum bid websites will spend to have their ad shown, and the website's Quality Score.

Many businesses turned away from search engine marketing due to this concept of bidding. They figured if they didn't have the budget for it, why bother.

But here's the thing. Having a high bid is just one part of the equation. Google also looks at many factors. These include technical aspects like the speed and security of your website. They also include qualitative factors like how long visitors stay on your website or your SEO rank for relevant keywords.

How to Start a Search Engine Marketing Campaign

Just the same as SEO, you will start your paid search marketing campaigns with keyword research. Unlike SEO, however, you can change and retarget your campaigns as needed.

Read on to learn some techniques for creating a comprehensive keyword list that will help bring more visitors to your business's website.

Brainstorming PPC Keywords

The best place to start your keyword research is on your company's website. Make a list of keywords based on your company's product and the industry that you're in. You should now have a strong idea of what people are looking for when they come to your website.

At this point, create a keyword list with three categories; brand terms, generic terms and related terms.

Brand terms and generic terms are similar and include a company's product or service. The difference is that brand terms also include your company's name. The third category, related terms, is the broadest option with keywords that are related to your product.

For example, if we are planning a paid search marketing campaign for the fictitious travel company "The Washington Sites", you would have the following terms in your keyword list:

  • Brand terms -The Washington Sites tours, The Washington Sites Capitol Hill
  • Generic terms - Tours of Washington, The White House tours
  • Related terms - Washington hotels, Washington public transportation, Washington tourist sites

Include Voice Search Long Tail Keywords

Voice search is poised to change the entire landscape of digital marketing, so the earlier you can incorporate voice search keywords into your marketing plan, the better.

PPC vs SEO: Outlining The Pros, Cons, and Differences

People want to type as quickly as possible, so typed search queries have always been in point form and even grammatically incorrect. When SEO was first getting started, marketers had to figure out a way to include phrases like "tourist sites Washington" without sounding awkward.

With voice search, however, marketers will have to make the shift back to a more conversational tone. While we may type "tourist sites Washington", we look for more detail when speaking with questions like, "Hey Siri, what are the best tourist sites in Washington for kids?"

Refine Your Keyword List and Add Negative Words

Refining your keyword list is the most important part of your keyword research process. An excellent tool for this is the Google Keyword Planner inside Google Ads.

Use the keyword tool to analyze each of your keywords. Make note of the number of searches for that keyword and its competition rank.

Keywords that are highly competitive are much more expensive to bid on compared to less competitive terms. When you're first starting out with paid search marketing, look for keywords that have a low competition rank but a high search volume.

Finally, negative keywords are terms that you do not want to display for. This category will help you control your ad spend when running your paid search campaigns.

For example, there's no point in paying for clicks when someone searches "cheap guided tours Washington" if you're running a bespoke travel tours company.

Inside Google Analytics, you can see the search terms that are bringing users to your website. Use this as a guide for keywords that are costing you money by bringing in the wrong sort of leads.

Your Keyword List is Just the Beginning

Getting started with paid search marketing doesn't need to be difficult. The hardest part for many people is just that, actually getting started.

Once you've figured out your list of keywords, you're ready to move on to the next steps. Choosing your keyword matching strategy and then finally, putting your writing chops to the test!

As you can imagine, there's no overnight success with paid search marketing. Contact us today to see how SEM can help your business increase its revenues.

Don't forget to check out our FREE SEO Audit Tool for a quick guide to improving your website's SEO rankings.

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