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How To Determine If Pay-Per-Click Advertising Is Right for You

Published: July 30, 2015

You may be skeptical about whether you need Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising for your business. It really depends upon how established you are within your niche. This is the simple answer—if you are consistently ranking on the first page of organic search results for your target keywords, then you don’t really need PPC advertising; if you are not ranking for your primary keywords, then you will likely benefit from PPC.

You may be asking yourself what the difference is between ranking in organic results and showing up in PPC results. Both appear on a SERP (search engine results page), as seen below.

As you can see, Google has even made many paid ads appear quite similar to other results, an advantage to businesses using PPC. Being on the first page of organic search results is a goal for most companies, but you have options for being seen while you build your online presence.

How Does Pay-Per-Click Work?

First, let’s start by looking at how search engine results typically work. Each search engine has specialized algorithms that match a user’s query (the words they type into the search box) in order to find the most relevant information. That is, the job of a search engine is to find what the user is looking for—not to benefit your business.

It is your job to be the website that is providing the most relevant information for people’s searches. The process of making your site more visible to users is called SEO (search engine optimization), but we won’t go too in depth on that here, and you can find tons of useful information about how SEO works if you’re interested in gaining organic search ranking.

Here’s where a little problem can creep in, though. You see, everyone else also wants to be the most relevant search result for their niche. So, even if you provide regular, relevant content to users, and even if you use relevant keywords, and even if you use relevant long-tail keywords, it may still take a long time before your site reaches a first page search ranking.

Real quick, why is first page so important? The truth is that about 94 percent of Google search engine users click-through to sites on the first page of results and ignore the second page.

But, many PPC ads appear right at the top of the first SERP! A previous problem with these paid ads is that they looked like paid ads; they didn’t appear with normal search results; and they made the business look desperate. But, now that Google and other search engines are integrating the PPC results into a smooth layout with organic results, those ads are getting more respect (and more click-throughs) from users.

When Is PPC Right for Your Business?

So, you know that you want to get your business in front of online users. But, how can you be sure whether it’s time to try PPC? Follow these questions to see if it’s right for you:

  • Where am I at in the growth process?

PPC often has the best results when your business is in the startup or early stages. At this point, you likely haven’t gained enough traction in the organic search results. But, you still have to be well set up before pursuing PPC. Before getting started, make sure your website is completely ready for users and that you are already providing relevant information for them to reach when they click through.

  • Who is my audience?

If you don’t know who your target audience is for the ads, then you’re not ready to start with PPC. These listings work best when you have a solid marketing plan that identifies your niche, your keywords, and what type of consumer you need to reach. Do this preliminary work before paying for clicks.

  • Do I have a target keyword for my site?

Aside from being a paid listing, PPC works in much the same way as other search results. That means you need a good SEO plan already in place, and you should be able to identify keywords that will bring the right audience to your site.

  • What is my budget?

The great thing about PPC is that you don’t need a huge budget for it to work. If your advertising budget is on the smaller side, you should certainly include PPC in your plans. However, note that the larger the budget you apportion to these efforts, the greater your outcome will likely be.

  • Do I need to do A/B testing?

If you’re still looking for which kinds of content best reach your target audience, then PPC can be a wonderful option because it allows you to create multiple different listings. Organic search rankings, on the other hand, provide less flexibility with how you are seen.

  • Do I have multiple landing pages?

The same flexibility that allows A/B testing can help you get different audiences to your various landing pages. It can be extremely difficult to direct traffic to landing pages through search results. Even for established businesses, PPC can benefit when you need to play traffic control for your various audiences.

If your business fits into one of these areas of need, you could see more traffic and potentially more lead conversions by getting started with pay-per-click. You’ll get plenty of data along with the paid ads. So, make sure you pay attention to what works and make the most of your campaign.