One of the trickiest challenges for any marketer is finding lead sources that scale – meaning, it doesn’t require five times the effort to get five times the leads. Google Ads is highly scalable, which is why some business spends millions of dollars a year on Google Ads advertising. If you create a Google Ads campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to arbitrarily cap spend on that campaign. You can increase your PPC budget and your leads and profits will increase accordingly. This makes Google Ads highly effective for businesses that need a lot of leads but are short on time and heads.
Compared to traditional marketing channels like TV and magazine advertising, online marketing is highly measurable, and Google Ads PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels. It’s difficult to make exact measurements in SEO because you can’t always know what actions led to increased or decreased rankings. Then there’s the whole “not provided” fiasco. Social media can be equally difficult to measure. In comparison, Google Ads is more transparent, providing tons of PPC metrics that allow you to see at a granular level what works and what doesn’t. You can pretty quickly determine if your campaigns are sucking or returning ROI.
Google Ads provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns and ads to your particular needs, hyper-targeting the audiences you most want to reach. For example, with Google Ads you can:
Specify keyword match types – You can, for example, only display your ad to people who search for an exact keyword you specify, like “vegas hotels” – filtering out traffic on general terms related to Las Vegas or hotels. (SEO, on the other hand, is aspirational; you can’t define what you rank for, you can only hope for the best.)
Use ad extensions to display product images, a phone number, a mega-pack of links to your site, your physical location – you can even initiate a chat or get an email address right from the SERP.
Narrow your audience by location, time of day, language, browser or device type, and more. A good portion of your SEO traffic may be worthless to you (for example, if you only need US-based leads, and half your web traffic comes from Australia), but in Google Ads, you don’t have to display your ads around the world.
For new businesses and websites, it can take months to see results from SEO. This perceived “penalty” used to be referred to as the Google sandbox effect – people assumed Google was intentionally filtering new websites out of the results. More likely the problem is that competition is fierce and it takes time for a website to “prove” itself and earn authority and links.
Google Ads is a great workaround for new businesses because you don’t have to wait around so long to see results. While working on your site’s SEO, you can put resources into a Google Ads campaign and start getting impressions and clicks immediately. Because it’s so speedy, it’s also a good way to test whether a given keyword or audience is worth pursing via organic search – if it converts well in Google Ads, you can deduce that it’s worth trying to rank for in SEO and build out your content in that area. (Just one of the ways that Google Ads and SEO are two great tastes that taste great together.)
Larry has argued in the past that SEO is much harder than PPC. His arguments were met with disagreement, but probably more because of how he said them than what he was saying. Here is WordStream, we’re seasoned practitioners of both SEO and PPC. And now that our PPC campaigns are built and in place, we find they require much less effort to maintain than our SEO efforts. Not only is our enormous beast of a website very difficult to keep up to date (which plagues me), but in order to increase organic traffic, it takes a team of 3-5 constantly churning out SEO content, working on optimization and building links. It’s fun, creative, and rewarding when it works – but it’s also a relief to know that we can depend on PPC to deliver leads without all the hoops to jump through.
Google Ads is Google’s baby (it should be – it accounts for about 97% of their revenues), and over time the SERP has changed so that more and more above-the-fold real estate is given to ads rather than organic results. This can be frustrating both for SEOs and users. But if you engage in PPC, it’s not all bad! It’s an opportunity for you to get your message high up on the SERP in a highly clickable way – it’s a myth that no one clicks on Google ads.
Google has rolled out lots of new ad formats in the past couple of years, such as product listing ads and in-video ads on YouTube. Google is motivated to do this because shinier, more engaging ads get more clicks and that means more revenue for Google. But higher clicks are good for the advertiser too, so take advantage of these new ad formats and extensions. Organic listings look pretty boring in comparison.
Access an enormous network of non-search users on properties like Gmail and YouTube and tons of partner sites.
Leverage the display network, which is great for building brand awareness and often converts at a lower cost than Google Search.