Internet Marketing: SEO & PPC
If you want to drive traffic to a website or landing page there are essentially two methods: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. SEO is all of the activity that improves your site’s organic search engine rankings. It involves all aspects of the content and design of your site – fast load times, optimized images, relevant content, keyword density and placement, quality of incoming and outgoing links – all of which play an important role in your web page’s organic ranking.
Alternately, PPC is when you simply pay a publisher (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, etc…) to place an advertisement in their search results or content. Such advertisements are called sponsored links or sponsored ads and typically appear next to, above, and beneath organic or native content. The more you pay (and sometimes the more ‘relevant’ your page is to the search term) the better you rank.
With PPC on search engines, advertisers usually bid on keywords and phrases that relate to their advertisement. While content sites and social networks typically charge a fixed price-per-click rather than a bidding system. Either way, because PPC allows you to set a budget and buy clicks, it has incredible potential for delivering a large number of targeted web visitors. But it takes specialized knowledge and experience to run a successful PPC campaign.
Should I Hire a Professional PPC Management Company or PPC Expert?
A PPC campaign that’s focused and well maintained can take up a lot of time. They almost never work immediately and to be effective you cannot adopt a “set it and forget it” strategy. Success depends largely on monitoring results and refining keywords and advertisements. This is why many businesses choose to enlist the help of a PPC expert.
Many business owners and service professionals believe that if they understand an industry or market, PPC will be easy because they know what keywords and phrases are important. But there are many factors involved in getting a strong ROI out of your PPC budget.
It takes an expert PPC manager to handle all of the aspects of your campaign, finding ways to improve your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages. As a business owner, you need to contribute knowledge about your industry, services, or products and the expert should be able to devise a strategy that incorporates their marketing experience as well as best practices for PPC advertising.
PPC specialists that have critical thinking and problem-solving skills are a must, as well as the ability to review metrics, create campaign reports, and knows how to search and social marketing applications work. You also want to make sure you choose a company that makes customer service a priority. They should see you as a person first and a client second – succeeding at PPC has a lot to do with understanding people on ‘both sides of the click’.
PPC account optimization is more involved than just choosing a keyword phrase and setting a price you are willing to pay for a click. There are many steps along the way, beginning with keyword selection and ending with a visitor taking a desired action on your landing page. The best PPC management companies will understand and advise you on each phase of this process.
What is Involved in Managing a PPC Campaign?
Keyword research is vital to success. You can’t assume you know what people are searching for just because you understand an industry. For example, a chiropractor might be bidding on the term ‘chiropractic care’ but what his target leads are REALLY searching for is ‘lower back pain relief’. Or, sometimes a popular misspelling of a word can earn great targeted clicks at a fraction of the price of the correct spelling of the word. PPC experts know how to make the right keyword choices to meet your goals.
Poor keyword choices can quickly exhaust your budget and result in weak returns. Good keyword research and selection are the foundations of any strong PPC campaign.
PPC Ad Creation
PPC experts understand what makes a good ad and what kind of ad copy earns attention and clicks. Ads on some platforms, like Google, can have specific restrictions and can be limited to a certain number of words. To a beginner, writing them can be confusing, like trying to write Haiku. PPC specialists often have backgrounds in marketing, advertising, and copywriting. Knowing how to write effective PPC ads is not something you can learn overnight.
PPC Bidding and Filtering Strategies
There are several settings you can adjust in order to get optimum exposure for your campaigns. Do you want your ads only shown to a certain demographic? Or only at certain times of day? There are also geographic settings which allow you to target specific locations. Should you target locally, nationally, globally? Should you have different ad groups for each geographic area? A PPC expert can help you navigate these settings.
Monitoring, Tracking, and Testing
With PPC, there are about 50 important numbers and metrics you must understand and keep track of in order to execute at a high level. Good analysis and consistent, methodical testing can demonstrate which ads and keywords are likely to bring you the most targeted traffic and result in the most conversions. The best PPC campaigns are built over time by experimenting, monitoring performance, testing new ideas, and making adjustments.
If you don’t have the time to spend performing these tasks and educating yourself about PPC advertising in general, it is probably best to hire a PPC expert.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management Pricing
The average pay for a full-time, in-house PPC Manager is about $50K per year. If you’re hiring a freelance PPC management company then the cost will be scalable depending on the size and scope of your campaign.
If you are only paying a PPC expert $500/month, then it stands to reason that your account is only going to receive a fraction of their attention. For a reputable PPC manager to spend a significant amount of time building and refining your campaign, you should expect to pay a minimum of $2,000/month.
The bottom line is that PPC advertising costs you money every time you use it. You are allocating a budget to earn the traffic, unlike SEO which is free once it’s up and running. So, it makes sense to allocate a portion of your PPC budget to a professional PPC manager who can handle your campaign and make sure that budget money is being put to its best possible use.