Should I pay for Google Ads?


Google’s algorithms are a complicated beast and are continually changing, so its fair to say that SEO is an art rather than an exact science. But one thing is for sure, it takes time and patience to achieve organic search engine results – top ten Google listings don’t happen overnight.

So, should you skip straight to paid for advertising?

Well not necessarily. Think of it this way. How many times have you skipped past the adverts to the organic listings? People trust them more, so for certain industries where trust between client and consumer is key, paid for advertising is never going to get the same kudos as an organic top ten listing.

Where Google Ads can be advantageous is for those industries where people are in a hurry and need a service now : emergency plumbers, electricians, takeaway services, car breakdown etc. For an instant need where people don’t have time to meander through pages of search engine listings because they are flooded, without electricity, hungry or stuck in the middle of nowhere, Google Ads is a sure fire way to see a return on your investment. It is also great for companies who offer free quotations via their website – an instant return of any sort will be great for the customer.

However, that’s not to say that Google Ads has no use if you are in any other industry. I am simply saying that organic will always trump paid for advertising.

Google Ads can help to boost organic search engine results by raising brand awareness, so if you are just starting out with your search engine campaign, it can be a useful way to give your organic search engine campaign a helping hand. If people are aware of your brand and search for it in the future, all the better.

So, here are my top tips if you are thinking about paid for Google advertising for your business:

1. Don’t do it on your own

Setting up a Google Ads campaign is relatively straight forward. You simply sign up, get a voucher from Google to get you started and off you go. But there is a difference between types of Google Ads campaign and if you set up the wrong type of campaign for your level of business and investment you may not get the best return on your investment. It you are going to pay for this sort of investment, do it properly and pay an expert. An expert will also be able to fine tune your campaign as you go, starting with detailed keyword and competitor research and testing bid strategies – yes, even with Google Ads it can take time and testing to get it just right.

2. Be prepared to invest 

A minimum of £10 for a small to medium sized business – any less and frankly you are wasting your time. Then, scale up according to industry and competition, and be realistic about the return you see for your budget.

I recently went to see a top professional services firm who were paying £500 a month for a Google Ads campaign. They were concerned that their search engine ‘guru’ wasn’t doing her job properly because so far they just weren’t getting any results. So I looked at their preferred keywords for which they were competing on a national scale, and advised them that the top industries were spending something in the region of £25,000 per month for the same keywords. Their £500 was simply disappearing into the wind – it was a waste of money. Being unable to afford to such a high budget, we agreed on an organic campaign that would target more specific key phrases for their local area and its working without a penny being spent on Google Ad Words. It took time and patience, but it was worth it to get it just right.

3. Be patient

You are unlikely to get results the minute your ad goes live. Not only will it take time for your campaign manager to test and get your bid strategy just right, but it sometimes takes for people to see your ad repeatedly before they are tempted to click on it, unless of course you are in one of those emergency industries mentioned above.

4. Make sure that your website is up to scratch 

I am simply amazed at some of the websites I click through to from paid advertisements, only to find websites that do not load properly in mobile phone browsers, images that are pixelated and muddled content where it is not immediately clear how the business relates to the ad. I am sure that you are proud of your efforts, but seriously, if you are going to pay for Google Ads, why wouldn’t you pay a professional to get your website pitched perfectly too? I guarantee that you may get clicks, but people won’t remain on your website for more than a few seconds. When somebody clicks on a paid for ad, they expect professional. So, if you are determined to do everything yourself, don’t waste your money on online advertising.

5. Integrate any Google campaign into an overall marketing strategy

Yes, there are other ways to get business. Top ten Google listings are not the be all and end all. That might sound strange coming from an SEO professional, but there are so many other ways that people find products and services including social media, networking and word of mouth (yes, this can be done online too with the right strategy). Do not choose a Google Ads campaign manager who is simply prepared to say yes and take your money without discussion and suggestion. Listen to them – there are times when I will recommend Google advertising and times when I will suggest other, preferred routes for your business, including being patient for organic search engine results.

Focusing on one area alone will rarely get you results, and trust me, Google is clever – it knows how popular you are on social media, how much buzz there is out there about your business, how many reviews you have across the internet and how good your website is in terms of performance and ease of use. It even knows how long people spend on your website and will make a judgement on whether or not your content is relevant based on this, so if you are going to pay for online advertising, by all means do so, but don’t do it at the expense of paying an all rounder to get your marketing strategy just right.

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