The quickest way to the top of the search engine results for your chosen keywords is Google Ads. With the right targetting and budget, you can sit at the very top of Google above the map listings and the organic search results. Your business can be the first result on page 1 for your chosen keywords - if you have the budget to compete for that spot, and have relevant content available on your website for those keywords.
To get the right ad content, mix of keywords, geographical targeting and more, all matched with the right cost per click can take a little time to set up & monitor, but Google Ads will deliver targetted customers to your site far faster than a well worked SEO campaign. And it may even be cheaper and offer a better ROI. Generally within a couple of weeks you should be seeing results and have a solid direction for continuous improvement. A good Google Ads campaign needs three key elements: the Ads, good landing pages to convert leads and continuing analysis of costs & traffic.
Check your industry
In some industries, you won't be seen even if you are the top organic result as this listing is placed below both the top ads and the map section, placing your listing well below the fold. Enter your most important keyword into Google and check to see how many of your competitors are using Google Ads, and whether or not your industry is considered a 'local search keyword' and if the results include maps. This will help you decide if Google Ads ( previously known as Google AdWords ) is the best way to the top of your industry searches.
Google Ads give instant results and can be a very cost-effective way of generating leads if SEO competition in your market is tough for your main keywords and you need to start seeing results immediately. Often it is best matched with some SEO and conversion path work to ensure that the landing pages for your adverts are well targetted and achieve the best return for your Ad costs & a cost-effective cost per click.
Are there drawbacks?
The drawback of Google Ads is that as soon as you stop spending you will stop seeing results, it can also take a little time to get the balance of adverts right so that you aren't wasting money on ads that don't provide results due to geography, wording, or other targetting issues. At the start are some 'sunk costs' to your advertising, but with good iteration cycles as the initial data arrives, generally this rapidly improves. Then your monthly maintenance drops significantly and it's more a matter of fine-tuning, monitoring the analytics and dealing with competitors and market shifts as they arise.
The other main set-up cost can be ensuring that your website converts visitors when they arrive. If you are getting traffic but they aren't turning into clients, then we need to figure out why that's happening & fix it - this may be the site design or layout, and it may be the way the ads are written or targeted. It's more common in the beginning of a campaign to discover these sorts of issues, and if we have access to edit your site we can work both ends of the puzzle to solve them in tandem with running the Google Ad campaign.
New account & reporting set up is ~$600, monthly costs then depend on how competitive your market is and the time needed to get your ads right for your market. You can expect ~$200 per month plus the cost of the adverts.
How do you get started?
If you'd like to start getting more qualified leads, or have questions about how Google Ads works, talk to us today. We mainly work on Google Ads with clients across New Zealand.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
There are three main pillars to SEO: Content, Structure & Authority. All three need to be in balance for your site to perform well in search engine results, or for your Google Ads campaigns to have high relevance and in turn lower cost per click (more traffic for less money).
Keeping your site up to date with new and interesting content is as important today as it was twenty years ago. Content is still king. Many people do this by writing FAQs or pages covering the top customer question or internal search terms from the week. Answering these questions online reduces the time you spend on customer service, and helps reduce customer frustration, as well as adding new and useful content to your site.
Can your customers find all of the answers to their questions on your site? Can your customers interact with your website in the same ways that they interact with you directly on the phone or in-person? Where possible, these are the areas to round out first.
Once you create your content, then you can move into the stage of promoting that content and making sure you get as much return on your investment as possible. This leads to the Queen of SEO - Authority.
Your authority ranking is a numerical value (hidden) that describes how much of an expert in your field you appear to be online. You build authority with your online presence in the same way that you build it offline - the more people come to you for advice & information, the more of an authority you are on your topic. How do you recreate this online?
There are many methods to create authority online, and every business will have a different set of techniques that will make sense for their business. Common areas are:
- Reviews - Make sure you have an active base of happy clients who are willing to leave reviews for you on Google, Facebook, and other online review platforms. These should continue to grow at a natural pace over time, showing that your reviewers are genuine clients. Google uses these as social proof for your organisation, as well as for gleaning keywords to determine your industry, your offerings, & your brand promises.
- Traffic - How many people are using your site currently? You should have Google Analytics hooked up to your site to know this information & to be sure Google knows you have traffic! For new sites, this can be a difficult chicken & the egg issue. Without traffic, you won't be well-ranked, but you won't get well ranked until you have traffic. The solution to this common problem is to drive traffic to your site using:
- Social media (post links to your blogs on your social media pages),
- Offline promotional materials (business cards, fliers, banners, signage, adverts),
- Viral marketing (using a professional email address so people see your site name in your communications),
- Guest authoring on other sites & news outlets (where appropriate),
- Press releases (anything to get into the media's spotlight)
- Inbound links - These can help or hurt depending on the site. Be sure you are listed in your industry's locations - trade organisation membership lists, supplier site lists for their retailers, and markets where you display your goods. Each organisation will have a different list of appropriate locations.
- And anything else that works in your industry to drive traffic to your site
- Site Stickiness - When people click on a search result and go to your page, do they immediately hit the back button, or do they stay and wander from page to page? Your site's design & usability can have a massive effect on this ranking measure.
- Search listing interest - When people see your listing in their search results, do they click on it, or do they continue to scroll?
This is how well your site is set up. Are your pages easy for robots to read & understand? Does your site meet the currently accepted usability standards? This is a mixture of content writing & technical know-how, and is partly determined by the platform your site is built on.
Here are some things to consider:
- Page Titles - Does every page have a unique & descriptive title that matches the content found on the page?
- Page Descriptions - These are the text that will show on your Google Listings when people find you on search engines. Are they well written, human-readable, and enticing to click on? This affects your authority ranking but is altered in the site's structure.
- Header Tags - Do all of your pages have an H1 page title, followed by H2 subtitles, and H3 sub-sub titles if relevant? The code behind your page is important - don't just use the header tags as formatting tools without a proper order to them. Some platforms have issues with this - Weebly is one example of a platform that won't let you set up your pages correctly.
- SSL - Is your site secure? This used to be considered only important for e-commerce sites, but now it's important for every site.
- Loading speed - How fast does your site load? Slower sites (large images, slideshows, or videos on the home page are common issues) will have a lower rank in this category.
- Mobile friendly - If your site isn't mobile-friendly, then you'll have a low score for this ranking factor.
- Site Navigation - Your site's navigation should be organised & easy to follow (even for robots).
SEO is a large topic, and fixing any issues that may be causing your ranking to be lower than it should be will help your site in many ways beyond just being better ranked in the search engines. An important part of owning a website is to keep up with best practices in all of these areas, as they change over time.
We can help you with any or all of these items. Talk to us today to start building your online presence.