Gavin Hirst - Saturday 1st February 2020


Why paid search is an important part of your digital mix

For many businesses, paid search is still a no-go area. For some, they can be put off by high costs, especially in competitive markets where average CPCs for keywords can quickly spiral and eat into your budget. For others, there can be a reluctance if the business is not an e-commerce site. With nothing to ‘sell’ online, there is sometimes no perceived value for websites with no transactional conversion.

We’re here to bust a few of those myths and explain why paid search is such an important part of the digital mix no matter what sector you are based.

Paid search is taking up more real estate

As an SEO agency primarily, the fact that paid search is taking up more real estate can be a bit of a bugbear, however, it does present more opportunities for clients to appear in search through new paid features.

Google Ads seems to be constantly expanding with dozens of different ad types, from test only to product images to carousels to map listings. With more paid options available, Google is giving more and more space up to paid advertising and it’s important to consider whether any of these paid solutions are right for your business.

Paid search is not just for retailers

As we’ve already touched upon, paid search is not only a space for retailers and those with e-commerce functionality on their website. Whilst ads are certainly more prevalent in the online retail space, we have noticed a rise in the number of ads across all sectors – B2B, B2C, service providers and more.

The bottom line is that people go to Google to look for information. To many, whether that information comes from a paid or organic link doesn’t matter – they just want that information quickly.

As well as expanding the amount of real estate taken up by paid ads, Google has also been doing a good job of making paid listings look more and more like organic results. Whilst there are those people who will never click on a paid ad, there are also those that don’t care or even notice whether a link in the search result is paid or organic.

The bottom line is that you need to understand the keywords you are targeting and get an idea of whether other businesses are advertising in that space. This can apply to branded keywords, non-branded keywords as well as things like ads in the local map space.

Paid search does not have to be product focussed

In recent times, we have also started to see a shift in the type of content that is being pushed through paid ads, especially by online retailers. Traditionally, the approach of a retailer would be to identify relevant keywords and then target related products to those keywords.

As more and more people use Google as a primary method of research, as well as advertising products, retailers are also meeting the demand of those users who are searching for informational content.

A recent example of this that we saw was the beauty brand Olay targeting the keyword ‘blackhead remover’. In the past, they had always advertised on this term with one of their products, typically some sort of scrub. We saw an example, however, where instead of advertising the product, instead they advertised a content piece in their blog about blackhead prevention. This information piece is a great gateway into the brand without being a hard sales pitch and is something that we will see more and more brand doing.

Understanding customer intent in the queries they are searching helps to deliver the most relevant content. Whilst some customers will definitely be looking for a product to help remove blackheads, there will also be those who want to learn about prevention and in this instance, Olay are ticking both boxes with links to relevant products at the end of their post.

Summary

Hopefully, this has opened your eyes to some of the opportunities that exist within the paid space and why it’s an important part of your digital mix. Look beyond the product ads and identify opportunities in the map space or to push out related content that will help to encourage customer loyalty.

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