SEO vs PPC – a successful Search Engine Marketing campaign for SMEs (Part II)

Written by Tomas Sulzickis

This is the second part of the article about a successful Search Engine Marketing campaign for SMEs involving web marketing in organic and paid search results. In the first part of the article I explained how Google Search works and described basic Search Engine Optimization techniques. In the second part of the article I will continue by explaining how Adwords paid search works and showing how to combine SEO and PPC for a successful Search Engine Marketing campaign.

PPC Adwords Campaign Tips

Differently from SEO, PPC Google Campaign can be managed by business itself (Kritzinger & Weideman, 2013). Since paid advertising is easily controllable and appear instantly, company can get campaign results from day zero. However, this comes with a price and do not have a lasting effect. Steps of creating a Google Adwords account are shown in the tutorial above.

All Pay-Per-Click ads are priced differently in search result page. Click price depends on the level of competition for a certain keyword and bid amount in the auction. Google Adwords performs an auction every time a certain keyword is triggered and depending on auction results distribute ad placements (Google, 2015c). The higher the placement is, the bigger ad click through rate is expected to be. This means that this ad was clicked proportionally more than other ads. Moreover, top placement options provide additional benefits in terms of ad extensions as shown in the figure below.

Fig 3 Google Adwords Ad extensions

In this particular example, two ad extension types are visible:

  • Sitelink extensions (marked No. 1 in the figure above) a detailed list of the most important pages within the website to help potential customers find information faster (Google, 2015a).

  • Callout extensions (marked No. 2 in the figure above) company descriptions that help to understand what company offers (Google, 2015a).

    Note that most of the extensions can only be accessed if your ad is placed within top 3 ads in the search result page. Otherwise, it is mainly possible to promote your website only with a basic Adwords ad on the right side of the search result screen (marked No. 3 in the figure above).

    In order to enhance ad’s visibility and attract more visitors (Google, 2015a), I also advise using Location and Call extensions. Location extension provides company’s nearest store address while Call extension allows to see company’s phone number or even make a call from the browser (Google, 2015a).

    When your Adwords online marketing campaign is set up and ad extension are configured, it is worth to take a look into ways of increasing campaigns quality rank.

    Here are the tips for an efficient Adwords campaign:

  • Improve your campaign carefully as quality improvements increase PPC price per keyword. Therefore, if advertisement quality ranking is improved, it is worth reducing bid price to save advertising costs (Nabout & Skiera, 2012).

  • Broad match keywords (those that can include similar words, misspellings, relative searches (Google, 2015d)) are less sensitive to search query modification therefore more relevant ads are visible to potential customer (Klapdor, et al., 2014).

  • Keywords with advertisers brand name has a higher click through rate (CTR) therefore it’s good to bid on company-related keywords. In addition, exact match (when the exact term or a close word is used in search (Google, 2015d)) increases CTR up to 50% therefore it is crucial to select the suitable matching type (Klapdor, et al., 2014). Importantly, consider buying your company’s brand name as a keyword for defensive reasons. This might be good in case your competitor is using your brand name as its keyword (Desai, et al., 2014).

  • Exact and phase (those that have a specified phase included (Google, 2015d)) matches show worse results by using unspecific search queries (Klapdor, et al., 2014).

Now you understand the main aspects of promoting in both organic and paid Google Search results. It is time to combine them into your first online marketing campaign.

SEO + PPC = Search Engine Marketing campaign

Research shows that majority of customers do not trust sponsored links and prefer organic results instead (Jansen, et al., 2007). Contrary to search engine users, companies state that even if total cost of performing SEO or paid search is the same and SEO has better results in listings, companies still prioritize paid ads instead of SEO in their Search Engine Marketing activities (Ravi, 2005).

This unbalanced way of marketing is considered normal within the companies because ads will always be visible by the potential customer (Kritzinger & Weideman, 2013). This division between the search engine users who want to see quality organic results and companies that are investing in PPC ads creates difficult decision in terms of Search Engine Marketing strategy. Studies show that SEO is advantageous to consumers as quality webpages will have a more accurate raking and therefore reduce the need of paid search. Moreover, low quality sites are less likely to invest in SEO if the paid advertising option is available (Berman & Katona, 2013) therefore is it organic results create a feeling of reliability for search engine user.

However, it does not mean that there is no need to promote in paid search engine listings.

Here are the 3 main reasons why SEO has to be used together with Paid Search Engine campaign:

  • 89% of all ad clicks in Google Search are incremental which means that these websites would not be visited if their ad campaigns were disabled and companies could only be visible in organic search (Chan, et al., 2011). In addition, half of all paid ad clicks that also have a top organic results are incremental in comparison to 96% incremental ad clicks for those with organic results rank 5 or below (Chan, et al., 2012).

  • Organic search can be used as a base for visitor collection while paid search ads can perform a role of a backup in case organic search does not give good enough results or top rank listings decreases substantially (Berman & Katona, 2013).

  • In addition of being listed in the organic results, being present in the paid search result section doubles your visibility to search engine user. This not only increases the chance of being noticed but also reduces space for competitor ads (Taylor, 2015).

    The example below shows the advantages of combining both SEO and PPC in Search Engine Marketing campaign. Marked websites doubled their visibility appearing in both listings, benefit from receiving incremental clicks and decrease the amount of competitor ads by presenting their own ads instead.

Fig 4 Double visibility by appearing in both organic and paid search listings

Wrap up

To sum up, in this article I explained the concept of Search Engine Marketing and described two types of techniques used to attract visitors into company’s website – Search Engine Optimization and Pay-per-Click advertisement in Google Adwords. Both of these help to create a continuous flow of visitors to website likewise functioning in significantly different ways. Images of Google Search results used throughout the article provide a visual explanation of the topic and highlight the key information.

This article contributes to the basic understanding of Search Engine Marketing for Small and Medium-sized business with a limited advertising resources. It explains the main concepts of the field and provides a list of tips for being visible in both SEO and PPC search result listings. This is required in order to make a balanced decisions regarding company’s online marketing campaign strategy. Moreover, article describes advantages of combining both concepts simultaneously and provide reliable data that may be used by Marketing Manager as a support statement for investments in both SEO and PPC at the same time.

Article has several limitations. Firstly, some of the references are more than five years old and this is a long time period in this web marketing field. Some of the evidence may be out of date. Secondary, article does not consider level of competition in various languages as difficulty of achieving top rank results differ among them. Finally, article present a brief SEM introduction to the management of SMEs and it not detailed enough to be used as a guideline toward independent Search Engine Marketing strategy implementation.

In the future studies, I would like to test article findings on an existing company and monitor the results. This information would provide a clear insight whether the techniques described in the paper deliver advantage to SMEs.






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