Millions of small-business owners use some type of paid search advertising to attract customers and prospects to their business or website. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – also called search-engine marketing or simply paid search – can be an effective, low-cost way to gain visibility online.
If your business is using or planning to use paid search advertising, here are four keys to getting the most bang for your buck:
• Make your keywords really count. Keywords are the essence of PPC advertising. This is what you are actually paying for – the right to show up in results when customers or prospects search for specific words and phrases. The more carefully you choose those keywords, the better your results will be. Ideally, the keywords you buy should match the terms that your customers are most likely to use when searching for your products or services.
• Consider “negative keywords” as well. Selecting keywords is a little like preparing a party guest list. There are people you choose to invite and some you choose to avoid. In similar fashion, using “negative keywords” for your search is like crossing certain people off your guest list. Negative keywords that you specify will not trigger your ad. Thus, for example, if you sell only new or paid services, you might put the terms “used” or “free” on your negative keyword list. That way you won’t pay for people seeking only used or free items.
• Write compelling ad messages. Search ads are extremely short so you have to make every character count when you write your copy. Hone in on only the most critical benefits and features of what you offer, knowing your goal is to get someone to click on your words. Include your keywords in your ad copy so searchers know your ad is relevant to what they want. Ads that include the exact search term get more clicks.
Emphasize any unique selling points you have, and include a call to action such as “buy now,” “sign up for a free trial” or “request a quote.”
• Send users to the best landing page. When someone clicks on your ad, the page on your website that you send them to is the “landing page.” But it doesn’t have to be your homepage. The idea is to send people to the most relevant page on your site that relates to their search, and that helps them make a purchase.
To improve conversions – and get a higher quality score – try to match the text in your ad to the message and other content on your landing page. Don’t make visitors hunt and click for offers you featured in your ad. They should be able to find what they’re looking for on the landing page. •
Daniel Kehrer can be reached at