Many of the industrial companies we talk to are already using AdWords.
These are the ads Google places on the top and bottom of their search engine results pages (SERPs).
Using AdWords works fine as a short-term tactic: you pay Google to run ads, your customers click, and you get business.
But as we’ve said before, by itself, AdWords is not an effective long-term marketing strategy. You always have to pay in to be visible in search results. Once you stop paying, you disappear.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is the science and art of getting your web pages to rank high in organic (unpaid) search results.
Some People Don’t Click Ads
As it turns out, there are a lot of people that refuse to click on ads in the search results. By focusing only on pay-per-click (PPC) and not doing search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll miss out on potential customers.
What happens when you take some of your marketing budget, and invest it into SEO on top of AdWords? Potentially, you could appear twice in the search results page — once in the ads, and again in the natural results.
To us, it makes sense to leverage every marketing channel that’s available to you. By doing Adwords and SEO, you have the probability of taking up more of the search results page, and thereby increasing your odds of getting traffic.
Why Do People Rely on AdWords?
Why do people resist trying SEO and rely solely on AdWords?
For one, pay-per-click gives immediate results. You pay money in, you get placement in the search results, and people click through to your website.
With SEO, you have to do the hard work of improving your website to become the best result. It takes time and effort, and most people aren’t down for long-term effort if there isn’t an ironclad guarantee of results.
But, when you do SEO the right way, the rewards are lasting, and you reap the benefits for a long time to come.
If You Use AdWords, Do This One Thing
If you use AdWords in any capacity, make sure you are doing this one thing. Set your bid high enough to always be the top result on the page.
In paid ads, as well as in organic search results, one thing remains universally true. The top result is the one most likely to get clicked, when all other things (like ad copy) are equal.
The old version of AdWords gives you a bit more control on setting your bids on a particular campaign, but always make sure you are at the top of the page. There’s no point in trying to drive traffic if you only take a half-measure, and still have your ad at the bottom of the page. That’s the last place people look on the page.
What Nobody Talks About When Comparing AdWords and SEO
There’s one thing that never gets mentioned when talking about AdWords.
People can click your ad, and still not find what they were looking for.
What I’m talking about is: AdWords lets you pay money to send people to any page on your website. That doesn’t mean that they end up placing an order with you.
I’ve heard horror stories about this from other web consultants — like the tire retailer that was paying five figures a month to send people to a store locator page that didn’t work.
While AdWords is great for getting traffic to a page, it’s not an indicator of whether you’ll turn a prospect into a customer. This is the reason we like SEO being in the marketing mix. SEO is generally an indication of what pages are genuinely satisfying a customer need, or a searcher’s intent. In other words, it’s a merit-based system.
When you start working on SEO, it forces you to analyze every aspect of your website with a critical eye. Overall, trying to improve your SEO is indistinguishable from improving your website as a whole, and improving your individual pages in isolation.
If you only ever use AdWords to drive traffic, the chances are lower that you’ll take the time to look at the real ways you can improve your website — because this is something you can’t avoid in search engine optimization.
Pages that rank well in organic search are, more often than not, better than pages that aren’t ranking. In cases where a high-ranking pages is not the best result, it almost always belongs to a more well-established brand.
Creating better web pages, that help your customers, and give a better customer experience than the competition is a worthy goal to aspire to. Building a brand that is bigger than your competitors is also a great goal. Digging into SEO will force you to do both of these things, while AdWords will not.
Pros and Cons of SEO and AdWords
Let’s look at the pros and cons of using SEO and AdWords, both individually and separately.
- Drives traffic quickly
- You can control how much traffic you want to get
- If you bid high enough, you can be the first overall result on the page
- Predictable ROI, predictable traffic
- Some keywords cost a lot per click
- A certain percentage pf people won’t click ads
- You might be paying to drive traffic to a page that won’t convert into sales
- Has no effect on organic search rankings
- Once you stop paying, you stop getting traffic
- Investment produces long-term results
- Improves the overall condition of your site
- Focused on making customers happy, satisfying searcher intent
- You are building permanent assets for your site (content)
- May take a lot of work, and usually does
- Short-term investment is higher than PPC
- No guarantee of where you will rank
- If your competition is fierce, can be difficult to get to page one
Adwords and SEO Together
- Double coverage of search results pages
- Builds brand awareness faster than one method alone
- Traffic comes from two sources on search results page
- You can test copy in AdWords to see what works, then apply that to organic search page titles and meta descriptions
- Investing in two customer acquisition channels simultaneously is most expensive option
- Requires a lot of trust in your SEO company
SEO can be worth the effort to layer on top of AdWords. It’s another way to ensure that you get all the web traffic you possibly can.