Pay per click Advertising – is your SEO right? Are you wasting money?

Yes, hard to believe but when you compete on Google for position in their Pay per click advertising, the SEO of your site plays an important part in how effective that advertising spend is. Let me explain.

The ‘Magic’ of the bidding process

Google uses a complex algorithm to work out who wins out in an Adwords campaign and it essentially comes down to 3 factors:

  1. How much you are willing to spend on getting clicks;
  2. How high is your Quality score;
  3. How much competition there is for the keyword you are bidding on.

Now the first is the easiest ‘lever’ you have to control, the more you spend the more likely you will win out in any ‘auction’ for placement. The second you also have some control over, I’ll go over that soon. The third you have no direct control over, baring what keywords you picked to bid on.

The Quality Score, what is it?

The quality score is essentially 4 factors:

  1. The click through rate on your ad for that given keyword;
  2. The relevance of the keyword being search for to the one you are bidding on;
  3. The relevance of the keyword being search for to the ad itself, and,
  4. The Landing page quality – or relevant, original content, easy to use with quick load times.

Don’t believe me – well watch the man himself (Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian) explain it. Now what can you control out of these 4 factors?

Click through rate

You have no direct control over this, consider it the ‘reward’ for getting everything else spot on.

Keyword search relevance

Now, you have control over this, consider it the necessarily work to get your ad to show up at all.

Landing Page Quality

Now the quality is defined by ‘relevant, original content, thats easy to use with quick loading times’. I don’t know about you but to me that screams SEO. if you have good SEO done on your site then by default it will be relevant, have original content, be easy to use and have quick loading times.

I reckon Google have just plugged in the results from a normal search right into the middle of AdWords. Which makes good sense, why not reuse the largest database of website content on the planet to fine tune your advertising system?

What about the weightings?

I know the video puts the landing page quality as only contributing about 10% to the Quality Score, but I reckon that is not the whole story. Remember the 1st factor (click through rate) will only occur once the other 3 have got you ‘winning’ enough to get a click through rate – so the maths cannot be that simple. I reckon there is some complex cross weighting going on between these factors and from what I’ve seen in practice Landing page quality is more of a ‘force multipler’.

For instance I have one client where over 50% of their traffic comes from natural search queries (I did the onsite SEO, so it rocks on this), i.e none Adwords. The remainder comes from pay per click advertising, and their bid price is measured in the few cents per keyword, yes cents! Given this is in a competitive section of the market and there are other bidders out there in the same keyword ‘space’ – this is an amazing leverage for such a low cost point.

Then I have an unfortunately steady stream of clients coming to me with tails of AdWords ‘woe’ – spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on AdWords per month and getting next to ‘zip’ conversion. The common factor? Absolutely abismal on site SEO: titles not set up right, keywords not used, horrid 3 page graphical websites with no text in them, bad generated HTML that Google will instantly ignore, etc. A complete A to Z of NOT how to implement a website in effect.

So we have to two opposites extremes, on the one hand a site with near perfect SEO and a low spend per keyword and good clickthroughs, then sites that have zip onsite SEO and a massive keyword spend with nothing to show for it…  The evidence is very clear, on site SEO plays a very important role in having an effective (and affordable) AdWords campaign.

What can you do?

Well if you are one of those unfortunate people spending hundreds or thousands on pay per click advertising and its proving an utter waste of money – please STOP! Next, get in touch us today and let us help you turn your website around for you by focussing on the onsite and offsite SEO first. We will then teach you how to set up your website so that:

  • You have Google Webmaster, Google AdWords and Google Analytics all tied together to give you a 360 degree view of everything that happens on your site;
  • You can track your conversion rate and hence the return on investment on your ad spend.
  • How to pick keywords which convert at a low cost per click.

We are not interested in running your AdWords campaign for you; to be honest once they are set up properly they require little work to keep going effectively. We would much rather you were in control of your expenditure. We believe a website should be a profit center for a business and not a cost center.

So, get in touch today and turn that cost center into a profit center.