7 Reasons Top Organic Results Still Need Ads

I was presenting a report to a client recently, showing them their website’s awesome results and rankings. People around the table pulled out their phones and checked for themselves, Googling keywords for their organization and being happily surprised by how completely they owned the first page of results.

I moved to the next slide, a proposal for AdWords, Google’s cost-per-click paid search.

“Why would I want to pay for an ad when I’m already #1 in search?” one board member asked.

That’s a fair question.

Assuming that you have the kind of highly effective SEO services we offer and you’ve built your website to a strong position in organic search, why would you want to buy digital ads?

  1. You have more control. Put a precise message out for the exact group you want to talk to, regardless of the search terms they choose. Keywords still matter, but you can select many relevant keywords for one ad group.
  2. Quick, temporary results may be what you need right now. When you have a new product, a new location, or a new website, you can get that top space for your new stuff while you gradually work on organic rankings. Everybody starts at zero, and ads can cover that time between zero and when your new offerings reach the top.
  3. Speed may be the priority. When you have a seasonal special or an event coming up, you may not have time to build your natural search results. The natural time frame for promoting  a grand opening might not allow organic SEO to work fully.
  4. People are more likely to click when they see the ad and the organic result together. Research shows that a top-ranked website gets significantly more clicks when it also has an ad. I don’t know why, but the research is persuasive. Most ads don’t show websites that are on the front page, but when the top organic site also has an ad, the website will see 50% higher visits or more, according to Google’s own data.
  5. Your competitors can still pay to rank ahead of you. Ads often show up before the organic search rankings, and we know that some people don’t even realize those are ads. If you own the first page of organic results but your competitor buys the ad space, you might lose some clicks.
  6. You’re probably not #1 for everything. If you’re consistently #1 for “cataract surgeon near me,” you may still not be able to rank for popular related searches like “cataract surgery cost.” Major national websites have that search term sewn up in organic listings. You can show up in a local ad for that term in your service area, though, by setting up geo-targeted ads for that search.
  7. Your website isn’t (and shouldn’t be) an ad. The listings on the search engine results page should be clear and descriptive. Trying to get ad copy to show up in your meta descriptions is generally not a good idea. Now, there is still a big difference between print ad copy and effective digital ads, but you can certainly put sales copy into your PPC ads. Be persuasive!

Paid search can be very valuable. Managing your AdWords investment makes all the difference in your ROI. We’ll be happy to discuss your AdWords management needs.

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