Now is the time to experiment with PPC advertising

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August 1, 2012

SEO isn’t dead, but it’t not as powerful as it used to be. Five years ago a site with good on-page SEO and quality backlinks would rank well in relevant search queries. But a few changes, both from Google and from users, have changed the playing field. Now might be the perfect time to try something new in your attempt to attract readers via search. It might be time to try a pay-per-click advertising approach.

PPC Ads Are No. 1

If you type some of your top keywords into Google, you’ll see those familiar beige boxes on top of the search results. You might even see smaller ads off to the side. These are not the No. 1 organic search results for your keywords, but are instead paid advertisements. And they’re getting more attention than your SEO and link building efforts are bringing you.

True, many people simply ignore those ads. But others find them highly relevant. If the copy is done right, they look like natural links even though they’re in a clearly marked advertising box. Even if some people don’t click those links, they will at least see them. There is value in that, especially if they see you atop multiple searches.

Google wants users to buy PPC

Most of Google’s billions come from advertising deals. Some of that comes from its AdSense revenue share. Blogs running AdSense spots see only a portion of the revenue from them. A sizable portion of what the advertiser pays goes to Google; they are the ultimate advertising middleman. But with PPC they handle the entire transaction. And that’s where an even bigger portion of revenues come from.

Corporations are incentivized by revenues and profits. Since AdWords, Google’s PPC product, generates massive revenue, they clearly want to get people using that. In fact, some in the SEO industry believe that Google factors in AdWords revenue when tweaking its organic search algorithm. It all points to Google wanting you to pay for PPC ads. It makes sense.

Mobile changing the scene

More and more people are visiting blogs on mobile devices. Whether on a tablet or on a smartphone, mobile traffic is on the rise. One of my blogs now sees more than 30 percent of its traffic coming from mobile. That changes the game in many ways, but search is affected to the greatest degree. Go run a google search on your smartphone now. What do you see in the results? Chances are you’ll see some PPC ads, with maybe one organic result above the fold.

It’s a similar scene with tablets. Maybe a few more organic results appear above the fold, but not many. Even with new laptops, it’s an issue. Just check out the Intel powered Ultrabooks from Lenovo. Unless you set the resolution super high on them, chances are you’re only going to see a few organic results beneath the PPC ads. That is the curse of small screens. They make PPC that much more prominent.

But it costs money

Yes, you’ll have to pay Google for any PPC campaign you run. For many bloggers that’s a turnoff. It’s not as though they have money to blow on advertising willy nilly. But sometimes it makes sense to spend a little money in an attempt to make even more. Done right, PPC can be an investment that makes a blogger money through increased exposure and traffic.

Think about it this way: you spend time on SEO and link building, right? With a PPC campaign you can scale back those efforts, thereby giving yourself more free time. You can spend that time focusing on other aspects of your blog that can help make your money back. All the cliches apply here: you have to spend money to make money, time is money, and more.

Ranking highly in organic search results is still important. The majority of users will still see your links above the fold if they’re searching from a desktop computer. But with more and more users searching from mobile devices, and even laptops, it’s becoming tougher to get attention with organic links. PPC advertising can give you a leg up on the competition. Now more than ever it’s an option for bloggers who want exposure.

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