What Is Paid Search?
Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, let you buy your way into the sponsored listings of a search results page or search network.
You’re charged a defined amount whenever someone clicks your ad.
Paid search ads appear above the organic results and above the fold on mobile devices, occupying prime real estate on a search results page (SERP). For high-intent search queries, the top three paid ad spots command nearly 40% of the clicks on a SERP.
In 2021, 73% of e-commerce transactions occurred on mobile devices. It’s no different for local service businesses — customers search for you on mobile. For many searches on mobile, only the paid search listings show above the fold (the visible screen area upon page load).
Why Is Paid Search Crucial for Small Businesses?
It’s a dirty little secret of the web design world that most small business sites get the barest sniff of traffic from Google. 55% see fewer than 16 daily visits. Many get fewer than three. No wonder the phones are gathering cobwebs.
A search-optimized website can generate more than enough traffic to sustain your business, but what should you do in the meantime until the new site launches and gains momentum?
For most of our clients, the marketing relationship begins with paid search.
It takes a while — and it’s not cheap — to create a search-optimized website. Even after launch, it may be months before all pages are indexed and beginning to rank.
Organic search takes time.
Paid search is like turning on the traffic spigot, or even hydrant, depending on your spend. Results are immediate. The phones will start ringing on day one of a paid search campaign.
Types of Paid Search Advertising
You have several advertising options within the broad category of paid search.
The gold standard of paid search, AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) ad platform that lets you place text, image, video, and product ads on Google’s SERPs and the vast Google Display Network (GDN).
Google Local Services Ads (LSAs)
The newest form of paid advertising from Google, Local Services Ads (formerly Home Service Ads), are available only in select US markets and for specific service categories, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, garage door repair, and more.
Google Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)
Dynamic Search Ads can be a godsend if you have a large inventory of products or services or if your website is brand new and not yet indexed. DSAs don’t require keyword research — Google will crawl your website and automatically match relevant queries to your ads.
Google Shopping Ads
Formerly known as Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Google Shopping Ads are image-based ads that appear in the search results for relevant product queries.
Similar to AdWords but with a smaller audience, Bing Ads runs on the Yahoo!/Bing network. It’s a good choice if you’re targeting users who don’t use Google — about 20% of desktop searches in the US.
Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad placements are less intrusive and more closely resemble the look, feel, and function of the content surrounding them.
Social Media Advertising
You may already connect with customers and promote your brand through social media. But did you know that most platforms offer paid advertising options? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram have paid ad products that can help you reach a larger audience.
Remarketing (also called retargeting) is a form of display advertising that lets you show ads to people who have visited your website or used your mobile app. These highly-targeted ads follow users around the web, keeping your brand top of mind.
Display advertising appears on websites across the internet, usually as banner ads, rich media, or video ads.
Inbox ads let you show text, image, or video ads as people check their email.
Paid Search vs. SEO: Where Should You Place Your Bets?
As with most things in marketing, the answer is “it depends.” If you’re starting, or if your website is brand-new and not yet indexed, paid search can bring an immediate influx of traffic and leads.
SEO (search engine optimization) comes with the package when Culture Cube rebuilds your website. But paid search can supplement your organic traffic while you wait for your site to rank.
A holistic digital marketing approach that includes paid search, SEO, web design, content marketing, social media, and retargeting can help you reach your target audience and achieve your business goals.
Culture Cube’s Paid Search Philosophy
1. We focus on relevance to save you money.
Highly relevant content and specially designed landing pages improve your quality scores, increase conversion rates, and lower your cost per click. Depending on the quality of your ads and landing pages, you could pay less per click than the business whose ad displays below yours.
2. We pay less for quality leads and high-conversion keywords.
We build campaign strategies around cheaper, less competitive keywords more relevant to your products and services than the glamorous (and expensive) head terms. We also choose keywords showing intent to purchase.
3. Mobile goes to the front of the parade.
In 2021, 63% of US searches occurred on a mobile device. Mobile shows a higher conversion rate for our clients, most of whom are local service businesses.
It’s cheaper and more effective to advertise on the preferred platform of people searching for your business, who in some cases may be a short distance away.
4. We monitor and adapt.
At Culture Cube, we never “set and forget” with any campaign — not with SEO, and certainly not with paid search. We monitor everything and continually optimize for the best results.
A Paid Search Case Study
A Culture Cube service industry client generated 96% of the previous year’s leads for half the ad spend.
Improved ad copy and landing page design increased the conversion rate by 32% and lowered the cost per lead by 50%.
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