One of the reasons that search engines are so important for business is the type of leads they bring. As opposed to traditional ads (which also have their place), search engines bring leads from people most likely looking for the exact types of services that you offer. Surprisingly, only a proportionately small number of businesses actually utilize Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, appearing over the organic search results as a part of their strategy. At Points Group, we believe these ads are crucial.

PPC ads are the listings with a yellow background that typically appear at the top of the search results. It can be subtle, and you may even have to tip your screen a bit to really notice the yellow background, but it’s there. Businesses bid on these prime placements based on the keywords used in search results, and pay every time someone clicks on an ad. These ads also appear in the column to the right of the search results. Both types of ads are highlighted in red below. (You can get more information about understanding Pay Per Click here: Understanding Pay Per Click)

At Points Group, we believe it is crucial for companies to bid on these ads. Here’s why:

The ads are where the user’s eyes go.

This heat map shows where a user’s eyes go on a search engine results page (SERP). As you can see, logically, a user’s eyes go directly to the top left corner of the page.

The top of the page is where the top 2-3 search results are displayed. Not only should you be using PPC to capture these potential customers, you should make sure that you’re consistently featured in the top few results.

Even though they are ads, most people don’t realize it.

According to a recent study, 41% of people were unaware that the listings above the organic search were ads, and 81% routinely clicked on them. I have talked to people who literally thought the Google search results were just listed alphabetically.
Don’t fall for the myth that people don’t click on the top results because they are ads – they do.

Eliminating Paid Search Will Cost You Traffic and Leads

It is often recommended that you use a PPC campaign to fill an immediate need in search engine rankings (which is good advice – it can), but then to eliminate it when organic rankings are strong. This is bad advice. Research shows that when you take away PPC, the organic rankings do not capture all of the clicks that PPC had. In fact:

  • If you have the #1 ranking and remove PPC, 50% of clicks you receive from ads will not be recovered by organic search.
  • If you have spot #2-4, 82% of the clicks lost will not be recovered by organic search.
  • If you have spot #5 or below, 96% of clicks will not be recovered.

PPC helps you rank for highly competitive terms

Many users will search for highly competitive terms. It can be very difficult for the average business to rank for one of these terms, and certainly for multiple difficult terms. If you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, you can get traffic from these keywords. And, if they’re chosen well, the keywords are typically more likely to generate leads.

If you’re not already using a PPC campaign to drive leads, we strongly recommend that you start one. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get started. And if you’re having trouble or don’t know where to start, we’d always be happy to help.

How have you seen PPC enhance your website’s traffic and leads? Let us know in the comments below.

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Points Group, LLC

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This document was last updated on July 24, 2014