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Google Adwords - to PPC or not to PPC


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Friday, 18th March 2011

Paid listings as a way to drive traffic - some thoughts from Rusty Monkey.

We offer a variety of SEO and SEM services to all of our clients, and we often get asked about the value of Google Adwords and other Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. In short, Adwords lets you set up an account, specify keywords to target and place a bid on these keywords, and then when people search for them an advert will appear in one of the 'Sponsored Listings' spaces, either at the top of the page:

Adwords placement - top of screen

 or on the right hand side:

Adwords placement - on right hand side

This has obvious advantages: it gives you an immediate presence on Google, which can be a boost for people who are just starting out or who maybe haven't got the time or money to invest in some wide-reaching SEO/SEM. It also looks really good to have a high organic ranking and and a well placed Adwords presence as this strengthens your positon and projects a really good image to anyone searching. The question that always remains is just how effective is Adwords, and do peoople actually pay any attention to sponsored listings? Well, as with a lot of things that Google does, it's a bit of a difficult question to answer. Dependent on your market and how targeted your keywords are, it can either be a relatively cheap endeavour or you could be up against huge competitors and find yourself paying a lot of money just to have someone visit your website. In this case, a bit of canny keyword research can do wonders in revealing some niche keywords to target - ie those that produce quite a lot of searches but have relatively low competition (and therefore relatively low associated PPC cost).

Best estimates put search traffic at around 70:30 in favour of organic results, so there is a market to be tapped into here, although obviously this still puts the onus on organic results as the main source of website visitors for most people. Google do provide a lot of help and advice for anyone looking to start out on Adwords, so it's not something you have to go into blind. Read more from Google directly here, and take a look at this useful little article for some very sage advice. If you have a bit of budget to put toward Adwords it's always worth a go to see if it works for your business, and, as ever, Rusty Monkey are always happy to offer advice on the best way to go about things.


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