Save 50 Percent on Google Ads with Better SEO
Read on to learn how optimizing for organic search can substantially improve your ROI from Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This article looks specifically at Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) and its relationship to SEO.
Why You Need to Pay Attention to SEO
Let’s face it: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a bit of a buzzword. Everyone says you need it, even if you’re not one hundred percent sure how it works. It helps customers find you online, and makes a user on your site up to 3x more likely to make a purchase. Perhaps you know this, and you’ve already started to optimize your website for certain keywords.
But great SEO takes time and, more importantly, a fair amount of technical knowledge. So rather than spend countless hours learning the finer points of meta tags and link-building and long-tail keywords, you may abandon it like so many others and opt for the faster route: Google Ads.
Google’s paid search advertisements are an incredible way to target exactly the kind of customers you want to buy from you -- assuming you know what you’re doing, that is.
But did you know a smart SEO strategy will not only make your advertising more effective, but save you a pile of cash on Google Ads in the process? Did you know you can attract boatloads of new customers before you even spend a dime on those ads?
Before we dive into that, let’s make sure you’re not dumping money down the drain when you run your Google Ads.
How Google Ad Pricing Works, and How to Pay Less for It
Even for small businesses, paid marketing through search engines like Google can add up fast. “Cost-Per-Click” or “Pay-Per-Click” ads like this are exactly that: you pay Google whenever someone clicks your ad in their search results.
When a customer clicks a Google Ad, they’re taken to the landing page you provide them. Your Google ad takes them to your product page, where they can view your product and sales copy and (hopefully) start their purchase. Simple enough, right?
Now, when the ad is working, you scale it: you increase your ad spend and put it in front of more people, because the audience is responding to the ad. It’s a basic formula: spend more on ads, convert more customers.
But what if you could get just as many sales at half the cost, or even less?
In Google Ads, your ad receives an Ad Rank, depending on a few factors. A better Ad Rank means Google likes your ad because the audience is responding to it. More importantly, a better Ad Rank means a lower cost-per-click for you.
The average cost per click in Google Ads is between $1 and $2. The most competitive (i.e. “most expensive”) keywords in Google Ads cost $50 or more per click. These competitive words tend to be more general, like “new car” or “phone case.” They have a much higher search volume, so companies are willing to pay more for them, and the price goes up.
A highly competitive keyword results in a lot more searches, so it’s tempting to target it. But how many people are clicking, thinking your ad is for something different, and leaving the page without a purchase? You pay for every click, so don’t waste your money on this.
Cheaper keywords are more specific, like “2020 blue Audi coup” or “black iPhone X case under $20.” These have a much lower search volume, but the searchers have a better idea of what they want, so the odds they click the first result they see is much higher.
In other words, the more relevant your ad keywords are to the person searching, the cheaper your ads will be per click.
So How Does SEO Cut Costs in Your Google Ads?
Great SEO helps you save money in multiple ways. On the most basic level, great SEO boosts your unpaid website traffic, because it increases the odds your site shows up on the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP), like that of Google or Bing. With a properly optimized website, this can massively increase your odds of converting site visitors into customers, without any advertising costs.
Second, great SEO means you spent time customizing your webpages to make them more relevant to people searching. When you have highly relevant content, it makes your ads more effective. That means when people click your ad, they find exactly what they were hoping to find.
In his book This is Marketing, Seth Godin calls this the “Smallest Viable Market.” For us, this means the minimum number of customers you would need to have to make your business worth it. When you focus on this small, specific audience, you don’t need to generalize or compromise with your messaging. Visitors feel as if you’re talking only to them.
Google uses this relevance and quality of user experience to determine your Ad Rank (mentioned above). When you improve your SEO, these factors will naturally improve.
Quick SEO Best Practices to Boost Your Ad Rank
A specific and relevant headline: Say you’re a CRM software company. Your landing page wouldn’t just describe you as a “CRM platform.” Instead, you’re a “Customer relationship management platform for midsize manufacturing companies.” When your site reflects specific targeting like this, you weed out the large or non-manufacturing businesses who wouldn’t be your customers anyway.
Landing page copy that addresses their specific need: what’s your product? How will it help them? If this is done well, people will also find your page in their organic (unpaid) search results. That means more free customers for you.
A clear Call to Action: what do you want them to do next? Call now? Sign up? Buy today? Book a meeting? A clear path on what to do next will not only boost your page ranking in search results, but will increase the percentage of visitors who turn into customers.
Clear and simple navigation: Make your site and its pages easy to navigate. If visitors need more information about you or the product, there needs to be clear options for where to get it. Google’s algorithms give better rankings to sites with a logical navigation structure.
Quality Content: when users spend more time browsing your site, Google logs this time. More time clicking within your site leads to better SEO and Ad Rank.
Improving these basic factors will help both SEO and your Ad Rank. But if you don’t have the time or expertise to implement a full SEO strategy, consider hiring or contracting someone who does. Strong SEO practices will help you acquire new customers while cutting costs on advertising and sales. On that note:
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As a Content Marketer specializing in SEO, I help small businesses boost their web traffic and earn more sales through inbound marketing. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “SEO Audit” in the subject line, and I’ll look through your site (free of charge) and show you how to get better results.
If it starts with a search, it’ll end with a sale.