Being found on the Internet is a mix of marketing chemistry and art. Many businesses wrongfully think that just by having a website they’re being seen by thousands of people. But, there’s actually a lab full of experiments and equations that need to be worked through before a website can even break onto Google’s radar. Paid search is the surest way to get seen in search queries, but the formula is not as simple as you may have hypothesized.
We talked to John Budzynski, Black Tie’s Paid Search Specialist, about the ins and outs of paid search. He’s the Einstein to our Van Gogh and can explain this mystery science faster than you can say, “Google AdWords.”
First off, John wants you to know that paid search affords users the option to be seen by a larger audience for a price. You already knew that, but what you may not have known is that to pay Google to display your ads, you enter into an Internet auction full of algorithms and equations that determine where you’ll show up and how much you’ll pay.
“Most people don’t realize it’s an auction.” John explains. You can’t just pay Google to display your ad, there’s a formula to it. “What we do is examine your website and choose relevant keywords based on your services.” In conjunction with your campaign goals and budget, he groups those relevant keywords into ad groups and places a bid.
This is where the algorithms come in. To determine your rank, or where your ad will be placed, Google sends out its bots. They determine how relevant your site and landing page are compared to the ad you’d like to place. They call this a quality score. They add the quality score to your bid to determine your ads rank.
Bid x Quality Score = Rank
Still following? Great. So, now that he’s placed your bid, your site has been ranked and your ad is displayed on the first page of Google, when do you pay? “It’s free to appear, but you pay for the click.” You don’t have to pay what you bid until someone clicks on your ad and is taken to your website. It’s really an amazing concept in advertising. You’re only paying for actual return.
John says that one thing many clients are concerned and confused about is how much they end up paying for their paid search campaign. The market determines the cost of keywords, which can inflate some like “Insurance,” and “Personal Injury Lawyer” to net hundreds of dollars per click. Only nobody has control over the cost of keywords. “The cost is determined by how much competition you’re bidding against and how aggressively they’re bidding,” which is why it’s so important to have a paid search specialist, like John, on your side. “What I can do is manage your bids and stay in the range that is comfortable for you,” he said. He can judge if it’s necessary for you to pay top dollar for #1 rank, or if you can get the same traffic by appearing #3 or #4.
It’s no surprise that his biggest piece of advice for clients looking to invest in paid search is to not simply buy into what Google is telling you to do. He says that Google has a lot of great tools for businesses, but you need to remember that it has everything to gain by driving up the cost of bids for keywords. To do good by your business you should really find someone who knows what is best for your business and understands what you’re trying to achieve with a PPC campaign.