Do you remember the good old days when all you had to do was just put an ad in the newspaper and the Yellow Pages? Or perhaps your business covered a larger market and you had to make a TV or radio spot? The Internet changed all that a long time ago. Now it seems like there’s a constant treadmill of new technologies and advertising channels that you have to get on or you’ll lose your customers.
That’s only partly true. The key to advertising online is to first figure out where your audience is gathered online and then target those channels. Yet there are still two forms of Internet advertising that are very important for business.
THE BASICS OF SEO AND PPC
The two essentials are SEO and PPC. SEO is search engine optimization. It is a way of influencing Google and other search engines to rank your page higher when people search for certain terms. When Google indexes your website, it makes a judgment about how relevant your site is to a particular search term (a “keyword” in their lingo) compared to other sites. Sites that are listed closer to the top spot of the page get the lion’s share of the clicks. SEO techniques try to convince search engines that your site is more relevant than your competitors.
PPC, an abbreviation for pay per click advertising, is the other way to get noticed on a search engine’s website. All those small little advertisements you see when you make a search on Google or Bing are PPC ads. Here’s how that works. A business makes an ad and asks a PPC company to place it along with a bid for how much the business is willing to pay every time someone clicks on the ad. The ad company finds keywords to match the ad to and puts it with other ads. Depending on the price bid, the average bid, and other factors, your ad gets displayed when people search for keywords related to your ad. It’s a very effective form of advertising, at least for Google. Eighty-five percent of Google’s revenue comes just from PPC advertising.
MOBILE IS VITAL NOW
Smartphones have introduced a big change in the way that people interact with the Internet, and businesses have had to adapt. Now both websites and PPC campaigns have had to adapt to this new way of doing business.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center about smartphone use in 2015 has some revealing statistics:
• Two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone.
• Nineteen percent of Americans use the smartphone as their primary way of connecting with the Internet either because they lack broadband at home or have few options for online access other than a cellular network (think rural areas).
• Seven percent only use a smartphone to access the Internet.
Granted, most of those users are younger Americans, but many of them are also using smartphones as their primary point of contact for finding employment and researching companies. Thus, it is important that your business can be found easily through smartphones.
The catch is that designing a website and PPC campaign for mobile is different than doing it for a standard computer. A website that looks great on a monitor may look awful on a smartphone or tablet. In fact, Google launched an entirely different ranking algorithm for its search engine just for mobile users to help smartphone users find websites that are “responsive” to whatever device is accessing the website.
If you have a smartphone, grab it now and go to your company’s website. It is easy to navigate? Can you get to everything? Could you request a quote or email your company if you had to without issues? If not, then you need to do some work to get your website compatible so smartphone users aren’t driven to your competitors and so that Google and other search engines start ranking your website better.
PPC campaigns also have to adapt for the mobile lifestyle. The paradigm is different. The primary goal of a mobile PPC campaign is to have the user call your sales team, not fill out a web form. Thus, landing page strategies are much different. Also, the ads have to be much sharper because there is less screen real estate.
In conclusion, the trend toward using smartphones instead of computers to access the Internet is pushing a change in website design and advertising campaigns. Be sure that your company is taking advantage of this new channel.