One of the things I’m often asked about, particularly by owners of recently developed website, is how quickly will the site appear in the Google listings.
That’s usually when the subject of Google Adwords is raised as a way of getting the sites listed in Google quickly. So, I thought is would be a good ideas to explain what it is, together with some of the pluses and minuses, if you are contemplating using it.
What is Google Adwords? Basically, it is pay-per-click advertising on Google. As a very simplistic explanation, you select a list of keyword phrases and assign a “click cost” to each. Each time someone does a search for one of those keyword phrases and your site shows up in the listings, you pay Google if that person clicks through to your site. The position that your site shows up in the listings is determined by the “click cost” you’ve elected to pay. The more you elect to pay, the higher your site is listed.
Google Adwords results show up at the top and right hand side of the Google listing page.
On the plus side, Google Adwords will get your site listed in Google almost instantly. What’s more, unlike other forms of advertising, you only pay when people click through to your site. You can configure it to set the keywords you want listing together with the click costs associated with each. You can specify the titles and text of the ads. You can specify a budget to cap your monthly spending. In fact, the controls you get are pretty comprehensive.
Another big plus is that you can configure various statistics reports to measure precisely what what you’re spending and what the most cost effective keyword phrases are. If you set up your measuring and tracking correctly you can easily pinpoint exactly what your cost per sale is and where the sales are coming from. No other form of advertising will allow you to do that as easily.
So what about the downside? Google Adwords can prove expensive and can burn a lot of money quickly if not set up correctly. Setting up a campaign is not trivial and requires daily monitoring and tweaking for the first few weeks until it settles down, and continual monitoring thereafter. The aim here is to try and get the lowest possible average cost per click and the most clicks for a given budget. My advice to any client, who is not familiar with Google Adwords, is to subcontract the job to someone who is. They will save you money in the long run.
In conclusion, should you use it? It depends. If you’re running an eCommerce site, my advice is definitely yes. For other types of site, you can run a Google Adwords campaign for the first few months until your site appears in the organic listings. If you’re planning to spend money on advertising your site on an ongoing basis – Yell or paid for offline advertising, for example – then I definitely recommend spending the money on Google Adwords instead. You’ll get a better return.
A word of warning, however. Don’t think that traffic brought to your site by any form of advertising will necessarily get you results. Your website has to convert those visitors into enquiries. If all they do is take one look at your site and then click away, then you’ll be wasting your money.
You can find out more about Google Adwords here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject. Have you had any experience with pay-per-click? Use the form at the end of this post to leave feedback.