Digital advertising is growing, and it’s an invaluable tool. Paid search spending has grown astronomically since 2009 and there’s a good reason for that – pay-per-click (PPC) ads work. Constant innovation from search tools makes bidding on keywords — of which there are often thousands for retailers — more efficient and effective. In addition, search engines such as the powerhouse that is Google are continually pushing the envelope with new ways to target and reach consumers. Companies that are digitally savvy enough to take advantage of these digital marketing and business techniques are often more successful than their peers. Digitally mature small and medium companies are a third more likely to have seen turnover increase in the last two years than the least digitally savvy. With this in mind, you can make your business more digitally effective with these simple search marketing tips:
Paid Search for Retailers
PPC ads are a great way for retail businesses to drive traffic to their websites and increase online sales, if you have the budget and expertise. There’s a difference between running a search campaign and running an effective search campaign. Make use of Google’s Keyword Tool to research what people are searching for in relation to your industry. The more searches there are per month, the bigger the potential for traffic acquisition is. Be sure to include the various types of products or services that your website provides, as well as any physical business locations that might apply. The more specific your keywords are, the bigger the chance of capturing quality traffic. Google has even compiled a guide of their recommended best practices here.
Understanding ‘Quality Score’
Google looks at how relevant and useful your PPC ad is to the searcher and the search terms that they’ve used. It also looks at how many clicks your ad has received previously, also known as its click-through rate (CTR), and how relevant your landing page is. For instance, if the searcher types ‘‘latest summer fashion’’ and your advert appears saying “latest summer fashion in stock”, once the ad is clicked it must lead the searcher directly to a page featuring the promised summer fashion. Just going to your generic homepage won’t cut it. The higher your quality score, the better. In fact, even if your maximum bid is less than a rival bidder, you still may appear above their ad if your quality score is considerably better.
Keep Up To Date With The Latest Changes
Google is continually testing different iterations of their ad formats, the layout of their search engine results page (SERP), and other important elements. For example, Google recently removed the sidebar PPC ads for all desktop searches, which limited the number of ad positions available to advertisers. It is critical for advertisers to stay up to date with these changes as they may impact the performance of their search campaigns.
The latest Google algorithm update impacting organic search is RankBrain. It’s designed to take an ambiguous search term entered by a user and make use of artificial intelligence to determine what he or she is actually searching for, much as the human brain would. According to Google, 15% of the queries they receive each day are ones that they haven’t encountered before, and this is where RankBrain comes into play. It helps to ensure the user obtains the information they are searching for rather than being confronted by dozens of unrelated organic search results.
Be Aware Of The Alternatives
Google still battles with the Yahoo Bing Network over search share, as well as Facebook and others over display advertising share. Facebook has been outpacing Google in display growth and making strides against its sizeable lead, but what does this mean for you? Competition drives innovation and keeps costs competitive. It does however add complexity by forcing advertisers to go to many different outlets when buying ads.
Another avenue that business owners can explore which puts them in control is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You may even find that by optimising your organic search rankings, you may not even need to spend too much on PPC keywords. However, many marketers will recommend that both PPC and SEO are vital to an effective search marketing strategy and that they complement each other effectively. Here’s a good beginner’s guide to SEO if your interested in learning more and taking your retail business to the next level.