When you say, “Search Engine,” people think Google, the search engine so big that “To Google” is now a verb in the dictionary. Strangely, online marketers say that Google isn’t actually a search engine. They say it would be much more accurate to call Google an advertising agency; moreover, it’s the largest, most influential advertising company in the world today.
So how did a humble search engine with the motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” grow to take over the Web? The company dominates at least 70% of the search market, and 93% of all online activity begins with a search. And since 58% of consumers now research a product or new service online before buying, companies are competing to be one of those top ten search results on the first page of Google.
But wait, Google has a solution for small businesses! Pay them — Pay-Per-Click advertisements allow small businesses to advertise on that first page of search results, a tempting offer for many business owners. So what are the pros and cons of PPC ads?
Pro: Top Ten Or Bust
For businesses that don’t make it to the first page of search results, three-quarters of searchers will never bother clicking on the second page; it might as well not even exist.
Buying PPC ads can help businesses get where their customers can find them, at a cost.
Con: PPC Ads Are Expensive
The search terms customers use to find you (and your competitors) are known as keywords, and to target the best keywords will cost you money every time a customer clicks on your ad, whether they end up buying anything or not. While PPC ads are an effective part of digital marketing, they aren’t the only solution.
Con: Local SEO Services Beat PPC Ads
Search Engine Optimization is a set of best practices for improving a site’s search rankings. And on average, 75% of searchers will choose organic results over PPC ads, which means without local SEO strategies in place, you could lose business to your competitors in the long run.
Local SEO services are widely available, and outsourcing SEO for small businesses is quickly becoming the norm, just as businesses outsource advertising.
Ultimately, most businesses choose a blend of local SEO services and PPC ads.