Google has many different marketing options, but how do you tell them apart and know which will be best for you? I am going to explain a few of the more popular Google paid and organic options.
What is organic, and how does it differ from paid advertising?
Directly from Google: A free listing in Google Search that appears because it’s relevant to someone’s search terms. Non-organic search results are paid advertisements.
Well, sign me up for the free advertising. How do I start?
As you well know by now, nothing is truly free. Though your organic listing does not cost money to appear, you must still put in the time and effort and have the know-how to rank high enough to be relevant.
First, let’s break down the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That is where these listings will appear. This page appears after you type your search into Google and hit enter. I will take you through the order in which the listings appear.
Google Local Service Ads (GLSA), often called Google Guaranteed
These paid advertisements always appear at the top of the SERP page. Google must vet you to participate. Once vetted, it is very simple and easy to manage. You select your target area, hours of operation, budget, etc., but it is not nearly as complicated as Google Ads. You also can dispute leads that you feel were not valid (they give you a handful of supplied reasons) and possibly receive a refund on the click. There is also a pause button for when you go on vacation or are booked out too far. This is the easiest way to compete with Google’s paid advertisements.
Use broad service areas – if you can, use counties instead of zip codes.
Encourage customers to leave a review – depending on business type, your business may need 5 or more reviews to show.
Use high-quality photos – these can be photos of your team, work or equipment.
Maximize leads with bidding – Google recommends this over Max per lead bidding. (I would try one for a time period and another for the same time period and compare)
This is the area that I specialized in when I worked for the digital marketing agency. Where GLSA’s are the easiest way to get into paid Google advertisements, Google Ads is thorough and offers the most return on ad spend or ROI in paid online marketing that I have witnessed. You control the message, location, time of day, and budget, along with a multitude of other metrics and settings. The data is very granular and allows you to maximize your campaigns to achieve the best returns.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s):
For most service-based businesses, the best Google Ads KPI’s to monitor are –
Cost per lead – I typically start campaigns defining a lead as a call lasting 1 minute or more or a website form submission.
Cost per acquisition – not every lead is a sale. What is the total marketing cost to acquire that customer?
Click-to-call ratio – how many clicks turn into phone calls.
Conversion rate – the percentage of clicks that convert into leads.
These may not be all of the KPI’s that you decide to track or consider.
You want to also consider things like sales cycle, lifetime value of a customer, referral opportunities gained, external factors (weather, sudden economic upheaval, etc.) and honestly evaluate your phone calls/closing ability. Everyone can close a good referral but how well do you close new/cold business?
As a comparison, we have spent $16K on Google Ads this year and had a gross return of $106K. For Google Guarantee, we have spent $3800 and have grossed $5300.
Map Pack / Google My Business Listing
This is the quickest and easiest way to rank organically. You do not have to pay for your listing, and you do not have to pay when someone clicks on your business. If you run Google Guarantee or Google Ads, you may receive the first or second spot in the map pack, but you have no control over if or where your ad will appear in the pack. This listing will generate a lot of spam but can also yield a lot of business when utilized correctly.
Google My Business is our company’s fifth largest revenue producer this year. In 2021, before I came here, they totaled $0. In 2022, $40K. So far this year, we are at $50K in revenue with $0 spent and about 1 hour per week devoted to maintenance.
How to Optimize:
Enter complete data – businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the correct searches
Verify your locations – verified locations are more likely to show in Search results across Google products
Keep your hours accurate – Update your business hours regularly, including special hours for holidays and events.
Manage and respond to reviews – When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback.
Add photos – To showcase your services and to tell the story of your business, add photos to your Business Profile.
More valuable information can be found here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/local-seo-tips-serps-map-pack/397587/#close
Many people confuse Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ads. It is your organic listing that SEO works to improve upon, and proper SEO utilizes many tactics to help Google recognize your site as an authority. Your SEO ranking will differ for virtually every keyword that is pertinent to your business. Also, although the clicks don’t cost you money, many companies devote large budgets to SEO. Progress is slow; it can take 30-90 days for each optimization to take effect.
I often describe Google Ads as a race car; it will go as long and as fast (to a point) as the fuel (money) you put into it allows. SEO is like a freight train; it takes a long time to get momentum, but when it does, it can carry you right into profits. SEO is definitely a long-term strategy.
SEO is complicated, and there is no easy way to say what to do to be successful. Most people will need to hire an SEO company to perform this service, and that in itself can be difficult. I suggest choosing a company that strives to understand your business and goals. Agree upon metrics that you both feel are important, and have the company set benchmarks they would like to reach, i.e., traffic on specific keywords, overall website traffic, conversion increases, etc. You will want to be committed to the strategy for 6 months to 1 year to really see results.
Hopefully, this article helps you to distinguish between some Google advertising options and help you to make an informed decision on what marketing fits best for you. These are just a few options available from Google or in the digital marketing realm in general.
Remember that healthy marketing doesn’t rely on one channel for all the revenue. You must also track results as concisely as possible, or else optimization of your marketing isn’t possible.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550800113052