Local Online Advertising Options | To Pay or Not to Pay?…
That is the Question!
When I speak with business owners about local online
advertising I often find that they are overwhelmed and confused by the alphabet soup of - PPC, CPC,
SEO, SERPs, Twitter, Facebook, social marketing, search marketing, organic search and paid
In this article I'll attempt to clear up this confusion and
set you on a course of action that makes sense and works.
In the end, you
can cut through the majority of the alphabet soup by breaking your options into two major
categories: “Paid” and “Unpaid”.
While there are literally dozens of
different ways to spend money on paid local online advertising the single most relevant, effective
and easy to implement is Pay per Click advertising.
Pay per Click
pioneered by Yahoo through their Overture program many years ago, today pay per click advertising
(PPC) is almost universally synonymous with Google AdWords the way Kleenex is synonymous with
tissues. So since all the systems work about the same, we’ll take a look at the “Big Dog” which is
How It Works -
Any time you
search for something in Google you will notice up to three paid advertisements at the top of the
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and up to 10 advertisements along the right side of the
AdWords advertisements and as the name pay-per-click suggests you get charged a fee every time
anyone clicks on your ad – whether they take any further action or not.
While like all
things Google. the exact formula that determines which ads are shown in what order is a closely
guarded secret our testing and research has shown the following variables to be extremely
of the keyword the advertiser is bidding on to the search term
click-through-rate (CTR) of the advertisement
- the quality
of the page linked to the advertisement
- how much
the advertiser is willing to pay per click.
Pros and Cons
of Search-based PPC
A big plus for
pay-per-click is that in a matter of hours you can create a Google AdWords account, create an
advertisement and if you're willing to spend enough money, be on the front page of Google
A second big
plus is that if you know what you are doing you can create highly targeted advertisements that will
only show to the exact demographic you are interested in targeting.
The drawbacks to
PPC are considerable. First, PPC rates have skyrocketed over the last five years. For example, just
a few years back you were able to buy AdWords advertisements for the keyword phrase "Sales Training
Chicago" for little over $1.00 per click. Today, each of those clicks will cost you over
developing and managing a cost effective and productive campaign requires an enormous amount of
skill and experience in multiple disciplines from writing ad copy to developing high converting
webpages that meet Google's mysterious and ever-changing "quality" score standards.
multiple eye tracking studies have shown that most web users (your potential new customers)
completely ignore both the top paid listings as well those along the side.
So while the
good news is you only pay for those people who click on your advertisement the bad news is that
most of your new potential customers never see your ad, and if they do, they know it's a paid ad
and therefore judged as less trustworthy than organic search results.
and Organic Local Online Advertising
“natural”, or “organic” search engine results are the 10 listings that appear on the SERP for the
term you searched. For any given search term there will be anywhere from a few to a few hundred
pages of search engine results returned to you when you search.
Now you may be
thinking “search engine results are not advertising” and that's where you and most other local
business owners would be wrong! Search engine results and the webpages that they lead to are one of
the most effective forms of advertising ever created!
They May Be
Natural and They May Be Organic But They Are Definitely Not Free!
definition is: the action of calling something to the
attention of the public especially by paid announcements.
Well, in order for your website to
appear on the first page of the search engine results page (remember- 89.71% of all searchers
never go beyond Page 1) you must have, at the very least:
- purchased a domain
- paid to have a website created or create
one yourself (and I know your time is not free!)
- invested time, money or both to optimize
So, according to the definition of
advertising an organic listing is most definitely online advertising!
How It Works | Making Organic Local Online
Google and the other search engines don't
just deliver the results you see in some random fashion. In fact, quite the opposite is true and
each search engine (but in particular Google) uses an ever-changing complex algorithm to determine
exactly what results to show.
Our testing and independent research indicate
that the following are critical elements in these algorithms:
- the quality of your webpage
- the relevance of your webpage content to the
- how your webpage is constructed (title, keyword
density, linking structure)
- page loading speed
- the number and quality of other webpages linking to
Get these elements correct and you will be
rewarded with a Page 1 SERP listing, get them wrong and at best you will be lost in Page 2 or
beyond and at worst you will be banned from the search results altogether.
Search engine companies such as Google hire
the brightest minds in the world to constantly tweak their algorithm to provide the optimum user
All of the tricks and "Black Hat” tactics
that worked five years ago no longer work; keyword stuffing, meta-tag stuffing and link farms have
all gone by the wayside. Google is simply too smart to be fooled for long.
Pros and Cons
of Organic Local Online Advertising
The big plus for
organic local online advertising is that it is highly targeted and highly effective. In a recent
study by BIA/Kelsey and comScore 90% of all local consumers surveyed indicated that they
relied upon search engine results to help them make their product and service purchasing
As the eye
tracking studies above indicate, having Page 1 search engine listings for your most important
buying phrases is an almost guaranteed way to get more new customers. A second big plus is that
although it is not technically “free” organic search advertising remains extremely
Once you have
the fundamentals in place to get ranked and convert visitors to customers, or at least start
conversations the ongoing maintenance and improvement costs are relatively small, especially as
compared to pay per click.
There are two
drawbacks to organic local online advertising. The first is that unlike PPC you cannot have an
organic campaign up and running in a matter of hours. Depending upon how competitive your local
marketplace is for the products and services that you provide it can take anywhere from a few weeks
to six months or more to get to the first page of the SERPs for each of your most
important buying phrases.
The second is
that even in markets with relatively little competition it takes significant expertise, energy and
effort to get all the factors in Google's puzzle to correctly lineup. (This is especially
true for building the back links necessary to grab a number one listing which, by the way, gets
approximately 40% of all the clicks on page 1).
So unless you
want to spend a disproportionate amount of your own most precious asset, your time, you will need
to hire a company that has local organic online advertising expertise, such as
The good news is
that as compared to yellow book, direct mail, newspaper, and radio advertising a complete turnkey
local online organic advertising system is quite inexpensive to get rolling and even less expensive
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for more information? I highly encourage you to download and read the "10 Things You Must Know
about Local Business Marketing before You Invest Another Dime".
Or if you
prefer, simply call 888.505.6162 and speak with one of our local online
advertising specialists who can guide you through the entire process to make sure you make the
best decision possible for you and your business.