How does SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Google Ads fare against each other? Right from the inception of Google Ads, rumors such as “SEO is dead” started spreading all over the internet. Since then, SEO vs. Google Ads has become a hot topic. Is SEO really dead? How can a CMO of a startup look into these two platforms to market their business offerings (products/services) and increase visits from potential customers?
For real, SEO is not dying but it is a long-term mission. On the other hand, depending on your budget, you can market your web pages in such a way that they rank high on the SERPs. So, which strategy should you choose to promote your business online?
How is Search Engine Ranking Calculated?
According to Statista, Google is dominating the search engine market with around 87.35% market share. As a result, the majority of your competition will be focusing on improving their SERP rankings on Google. Therefore, to rank your pages higher on Google, you must check hundreds of factors that influence your web page’s SERP performance.
Enlisted below are some of the factors influencing SERP ranking:
- The number of links referring to a page
- The age of the domain and web page
- How many times the keyword is used within a page
- The search term (focus keyword) associated with that specific page
These are just a glimpse and several other factors influence your web page’s performance in SERPs, and it is recommended to take care of them thoroughly for your business.
What Should you Know About SEO Strategies: Local vs. National vs. International
SEO best practices are used by many businesses regardless of the industry. But, certain best practices don’t work for all businesses. Hence, you must identify the best practices for your industry and your business and implement them on your website. Also, the way a local business should approach SEO strategies is different from the way an international business should approach.
You can opt for SEO Consulting if you want to identify specific SEO strategies that work for your industry.
When you type in “List of Best IT Firms in Tampa” or “Top IT services companies in Tampa”, Google will show a “map pack) on its SERP along with other search results. When you search using a keyword that has some geographical location, Google tends to offer results with maps. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “Best IT Services Company in Tampa” but, it can also be for “Starbucks near me” or “Restaurants near me”. Google will consistently give results with a map reference.
Another thing to consider is the search results will be matching with your location and all of them will be some local vendors from the city you have chosen. This is local SEO and these businesses have optimized themselves for local SEO. They did it with the help of Google My Businesses by creating profiles for their business and adding relevant information such as an address, images of the business/store, phone number, open hours, etc.
When the users give ratings to your business, they automatically appear on search results as well. Hence, with respect to your search term and location, Google fetches relevant results that answer your search. Also, Google further helps with images and reviews so that you can decide to go with an option that satisfies your needs.
National vs. International SEO
When it comes to national SEO, it demands the knowledge of a particular state, country, or county for which you are optimizing your website. Suppose your business is based in the US and sells musical instruments such as Guitar, Keyboard, Piano, etc. If your warehouse is located in Tampa and you’re shipping instruments across the country, then you must choose keywords in such a way that it conveys that you sell instruments across the US to the search engine.
On the flip side, an international SEO strategy is implemented when you sell instruments internationally. You must keep in mind the countries where you have established your presence. After this point, there are a lot of factors you have to consider while optimizing websites for international SEO. Below are a few of the questions for which you need an answer.
1. Who are your audiences?
2. What language(s) do they speak?
3. Should you change your website’s content to reflect their culture & sentiments?
4. Do you need to change your website’s page layout, copyright, and color scheme?
These 4 questions are just the beginning and there are several other factors you should be considering for your international SEO strategy. For example, you need to know your competitors in that particular region, their SEO strategies, and the businesses dominating the first page of the SERP. Hence, it is a lot more complicated and time-consuming than local SEO strategies.
What Should you Know About Google Ads: Budget and Devices
For a successful ad campaign on Google Ads, here are the things you need to consider. Ensure you have a realistic budget for your goals. As said earlier, Google Ads has established a network across multiple devices such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. When you’re using Google’s products such as Google Play Store, Google Chrome, and other products, you are allowing Google to show ads on these products.
Device bidding is a bidding strategy available in Google Ads that lets you place both dependent and distinct bids on desktop, mobile, and tablets. As a result, you can now segment budgets specific to every device on which you are planning to run an ad campaign. You can also group all your campaigns so that you can decide on how to spend your money.
To avoid losses from your ad campaign and avoid irrelevant visitors, perform in-depth keyword analysis. By doing this right, you’re filtering out the visitors who are not relevant to what you’re selling. Once you know and understand your audience for the product you’re selling, you can perform well on Google Ads and outnumber your competition. The next step is to decide the format through which you’re going to create the ad, which is an image, video, text, display, etc.
If you have figured out your budget, correct keywords, and the ad format, here is where your Ad campaign gets started.
Features of Google Ads that you Should Know
Google’s source of income is based on the ads served to people and provides the best searches for users across various platforms. After a point of time, Google included Google Maps as well in its network.
Yes, Google started showing ads in Google Maps only in 2018. Serving ads on Google Maps is not limited to only smartphones, but also on desktop versions and tablet versions.
Though it has been in the testing phase even before that, it officially came for public use in 2018 only. It is because people started searching for restaurants, ATMs, and other such things directly on Google Maps. Hence, if a user searches using the keyword “restaurants near me” and if you are running an ad campaign to promote your restaurant by offering offers, deals, etc. people will notice your restaurant, remember the ad, and visit your place.
If the geographic location of your target audience is majorly local people, you can identify keywords based on your demographic and target them with a relevant message. As it is a great tool for local PPC marketing, you now have a chance to target the right audience for your business.
You might be interested: Why Local SEO is a Must for your Business?
Expanded Text Ads
Text ads are one of the formats of ads that have long existed in the market. Though it is simple, it is yet powerful. Also, Google included expanded text ads into the existing text ads which give you the option to write 3 headings with 30 characters each (total 90 characters) and 2 descriptions with every 90 characters (total 180 characters). As a result, you can write compelling messages to your target audience.
Here’s an example of Amazon utilizing this new feature:
The popular brand Amazon is using Google’s expanded text ads feature and in its heading, they included their website, the brand of the product, and the product category. The majority of brands tend to optimize their headlines because the users first see the headlines. But descriptions are equally important and think about how you can add focus keyphrase in the description and work towards it.
Using SEO and Google Ads
After implementing these marketing techniques, you will become comfortable using both Google Ads and SEO and when to implement those. With effective strategies, both can be used to bring in visitors.
There are a lot of strategies with which you can improve your website’s performance on SERPs. You can optimize them beginning with updating proper metadata. So, let’s start with metadata and you can start focusing on the rest of the following strategies.
Optimize your Metadata
Google’s engine crawls your page and with the help of metadata, it understands the content, and takes note of the keywords used in your metadata and ranks your page accordingly. Also, it judges whether your web page should rank for a search query or not. Metadata is nothing but the meta title and meta description of every web page.
When you search for “what are SDKs”, one of our blog posts related to SDKs will show up because we optimized our metadata with similar keywords. The title reads “What are SDKs | Benefits and the best SDKs for Mobile Apps” which includes the exact keyword for the search term. As a result, Google thinks we are more relevant for this keyword and we are ranking high for this keyword.
The description also includes the keyword “SDK” genuinely and we have not forced it to be present in there. So, this is also a factor that helps us rank high on SERPs. Next, you can start to focus on link building strategies.
Link building is one of the most effective strategies in SEO. Based on the referring domains, Google’s algorithm calculates the credibility and other such metrics to judge your webpage for the searched keyword. In other words, Google is looking at other websites that link to your domain’s pages individually to boost your SERP rank.
Link Building Strategy: Guest Blogging
If you want to take the first step in link building, you can start with guest blogging. Guest blogging is a powerful strategy for link building and is effective in creating backlinks to your domain. When you find a website belonging to your industry and have a blog section, and if you are an expert in your field, a contribution from your end would be highly appreciated by them.
When you contact them and get approval for your contribution, you will be creating a quality article on a topic related to your niche. After you are done with your content, they will publish your content on their blog and give links to your blog, website, or article of your choice (only if it is relevant). Continue doing these and over time, you rank higher on Google results. Though this link building strategy sounds like a tedious process, when done correctly, it yields fruitful results such as increased traffic and conversions.
Create an Infographic
According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of the population is visual learners. Infographics are a wonderful pack of useful information in a visual format. So, it is good to create a visual piece of information in the first place. The infographic should be based on your niche and provide information that is unique and gives more insights than others.
You can then create a blog post based on the infographic and start the process of outreach to several companies that might benefit from your infographic regardless of industry. Though it is not simple, it works.
Creating and Submitting a Sitemap
An excellent way to make Google see and crawl your website is by submitting your sitemap to Google through Google Search Console. This helps you to index your web pages faster than Google starts crawling automatically. What happens when you submit a sitemap is that you are asking Google to crawl your pages and show them on its result pages to the users. If you’re having a large website and waiting for Google to automatically crawl, then it may take comparatively more time than submitting a sitemap. After submitting the sitemap, it is easy for us to look into web pages that need optimization and web pages that don’t.
Google Ads Strategies
Most of the digital marketers are familiar with PPC marketing. It is one of the most popular Google Ads strategies adopted by businesses around the world. It works very well when you know it from the inside out. Apart from PPC, there are many other strategies that you can use with Google Ads.
Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition is commonly referred to as CPA. It is used to measure the number of dollars you spend for your business to attain a conversion. But, there is a catch in it. Your CPA will be slightly expensive than CPC (Cost Per Click) because the number of people buying your product is lower than the number of people visiting your ad by clicking. The action can be filling out a form or making a purchase or anything of your choice.
So, how is CPA for your campaign calculated? Similar to PPC, your CPA is influenced by Quality Score. Based on the quality of your keywords, landing page, and ad copies, your CPA will be determined. Generally, the higher the Quality Score of your campaign, the lower is the costs.
When you keep your Quality Score high and your CPA low, it can be a huge benefit to your budget over time. As a result, your brand can get more exposure to online advertising and improve the conversion rate for the money spent. Also, identifying the best strategy for your Google Ads campaign is important before implementing it. Decide with respect to your goals and identify which is the most beneficial strategy for your goals of click-through rate and conversions.
Responsive Display Ads
Google’s Display Ads are an excellent way to promote your business. Take advantage of this format of Ad and conduct A/B testing with your headlines, descriptions, images, videos, etc. In the long run, the A/B testing results will yield more conversions.
Create a Negative Keyword List
Negative keywords are the words that you don’t want your landing page to be associated with. Hence, when a user performs a search and that happens to be a keyword from your negative keyword list, then your landing page will not be shown up. An easy way to find negative keywords is to think about what your users might search for and create a list of negative keywords to it. Include these negative keywords to each of your campaigns or ad groups.
Which is it: SEO or Google Ads?
It really depends on your business’ performance and your website’s performance. We recommend you to do a basic analysis for yourself in terms of goals, budget constraints, etc. and then decide a Google Ads strategy for your business. Also, without an SEO Audit, it is really tough to identify what SEO strategy might work for your business. If you’re not sure even after analyzing for yourself, we strongly recommend you to get an SEO Audit.
Again, both Google Ads and SEO are incredible platforms to increase your web traffic and conversion. All you need is a goal, budget, and how high you want to rank on the SERPs either organically or using Google Ads.
We, at TechAffinity, have an adept team of expert digital marketers and front-end designers (for landing page creation) to understand your goal and walk you through the path of success. Still in the dilemma of SEO vs Google Ads? Feel free to share your queries with email@example.com or schedule a meeting with our experts.