A lot of SMMA owners find themselves asking, “how does PPC work” a little too late. PPC reaches customers close to the point of sale based on their search history. This makes pay-per-click one of the most effective forms of digital marketing, even if it is a bit behind the scenes.
Pay-per-click marketing can be important to getting your content marketing strategy off the ground and is also important to making your website marketing work. Pay-per-click’s goal is to drive people to your site when they’re interested in what you’re offering. It’s easy to take advantage of this to help get your company off the ground.
You need to know how PPC works to run your social media marketing agency. PPC is present everywhere on the internet, including Facebook and YouTube. But, more importantly, it compliments every other aspect of your marketing strategy to get them going.
To understand PPC, you need to understand the Google search algorithm and how to take advantage of it. PPC is very similar to SEO, so if you’re knowledgeable in that area you have a good start. Algorithms for other search engines – like the one on Facebook – are usually just copying what Google is doing.
Of course, PPC doesn’t work in a vacuum. If you’re new to marketing and being a social media marketing agency owner, be sure to get some of the FREE training I offer here and on my YouTube. If you don’t know where to start, “Social Media Marketing for Beginners” is a good place to get going. That article covers everything from the basics to advanced tactics you’ll be using throughout your career.
How Does Pay-Per-Click Work
Okay, so: how does pay-per-click work? Pay-per-click works by matching your company to industry-relevant keywords, then paying for your website to show up for those keywords. This can take the place of the green Sponsored results on Google, or linked keywords on AdWords integrated websites. Ads can also appear on YouTube in a similar “sponsored results” or in YouTube cards.
To do this, pay-per-click managers do deep keyword research to find matches for the company. There are 4 types of keyword matches that you need to know about:
- Broad matches appear when someone uses a selected keyword in any sort of context.
- Modified broad matches are similar to broad matches, but use more filtering for key phrases instead of a singular keyword.
- Phrase matches use a longer string of words that the user has to search in sequence, and your ad will appear whenever that exact phrase is used in a search (even if there are things in front of or after it.)
- Exact matches are the most restrictive, only appearing when someone searches the exact phrase selected.
The position of a PPC ad is determined by a few factors. The first is the position of the keyword within the ad, and then the bid for the keyword. The higher the bidder, the higher the result. Your bid is then multiplied by the keyword’s Quality Score.
This determines where your ad appears on the SERP, or the search engine results page. This is the page you see when you search for something on Google or YouTube. The better you match the search, the higher you’ll appear on the SERP.
Your bid doesn’t necessarily need to be high to see PPC results, but your budget does need to be. The minimum of monthly spend someone should be using on PPC is $1,000. But for some businesses, this won’t even be enough. You need to be able to bid higher than any of your competitors.
The most important part of PPC is targeting because it keeps cost down and ensures that you’re reaching the right people. The goal of targeting with PPC is to find people who are interested in what you’re offering at the moment they’re most interested in it. If you can match your PPC correctly, you’ll succeed with it.
If you’re looking for PPC to become profitable, though, conversion requires a strong website marketing and content marketing strategy. Your PPC strategy should focus on reaching a person when they have an interest you can deliver on. To make PPC convert, your keyword matches and your business need to work together to create marketing harmony.
The Google Pay-Per-Click Algorithm
Now you know how PPC works from the marketing side, but how does PPC work from Google’s side? The Google algorithm is sort of mysterious, but we know enough about it to get work done. It’s not as scary as it might seem.
Put simply, the Google algorithm is designed to give people the most relevant search results possible. It determines what’s relevant by crawling a web page and indexing the text. Google than breaks down the text into keywords, and looks at the usage and context of those keywords to determine relevance.
The factors that Google weighs are constantly changing, but there are a few cornerstones. Google looks at keyword use to see how often the keyword is popping up – too little and it’s not relevant, too many and Google will flag it as spam. Google also looks at Alt Tags to see if there are relevant images and looks at other web pages to see if your page has authority. Finally, for PPC, Google will also look at the clickthrough rate of the ad and past ads to see if people are interested enough in what you’re offering.
How to Get a Good PPC Quality Score
To get a good PPC quality score, you need to focus on those factors. Your PPC quality score determines your cost and position and is a measure of the quality, performance, and relevance of your campaign. Getting a good PPC quality score is the key to making PPC work.
It starts with your website and your general Google score. To keep things on the up and up, you need to be using keywords sparsely and only where relevant. Make sure that your website runs quickly on both desktop and mobile, and that your content is high quality to both readers and Google.
These same principles apply to your PPC quality score. It starts with the ad copy, which needs to be written to include the keyword and be enticing to users (so you can get a better CTR.) The landing page also needs good keyword relevancy and speed. Make sure that your ad links to a page that includes and expands on the keyword.
The Difference Between Local and National Campaigns
Another part of knowing how PPC works is learning when to use it for what business. There are two basic divisions we can make here: local and national. Local campaigns are best for brick and mortar stores, while you would use national campaigns for digital businesses and larger franchises.
Local campaigns are for smaller businesses – your local coffee shop or a regional attorney. Local ads will focus on “near me” keywords, to get you to appear at the top of the Google Maps table that appears for them. Doing this can help increase foot traffic, and is very important for new and new-to-Google businesses.
National and global campaigns target specific, industry-relevant keywords to link people to digital pages. Whether it will eventually go to foot traffic or not, most of the action occurs online. You can use these to create sales directly, or as a powerful branding tool to go along with content marketing.
Both types of campaigns need to focus on awareness, not sales. Trying to sell people a product on Google will hurt your position, and won’t achieve anything for anyone.
What PPC Services Your Social Media Marketing Agency Should Offer
So, what paid search marketing should you be offering? There are a few services that should be in your SMMA portfolio. First of all, you should have someone who can do account audits. These are simple check-ins with what the client is doing to see if it needs an overhaul.
Then, you can offer the ability to build out or restructure that account. Building out is for building from the ground up, or by using the positives from what’s going on to make the account work. If the account isn’t working at all, you can restructure it to get the PPC quality score back up and get the ad spend functioning.
You or a PPC contractor should also offer analytics implementation and tracking to keep on top of the health of the account. You might also offer consulting for clients who just need a little guidance. There are plenty of services you can offer alongside PPC, too. Even if you aren’t offering PPC, you can create PPC landing pages and copywriting to help the people that do.
So, does that answer “how does PPC work?” If you’re new to the SMMA world, that’s everything you need to know about how it functions and the Pay-Per-Click algorithm. It’s more complicated in practice, but it’s worth the practice – PPC can help launch any business in its early days, and keep it growing beyond that.