With a Little Creativity, Paid Search Ads Can Have Real Effects on Organic Campaigns

I’m brand new to the wonderful, fascinating world of Pay Per Click advertising. I was nudged from the SEO and Social Media side of things over to paid search a couple of weeks ago.  Through my experience with SEO and social media, I had grown to understand that those two disciplines and PPC were naturally opposed to each other.

On one hand, you engage users organically and on the other, you are simply paying for ad placements.

It didn’t take long for me to re-check those thoughts and admit that the crossover between SEO, social media and PPC is very real and could have serious implications for your web marketing efforts.

Not only does the perceived divide between SEO/social media and PPC not really exist, the notion of incompatibility might actually be hurting your campaigns. And, in an industry where finding the edge over your competitors is crucial, exploring all of these potential crossover points is worth your time.

Social Media, Brand Reputation and PPC

Mel Carson’s Digitales Blog (what an awful name) on MediaWeek listed “5 Reasons Why PPC is Crucial to Social Media & Brand Reputation” earlier this month. It was a simple, but powerful, list of ways to use PPC ads to engage in social media and brand reputation management. Here’s the short-and-sweet:

  • The potential with some search engines to bid on competitor brand terms leaves your brand open for the taking…unless you get there first.
  • Crisis management can benefit from the relative immediacy of running ads that address whatever scenario is unfolding. The best part is that you can direct users with your paid ad to a landing page that directly addresses whatever spawned the brand crisis. Carson notes a British Airways campaign spurred by a worker strike. The company ran a PPC campaign for “ba strike” and sent searchers to a customized landing page with information on the situation.
  • Organically pushing down bad reviews in search engine results can take some time. Meanwhile, you can create a paid ad that would appear more prominently on the search engine result page and potentially detract from negative reviews further down.
  • PPC can be used as a short-term tactic to help users find your product while your optimized gains steam and credibility with the search engines. Sometimes you have a dynamite new product or offer and you can’t risk having your offline marketing efforts stymied by a user unable to find your site through organic search because your site lacks the authority to rank high. PPC can get your message out there immediately.
  • Studies show that a good organic ranking in search results coupled with PPC helps you dominate the search engine results page and encourages users to see your brand as the best in show.

It’s a lot of common sense mixed with some creativity, but the effects of PPC on your social media and brand management efforts could save your ass under the right circumstances.

New Google Adwords Formats Could Have SEO Implications

I’m completely on my own with this one (as far as I know), but Google Adwords recently rolled out a trio of new ad formats. One new feature in particular – SiteLinks – could have some pretty sweet SEO implications.

The new SiteLinks program allows advertisers four lines of text that links to additional pages on the site. Each line of text can be up to 35 characters long, so you’re looking at 140 characters of keyword-rich link opportunity with this addition. This image shows how it looks on the search results page:

image courtesy of Google

According to Google, this new “feature allows you to extend the value of your existing AdWords ads by providing additional links to content deep within your sites. Rather than sending all users to the same landing page, Ad Sitelinks will display up to 4 additional Destination URLs on your search-based text ad for users to choose from. By providing users with more options, you can create richer, more relevant ads that improve the value of your brand terms and other targeted keywords.”

Here’s where you find the setting to ad or adjust your SiteLinks:

Image courtesy of Google

So, the question is, “Could these links have SEO value?” I have no idea, but it seems like they should. Word is, these links seem to go unchecked for now (meaning Google isn’t checking the link text or destination URLs for errors). I would guess, though, that Google will figure out some way to implement quality control on these links. Once that happens, you have a keyword-rich link to a potentially deep page in your site that has been verified by Google – how can that not be the most quality link ever? Or at least, how can that not pass link juice to your site?

I know I’m ignoring several things – the fact that they are still technically “paid” links; the fact that you don’t have control which links show up when (you input 10 links and Google chooses for you); and, according to PPC experts, the ad showing these SiteLinks must be in the top position (which requires a pre-existingly awesome  PPC campaign).

At the very least, it’s fun to imagine what would happen if I were right.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 and is filed under Pay-Per-Click.

Related Posts

Your thoughts? Please comment below.