With the rising cost of pay-per-click advertising, more US small businesses appear to be turning to organic search engine optimization (SEO) for their online marketing needs. The pay-per-click giant Google AdWords is specifically losing popularity among small businesses.
There are two key reasons why small businesses are hesitant to invest in AdWords. The first is that the increase in competition from large corporations has driven up keyword rates, which means small business owners are finding it unsustainable. The second is that some businesses have had a negative prior experience with the service, in part because it is not as simple as some users may think. While these arguments hold validity, AdWords remains an effective and important online marketing tool with the right strategy.
SEO Ranked Top Marketing Channel for Small Businesses
The increase in demand for unpaid search results via a diversified online marketing platform has led to the rise of the SEO industry. A merchant confidence survey conducted by MerchantCircle/Reply.com found that among 2,500 US small businesses, the majority would choose SEO as their primary marketing channel if they could choose only one. The list of alternatives included SEO, paid search, mobile, social and traditional media. SEO ranked highest with 32.9% of small businesses asserting that this marketing channel was the best investment, while paid search came in fifth place with 9.8%.
Don’t Ditch AdWords Altogether
In order to reduce the complexity of their system, Google has recently come out with AdWords Express, a simplified do-it-for-me program. It allows time-starved small business owners to easily engage in paid-search marketing at a lower monthly budget.
By choosing a few significant keywords and making ads more relevant, small businesses can still benefit from AdWords or AdWords Express and obtain a healthy return on investment (ROI). “AdWords is still doable and reasonably profitable for local businesses or those that have narrow niches and high barriers to entry,” said Perry Marshall, co-author of Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. “But you cannot put all your eggs in one basket. The ultimate goal for any business should be to drive as much unpaid traffic to their site as possible.” Instead of abandoning the ad platform, analysts recommend that small businesses utilize a combination of strategies to pursue customers, such as search, social media, earned media and more. Small businesses can still compete with larger corporations, but diversification of marketing strategies is key.
Pair AdWords with SEO
AdWords is best combined with SEO. By creating social media content around keywords people are searching for, better search results are realized. As businesses become more relevant to Google, the quality score improves in their AdWords campaigns, enabling owners to pay less per click. Many SEOs are now including AdWord services in their packages, providing an optimal mix of online marketing channels and allowing small businesses to focus on what’s important – their businesses.
At Local SEO Sites we offer both local search engine optimization and pay-per-click management for our customers. If you would like to speak with an online marketing expert to find out more give us a call and speak with a live expert right now.