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Results May Vary: Analyzing PPC and SEO for Your Business

Since Google became a search engine in 1998, the concept of typing words or phrases into a search bar to find relevant websites has evolved into a multibillion dollar industry. Brands of all sizes and budgets use SEO and PPC to get the attention of 1.17 billion users that search Google each month.

Let’s learn more about these strategies and how they can help your business.

What’s a SERP?

SERP = search engine results page, or the listings that appear when you perform a search in Google.

What is the Anatomy of a SERP?

A SERP contains the following:

  • The search bar
  • Local
  • Organic
  • Paid
  • Related searches

What is SEO?

SEO = search engine optimization, the process of enhancing your site’s visibility in the organic results of the SERPs.

When ranking organic sites, Google takes into account several factors, including:

  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Links to your site from other sites
  • Social shares

Quick Facts About Google and SEO:

  • SEO accounts for 0% of Google’s $33 billion in revenue
  • 71.33% of all searches result in a click on the first page
  • 5.59% of searches will lead to a click on pages two and three
  • Spots 1-5 account for 67.60% of all clicks
  • Spots 6-10 account for only 3.73% of all clicks

What is PPC?

PPC = pay per click, companies bid on certain keywords to have their ads show up in the SERPs. The company pays a fee each time a user clicks on their ad.

There are multiple types of PPC advertisements:

  • Search: text-only ads that appear in the SERP
  • Display: designed with color and graphics and placed on websites and within content
  • Social: appear in social media feeds
  • Retargeting: related to a user’s previous Internet browsing activity
  • Product Listing Ads (PLAs): product-specific ads that appear in the Google SERP
  • Video: Ads that play before YouTube videos

Quick Facts About Google and PPC

  • Paid search accounts for 70% of Google’s $33 billion in revenue
  • Industries with the highest cost per click on AdWords are insurance, banking, and legal
  • As of 2011, over 1.2 million businesses advertised with Google
  • The average clickthrough rate of an ad in the top position is 7.94%
  • Top paid spots get about twice as many clicks as second spots

Google’s Search Engine Evolution

1998: Google launches around September 27, 1998, with a blank, organic-only slate that sets the search engine’s foundation.

2000: Google launches AdWords, marking the beginning of paid text ads in the SERP.

2002: AdWords starts a cost-per-impression model and Google launches Froogle (eventually renamed to Google Shopping).

2003: Google begins highlighting paid advertisements for users.

2004: Google begins providing local results, which deliver geo-specific information.

2005: Google Maps launches, giving users the ability to navigate and locate nearby businesses related to their search.

2006: Google begins to display sitelinks in their organic search results.

2007: Google launches Universal Search, which integrates video, books, news, images, and local results onto one SERP page.

2009: Google rolls out rich snippets for organic listings.

2010: Google AdWords launches Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

2013: Google launches the local results carousel.

2014: Google becomes more dynamic, showing users results based on their location, query, device, and more.

Future: You can bet that the components of a Google SERP will continue to change and evolve, affecting SEO and PPC strategies in the process. The key to success is adapting to changes and continually monitoring your success.

Understanding A Users Search Intent and Purpose

Most users perform keyword searches with an intention that falls into one of the following categories:

Navigational Search:

Users enter a search query to find a specific website.
Examples: “youtube” or “etsy”

Informational Search:

Users enter a search query to find information about a specific topic.
Examples: “sharks” or “computers”

Commercial Search:

Users enter a search query to find more information about a product before making a purchase.
Examples: “apple iphone 5 vs. apple iphone 5s” or “apple 5s reviews”

Transactional Search:

Users enter a search query specifically intending to make a purchase.
Examples: “buy apple macbook” or “lucky jeans for sale”

What Marketing Investment is Right for Your Business?

Both SEO and PPC are beneficial to your business depending on your situation. Often, a combination of both marketing strategies creates ideal results.

Your business should invest in organic search (SEO) when:

  • You want to increase your website’s visibility in the organic listings and have the time it takes to get results
  • You want to build long-term authority for your website
  • You want to increase your website’s overall value and effectiveness

Your business should invest in paid search (PPC) when:

  • You want immediate results
  • You want highly targeted traffic
  • You want to drive users to a promotion/offer



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