Do you have questions about how paid search can help your business? We’ve got answers! Paid search is an essential tool to attracting customers online.

paid search questions

Even better, it can be a profitable channel once you use it effectively. According to Google Adwords, people who visit your site from a pay-per-click ad are 50 per cent more likely to make a purchase than organic visitors. Google also says that businesses investing in AdWords receive, on average, a 200-per-cent return on their investment.

These numbers are hard to ignore. If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve answered the webs most searched questions about paid search.

Most common questions about paid search we get from our clients

  1. What is paid search?
  2. What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?
  3. What’s the difference between search and display ads?
  4. Are Google Ads my only option?
  5. What is my quality score?
  6. What is keyword research?
  7. Can I pick my own keywords?
  8. What are negative keywords?
  9. Can I pay for ads to show up when people search for my competition?
  10. How much do I need to spend?
  11. Does paid search work?
  12. Can I pause ads if I don’t need them all year?
  13. What is optimization?
  14. Why do some ads stand out more than mine?
  15. How can I tell if my ads are working?
  16. What kind of metrics will I see?
  17. How does paid search work with my other marketing?
  18. Can I handle my Google Ads myself?
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FAQs about paid search

What is it?

Paid search, search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) are names for the paid advertising seen on search platforms. By targeting search terms relevant to your business, paid ads allow you to deliver content to customers who want to purchase your product or service.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

These terms are so similar they are often misused, but there are distinct differences between SEO and SEM. Search engine optimization, or SEO, ensures your website attracts organic traffic over time with the right content and user experience. SEM is a fast and effective way to get traffic with paid ads that show up when people search relevant terms.

What’s the difference between search and display ads?

Search ads show up in the main feed of search results when someone types a word or phrase into a search engine. Search engines deliver the ads to people who want to find a business like yours. Display ads can be seen on partner sites, appearing on website pages where internet users see them when they’re reading online.

Are Google Ads my only option?

You can implement paid search marketing across multiple platforms, including Google, Bing, Yahoo and social media. However, Google Ads are the most well-known because Google holds a striking majority of the market share of search engine use. NetMarketShare statistics show Google pulled in nearly 70 per cent of desktop searches and over 90 per cent of mobile searches last year.

What is my quality score?

Google gives your ad a quality score based on quality and relevance of your keywords and ads. Such factors include your ad’s quality, the relevance of your landing page to the ad and your budget. If you improve your quality score, you can lower your cost per click and stay competitive within your budget.

Targeting and keywords

What is keyword research?

Keywords are the search terms customers use when they look for ideas, products or services. If you can deliver a relevant ad to a customer when they search for that solution, you will attract a qualified lead to your business. Keyword research helps tell you what terms people use when they search, how often people search for each term per month and what the competition might be for each keyword.

Keyword research is how you’ll learn to move to longer search terms to attract focused searchers who are more likely to become your customers. These are called long-tail keywords and are valuable in using your budget effectively.

Can I pick my own keywords?

It’s tempting to choose the most common words in your industry to describe your products or services, but this isn’t the best way to tackle keywords. The keywords you choose on your own may be too general and cost more compared to specific keywords chosen from careful research.

For example, a furniture store is unlikely to rank for the search term “furniture” and the owners may not want it to, based on where they do business. However, they may want it to show up in search results for certain types of furniture in their city or within their shipping reach.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords help you indicate where and when you don’t want your ads to show by telling Google which search queries are not relevant to your business. They can help you spend your ad budget more effectively by delivering ads to potential customers without showing ads to people clearly searching for something else. For example, a pizza restaurant may want to appear in searches for “pizza delivery” and for “pizza restaurants for dining in” in their area but not in searches for “pizza dough recipes.”

Can I pay for ads to show up when people search for my competition?

You could, and some people do. However, your quality score goes up when you show relevant content to people who click on your ad. Competitor ads intended to mislead a customer will probably backfire once these visitors reach your site and could lower your score. It’s better to create targeted ads and campaigns to attract new leads, then keep them interested with relevant landing pages.

Costs and budgets

How much do I need to spend?

The answer depends on your goals, budget and industry. It’s best to figure out how much you should spend based on these elements, then try it for a few months. These tests will help you see what works and what investment makes sense for your business.

Does paid search work?

Yes, there is a way to make the platform work for you in most cases and to see a reliable return on your investment. The trick is to have the knowledge to use it effectively and understand how to set your budget correctly to see returns.

Can I pause ads if I don’t need them all year?

Yes. You might create campaigns for different seasons or a few special ones for your busiest season. You may want to set aside a specific part of your budget for launches and run these campaigns for a set period.

Optimization and extensions

What is optimization?

Optimization happens when you monitor how your ads work and adjust as needed to ensure you spend your budget effectively. Paid search is about more than just creating a campaign and letting it run. Be sure you have someone who can look in on things regularly and keep you on track.

Why do some ads stand out more than mine?

Ad extensions can extend the size of your ad by increasing how much information appears in your ad. They don’t cost anything beyond your standard cost per click and can make your ad stand out to deliver the right information to your customers in the best way.

How to measure success

How can I tell if my ads are working?

Paid search is working if it’s helping you achieve your business goals and you see a solid return on your investment. Watch for changes in results you can measure, also known as your key performance indicators. These could be your conversion rate, cost per click, click-through rate, the number of calls to your business, the number of form submissions or even how much each conversion costs you.

What kind of metrics will I see?

The Google Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, will show you a wide range of metrics. This includes cost, clicks, average per click, conversions, impressions, click-through rates, and cost per conversion.

How does paid search work with my other marketing?

Paid search can bolster your other marketing efforts. The insights you gain about your customers and their preferences can help you improve your content marketing efforts, social media engagement and even print advertising.

Can I manage paid search myself?

Can I handle my Google Ads myself?

You can, and some companies do. However, most businesses find it time-consuming to learn how to set up manage optimization and testing. Working with certified Google Adwords experts gives you access to the knowledge and experience needed to capitalize on best practices and industry trends.

I’m stuck. What did I do wrong?

It’s not uncommon to find paid search confusing at first. There’s a lot that goes into planning paid ad campaigns and knowing what to do when things aren’t working. Do some research and see if you’ve made any common SEM mistakes. If you are still in doubt, reach out for experienced help to get you on the right track.

Paid search marketing doesn’t have to be confusing. Investing time, a reasonable budget and the right expertise, can help you source new leads. If you still have questions about paid search, get in touch with one of our experts today.