Man writing in a notepadEvery business owner has over a thousand details to work on and not a day passes without something important on the calendar – especially if the business has an online presence. Sometimes, it’s not a question of cost when choosing between paid and organic traffic because if it were, hands down, organic traffic would win over spending on Google Ads because it’s free! Unfortunately, life for a business owner is never that simple.

Last July Google introduced an update to its text ad format and it was geared mainly towards mobile use. It expanded the paid ad space by 50% with the suggestion that this change would improve clickthrough rate (CTR) by as much as 92% vis-à-vis lower costs.

Results show that while costs did decrease the CTR was, at best, mixed. It did not help everyone. For instance, Guitar Center reported a CTR increase of 100% while make-up giant, L’Oreal revealed their CTR increased by 92%. These were two of the lucky ones and it’s probably due to the fact that they were part of the beta test group.

Does this mean you should focus on organic traffic instead? Not at all.

The advantage of paid Google ads is its immediacy. If you want to send out your message quickly and reach as many people as possible, the most effective way is through Google Ads. Your ads will show up on searches, meaning you don’t have to wait and work for higher rankings. And Google ads can cost as little as one cent depending on the real estate and terms.

However, just like in traditional media, once you stop the ads, you lose contact with your traffic and market. It’s gone unless you have a back-up plan.

What about organic content?

Google still puts a lot of weight on organic content. Their mission is to provide the most relevant information and make the search fruitful. While you don’t have to pay Google to be on their search results, you can boost your chances by spending on select optimized keywords. It’s a more difficult choice because some keywords have been taken by the multinationals and big brands.

The downside to this choice is the uncertainty in results. You can enjoy immediate results or you may have to wait ages for the keywords to convert. For this reason, SEO companies are available to bring home the bacon, so to speak, provided they have the experience and track record to convert within six months or earlier. The other advantage of using an SEO expert is the opportunity to build your presence online, increase traffic, improve lead generation, and advance your ranking on Google. This is something that is more permanent than Google Ads – even if you decide to stop the SEO service.

PPC writing in notebookDid you know that recent research reveals that the advertising money consumed in 9 of every 20 keywords is wasted? This is according to an audit by AdWord which translated means almost 50% of your advertising or PPC budget could be going down the drain and you will have a very difficult time getting higher traffic to your landing pages.

For those who are new to PPC, this means Pay-Per-Click or the money you send to get people to click on your ads. It’s another alternative to organic marketing and can be easier because you’re essentially buying traffic by putting your ads on high profile websites like Google or Amazon.

Why PPC for Landing Pages?

Paid traffic from PPC campaigns is just as valuable as any other. In addition, it takes less effort in the sense that you don’t run the site where your ads comes out. You just pay for clicks on your ads. Many folks believe that subtle ads from organic traffic is better because it is less “in-your-face” kind of advertising. Yet over 87% of Internet users are using the Internet to find something other than information on products or services. In addition, almost 50% of users don’t know the difference between paid and organic searches. To tap into your market though, you need to run great PPC ads to be able to generate the kind of results you are now dreaming of.

First, make sure the ad will direct the visitor to a landing page that is optimized and well-planned. First impressions DO count and you can consider your PPC ad as part of the first impression you make.

Second, PPC results have a higher chance of converting to a sale. They clicked on your ad because they are either intrigued or in search of a product or service. Many PPC ads lead visitors to a Home Page instead of a landing page – and this is a fatal error because it delays the process and could cause the visitor to become disinterested and unwilling to browse through your entire site.

Finally, your PPC headline should follow the same theme as your landing page. This is known as message matching. The reason you need to do this is because it reassures the visitor that they are in the right place. In addition, you want to make things as easy as possible for the visitor to get the information quickly, when interest is at its peak.

Picture of Mobile phoneIn 2015, a new open source protocol was introduced called the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) aimed at faster loading of mobile content across different platforms.  Step back in time to 2015 and you will see that in 2015 about 64% of Americans began to rely on their mobile gadgets to access online services and information.  However, about 48% of those who used their mobile devices to access the Internet admitted to having to shut off their phone because of the high cost of maintaining the Internet service. One reason for the high cost was the slow loading process.

Based on several studies on e-commerce, a website could potentially lose $2.5 million in sales for every second of loading delay while for every second of improvement in loading there is a 2% conversion increase and lower bounce rates.  As for SEO, AMP indirectly improved performance in terms of ranking.

When AMP was launched, expectations were high but a month later, there were complaints of technical glitches. These glitches were addressed in 2016 and viola! Something amazing has happened and is expected to blossom even more in 2017. Just look at what AMPs were able to do:

  • AMP listings have spread to organic mobile results
  • 53% of Internet users will drop a site that fails to load fast enough
  • Some of the websites that have the AMP format include eBay, WordPress, Reddit, Pinterest, and Google
  • Gizmodo reports that 80% of their traffic coming from AMPs are visitors and they enjoy a 50% impression increase
  • Washington Post says that they have a 23% increase in returnees among mobile users – and they come back within a week
  • Traffic that comes from AMP pages spend an average of 10% more time compared to those from regular mobile pages

AMP will be able to improve your viewability rates, lead to better engagement, and result in higher eCPMs (effective cost per mile) compared to traffic from non-AMPs. And why not when AMPs can improve loading time by 4 times while using about 10% less bandwidth.

Also important is the fact that Google has made mobile search top in its indexing. A typical Internet user would be lost without a mobile device. In fact, the average user starts connecting on the mobile device within 5 minutes of a walk, as the go-to device when shopping, and to check on incoming notifications and emails.  This makes it impertinent for quick and efficient loads with mobile devices

Question Mark on Mobile phoneLast February 2016, a contributing writer on Forbes.com wrote about how User Experience Optimization (UEO) will soon become just as important as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In a nutshell, he predicted that the number of times you use a keyword would no longer matter as much as being able to deliver what the user needs help with.

In fact, the habits of Internet users have changed from writing down keywords in the search bar to asking very specific questions in the hopes of finding out what they need with minimum fuss and delay.

What is User Experience Optimization?

UEO is what happens after you click on a link anywhere in the Internet. Did you find what you were looking for? Did it load quickly and without lagging? Were you ultimately satisfied by the experience?

There are 3 factors to UEO:

  1. Clicks – Great content will suffer in ranking if its clicks are measured poorly. Websites that are able to build relationships with high authority sites will benefit tremendously because these high authority websites would contain links to your site.
  2. Consumptions – This refers to the quality of content, not the quantity
  3. Action – The user must feel compelled (voluntarily) to take action

The Bottom Line

The Internet has become the most competitive arena and is expected to grow even more challenging. Websites are being launched daily in the hundreds and there is probably not a single topic or industry left untouched.

The key to being successful in 2017 is being able to adjust to the rapid changes. For instance, did you know that today’s generation would rather work and pay with apps than stay on the web?

According to ComScore, engagement over desktop has flatlined while mobile use has skyrocketed to unprecedented heights. And on mobile, 56% of the time is spent on apps. The Millennials only use their desktops (if they have one at all) for studies or work but would opt for mobile device use whenever possible. This has led to a decline in search use in favor of apps which is why UEO is bumping SEO especially among the Gen Y users.

To get in touch with your market and grow, you need to start thinking about how you can develop an app or make your website more user friendly. You might also want to consider expanding to other platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram because these are the sites where many users go to for better quality content. To prove this: ask yourself, “When was the last time I got what I wanted from a Google search at first attempt?”