I’ve got a question from one of my students Ian today:
“I’m not sure I understand why optimizing a page before a Google Adwords campaign saves you money. I thought the cost of a click was dependent mainly on the competition i.e. it’s like we bidding on a keyword and the more we pay the more likely our ad is displayed over the competition? Is that how Adword pricing works?”
I think that’s a really great question and worth writing about to make it really clear. Let’s take first a step back and talk a bit about SEO (there is a point to it roll with me 😉
Why does Google let the top 10 be in the top 10?
There are many ways to answer this and many technical answers but the real and main answer is “Google really wants to have content that users love on their top 10”. If users love it, it means they won’t even think about using Bing or any other search engine. One of the most critical missions of Google – when it comes to the top 10 – is to return the things users want to see.
There are a lot of factors that come into this … your historical track record with Google and your sites … the actual content on your site. Let’s focus on the actual content. The most basic thing is getting your content to be the most relevant to Google’s perspective of what is worthy. How can you read Googles mind? Its way easier than you think and that will be always true. You don’t need to read Googles mind. All you need to do is read Googles top 10 results for the keyword being entered. You want to be high-ranking, you need to understand why others rank up where they are. Clearly they got to this high-ranking position because until this day they created content that users liked the most.
Ok I know Ian is probably thinking right now “I didn’t ask you what Google does with the top 10, but how does it affect the prices of my ads … so are you going to get to your point soon?”
Fair enough Ian, let’s move into Adwords.
Why do some AdWords ads come up higher than others?
Just like Google’s returned search results, Google wants your content to be as relevant as possible (even more so), as to what the users are searching for. If Google creates a bad user experience, users would stop using Google and use other search engines. Although ads are paid, the fees are not linked to the search results. The more organic fitting the search results are, the higher the chances are that users will be happy with them, and not click on the back button when they reach your page. Google isn’t dumb. They really want and prefers better content rather than meaningless content on their ad space. As such, if your content is what the users want Google made their pay day; the user is happy; a win-win for both.
How does that effect your PPC ?
Well imagine there is an established ad running under your keyword right now but its not 100% relevant to the user. The keyword the user searched for isn’t even mentioned in the landing page of this banner. Even if it is, Google knows that it is not naturally one of the top 10 results related to the user’s search. Imagine this ad is now making Google $3 for every 1000 searches. It now sees your new ad. Your landing page is better than the $3 ad. Wouldn’t it be in Googles best interest to give your ad a try. At or around the same price as your competitor, that has been on this same page for a while?
Now lets say out of these 1000 searches usually 10 people click onto your competitors ad. With all the work you’ve done through my courses and your creative work, you manage to get users not only to click onto your ad at higher rates but they stay because they are getting what they are looking for! Do you think Google will reward you for that by pushing your ads at lower costs?
Well I hope that answered the question and if not please feel free to ask any follow-up questions. It’s really just a game of logic. Give users what they want but through the “eyes” of Google – and there is no better way to see through Googles eyes than when you build your content based on knowing how the top 10 got there. It will effect your short term and long term costs on ads. It will organically help your site grow on natural organic results. You have to have the mindset of what both Google sees and how the users will react to the content. Are they going to be happy to get your page when they search for X.