10 Things You Can Do With Adwords That You Can’t Do with Organic Traffic

by admin on November 11, 2009

in Adwords,Market Research

I get into discussions with folks all the time about “paid traffic” vs. “free traffic”, and my contention is that free traffic is wonderful when you can get it, but the control you get with paid traffic can far outweigh any amount of free traffic that you might get.  In fact, I’d argue that to optimize your site to get “free traffic” is putting the cart before the horse if you haven’t first done research via Adwords to make sure the keywords you’re targeting actually convert.  Much like the precise control of a manual transmission over automatic transmission in a sports car, paid traffic can have the same benefits when you know what you’re doing.

Let’s use local real estate search as an example. Here are 10 things you can do with Adwords, Yahoo, and MSN Pay-Per-Click marketing (PPC) that simply can’t be done (or is very difficult to do) when you’re at the mercy of the ever-changing organic search engine algorithms.  Apologies in advance – this list is off the top of my head and in no particular order.

  1. Track which keywords convert into leads, and which don’t. In most cities, “[CITY] real estate” gets 3 to 10 times as much traffic as “[CITY] [ST] real estate” or “[CITY] [STATE] real estate“, but in others, it can be the other way around.  I’ve identified some cities where “[CITY] real estate” only gets 20% more traffic than “[CITY] [STATE] real estate” — but “[CITY] [STATE] real estate” converts into a lead twice as often.  While everyone else is battling it out to be on the first page of Google for “[CITY] real estate” because they assume it is the most searched for phrase, I own the #1, AND #2 spot for “[CITY] [STATE] real estate” and pull in 3 to 20 times as many leads as the other suckers optimizing their sites for the wrong phrase.
  2. Market on other people’s websites (including your competitors). Google has this wonderful thing called the Content Network that allows websites (both big and small) to advertise your site – when appropriate by using “Adsense”.  I’m not talking about going and adding comments on someone elses blog… I’m talking about flat-out advertising where you’re telling visitors exactly why they might want to come visit your site.  Anytime they display your ad and someone clicks on it, they get paid a few cents, and you can end up getting traffic that simply can’t be had elsewhere.  I’ve received thousands of highly qualified leads from legal blogs, local eateries, and even competitors’ websites. In some cases, those leads have cost me as little as twelve cents! (Not per click — per lead!)
  3. A/B split testing. Wondering if you should offer a “7 deadly mistakes every seller should avoid” report or “7 tips to help sell your home fast, and for top dollar” report?  One just might get twice as many signups as the other, but unless you test them side-by-side and track which report has a higher interest from your visitors, it’s going to be difficult to tell.  With Adwords, all you have to do is have Google drive half of your traffic to one offer, and the other half to the other offer and within a few days, you’ll know which offer gets you more leads.  (In fact, as long as you are using their tracking code — they’ll tell you which version is better.) If you’re not good at math, you can use a tool like splittester.com or Google’s own “optimizer tool” that is built into adwords to make the decision for you.
  4. Target two different audiences searching for the exact same term. A person who lives in Dallas Texas searching for “Dallas real estate” can be directed to a page that caters to someone with local knowledge who might also have a home to sell and wants a free market analysis on their home.  Throw in a “buy & sell through me and I’ll move you for free” type coupon, and you’re likely to get a double-header.  However, someone living in California searching for “Dallas Real Estate” is most likely considering relocating & you’ll be more likely to convert them into a lead if you direct them to a page that offers a free relocation package.  Send local sellers to one page directed at sellers, and send people relocating from another state to a different page that offers a free relocation package.  This can be done by using the “geotargeting” feature built into Google Adwords.
  5. Get traffic from people searching for your competitors. If “XYZ Realty” has a strong presence in your area, there will be a lot of people looking for “XYZ Realty in [CITY]”.  Funny thing is that they are usually just looking for real estate information.  With the exception of a couple major franchises, there is nothing saying you can’t happen to have an ad for your website displayed when someone searches for that term. It doesn’t have to make any mention of their company — just mantioning “[CITY] real estate
    in your ad will get enough of those visitors coming to your site.  (This traffic, BTW, can be 50% to 75% less expensive than bidding on “CITY real estate.“, and it usually converts into leads at a higher rate. Granted – this could be done organically, but you have to optimize your landing page for that company’s name, and that can be hard to do when mentioning a company that you are not affiliated with.
  6. Drive traffic to the highest converting page – not just your home page. It’s a proven fact that most websites’ lowest converting page on their website is their homepage. This is because visitors are usually required to search for what they are looking for, and the more hoops your visitors have to jump through, the less leads you’ll get.  However, many search engines display the homepage of your website even though there might be another page within your site that would convert a higher percentage of visitors into leads/sales.
  7. Rank for hundreds of long-tail phrases instantly. Are you a hyper-local marketer?  Great. What if instead of spending hundreds of hours writing hyper-local posts, you could simply bid a nickel per click on hundreds of those phrases, and determine which of them get the highest search volume.  Then, after spending $5 or $10 on hundreds of visits (and thousands of impressions), write posts based on the phrases that get the most traffic. That way, instead of hundreds of hours writing content for phrases that might, or might not get traffic, you can focus on the phrases that will get you the most traffic possible.
  8. Get exposure 5 minutes from now – even for highly competitive phrases. Again – free traffic is great, but it can take months (or years) before the search engines find you and decide that you’re “worthy” of being displayed on the first page of the SERPS for the phrases you’d like to get found for.  After you take the 10 or 15 minutes required to set up an Adwords account, you pick what keywords you want to rank for, and bid on them.  You’d be surprised — A budget as small as $50 a month could get you a ton of valuable leads if you’re smart about what phrases you bid on.  The beauty is that you never pay for a click unless your visitors actually click on your ad.
  9. Get the most bang for your buck out of classified ads/postcards. Do you canvas mail neighborhoods, or still run classified ads for your listings?  Before you spend who knows how much on such a campaign, test a headline or two via adwords.  In a matter of minutes, you could write two or three ads on adwords, and test which ad gets the highest clickthrough rate.  After spending $25 to $50 on Adwords, you might find that one ad “pulls” 3 to 5 times as often as the others. The same will likely happen if you use similar language in your newspaper ad or postcard mailing.  (This could be done via thousands of postcard mailers, multiple phone lines, and direct response tracking methods, but why bother? It’s way cheaper to do via Adwords.)
  10. Switch websites or overhaul your old site, and never worry about losing your hard-earned search engine traffic because Google or Yahoo don’t like your new site as much and drop your site from the search terms you were ranking for before.  With Adwords, you can change the page you’re driving traffic to in about 2 minutes.

In summary, Adwords can either be a great way of getting additional traffic otherwise not obtainable, or it can be a tool that can be used to increase the efficiency of your SEO efforts.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 N. F. November 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm


WOW!! You hit it out of the park….These are perhaps the best 10 reasons I have heard in my short time in SEO, of why and how to use Adwords (or PPC campaigns in general). Please email me your contact info so we can discuss how I can learn more from you.

Talk soon,

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