Busted: 5 myths about search engine advertising

Blane Vik, Search Engine Marketing Manager - ARI
October 9, 2012
Filed under Guest Blog

I was recently interviewed for a story about the ins and outs of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. As the reporter and I were talking, I realized that there are a lot of myths about search engine advertising out there, so I thought I’d share some of them with you. Whether you’re considering a PPC campaign or you’re already running a schedule, here are five myths worth busting.

Myth #1- The broader, the better.

Too many dealers focus on broad keywords like "used boats" or "new boats." As a result, you end up with a lot of traffic to your website, but not many buyers. In reality, the best searches are local and specific, e.g. "Sea Ray Springfield Missouri." That opens the door for you to dominate your markets because competition for specific keywords isn't as tight, which means that the cost to reach local customers is often lower.

You should use a mix of broad and narrow keywords to hit both generic and brand-specific searches. The keywords should also be adjusted depending on what’s going on at the dealership. Use search engine advertising to attract more qualified buyers with targeted keyword campaigns. The good news is that PPC advertising campaigns can be changed on the fly to expand or reduce reach in a particular market, or even instantly add a new one.

Myth #2- Set it and forget it.

This is a common myth when it comes to PPC. Most dealers don’t have the time to constantly make adjustments to their PPC campaigns, but they should. Competition comes and goes, which will affect your ad positioning. Your business changes season to season, so you should be making adjustments to your advertising plan throughout the year. What specials are you running? Spring boat tune-ups? Winterization and storage? Is there a boat show coming up? Are you having an open house? The list goes on and on.

Myth #3- Being first is best.

A lot of advertisers assume that the top position is the best and they experience sticker shock when they find out how much it takes to be – and stay – up top. Truth be told, people don't have to scroll down the first page of results to see the third paid ad, and it costs much less than the No. 1 or No. 2 spot.

You can save money by targeting the No. 3 spot, yet still get excellent results. You don’t have to pay a premium for the first position to guarantee a high click-through rate. With a budget of $500 per month, you will likely see 100,000 impressions that generate 1,500 clicks a month. That’s only $0.35 per click for 1,500 potential buyers!

Myth #4- No need for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when I have PPC.

There’s a good reason why combining SEO and PPC is the way to go. Research shows that 60 percent of consumers will bypass paid advertising and click on organic results. Why miss out on the 40 percent that click on paid listings?

Dealers should integrate both tools in their online marketing campaign to cover both sides of the equation. Combining a first page organic ranking with a first page paid ad offers your business twice the exposure to potential buyers. Just do a Google search for any major company, and you’ll see that they’re using PPC along with their organic rankings.

Myth #5- Driving traffic to my homepage is good enough.

There’s a good reason why you shouldn’t drive traffic to your homepage. We live in a fast-paced world and people searching for your products want the information as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to create landing pages within your website that get prospects to the relevant information as efficiently and quickly as possible. Create specific paid ads that land your potential buyers right where they want to be. No extra clicks, no endless navigation on your website to find what they’re searching for. In most cases, if people can’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks, they move on to the next site.

When a consumer clicks on a PPC ad, the search engine provider can tell you not only what keyword attracted the customer's attention, but also which ads performed best throughout the month. It’s easy for a campaign manager to determine which ads or categories are driving more leads so that you can push more money into campaign X while cutting back on campaigns Y and Z.

Search engine advertising is a very effective lead generation tool: You pay for what you get and you see immediate, measurable results. It helps your bottom line and your ability to determine – and prove – the ROI.

Blane Vik is Search Engine Marketing Manager at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the marine, RV, powersports and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include eCommerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and eCatalogs (parts, garments, and accessories).

Contact: vik@arinet.com; (414) 973-4346

Website: www.arinet.com


2 Responses to “Busted: 5 myths about search engine advertising”

  1. Roger Herd on October 9th, 2012 1:54 pm

    Great information Blane.
    I have been administering PPC campaigns since 2006 and believe strongly in their viability to bring in focused traffic. We regularly run PPC campaigns with emphasis on long-tail key-words and I always target the 2nd through 4th ad spots. There is a lot of time involved in the management of campaigns but the results have been incredible and we are enjoying a good year.

    More eyes on the prize!


  2. Simon Osborne on October 11th, 2012 2:52 am

    Very good advice. All five points you've got there are important to maintaining a successful campaign. In my experience, some companies believe the organic SEO way is the only method, and completely ignore PPC, which means they will miss out on a huge part of the market - 40% is too large to miss out on!

    I have no worries about being the number 2,3,4 slot as in truth, like you say, it's usually much more viable, you pay a lot less for a similar amount (be it slightly less) of traffic.


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