Paid search is still a numbers game, but the people elevating the game are making a more relevant connection upfront and converting customers with high-quality content after the click.
It's the same story at every conference and every business development pitch: quality content is needed to create opportunities for success with your search marketing efforts.
This story remains consistent because it's true. Search engines make their bread and butter by showing the most relevant results to a user as they research entertainment, products and services. Search engines want to give top ranking to the pages that provide the most value to the user, in order to ensure that searchers continue to use their particular service.
Pages with content (video, text, images, etc.) that users actually want to engage with are gaining more and more traction in the rankings. A page with proper structure and meta data that contains appealing, useful content that has been shared socially is like catnip to a search engine.
Any digital marketer worth his or her iPhone knows the above is true and understands the SEO and social value of quality content. But what's rarely discussed is the value of content in paid search. I'm not talking about pithier ad copy; I'm talking about connection and conversion. I'm talking about using content to get more out of existing paid search strategies, such as higher Quality Scores, greater consumer engagement and reaching new audiences.
Influence Quality Score with Rich Content
There is a huge opportunity for digital marketers to increase Quality Scores by improving the content on landing pages. Google's Quality Score measures how relevant your ad, keywords and landing page are to the person seeing your ad. Higher Quality Scores lead to lower costs per click and better ad positions on the results page. Instead of viewing these pages as simple conversion tools that exist only to get the form filled, consider them an opportunity to get the conversion started and provide additional value for the consumer.
For example, a campaign for tennis racquets could provide a short instructional video on the PPC landing pages with tips for improving your backhand from a well-known professional. Add social sharing buttons and all of a sudden, a functional piece of your paid search strategy is also a sharable piece of content. Include the keywords from the ad campaign in the page text and as search engines determine the page is highly relevant, the Quality Score goes up, the CPC goes down and your racquet ads show in premium page positions.
Take Advantage of Site Links with Incentivized Content
Another opportunity exists to improve Quality Score with content in the site links. Higher click through rates on site links are known to improve Quality Score. Provide additional incentive to click with rich content. The same tennis brand could have the site links "Racquets, Shoes, Pro Tips" on a PPC ad. Users looking to purchase quickly still have that option, but consumers who are still browsing may click the content-focused link. They could be directed to a page with both content and product. Here's a video with tips from the pro, here's how to buy everything she's wearing. Here's where you can share this video with your circles, and so on.
Providing useful content in the purchase process can help improve Quality Scores, but maybe more importantly, it establishes longer-term relationships with consumers. By providing something of value in the purchase process, you can turn a one-time customer into a brand advocate. When they share that instructional video on their own social media channels the customer extends awareness of the brand to countless new potential customers.
Paid search is still a numbers game. But the people who are elevating the game are making a more relevant connection upfront and converting customers with high-quality content after the click. By integrating rich, useful content into existing paid search strategies, you can get so much more out of an already successful campaign.
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As CEO, Andrew Beckman oversees the strategic direction and business growth of Location3 Media. Andrew founded Location3 Media in 1999 as a media buying agency and has since expanded the portfolio of services to include PPC management, SEO, local search marketing, landing page optimization, social media, web analytics, creative design, content marketing strategy, and more.
Prior to founding Location3 Media, Andrew was an international sales manager for DoubleClick, Inc. where he was charged with opening new sales offices, as well as training teams on U.S. search marketing strategies. Andrew is an active member of DMA's Search Marketing Council, a governor for the DMA ECHO Committee, and is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including SES, SMX, PubCon, IFA, and DMA.
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IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
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An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
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