“The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.” – Anonymous
It is often the first question our clients ask us. “How do I get on the first page of Google?”
Many times, it comes in the form of a demand. “Get me on the first page of Google.”
We understand why!
Whether your business is in Reno or any other part of the country, you should know what Google advertising is, how it works, and how to make it work for you.
Today, we will discuss these topics as well as the Google advertising algorithm, and how much Google advertising costs. We’ll even throw in some of our agency best practices!
What is Google Advertising?
Have you ever told a friend about a product you were thinking about buying, a place you were thinking about traveling to, or a musician you would like to go see, only to have an ad for that very topic pop-up on the next website you visit?
If so, you know what Google advertising looks like, even if you can’t put a name to it.
Google advertising takes two forms.
The first is the results that populate at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), indicated by a little green “Ad” box to the left of the URL. See below:
The second is the display advertisements that travel with you from website to website.
There are actually two Google display ads in the screenshot below. Can you find them amid all the noise on BuzzFeed?
They are indicated by little, grey “advertisement” text above each:
Whenever you click on the first kind of Google ad–the one displayed on the results page–the advertiser is charged a fee.
This is why we marketers call Google advertising “pay-per-click” advertising or “PPC.”
We call everything below the Google ads on the results page “organic” results because no one is paying for them to rank, they are simply considered relevant to the search performed by the Google algorithm.
It is challenging to rank in organic results, which is why so many Reno business owners consider Google advertising an attractive marketing tool. That said, ranking organically is “free”–requires no ad spend, only the cost of the production of content–and therefore incredibly valuable to the businesses who “make it.” We recommend an integrated strategy, paid and organic, at Beacon.
“Results page” Google ads are made of just text–a headline, a URL, and a description.
“Website” Google ads are called “Google display ads” and they are comprised of headlines, descriptions, logos, and graphics–a bit more diverse, they can come in sixteen different formats.
Google display ads “follow you” from website to website by a marketing tool called “remarketing.”
When you visit the website of a business that uses remarketing and then go somewhere else online–if the next website allows Google display advertising–Google will pull ads from the first business onto the second website.
The idea is to encourage you to come back and do business with the first!
How Does Google Advertising Work?
Both results page Google ads and website display ads are created and managed in a program called Google AdWords.
If you want to start Google advertising for your Reno business, your first step is to create a Google AdWords account.
After that, you will need to learn a few things about how the Google advertising algorithm works so you can create effective advertisements.
The Google Advertising Algorithm
What happens when you perform a search on Google?
An incredible amount of work, all in a split second!
In regard to AdWords, the first thing Google will do is find all of the accounts that would like to rank for the terms used in the search.
For instance, you may be trying to rank for “(your services) in Reno.”
If someone searches, “How can I get (your services) in Reno?” your AdWords account will be considered in Google’s sweep.
The way you tell Google that you would like to rank for a particular search term, or, keyword is by bidding money on it in AdWords.
So really, any given search is an “auction” of sorts for Google AdWords advertisers!
Here are the factors that go into the AdWords auction:
- The maximum bid you have set for your keyword
- The quality score of your advertisement
As you can see, Google not only cares about monetary value, but also about the quality experiences it is delivering to its users.
A “maximum bid” is the maximum amount you are willing to pay if someone does indeed click on your advertisement (remember, this is pay-per-click).
Another term for maximum bid is “cost-per-click (CPC) bid.”
Your “quality score” is calculated by additional factors:
- Past performance of the ad, ad group, and your account in general
- The relevance of your selected keyword, ad, and landing page to the search and to each other
What is an “ad group?” What is a “landing page?”
Ad groups are the groups of keywords that you are trying to rank your ad for.
A landing page is the page that you send users to after they click on your advertisement, and it should be directly related to the topic that your keyword indicates.
Here is the equation that determines your ad’s rank after the AdWords auction:
CPC Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank
The AdWords auction for display ads is a little different from the auction for results page ads.
In this case, CPC bids are set on the ad group level, not for individual keywords.
With display ads, instead of bidding on clicks, you can also bid based on impressions, the number of times your ad was delivered.
The term for this is “cost-per-impression (CPM) bidding.”
Fun fact: It is in Google’s best interest to rank your ad higher if it is high-quality and relevant! That’s because relevance and quality mean a better user experience for Google’s users. The better the experience, the more likely users are to prefer Google as a search engine, the more money Google makes. The more users Google has, the more clicks you receive, the more customers you get as a relevant advertiser on Google. It all checks out!
How Much Google Advertising Will Cost Your Reno Business
In pay-per-click, each time an internet user clicks on one of your Google advertisements, your Reno business will be charged for that click.
What determines the going rate? This equation right here:
Next Highest Ad Rank / Quality Score + $0.01 = CPC*
How good is your algebra?
What you will notice from this equation is that, the higher your quality score is, the less you must pay per click.
Once again, Google rewards advertisers for relevance.
*Please note that the cost-per-click will never go above your set maximum CPC.
Can Google Advertising Grow My Reno Business?
Here is an answer that you may not like, but is absolutely true: It depends.
The factors that determine your rank on Google are not only your bid and relevance, but also the amount of competition you have for Google AdWords, in your industry, in Reno.
Some industries and locations see a lot of competition, while others see very little.
At Beacon headquarters in Anchorage, in the legal industry, we have seen cost-per-click upwards of $50!
This would be a deal-breaker for some clients, to whom we might recommend an organic strategy or place more emphasis on social media marketing, depending on the competitive landscape.
Others are perfectly comfortable paying this rate because they have seen how the $50 they spend on one, qualified click has a massive return on investment.
For Reno, here is a breakdown of the keyword competition for three of the top industries currently in the market:
|Average Monthly Searches
|Page Bid (Low Range)
|Page Bid (High Range)
Source: Google AdWords Keyword Planner (at the date of this blog post)
This is a broad range of results.
In general, you want to see high average monthly searches (comparatively), low to medium competition, and cost-per-click (CPC) that are lower than industry average (see chart below).
Please note that the actual cost-per-click is a different figure than the maximum cost-per-click bid.
Source: WordStream (at the date of this blog post)
As you can see, cost-per-click in Reno is right around industry average for healthcare, whereas technology is very low, and there is little to no data for Google to report on startups.
However, just because your industry reports a certain average cost-per-click does not mean that your cost-per-click will be the same.
Relevance goes a LONG way in Google advertising.
At Beacon, we frequently achieve cost-per-click below industry standards.
Here are some of our own best practices for Google advertising that we have developed over the years:
- For every service advertised, you should have a budget of at least $300 per month (we recommend more). This means a minimum cost-per-click budget on each keyword in about 1-3 ad groups.
- You should find a niche that differentiates your business in your industry for more nuanced keywords. The more nuanced your keywords are, the less competitive they are, and the more likely they are highly relevant to the internet users who are searching them. For instance, we have seen great results in Google ads for a local dentist. In our advertising for her, we don’t simply use the term “dentist,” but rather, “holistic dentist,” because that is what she is and FAR fewer local dentists are competing for this specific phrase.
- Create relevant ads and landing pages. Make sure your ads are compelling, to-the-point, and send people to a landing page that is keyword-optimized for the keywords you are targeting. Keyword-optimized means that the keyword appears across headers and text on the page.
How can you make Google advertising work for your Reno business?
To sum it all up, you MUST do competitive keyword research, niche your business, spend enough money to see results, set appropriate CPC bids, and create highly relevant ads.
“Is that all?” You may be asking, sarcastically.
If this is a little too overwhelming, we get it–It has taken us years to perfect our Google advertising strategy at Beacon.
Today, we have a Google Partner certificate, and we greatly enjoy helping other Reno businesses grow using Google ads!
If you are interested, please reach out to our President Adrienne Wilkerson to schedule a free consultation using our Acuity scheduler.
Adrienne is on-location in Reno and she would be more than happy to talk to you in person, over the phone, or via video chat!
If not, we hope you find these resources helpful and we wish you the best as you make Google advertising work for you!