Mentor, Scott Robinson

Organic search rankings or Google ads – which is best?

Scott Robinson /

Are Google ads worth the outlay? Or should I be concentrating on my organic search rankings and not worry about it?


Online advertising is no different to any other form of advertising and really works on some basic principles.


1. You only ever get out what you put in


If you’re not prepared to spend enough money to gain any effect then you are simply wasting your money.


Realistically, if you’re not spending at least $500 per month on Google AdWords then you’re probably not serious.


2. Have a budget


It’s easy to spend marketing dollars ad hoc. So it’s vital to have a budget. As I said above though, you need to be prepared to spend good money on any marketing.


Considering a single full page ad in a newspaper could cost you anything from $1,000 (in a regional location) through to $50,000 (in a major publication), spending a couple of thousand dollars a month on online advertising suddenly starts to make more sense.


You’re getting a whole month for less than a single day! Spending $100 a month on Google AdWords is like taking a two-line advert in the classifieds of a country town newspaper – you’re just going to get lost.


3. Look at the content – don’t blame the medium


We see this all the time. People like to blame the medium (online or offline) for not performing when most of the time it’s really the content that’s lacking.


This is especially true with AdWords. You’ve got a limited number of words to get across your message. It needs to communicate a lot as well as be jammed with keywords.


There’s a reason that there are people who specialise in writing these adverts.


4. Passive or pro-active?


Google AdWords are not all that different from the Yellow Pages. You’re essentially waiting for someone to look for you.


Display advertising on high traffic sites is much more like being on television. In all marketing, a pro-active approach will see you gain much more consistent results as you’re not waiting for potential customers to find you but ensuring you’re in front of the target market.


5. Timing is everything


Make sure you look at when you’re advertising. This is true of all media but with so many controls in Google AdWords you really need to be sure that your dollars are being effective.


In terms of gaining traction in the organic search world, I don’t see that advertising and organic search should be thought of as competitors. You shouldn’t be doing one or the other. You should be doing both!


Quality, honest and regular content is what will win the day in terms of strong organic results. With Google continuing to refine its algorithms, it is becoming shy of impossible to actually ‘cheat’ the system. Be clever about the keywords you enter into your site.


Do the hard yards of strong meta data in ensuring that your site has descriptions, meta tags and all your pictures are rich with keywords in the file named and contain a description within the code.


These may be aspects you need to discuss with your developer but they will play an important part in gaining you organic results.


Whichever path you choose to take, the important thing to remember is to measure the results.


Ensure you know what you’re getting for your money and ensure that you give any medium a chance to work. Things don’t happen overnight.


Ensure you do your due diligence on the most effective keywords and that you’re getting the most out of your efforts.


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