How Paid Search Costs are Determined?
For the purposes of this article we are going to focus on paid search specific to Google. In Google Adwords the Cost per Click (CPC) is the amount an advertiser pays for each individual click on their ad.
Google’s goal, in addition to making money, is to provide searchers with the best websites to fit the searchers needs. That is why simply bidding the highest on a keyword will not necessarily get you the top spot in Google Ads. Google places just as much emphasis on the quality of the website that is advertising as it does on the amount that website is willing to pay for a click. That is why Google uses Ad Rank to determine who will take the top spot out of the ads a user sees when searching for particular keywords.
How is AdRank Determined?
Ad Rank is a simple formula that multiplies max bid, which is the highest amount an advertiser is willing to pay for a keyword, with quality score. Quality score is where SEO comes into play and can really make a difference. Based on this formula we know the higher a websites quality score is the lower it’s max bid can be.
What is Quality Score?
Quality score is simply a number Google assigns, 1-10, to a webpage ranking the quality of the content relative to the keyword being bid on and the AD driving to the page. Essentially Google takes a look at the page you want to send AD Clicks to and determines how valuable and relevant it is to the keywords you are bidding on. The higher the number the better your score. This is where search engine optimization comes in to play. It’s also where most marketing teams and agencies miss the mark. In order to save money on bids it is imperative to improve quality score.
How Can Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Improve Quality Score?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing both the content and technical aspects of a website. This is done to show Google that it is the best website to show for certain keywords. An SEO team can have many different goals, growing sales, growing traffic, generating leads etc. No matter what the ultimate goal is SEO teams need to grow keyword rankings to accomplish those goals. When SEO is done properly rankings rise. Rankings only rise when Google is seeing the optimized page as a trusted resource to send searchers. Meaning it thinks it is a quality page to send traffic to. Therefore, as a pages ranks increase on certain keywords so will their quality score on those same keywords. As mentioned previously, when quality score rises the company can bid much less on a keyword and still be placed in the top spot.
Execution of Quality Score Improvement
Most paid search teams will adjust their ad copy to improve quality score and nothing else. Although most paid search practitioners know SEO can help improve quality score they rarely work with SEO teams to implement the necessary adjustments. In fact, it is common in most agencies that paid search teams target completely different keywords than the SEO team. Not only that, typically those teams never even talk to each other. When an agency is set up that way they are wasting a significant amount of the clients’ money and inhibiting growth of the clients search performance. That type of disconnect from knowledge to practice is one of the reasons I founded The Missing Link. Here, all of our teams are fully integrated to ensure the clients gets the most out of their engagement with us.
The quality of a webpage is just as important to Google as the amount of money you are willing to spend on Ad Clicks. That is why you need a strong SEO team that works hand in hand with the paid search team to ensure they are enhancing the quality score of their keywords. If your agency team does not have a fully integrated PPC and SEO team then you are likely spending more money on paid search than you should.