Most people in the world are completely unaware of how search engines work and how it’s possible to use search algorithms to manipulate the results you see on the page. As a result, many SEOs and reputation management professionals are thought of as magicians who use dark sorcery to “trick” Google into doing their bidding. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many people are flummoxed as to how Google makes any money. They don’t sell anything, right?
Well, those in the industry know that besides a handful of premium services, Google makes the vast majority of its money selling advertising. And you can use Google’s ad system to help your online reputation, just like you can use any other tactic to mold a results page that is optimal for the reputation of your company.
PPC (or pay-per-click) advertising are the ads that run at the top and sides of a Google search page. They don’t take up a spot in the results, but they do push the “natural” results lower on the page, taking up screen real estate. And many users can’t tell the difference between the paid and non-paid results on a serach—which is one of the reasons these ads work so well.
Google sells these ads on an auction basis. In other words, whoever is willing to pay the most for the ad space gets the best spot on the page. In terms of reputation management, it’s not likely that many other companies will be bidding for space on a search for your company name (however in some industries this is the case), so your PPC rates should be fairly small. Perhaps as little as a few cents per click.
If you feel that it might be worth it to buy ads on a search for your company name and take up some extra page real estate, here are a few tips you’ll need to keep in mind to save money on your campaign:
1) Use the ad scheduler to limit your ads to peak search hours
When you buy ads from Google, you have the opportunity to use the ad scheduler to specify the times of the day you want your ads to run. Running your ads 24 hours a day is a good way to catch everyone who searches for your company names, but it could cost you a lot of money. Instead, use your Google analytics tools to find out what days of the week and what times of the day are most ideal for capturing the maximum amount of people with your ad. Then schedule your ad to run during those times, saving you money and giving you the most benefit at the same time.
2) Use “standard” delivery method
On the other hand, if you are on a budget and can only devote a small amount of money to PPC, you may opt to limit placement of your ads to the amount you can pay each day. If this is the case, you’ll be offered two options when buying ads: standard delivery or accelerated delivery.
With standard, your ads will be evenly spaced out through the day. With accelerated delivery, your ad will run on every search possible until you run out of budget. In some cases this means that your ad will appear in searches for your company name only in the morning—leaving the afternoon wide open.
Although some PPC marketers advocate for accelerated delivery, with reputation management, you’ll want to opt for standard so you can save the most money and still get exposure throughout the day.
PPC and Reputation Management
Granted, PPC is not usually the first option for a reputation management strategy because searches for your specific company name are generally low-competition keywords. But if you’ve had trouble with certain results showing up near the top of a search, or if your competitors are buying ads for branded searches, then PPC is an option you might consider. And these basics will get you started down the right path to a stronger reputation management strategy.