It’s Time to Learn Paid Search (or Look for an Agency)

SEO and PPC stay pretty separate in the online marketing industry, it seems. I’ve answered a lot of questions about paid search and how it works, but the majority of the industry seems to discount the value paid search can bring to a website (maybe because paid links are so bad?). Sometimes prospective clients feel the need to ask for either SEO or PPC, or have no interest in paid search whatsoever. Well, it’s time we put the axe on needing to choose. Both are critical to reaching your business’ full potential through Google.

Miranda Miller at Search Engine Watch elaborated on a technical Google study about the role paid search plays in assisting organic results this past April (thanks, Miranda!). Yes, Google wants you to spend more on advertisements, of course. BUT, did you see the data? Here’s the slightly-longer-than TL;DR version:

81% of search result ads don’t have a matching organic listing on the first page of Google.

 Of the 19% that did correspond to an organic result
- 9% had an organic listing at #1
- 5% were ranked between 2 and 4
- 4% were at position 5 or below.

If you can get your clients (or your business) to appear for 80% more searches, wouldn’t you want to at least start thinking about attempting paid adverts on Google? Do you need more convincing? Google’s test shows that:

- 99% of ad clicks with no organic result are crucial (of course, that makes sense)
- 50% of clicks paired with a rank 1 organic result are incremental (think brand terms)
- 82% of ads make a difference when paired with an organic listing between 2 and 4.
- 96% with an associated ad with a listing below rank 5

Basically, being at position 5 or below is just as useful as not even being on the page at all. This is where your paid search strategy should take over; PPC marketers should pair with your SEOs to provide you the most keyword coverage you can get.

Tangent :: In SEO and PPC we talk about being above the fold quite a bit. So if you are below position 5 on the first page, think about your website: what are your visitors seeing? Are you making the best fist impression? :: End Tangent

I think we’ve agreed - paid search is an important part of internet marketing on Google. In addition to just being visible, you can use paid search ads to test the potential conversion rate of specific keywords and landing pages. Is it worth it for your business to appear for that much coveted key phrase? Test it out! 

How do you start? AdWords is very intimidating if you’ve never had an hour or so to peek around inside the interface. Distilled has paired with Simply Business to create a step-by-step guide to launching your first AdWords campaign. We’ve consulted on the process and provided relevant, useful paid search articles that will help clarify the specifics for you. We’ve even included screen shots of the AdWords interface so you don’t have to blindly walk through the process alone. It’s almost like Distilled is consulting you through every step! Click on the graphic below to see the interactive version. 

If you think your blog audience would appreciate knowing how to start paid search advertising agency-style, then please share this with them:

<a href=“”><img src=“” border=“0” alt=“Simply Business ppc for startups and small businesses” width=“450” height=“925” > Source: </a><a href=“”>Simply Business</a>

Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).


Jasmine Aye

Jasmine Aye

Jasmine is our most senior US member of our advertising team and has had several years experience running paid promotions in house and at Distilled. She has become exemplary at understanding offline conversion attribution processes for large and...   read more

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  1. Hi Jasmine Aye,
    Thanks for this nice informative post !
    The Adwords instruction process is really helpful for doing the right optimization.Paid Search is definitely important for Google as it has a scope of earning by the advertisements.But proper method of SEO will definitely give result in the organic search.Now,for the visitors to choose will definitely depend upon his tastes and preferences and definitely his requirements.

    Thanks again

    reply >
    • Jasmine Aye

      Thank you for bringing this point up, Arpita.

      I agree that Google is looking out for Google, but there will always be terms that a company doesn't rank for that are potentially profitable. Using paid search data to back up organic keyword decisions is an excellent way to continue expanding organically and to merge the two very different processes.

  2. This is a fantastic post - really informative. PPC can feel so daunting for small - medium sized businesses who maybe only have a small budget. Paid ads can be a great way of getting hard stats to work from and feeding that information back into your overall strategy. For new sites it's a great way of gaining visibility in the search engines whilst you are building up your credibility and working on your SEO.

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    • Jasmine Aye

      Yes, definitely. Thanks, Fran!

      I don't have the data to back this up, but there are probably some people who weigh the amount of visibility a company has before clicking on any link. In these situations having a paid ad and an organic listing would potentially increase the likelihood that your brand is chosen as the more credible source.

    • Fran - you are correct, PPC can be great for small businesses if they in fact do collect data and utilize that data. I think the important point is just that. If it does not feedback to their organizational strategy (get more business) with a good ROI, it will be wasted money. Data, Data, Data.....

  3. Maybe because it's because I've always done both SEO and PPC, but I've never seen the two seperate from each other. You see so many people hoping to dominate google through SEO alone, however most seem to not realise that the ideal balance is with both complamenting each other.

    Really though, those going into adwords for the first time need to really spend some time getting to grips before throwing vast amounts of money at it - whilst it is can be relatively easy to set up your first campaign, optimizing it so it doesn't burn through money can be tricky.

    reply >
  4. Jasmine Aye thank you for a spot on post. Distilled seems to read my mind with the blog post entries subjects because I was about to start learning PPC, so your guide is much appreciated and for sure will be shared on my website and FB :-) Great job, thanks for that once again.

    reply >
  5. Thanks for posting about t his.

    Working solely with small businesses the past 2 years, I can't stress enough how imperative it is that they enter the PPC market, especially if they're starting with a brand new website with no age or history. As you know, since we can't speed up time (we all wish we could speed up that sandbox period), PPC allows a new small business to get an immediate return as opposed to waiting 6 months for any significant amount of organic traffic. It's another bite of the apple, and a juicy one at that!

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  6. There does seem to be a lot of business owners that don't see the value in pay per click. They were about click fraud or they think every phrase is going to cost them 10 dollars for every click. There is way to get value from pay per click campaigns and if done properly, can generate a lot of revenue for a business. It can also be a way to generate more keywords to target by gathering data quickly on different phrases simply through the amount of impressions a phrase receives. I think a lot of them will be doing it more this fall when Google eliminates its free Google Merchant program. A lot of ecommerce clients rely on that to sell their products and now will have no choice, but to at least try it out.

    reply >
    • Jasmine Aye

      Thanks for contributing, Scott!

      I think one of the biggest downfalls of Google Merchant is that it doesn't always help the small business owner. I had a client who couldn't get her own Merchant ads to show, but Amazon was advertising her product and appearing above her ads, so Amazon was profiting in the end. From this perspective, I can understand why Google is going to start charging for the service.

  7. Jasmine, is there any chance of seeing a higher resolution version of the infographic. I find it a little hard to read, even at full size.

    Good work though, I agree with pretty much all you are saying here.

    reply >
  8. That's perfect Jasmine, thanks!

    reply >
  9. Wow...great post. We're getting into this now. Perfect timing on this post!


    reply >
    • Jasmine Aye

      Great, Jason! I hope the resources provided will help you along your way!

  10. Hi jasmine,

    This is a great article and you have provide the best analysis here !

    "81% of search result ads don’t have a matching organic listing on the first page of Google.

    Of the 19% that did correspond to an organic result
    - 9% had an organic listing at #1
    - 5% were ranked between 2 and 4
    - 4% were at position 5 or below. "

    Yup this is true as i have ranked on 1st spot for many good keywords but they never get the traffic as listed in Google adword keyword tool. We need to target some long tail keywords and we need to make proper use of PPC and SEO to get maximum benefit. :)



    reply >
  11. Nick Bordeau


    Great Post! I just started getting heavily involved with paid marketing techniques simply because of the amount of instant traffic and revenue it can bring for my clients and myself.

    The statistics in the article really bring to life the opportunity that is being overlooked by a webmaster or marketer that is not actively participating in Adwords. But really sealed the deal was the infographic here. BRAVO! Linking each subtopic to a relevant article really just shattered my mind!

    To take this post out of this world I think it might be even useful to consider including statistics on optimized ads versus companies that use general ads. This was a huge game changer for me when I started optimizing my first campaigns.

    Thanks again for all the excellent info!

    ~Nick B.

    reply >
    • Jasmine Aye

      Thanks, Nick. I'm so glad you love the graphic!

      BoostCTR has a lot of great stats on optimizing your ads, but you bring up a good point about how important adcopy is to paid search marketing. Google actually recommends you fit the keyword into your advert as frequently as possible while still seeming natural. I would recommend in the headline and display URL, but if it fits in the text as well then you are good to go. One caveat: beware of dymanic keyword insertion. Used correctly, it can be a blessing, but for the most part I see it used incorrectly. The more time you can take with your ads to refine your message to be specific to the intent of the search, the more likely your ads will perform better.

  12. Hi Jasmine. Thanks for your article! It's really worth knowing.. PPC makes Google to be a better search engine for advertisement. It also lures more businessmen to make PPC and SEO a hotter trend in Internet Marketing! Also, your article suggested me a deeper understanding about PPC. Thank you. I really appreciate it.


    reply >
    • Jasmine Aye

      Rachal, that's so nice of you! Thank you :) I'm really glad you got so much from this!

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