You know how I keep going on and on (and on) about content and how the better your content is the better you’ll connect with new and existing customers.
A recent article in the New York Times gives a new angle to my harpings and also backs me up. So there.
It explores the ever-increasing price of pay-per-click advertising and the people who use it. A small business owner with a bunch of cabins to rent in Georgia began using Google’s AdWords to draw customers to his site.
In 2001 he paid about .60 per click and got amazing results. By 2010 his price had doubled and he was paying a ton, almost 150K, for about the same traffic. In fact, he started to see a reduction in his return for the money he was paying.
Big companies spend barrels of money for pay-per-click ads. In the first half of 2012, Amazon reportedly spent $54 million, and the University of Phoenix $37.9 million. What’s a small business to do?
“AdWords can bleed many a small business dry,” said Sharon Geltner, an analyst at the Small Business Development Center at Palm Beach State College in Boca Raton, Fla. says in the article.
A Google spokesman agreed and said that small businesses can compete by using ads but also by using “search, social media and more.” In other words, drive traffic to your site for free.
And that brings us back to producing relevant content. Consistently populating your website and social media outreach with highly searched keywords and attractive, sharable content will put you in a position to be found. Using multiple outlets for your content also increases your reach.
This also brings up another topic-SEO or as the acronym challenged say-Search Engine Optimization. This is basically crafting your content in a way that you’ll be found by the little robots that constantly ride the web highway looking for stuff to populate search queries. Crappy SEO will put your business in the back alley of the internet with the dumpsters and Friendster.
SEO can also be one of those things that snake-oil salesmen will try and sell you by making all kinds of unrealistic claims such as moving you up to the top of search results. Run away from these people and pretend that you are dead until they go away. There are good firms that can improve your SEO without resorting to witchcraft and dumb lies so do your homework.
As far as AdWords and pay-per-click advertising goes, definitely give it a try. If you’ve never used it you’ll probably see a nice little bump in your search rankings. But to sustain that bump you’ll need to keep the checkbook handy. Good content for the most part is free and you’re the authority. Use your know-how to push out the kind of information that keeps people interested and will also help your search ranking.