Pay-Per-Click is relatively risk-free (Chapter 20)

Posted on July 15, 2011


It must be frustrating to make television commercials.  Top spots often cost over $500,000 to shoot and produce.  Then, when that was said-and-done, you still had to pay to get that commercial on the air.  Air time is not cheap…especially for the good stuff.  And now, after all that money is spent, people just DVR their shows and skip all the commercials or watch them online.  Imagine if television commercials only had to pay for airtime if someone CHOSE to watch them.  That is the beauty of search engine marketing because that is the reality.

SEM might not be a big risk, but does it really pay-off?  According to a number of articles online, many people are skeptical about clicking sponsored ads.  One researcher found that 90% of test subjects did NOT click on sponsored ads that were to the right of the search results and most stated that they never would click on them (  Sponsored ads that appeared above the organic search results garnered more success.  Still, according to another website, sponsored links are only clicked on 20 to 40 percent of the time (

Despite the fact that SEM is relatively risk-free, it is not the answer to all of your marketing needs.  These statistics suggest that it is even more important to focus on your SEO.  Making sure that your keywords, links, and quality of website bring you to the top of the search result list is more important than any pay-per-click campaign.  Again, I’m convicted that hiring an expert for your SEO might be one of the smartest investments you can make for your company.

As a customer, there are probably a number of reasons that people ch0ose not to click on sponsored ads.  Many people use Google for research.  They are not looking to make a purchase and they probably realize that sponsored ads are most definitely selling something.  Also, if you are even a little bit internet savvy, you start to notice that sponsored ads usually are less closely related to your search keywords than other ads.  The best information is often found in the organic ads and not in the sponsored ads.

Even if I am planning to make a purchase, I often find the organic ad for the same company or business rather than click on the sponsored ad.  For example, I’ve used Google to look up Cox Communications when I’ve needed to call my internet provider.  The sponsored ad for Cox would take me to a national Cox sales page.  Finding the phone number I need from that page is nearly impossible.  Instead, if I add Omaha to my search, I will get organic results for Cox that will send me to a more local page with contact information.  Your customers are smart, so treat them as such.  Use SEM, but focus first and foremost on SEO.