I’m down here in the trenches of internet marketing. I’m working with real businesses who are real new to AdWords. And over the past year I’ve seen a very common and also very poor AdWords strategy that my clients were using before they hired me. And that strategy is the following: We’re going to use AdWords until our SEO starts working. Once we get organic traffic from Google we’ll stop paying them to run ads. To that strategy, I say the following:
Facepalm!!?!? Stinky farts?!?!? Baby girl, awwww hell no!!!!!!!!!!
This is just a horrible way to approach AdWords, yet I see this strategy over and over from new clients. Let’s explore why it’s such a bad strategy, why so many people use this strategy, and what the right approach to Google is.
Why “AdWords Now, SEO Later” is such a bad AdWords strategy.
The strategy of AdWords Now, SEO Later, or maybe better put as AdWords Until SEO Works, is a horrible way to approach AdWords for three reasons. The first reason is that is takes all focus away from AdWords and puts it on SEO. SEO becomes the goal, and AdWords becomes the silly little thing you have to do until you get SEO to work. The second reason why it’s a bad strategy is because it puts zero emphasis on running AdWords profitably. And finally it’s a horrible strategy because if there’s one thing you never can count on in life, it’s SEO.
I’ve seen clients spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on AdWords using this strategy, and they end up giving no thought to AdWords and put all of their focus on SEO (most of that focus is usually just wishful thinking). This is a horrible way to go about things. If you’re going to be spending thousands of dollars a month on AdWords it should merit some, if not most, of your marketing focus, especially if you are a local business with a small marketing budget. Focusing on SEO (again, it’s mostly wishful thinking) while you’re spending precious marketing dollars on AdWords is not a good way to handle business. Any business person with common sense should be able to see this.
When you don’t focus on AdWords, then, by definition, you aren’t focusing on the probability of your AdWords ads. And when you run AdWords’ ads, you’re number one focus should be on running those ads profitably! AdWords can be a wonderful, wonderful marketing tool for the businesses that figure out how to run it profitably. Once you figure out how to run AdWords profitably, it’s like a money fountain that spits out profits month after month. It’s like a machine, the more money you spend on AdWords, the more money you’ll make. That successful, profitable marketing machine a beautiful thing, and it’s the reason why Google is worth over $390,000,000,000.
The last reason why AdWords Until SEO is a bad AdWords strategy is because you’re betting on SEO and assuming that it will work. The problem is that SEO is mostly out of your control, and even if it works for a while, there’s no guarantee that your Google rankings will stay high. Most people pitching SEO services will tell you “you can control your rankings” and “we can get you ranking on the first page.” The problem is that these people have no way of guaranteeing those results. They don’t work at Google. They don’t control the search results. It’s fantasy land. Yes, there are things you can do to improve your user experience and reach across the Internet that will help with your Google rankings over the long run. But none of those best practices are guaranteed to get results, and even if they do, again, rankings change all the time and you can never be certain organic search engine traffic will keep coming in. Making SEO your core online marketing strategy is a good way to go out of business. It’s too out of your control, and it’s too uncertain.
Why It’s So Common
So if AdWords Now, SEO Later is such a bad strategy, how come it’s so popular? The answer is because it’s natural. Everyone wants something for free, and local business owners are no different. They want to be able to attract customers without having to spend any money. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that’s just not the way things work in business. You have to spend money to make money. And spending on marketing is just something that you have to do, and do profitably.
It’d be nice to sit back and let Google’s search results act as your permanent and free customer-generating piggy bank. I can see the attraction there. And for a lot of industries ranking number 1 in Google will bring in a lot of customers. But it’s not free. You have to earn that number 1 spot by being in business and providing a great product or service for a long, long time. Google is great at figuring out who should be ranking number 1, and over the long run they usually get it right. Although it’s perfectly natural to want to get your leads and customers for free, it’s just not the way it works.
The Right Approach To Google
The right approach to AdWords and SEO, which basically makes up Google (ad traffic and search traffic), is to treat them as completely separate entities. Even though both your ad traffic and organic search traffic will come from Google, you should never group them into the same marketing category. AdWords traffic is immediate, in your control, and you can track direct profitability. SEO is long-term, could come and go at any time, and is more difficult to track profitably from. They are just really different forms of marketing and they shouldn’t be grouped together.
When it comes to AdWords and SEO, you’re best bet is to approach them separately and never tie the success or failure of one to the other. When you start an AdWords campaign, focus on your AdWords campaign. Focus on finding profitable keywords and landing pages and then ramp up the budget on those profit-producing strategies in AdWords. And then keep looking for more profitable keywords. At the same time, but completely separately, work on proven and safe SEO strategies like running an interesting and useful blog for your website’s audience and using outreach strategies to help spread the word online about your great website, products, services, and blog articles. Over time, as your business grows offline, your business’ reputation will grow online and the SEO will take care of itself.