The first and second parts of our Local SEO blog series covered Google Places and local website optimisation. If you have followed these posts your knowledge of local SEO should be improving. And if you've put the advice into action; your website and Google Place should be benefitting! This article, part three of our series, focuses on Local Online Advertising...
Local online advertising is a good way to boost your local SEO. We wouldn't suggest using paid for advertising as an alternative to organic SEO efforts; both methods have their place. The most recognised form of online advertising is probably Google Ads. So we'll start there.
Google PPC (pay per click) Adverts
The image below displays the following: Google Ads (yellow areas), Organic Listings (Red area) and Google Place (Purple area) - read more about Google places in Part One of our Local SEO Series.
There are no end of rumours surrounding how many people actually click on Google ads and whether they are worth it. We say: they can be monitored closely and the minimum budget is only £1 per day - what's the harm in trying! Some businesses report incredible results, your practice might be one of them.
How PPC Ads Work
PPC ad campaigns are free to set up. You then have to set a budget (usually a minimum of £1 per day). Google will then show your adverts to the demographic you've targeted in your set up. If somebody then clicks on one of your adverts, Google will charge you (pay per click!). When you've used your daily budget up, Google will stop showing your adverts (so you can never overspend, although underspend is possible). As part of the set up you tell Google how much you're willing to spend per click (this is your bid). You're bidding against other businesses with a similar customer base. In competitve industries with a wide customer base (such as car insurance), clicks can cost upwards of £30 each! In the veterinary industry, clicks are considerably less (your location and chosen keywords will effect this).
PPC Ads - The Risks
PPC ads are seen as a risk free way of advertising (as long as you, or the agency you are paying to manage them, know what they are doing). Badly targeted PPC campaigns can be a huge waste of money. Campaigns with poor calls to action will be a waste of your time. Really badly set up ad campaigns will look spammy and be a poor reflection of your business.
If you're unsure, it may be a good idea to get training in running a successful campaign, or get an agency to manage them for you (make sure you ask for regular reports written in plain English so you can see where your money's going!). We can offer both training and ongoing management so please contact us if you'd like some advice.
Setting Up a Google Ads Campaign
Setting up a successful Google Ads campaign can be time consuming and confusing. To do it properly you should start by performing a key word analysis to find which phrases you want to target your ads to show for. A proper keyword analysis and the use of carefully selected keywords thereafter will underpin your whole ad campaign. Use Google's Keyword tool to start your keyword analysis (this can be found within Google's ads creation framework).
The keywords you choose will determine which phrases people will type into Google for your ads to appear.
For local search, you can target your ads by altering the settings to only show to people in your area. You can also add your location(s) to your keywords.
Ads can be targeted for mobiles or desktops, they can include your phone number and they link back to your website (any page) too.
When creating your ads remember to have a clear call to action and keep everything as simple and as inviting as possible.
Other Types of Local Advertising
3rd Party Comparison Sites
Sites such as Vet Help Direct, Any UK Vet, Yell.com, local directories (or any other site that displays business information alongside reviews etc) are a great tool for you to utilise. They are trusted by users, you can piggyback off their great Google rankings, you can often pay more for a featured listing with greater visibility and it's a good place to gather authentic reviews.
Google isn't the only search engine (although it is by FAR the most popular), if your Google Ad campiaign is going well, try a Bing one too.
Facebook ads can be used to promote you Facebook page but also your other online platforms (such as your website). Ads can again be targeted very specifically and, based on several years of vet-specific Facebook ad management by us, we can tell you; they work!
Paying to get your name out there can be an extremely effective way of marketing your practice online. Your budgets don't have to be huge but do make sure, when paying for advertising, you're sure of what you're paying for and you're monitoring it closely. If you're using an agency to manage your ad campaigns, make sure you're comfortable with what they're doing and that they understand your business and your industry. We manage Google and Facebook PPC campaigns. If you'd like to talk to us about managing yours, please get in touch.