Can search ads improve website engagement?

Stephanie asked the question, “Can search advertising improve website engagement?”

If I were focused on boosting engagements on my website quickly, I absolutely would look at running search ads first. While search ads may be old school PPC (Pay Per Click), they are still powerful at bringing high quality traffic to your site. Why do search ads support the quality of website traffic? Because they provide extra control over your position in search. This means that when you are running search ads, you’ve bumped your listing to the top of the list and you’re more likely to be seen and clicked on by someone searching the web.

Being at the top is important for conversions and engagements. In terms of sales, you’re giving yourself more opportunity to be seen by a customer before they are exposed to your competitors. That means better opportunity and a general improvement in engagement rates from a basic data theory perspective.

Think of the search page like a newspaper. You could wait and hope that someone mentions your brand or services on page 11, or with a search ad running you could insert your brand above the fold on the first page of the paper. If you’re paying for a spot on the newspaper do you want to be on page 11 or do you want to be at the top of page 1? Search advertising is just that. It’s a way of getting seen above the fold for individual searches.

When people arrive at your website from a search engine, they discover you because they typed in keywords that triggered your website to show up on the search page. Then, after reviewing all of the options listed, something about your website’s headlines and descriptions convinced them to learn more about what you’re offering.

Are you keeping track of what search terms people use before they enter your site? Do you know which terms are triggering conversions on your site? How much is each conversion worth to your organization?

Search ads can really help boost this experience. It isn’t enough to have search ads running. You can’t set it and forget it. You need ad management done right with user experience and search intent at front of mind by whoever is running the show. Search advertising that drives conversions has the following things in common:

  • Keywords and search terms that are valuable to driving engagements on the website (this requires ongoing keyword research and refinement)
  • Search ad content that mimics the experience of search and promises to answer the question or fulfill the need of the searcher
  • A landing page experience that satisfies user expectations after they click, and content that convinces people to engage
  • Engagements tracking along with someone closely monitoring the full experience that leads to a conversion on the site

All of these actions have one thing in common. They all require the ability to empathize with the customer journey from the moment the person searches to when they take a meaningful action on your website. That takes a lot of time, effort and expertise, but when done properly it can pay off big time in turning your website into a lead generator.

Starting with search ads can also provide new insights in opportunities, providing powerful tools that can help you decide how to invest in your communications and marketing in the future.

For a nonprofit running search ads, you do have the opportunity to offset some of the cost of running your ads. The Google Ad Grant offers $10,000 a month to nonprofits to give them a better chance of appearing above the fold in search.

Just like with regular paid search advertising, free search advertising from the Google Ad Grant requires specialized management in order to support the high quality traffic and engagement for your organization.

Does that answer your question, Stephanie?