Last week something very strange happened, the team and I put together a proposal for a potential new client to have AdWords setup (ads in Google search to get website traffic). During the pitch they said,

“I don’t know anyone who clicks on ads inside Google”.


Being a technologist, run a digital marketing agency and have a four person team who spend day and night getting new business for clients I was completely stunned and caught off guard. What makes this even worse the person advises other businesses on growing their business!

In 2015 Google had a total revenue of USD$75 billion, with 77% attributed to it’s AdWords products. Yes, you heard right,

Google makes USD$52 billion a year from people clicking on ads in Google search!!!

Now going back to quoting the potential new client earlier, what is their defence complete ignorance or negligence? (which is uninsurable, hope no body sues them for bad marketing advice, maybe they should be a financial advisor instead!)

Fortunately there are two ways to get a targeted set traffic coming to your website from search engines resulting in new leads and sales.

Just some education before we jump into the next bit:

  • Keyword: a search term/phrase someone types into a search engine

Being #1: Setting up a strategy to rank organically

Ranking organically in a search engine means Google, Bing and/or who ever else has deemed your website link to be something valuable to it’s users. Their vested interest is to produce results which are relevant and something people want to see. So by that it means if your ranking organically you have “authority” and/or high website traffic (in respect to the overall search volume for a particular term).

You’re rightfully thinking what is “authority”? If your popular, higher rankings will follow, but search engines have an algorithm which determines who’s site gets shown where. What influences the ranking significantly is if you are linked on other websites which also have “authority”. It’s difficult to define “authority” because over 40 variables are used in making ranking decision by search engines.

In more easily understood terms, attention needs to be completely focused on building relevancy and value for particular search terms. Which means your websites page content will have the keywords embedded in the headings and paragraphs.

However! Firstly you must quantify your search engine performance with SEMrush, it will give you an idea of what keywords you rank for and what is influencing the results.


  • People trust organic search links more than they do search ads (however, Google is slowly changing how the ads are displayed to look the same)
  • You are not having to pay for ads to get online traffic

Things to keep in mind

  • The paid ad links are above organic search listings (for competitive search terms the ads show also at the bottom)
  • You may not be ranking yet and depending on competition it can take a lot of energy with trial and error to rank higher

Paying to be #1: Setting up ads on Google

Running ads in Google search has significant advantages and it’s all centred around speed and what exactly your customer acquisition strategy is. However, first lets talk about Google search ads and how are they charged.

A Google search is an auction where people are running ads to take advantage of volumes of traffic for particular keywords. The advertisers set a maximum bid and Google determines which ads shows first based on cost, but there is a twist, ads that are high performing have a lower cost and can appear higher than people paying more! Performance is defined as the percentage of clicks verses total views.

Back to speed, here are examples of what I mean by speed:

  • The time from when an ad submitted and shown is as fast as it is approved by Google (sometimes hours, sometimes a day).
  • Ability to test 100s and 1000s of combinations of ads. No one knows everything about their audience and what messages will be more relevant to them. Even professional marketers with background research don’t get it right first go. Through a process of elimination different titles with different localities again different keywords can be uploaded. i.e. “Best Plumber on the Central Coast”, “Best Plumber in Sydney”, “Fixed price Plumbing in Sydney” and so on.
  • Ability to test many different keywords. In the case of lead generation the difference between a good and bad keyword is a bunch of leads that can be easily closed and ones which are tyre kickers spending your ad money.

Given the flexibility to test the performance of the two critical variables titles/messaging and keywords it’s best to start running Google AdWords campaigns to see what is going to generate valuable business. Then further down the track you can start investing into those messages and keywords by building organic ranking content around them, as discussed before.


Now in comparison to paying and being #1, you should not attach a stigma to either. Both are perfectly legitimate ways to build online traffic to your business and both should be considered as part of your overall digital strategy. i.e. Start with Google AdWords to test keywords you want to rank organically for and ask the question, are you going to get the business you want from it?

Get an audit completed by us so we can build an effective lead generation strategy for your business.

Alex Stewart

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