5 Things to Ask Your SEO Provider About PPC Advertising

Your company recently signed on with an SEO provider in hopes of improving your digital marketing efforts. The provider has done an excellent job optimizing your website. They have invested a lot in content marketing. Now they are pitching pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to you. Should you go for it? That is something only you and your marketing team can decide.

If you do determine that PPC advertising constitutes a worthwhile investment, be sure to tread lightly. Below are five questions to ask your SEO provider. Depending on the responses you get, you may or may not want to proceed with this agency.

1. How do you research keywords?

PPC advertisements are rooted in keywords. In fact, you could say that keywords are the foundation of your ads. If you don’t know why, you probably know very little about PPC concept. It is based almost entirely on keywords.

The ads you create are destined to compete with similar ads from other companies. You are all competing for the same customer base. Well, guess what? Not all your ads will appear together on search engine result pages (SERPs), mobile apps, etc. How often your ads appear will be determined by your choice of keywords and the amount you bid for those keywords.

You want your ads to appear when your customers are searching for certain keywords. But for that to happen, you need to choose the keywords they are searching with. Therefore, how your SEO provider conducts its keyword research is critical. A provider that is not using all the available search tools isn’t doing your company justice.

2. What is your typical rate of return?

PPC advertising is like any other form of marketing in the sense that you expect a certain return for your investment. Is a 6% ROI acceptable to you? Are you looking for a higher rate, or are you content with something lower? You need to determine what a suitable ROI looks like. Then ask your SEO provider what its typical rate of return is.

Your provider should be able to show past PPC campaigns it has worked on. They should be able to show you average ROI as well. If your provider is unwilling, think twice. Likewise, be extremely cautious with a provider whose track record consistently shows a lower ROI then you are expecting.

3. How do you prevent click fraud?

This third question, about preventing click fraud, is one that rarely gets asked. According to the people behind Fraud Blocker fraud prevention software, failing to ask this question is generally due to ignorance. Businesses with very little experience in PPC don’t even know that click fraud exists. But it does.

Click fraud can be perpetrated in any number of ways, including:

  • click farms
  • click bots
  • ad stacking
  • ‘accidental’ clicks
  • competitor clicks.

Some forms of click fraud are simplistic and pretty easy to detect with a good software package. Other forms are highly sophisticated. They require either an advanced software package or a company that provides ad fraud detection services. Either way, it is incredibly important that your SEO provider take steps to prevent click fraud.

Fraud Can Destroy Your Budget

We’ll move on to the fourth question in a minute. For now, though, we want to emphasize the fact that click fraud can cost you a ton of money. It can destroy your marketing budget by running up your PPC bill without actually sending real customers to your website. Without customers you don’t have revenue. And without revenue, you’re flushing your marketing budget down the toilet.

Be aware of the fact that some of your competitors might perpetrate click fraud for this very purpose. They know that if they can deplete your marketing budget that you will not be able to effectively compete with them. It’s a dirty trick, but the experts at Fraud Blocker say it’s real, nonetheless.

4. Where will my ads be placed?

Moving on, you’ll also want to ask your provider where your ads will actually be placed. Not all publishing platforms are equal. Some do better than others. Some have larger audiences but still produce less on a per-click basis. Some are effective with your target audience while others are not. These are all things you need to know.

Think about your customer base. Who are you trying to attract? If your target audience consists mainly of older consumers who barely use social media, putting a ton of money into Facebook and other social media platforms doesn’t make sense. Your users are more likely to respond to search engine ads and ads in the mobile apps they use most often.

Along the same lines, you might find yourself in a highly competitive PPC space where the best keywords are extremely expensive. It might not be worth putting your money into one of the major platforms if you’re not likely to get a lot of traffic. On a per-click basis, you might actually do better on a lesser-known platform where you’re not competing with as many other businesses for attention.

5. How do you analyze ad campaign results?

Finally, ask your SEO provider how it analyzes PPC ad campaign results. A typical SEO agency has access to all sorts of analytics capable of measuring just about any detail you could think of. But you never know. Your SEO provider’s analytics may be somewhat limited. You won’t know if you don’t ask.

When all is said and done, your SEO provider should be able to furnish data showing exactly how each ad campaign is doing. That data should tell you which keywords are producing the best results. It should tell you where most of your traffic is coming from, when it is coming to your website, and how well it’s being converted.

PPC advertising can reap considerable benefits when it’s done right. When it is done wrong, it can cost a lot and give you nothing in return. Be sure to ask your SEO provider the right questions before you sign on the dotted line.