A well researched and constructed advertising campaign using Google’s AdWords will give you the best chance to appear at the top of the Google search results page.

Despite what most people say in public, in private they actually do click on ads  – as the huge volume of ‘click traffic’ shows.  When trying to get visitors to your site to build mailing lists, ad campaigns are the key tool that works quickly to bring visitors to your site.  As one leading authority on digital marketing put it ‘traffic is now a commodity – you buy it like everything else’.

It’s also possible to get to the top of the rankings on ‘natural’ search i.e. appearing naturally by virtue of having ‘optimized’ your content for the key words and phrases that people are searching for. Doing keyword research is essential to making the most of AdWord campaigns and more information on doing this is here.

There are various ways of helping the search engines put you at the top of their first pages including:

  • making sure the right words appear in the content on your site – search engines need to be able to know what your site is really about and need to be able to index the right words
  • making sure your site is ‘sticky’ by having attractive and relevant content with lots of opportunity for interactivity – search engines love sites that people hang around on
  • writing and placing articles and other content on magazine and blog ‘hubs’ (content marketing) – search engines love sites that are linked to other sites
  • being active on social media – search engines are taking more and more notice of ‘social signals’ i.e how many ‘likes’ you have on Facebook when deciding where to rank you on their search results pages

Whilst all this is free, the downside is that it can take a few months to get results – but it is worth doing.

When planning your digital marketing strategy, a mix of both paid-for ads and ‘natural’ search optimization works best. A good approach is to use ads whilst you are waiting for the natural search activities to pay dividends, and then, if you are budget conscious, switch off the ad campaigns and see how it goes. You can expect a drop-off in visitors for a while, but with any luck, your ‘natural’ search tactics will pay off.