There is a growing dependence on search for information in the digital world. In fact, 89 percent of consumers use Google and other search engines to find information about products, services, and businesses prior to making purchases. And of those people, 87 percent won’t scan past page one of search results.
Google continues to improve its search engine so that users receive the most relevant content to their searches. Public relations professionals need to recognize the importance of having an SEO strategy and integrating Google Tools, such as Google AdWords and Google Analytics into that strategy.
Google AdWords is a pay-per-click marketing service that allows you to create and run ads for your organization. You can bid on the keywords you want to generate your ads appearing in the search engine results page. Google decides which ads are displayed and in which position based on each user’s maximum bid and quality score. Having a high quality score lowers your cost-per-click and leads to more impressions. You can improve your quality score by implementing relevant landing pages and keywords throughout your content.
Say that you work for Lego and want to set up a Google AdWords campaign. While current Lego customers are likely to search for the business by name, prospective customers are more likely to search by topic. So, you want ads to appear when people type in keywords and phrases related to Lego. Words and phrases like toy blocks, educational toys, minifigures, building blocks, and family owned toy company are just a few that come to mind.
It is important that the keywords and phrases describe what the organization actually does. It wouldn’t make sense for a Lego ad to appear for the search term “Star Wars,” for example, even though Star Wars is Lego’s most licensed toy set. It wouldn’t be smart for Lego to limit its brand to just its Star Wars sets. When in doubt, use Google’s Keyword tool to help you find relevant keyword ideas.
AdWords comes equipped with plenty of metrics that help you measure what is working in your campaign and what is not.
The service will give you detailed reports on where and how often your ads appear, how many people click on them, which search queries drive the most visitors to your site, which keywords are most effective, and how many AdWords visitors actually order a product or service on your site.
If AdWords helps people get to your site, what happens when they arrive? This is where Google Analytics comes in. Google Analytics allows you to keep track of the unique people that visit your website, exactly when they visit, how they got there, what they do once they’re there, and how they interact with your content. This applies to blogs and other sites, too. By understanding the user interactivity, you can work the content around your users — an incredibly valuable strategy to the commercial success of your organization.
Suppose your marketing / PR campaign isn’t as successful as you’d have liked. Google Analytics will provide a real-time report with information about audience engagement and conversion activity to show you where your campaign is lacking. The service tracks which pages retain users the longest and when there is a spike in traffic, so you can better tailor your content.
Google Analytics shows you exactly which sites and search engines refer visitors to your website, as well as the search terms they used to get there.The platform also tracks what people search within your site. This shows you what exactly it is your buyers are looking for, that way, you can provide your audience with the content they seek and convert one-time users into loyal customers.
In addition, by tracking the type of people who visit your site, where they are from, and how loyal they are to your organization, you can understand the real origins of your traffic and find the best places to invest in new opportunities.
Google Analytics will save you time and money and provide you with valuable information to help reach your goals. It is perhaps the best measurement tool for public relations practitioners and communications professionals. To ignore Google and its powerful tools would be a huge mistake. Instead, you should embrace it, learn it, use it and master it. It is the key to public relations success.