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How search engines work

Before discussing the strengths of PPC, it must first be understood how search engines work. When a potential customer searches certain keywords, sites like Google will display all relevant “hits” or results about those keywords. For example, if they were to search up “large white eggs”, Google would give results from pages including those words.

The results might include a farm page, a grocery store page or maybe an article discussing the benefits of eating large white eggs. As the customer delves deeper and deeper, they’ll find less relevant results, no longer about “large white eggs” but just “eggs.” However, Google will never give the customer a page concerning alligators or skyscrapers because those results are irrelevant and not what the customer is searching for. 

This is what search engines like Google do in hopes of eventually giving the customer what they want. Start with the most relevant and go to the least relevant, but never put something that is completely out of the left field. This is known as “organic search”; this is how the search engine works natively.

How PPC & SEM work

Decades ago, companies would pay newspapers and magazines to display their advertisements. Payments for spots in those papers were all upfront, the cost was decided by how big the advertisement was and how close to the front it was. Now, years later, things have changed, but the need to hook customers remains.

PPC (Pay Per Click) 0r SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is one of the newest and best ways for a company to advertise itself. Discussed in the previous chapter was the concept of organic search, the native way for search engines to operate by giving the most relevant results first. PPC works similarly, but this time for advertisements. Companies pay search engines to show their advertisements whenever their advertisements are relevant to the current keyword. Taking the “large white eggs” example from before, with paid search ShopRite could have an advertisement for their 50% off eggs and Google would display that due to its relevance.

Now comes the question of how competing companies work into all this. With paid search, companies put bids on their advertisements, and when a customer clicks on the advertisement, the search engine receives the payment for this. When there are two or more relevant advertisements, the one with the higher bid will be shown off first. It must be noted that paid search works the same as organic search in the sense that irrelevant advertisements will not be shown, no matter how high the bid.

The power of PPC for finance companies

There are many pluses to using SEM. Millions of searches are happening every second around the globe, and the reach of paid search advertisements is far grander than what newspaper advertisements could ever hope of getting.

Furthermore, since local or multilingual PPC ads are only shown to customers who search for keywords related to the advertisements, those viewing the ads are far more likely to be interested in the financial product or service.

It should also be mentioned how great paid search is for reeling in new customers. Existing customers are already going straight to your website, but new customers need bread crumbs to lead them to you. Paid search is exactly that, customers are using search engines right now at this moment, and your product could, and should, be one of the first things they see.

When it comes to content marketing and slowly worming your way into the minds of potential customers, paid search becomes essential. Customers who are searching in your brand’s category must be made aware of the brand as well as slowly become more comfortable with it.

This is especially important when dealing with something as number heavy and complex as finance. Advertisements that drop words like ‘disintermediation’ and ‘correlation coefficient’ do not stay in most customers’ minds, unless that’s exactly what they were looking for. Terms like that can overload the customer and make them disinterested. It does not help that YouTube ads and TV ads often try to put too much info into a few seconds. People are more likely to search for “bank help” or “broker assistance”. Paid search makes sure that customers searching up broad terms are led straight to you. The customers are out there, and they could be interested in your company, but a hook is needed.

With paid search’s great ability to bring in new customers and only having to pay when the advertisement is clicked on, the return on investment is a win-win. Due to its pay per click method, there is no money wasted on random strangers uninterested in the brand. Instead of paying even if no one looks at the advertisement in the newspaper, now only pay when you’ve gotten your money’s worth.