One question I get asked a lot is "Why do I need to do paid ads when I'm already doing SEO?"
It's a great question because if you're spending time and potentially money into SEO, it's hard to stomach having to spend even more time and money running Google Ads.
Here are some of the top reasons why it's a good idea to run Google Ads, even if you're actively doing SEO:
There's no denying that SEO takes time to work. On a new website, we're talking at least 3 months - likely more.
Because of this, I always recommend people doing paid advertising through Google Ads (most commonly referred to as PPC, or Pay-Per-Click) as well, at least to start. This is because you can start getting traffic and leads to your website very quickly, assuming your PPC campaign is set up and optimized correctly.
IMPORTANT: This is a little off-topic for this post, and I'll have more about this at another time, but that last part is VERY important in any PPC campaign. You need to know how to set one up correctly. Without that knowledge, you're going to waste your money because you'll likely be targeting keywords that make no sense for your business.
For example, if you just target the keyword "painter", you're likely going to get search terms like "best house painter", "car painter", "canvas painting", etc. If you're just a house painter, the other terms are worthless to you.
Also, Google has automated services that claim to do everything for you, but I would highly recommend against this because they give you no control. You need to be able to manually create and manage the campaigns where you have full control.
Organic results from Search Engine Optimization are getting harder and harder to find. In previous years, Google would highlight ads to make them stand out, basically screaming "don't click on me" (or was I the only one who completely scrolled down past the yellow-colored background??).
Take a look at how Google started displaying search results in 2019:
The top 4 results are ads, followed by map results, followed by questions, and then the first "true" organic result. They even have this little icon with the words "ad" in it, and then conspicuously started placing out site icons on search results at the same time.
Let's be real here - Google is for-profit and makes a LOT of money with ads. They aren't about to give that up. In Q3 of 2019, Ad revenue from Google properties (Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Play Store, Shopping) was $28.6 BILLION, up 19% from $24.1 billion in Q3 of 2018.
With Google Ads, you can see what people are actually searching for when your ad is displayed. This can be very valuable for SEO purposes so you get ideas on what to optimize your content for.
If you don't run Google Ads for your brand name, there's a really good chance that your competitors will. Even if they aren't directly targeting your brand name, your name likely has a search term in it.
For example, "Bob's Roofing" has "Roofing" in it, which no doubt will be targeted by other roofers. If that's the case, even if you have the top organic result for "Bob's Roofing", people will see ads above your top organic result, likely causing them to click on your competitors.
Google is quickly becoming a "pay to play" search engine. If you don't give them money through ads, you're likely going to give up traffic.
That's not to say that SEO isn't important. It's just as important since there are a lot of people who still completely ignore ads. Not to mention that people aren't targeting specific questions and queries with ads, like the query below. If I was a lawn care business, I would create a video and a blog post on "how to mow a lawn" to own the organic search results.