Expensive AdWords keywords: what small businesses can do

07 July 2017

Expensive AdWords keywords: what small businesses can do

Businesses need, sometimes, to spend money to make money, and advertising costs are a good example of this. In a world where so many people are making Google their first port of call when making a purchase decision, it’s hardly a surprise that the costs of some pay-per-click keywords are going up and in some cases becoming very expensive.

Price and immediacy - the driving forces behind PPC costs

New research shows the 25 most expensive keywords of 2017 and reveals that price and immediacy are the main driving forces behind the cost of PPC keywords.

The most expensive keyword category of all is “business services” and covers the world of business-to-business sales, where prices can be much higher than in the business-to-consumer world and so justify paying a high cost for customer acquisition.

The next most expensive is “bail bonds”, which relates to a situation where customers are likely to be willing to pay a premium for speed and efficiency of service and less likely to undertake in-depth research to get themselves the best deal. And number three on the list is “casino”: an industry that is (in)famous for its profit margins and also one that thrives on spontaneous users.

In short, therefore, if you’re selling high-value services and/or working in a niche where speed is often of the essence, then you’re likely to be looking at more expensive keywords and, even if you’re not, you may still find that you’re paying more than you’d like for your PPC conversions.

Dealing with rising PPC costs

Your single, best defence against both PPC prices and competition for the top organic search results is to work on building your brand, for example through social engagement, so that customers think to look specifically for you, rather than just for a company in your niche.

Having said that, PPC still has the potential to deliver significant value - provided companies use it actively; if you’re only optimising your PPC campaigns once a month (or once a quarter, or whenever your remember), then it’s time to make a commitment to optimising them far more frequently.

Optimising campaigns means looking at the results you are getting and seeing what is working and what isn’t so you can focus on the former and stop wasting time and money on the latter. It also means undertaking keyword research so you spend your budget where it gets the best results.

Test alternatives to your main keywords if they are getting pricy, and keep track of your campaigns so that you can see where you are haemorrhaging money. So even if your business niche tends towards expensive keywords, you can still manage a PPC account affordably.