My Thoughts on Adwords

Adwords is not something I particulary like using.

I mean the price you have to pay per click for popular terms is just too high, so you end up looking for the more unusual, long tail terms, which is theory should enjoy a better success rate (you can tailor your landing page to the exact search term matched and so more easily convert the visitor).

But people I think have become used to the sites that appear in the natural searches (left hand side of Google page) are richer in content than those that only appear on the right hand side, or the top, where the sponsored links area is located. My friend Davina, who has just ventured out onto the web with a little brochure site (and has yet to realise she needs to spend more for the web to work for her) asked me a question about Adwords yesterday. She figured that maybe paying for people to come to her brochure site would be a good idea. 

This is what I said. Just my opinion of course.

Hi Dav

I (personally) don’t believe in using Adwords based on the way I advocate web site building. I’ll explain and you can then decide if Adwords suits you.

To get the best out of Adwords  you would need to spend a considerable amount of time learning the techniques to use with Adwords – probably 2 – 3 days of your time, or pay someone who really knows how to do it to set it up for you. I do it for one of my clients as he insists on using it.  It costs him £200 per month and even though I have proved to him that we are getting 95% of sales from the natural search engines and that only a few sales come from his £200 adwords spend per month, but he still keeps it.  I guess the £200 spend must make financial sense to him.  However the reason we have been able to get sales from natural search is because we have put so much effort into growing his site with quality content.

Adwords can be a solution for people who don’t see the value in working on their web sites to get their ranking up in the natural search results.  You pay every time someone clicks, but they may not buy. If the site owner does not want to improve his site significantly over time in order to get it into the rankings naturally, it means their site is going to be no more than a brochure site – fairly empty – i.e. not worth anyone coming to.

So you pay to get someone to click, then they get to the site, find it wanting – lean on information, hardly anything to see or read, so they leave. So my view, is unless you are selling something that only requires only or two pages to get people’s attention (some unbelievable offer), Adwords is a waste of money.

Adwords works well if you have a brilliant site (loads of information, features, articles etc) and you have massive competition from competitors where you  cannot rank well in the search engines because their web sites are even better than yours.  And if you have a product that makes you a lot of money. Then you can maybe afford to outbid your competitors on pay per click, but you’ll be paying in excess of £1 per click on popular phrases.

The only way to pay less is to bid on unpopular phrases. Which means you’ll catch the people who type in tangential search terms to your main search term. This is where the expertise in setting up adwords comes into it.

People searching online want information – they only ever visit a site to solve a problem and a site with only a few pages can’t in itself solve a problem so they go onto one that will give them the free info they need. This translates into you having to give away lots of free information all the time. When people see this and they find they have hundreds of pages to search for what they need to know, they start to trust you, Google starts to index you naturally and you end up being an authority on your niche. 

So yes – you can use adwords, but it would be a waste of money, in your case, at this point in time.  If however you have some sort of free voucher you can try it for yourself and see.


  1. Liz Jamieson says:

    Thanks for your comments Jane. I guess I just prefer to work the natural search engines because success with natural search depends on having the right attitude to a web site – in my opinion. If someone is only using Adwords until such time as the natural SEO starts working, this suggests that the site has natural SERPs potential, which is good. It means someone is continually building it up with site links, on and off page SEO in mind. And this also means that Adwords will probably lead to more conversions.

    The point I was trying to make was that some people (I guess mostly those new to the internet who still hold the “build it and they will come” belief system) see Adwords as an alternative to having to put the effort into making a great site.

  2. Hi. Found your post really interesting. I can see why you don’t like Adwords, but I must admit that I disagree with your opinion that it is a waste of money. I’ve been using Adwords for the last 5 years for clients. When they have a new website designed (and the SEO hasn’t kicked in … which can take a long time…) I suggest using Adwords until such time that they have enough visitors from natural SEO. I must admit that I don’t use high impression short terms (all the terms I use are usually between 0.04-0.50p and 2-4 words long), and I always aim to get a return on investment. Most clients are happy to up their budget when they see a high ROI from Adwords and more budget can mean more sales. There are loads of traps that a novice can fall into, but by using a professional adwords marketer you can make a good return on your investment and use Adwords successfully alongside your other internet marketing. Jane