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Answers to Your Questions About PPC Advertising for Real Estate

February 26 2016

online house cursor 2Leveraging pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, like Google AdWords, is one way real estate agents can drive targeted leads to their website. We've previously talked about how agents can hone in on leads that are most likely to convert by using highly specific key phrases. Today, we're going to dive deeper into how to PPC advertising works by answering a few key questions.

1. My website has good SEO. Is PPC advertising still worth it?

If your website already appears at the top of search engine results, you may think that you don't need to use PPC advertising. After all, it's not like your site is languishing in the back pages of Google's search results, so why bother paying to place your site's ad at the top of search results pages?

One reason is gaining consumer trust. Even if a consumer sees your site at the top of organic search results, when they also see your paid ad above it, they are more likely to feel that you're more established or professional. There's a subtle trust indicator there that says, "Okay, this person is legitimate."

Another reason is brand reinforcement. If your website has good SEO, chances are that your brand has a strong presence in your marketplace. PPC is one way you can add a bit more brand presence.

What's more is that PPC gives you more control over the consumer search experience. When you run an ad, you control its links and where they go. With organic search, you might a great page one ranking, but you're not in control of what page the search engine is choosing to display in those results. With paid advertising, control is in your hands. You can control the call to action (e.g., "Search for homes!" or "Find out what your home is worth!") and where those calls-to-action are linked.

2. Should each of my ads link to a dedicated landing page?

Speaking of where your ads' links go, is it necessary for agents to create a specific landing page for every ad?

That depends on what you want the person clicking your ad to do--or, more specifically, what their search terms indicate that they're looking for. Consumers' search phrases reveal intent, so a person who searches "Homes for sale in Boston" is probably looking for just that. In that case, point your ads that target that key phrase to your site's IDX search where they can (wait for it) look for homes for sale in Boston.

However, the intent of someone who searches "Boston real estate agents" is murkier. Are they looking to buy? Are they looking to sell? Are they looking to become an agent themselves? In this case, you can land consumers on your home page--if you even bid on that kind of unclear key phrase in the first place.

For searchers whose intent is clear, lead them down the path of least resistance. To up your chances of converting the lead, don't make them think. Don't land them on your site's front page and expect them to enter in their search criteria there. Instead, clear as many obstacles as possible and give them Boston homes for sale. You can even set up a specific IDX search page just for this. Read this article to learn more.

3. What's a good click-thru rate? Or, how can I measure an ad's success?

"Success" is subjective, depending on your market. Some markets may have a consumer base that's a little more savvy and less susceptible to marketing tactics. This is more common in the northeast and tech hubs like the San Francisco Bay area or Seattle.

Those variations aside, if your click-thru rate is below 1 percent, there's probably something wrong. Perhaps your ads are not targeted enough or your ad copy needs work. On the flip side, a strong click-thru rate is between 5-10 percent. This means that you're really targeting honing in on what people are looking for.

AdWords' Quality Score is another indicator of an ad's effectiveness. This is a 1-10 score of your ad that you can access in the AdWords backend. If you've got a Quality Score under 4, that's a strong indication that there's something not resonating with the ad. That could be due to its relation to the keyword set, its click-thru rate, the ad copy, and more.

That said, neither the Quality Score or the click-thru rate matters if you're getting a good return on investment, as indicated in the volume and quality of leads. At the end of the day, you're using paid search to drive more business. Some people get hung up on a metric like click-thru rate, which doesn't really matter if they're not monitoring their lead generation or ROI. They could be getting a ton of clicks, only to send them to the wrong place or a bad page on their site and not get any return from it.

Those are just a handful of questions about the wide world of PPC. Do you have any other questions about PPC advertising? Let us know in the comments below!