PPC, Pay-Per-Click Done Right for Real Estate

1
How PPC can be less expensive than other lead generation methods.

Google Adwords for Real Estate
CanStockPhoto

Before you dismiss PPC, Pay-Per-Click advertising, as expensive and ineffective, learn why it is that way for many, but can also be the most cost efficient lead generation tool in your marketing arsenal.

The average real estate agent or broker may not be spending a lot of money hiring SEO, Search Engine Optimization, experts. They may not be using Google Adwords and paying for clicks either. However, many are doing one or both of these things.

Even worse, many are paying other websites for leads, some even giving up a portion of their commission to get them. While all of these activities work to some extent, if they bring in much business, they will be expensive. Even doing their own SEO, either agents won't be bringing much traffic to their websites, or they will be spending way too much of their own time doing SEO instead of working with prospects.

I used PPC for years for a real estate website, and I found that I could quite obsessing over SEO and get high quality leads at a budget I could afford. Sure, I still did the right SEO stuff when I wrote an article or blog post, but I just didn't worry about hitting that first page like I did before.

You set your daily and monthly budget for Adwords, and you determine the maximum you're willing to spend per click to get a focused visitor to your website. Go to the next page to get more info on how PPC works and how to get Google to move your ads up in paid results while actually charging you less than the competition below you.

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Google Adwords, Your Ad Scores and Saving Money

Real Estate PPC Report
Jim Kimmons

In the image you can see an Adwords results reporting page for a site I've discontinued.  However, it does illustrate a VERY important point about how Google charges you for clicks.

Notice that my average CPC, Cost Per Click, for the entire run was $0.95. For less than a dollar each, I got highly targeted traffic, and I'll show you how in this tutorial. The important thing I want to get across here is about CPC. I've set up several new real estate sites, and in every case, for the market I was in, I started out paying around $2.75/click or more. So, how did I get down to $0.95 on average?

When you really think about it, your goals and those of Google align quite well. You both want a site visitor to come to the precise place on your site to find what they were searching for or to get the answer to their question. You're trying to create content that makes that happen, and Google is trying to locate it and relate it to key phrase searches for the searcher.

First, Google tracks your CTR, Click Through Ratio. That's the percentage of people who are exposed to your ad ("impressions" are times it is shown) and click on it. The higher your CTR, the better you've worded your ad, as it is competing for searcher notice and getting clicked. When your CTR is higher than that of your competition, Google takes note and moves that ad up in the rankings. AND, your CPC goes down! Google is rewarding your ad for getting that visitor's attention better than your competition's ads.

So, first, you want to word your ads to get their attention.  

3
Better Google Adwords Ad Scores Get Better Position at Lower Cost

Adwords Ad Scoring
Jim Kimmons

Notice in the image the mouse-over that shows me my ad score for that key phrase. 9 out of ten is almost perfect, and it's usually the best I can garner. The "No" to the running question is only because I've discontinued this site and campaign. 

So, what goes into this Ad Score? Google keeps a lot of secrets in their algorithms, but a few basic things we do know include:

  • The score goes up with higher CTRs.
  • Google scores the relevance of the content of the landing page to the key phrase and ad text.
  • Google tracks the activities of the visitor after they click to your landing page. You get higher scores for:
    • More time spent on the site.
    • Clicks to other pages showing they want more of your info.
    • They don't just "bounce" off that page quickly.

You can see that Google really wants that searcher to be happy with their click decision.  If you create landing pages specifically for each of your ad campaigns and most important key phrases, keep the content on topic and relevant, and get the visitor to take another action, you'll get high ad scores and save money.

That other action should be some type of form submission to register or to get premium content like a special report or other offering. This tells Google that the visitor is finding value at your site. I'll give you more info on how to make your PPC dollars work for a lead generation later. Just know that you'll want to work on your ad wording and key phrase combinations to raise your ad scores for lower cost and better ranking.

4
Getting Better Ad Scores with Adwords for Real Estate

Adwords Ad Scoring
Jim Kimmons

I've repeated the previous page image to go into more detail on ad scoring. Notice the three scoring criteria next to the score.

  • Expected Click Through rate:  Above Average  -- This is Google's projection of the CTR being high due to factors being measured and ad wording.
  • Ad Relevance:  Average -- This one will vary based on key phrase, as I use rotating ads with many key phrases.  So a specific ad's wording will be more relevant to some phrases and landing pages than to others.
  • Landing Page Experience:  Above Average -- This is Google's analysis of the relevance of the content of the page and how visitors will react to it, and actions they will take.

Keep in mind that you can try different versions of ad wording, key phrase wording, and landing page content. In fact, you can get really elaborate with these variables. However, I don't do too much of that. I do try to word the ads to contain the key phrases as much as possible.

In other words, if the key phrase is "mytown real estate," you want that phrase precisely that way in the ad, such as "Search all MLS listings for mytown real estate." When Google sees the same wording in the ad as in the key phrase, the words are shown in bold text. This will get the searcher's attention better and increase your CTR.

Then, of course, you want an IDX search on that page, as well as text about searching the MLS for the area and why your IDX is up to date and more accurate than other sites like Zillow.com. If you're creating a landing page for a specific area or subdivision, make sure the key phrase is in the ad with the name of the subdivision. Make all of the content on the page highly relevant and about that subdivision.

What can you expect for CTR, Click Through Ratio? This varies a lot. The more tightly you focus your key phrase, "bonnie rae subdivision homes for sale" as an example, the higher your CTR. That's because the searchers will have typed in those words and they will be looking for just that information. Across my entire spectrum of ads and phrases, I normally experience CTRs of 5% up to as high as 25% for very targeted phrases.

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