42 Organic and Paid Search Alternatives to Google AdWords

The internet ushered in a new age making the landscape more competitive for small business. Google AdWords answered and is now the establishment standard for businesses seeking an online competitive edge. Due to their popularity, the small business owner follows optimistically hoping for the same result. It’s understandable, the mere fact that AdWords dominates online advertising, clearly demonstrates they must work right? Not so fast! Yes, they work for the big guys but it doesn’t mean Adwords is the best fit for your business especially when every dollar has to count.

Here are a few considerations you should think about before investing into AdWords:

More Expensive. AdWords commands 67% of the online advertising market and its the most expensive platform. If you’re just starting out or trying to manage a tight budget, you want to reconsider other platforms that offer a greater return on your investment.

Low AdWords traffic. Niche product or services may not generate enough traffic to warrant using AdWords, to begin with. A better use of your resources would involve you getting a better grasp of buyer intent and building a relationship to service their needs over time.

Competition. Many companies use AdWords to boost rankings and as a result raise the cost of bids for the best keywords. Larger companies outbid their smaller counterparts and unfortunately force you to other options anyway.

Directing Traffic to Homepage. Once you’ve done the hard word of getting traffic, your conversion rate may still be low. Are you directing traffic to your home page? If so, you may lose more money with Adwords traffic.

So what do I suggest?

Reinvest your time and money and shop around a little more. You can still generate traffic and effectively convert qualified leads within budget. What’s required is an honest effort along with an open mind and I guarantee you’ll find the right fit your business.

To get started, I’ve identified 42 alternatives to Google AdWords worth looking into:

Organic SEO — as the name implies — is search engine optimization that primarily involves the natural use of keywords and links to build and direct network traffic to a website or blog. Identification of those keywords is based on your keyword research of what people might use when looking for a product or service. Foremost, you need an understanding of your buyer and exactly where they are in the buying process. Are they looking for information on a product or service or perhaps they they’re in the final stages of making a decision but can’t seem to make up their mind? Answers to these questions will help you in formalizing your keyword game plan in order to help them where they are. If done consistently, you build trust with your target audience and this increases your credibility within the search engines.

Here are a few tips you can use to optimize SEO:

  1. Publish helpful content on your website or blog
  2. Promote offers to increase interest and engagement
  3. Link your blog to your social network pages
  4. Engage in a long tail keyword strategy
  5. Add keywords to your blog titles
  6. Create a landing page with keywords and links to your website
  7. Optimize your website authoritative links for further research
  8. Alt image tag your graphics, name them with keywords for better ranking and searchability
  9. Create title tags for your article or blog content with niche keywords
  10. Create a user-friendly website so that users want to return
  11. Join industry LinkedIn and Facebook groups
  12. Promote a campaign on your social media pages with giveaways
  13. Conduct a Facebook Live demonstration

With the rise in mobile phone use, people have changed how they search for information. According to a 2014 survey, 53% of consumers search for directions to a store on their smartphones. As a small business owner, make it a priority that your business is listed on local directories to increase your online visibility and within your local community. The most popular directories will help increase your credibility andresearch shows can drive foot traffic into your store within the same day! Most offer free business listings so you can “claim your business” or have a low-cost option to accommodate smaller budgets. Ensure that your name, address and phone number are listed consistently across platforms. Abbreviations in street names or missing suite numbers can negatively affect search engine results.

I’ve listed a few directories as a quick start:

14. Google Places for Business

15. Bing Places for Business

16. Yelp

17. YP.com

18. Angie’s List

19. Kudzu

20. YellowBook

21. Local.com

22. Foursquare

23. City Search

24. Super Pages

25. Manta

26. EZ Local.com

27. Merchant Circle

28. Better Business Bureau

Paid search advertising is an effective way to gain immediate exposure and online reach. It allows your small business to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPS) that take organic SEO methods months to accomplish. In an already crowded space, paid advertising can put on page one search engines allowing a better opportunity to compete. Varieties in paid advertising include the traditional Pay-Per-Click (PPC), banner or display ads, pop-ups, cost per impressions (CPM) or text ads. They all have their pros and cons that I discuss in a previous article, but the goal is to get your business front and center with prospects. Although AdWords may be the most popular, there are several other platforms that may provide a better opportunity for you to get increase traffic and leads.

Here are a few choices for you to consider:

29. Facebook for Business

30. Bing Ad Center

31. Twitter for Business

32. LinkedIn Small Business

33. Pinterest for Business

34. Instagram for Business

35. 7Search

36. Groupon

37. Stumbleupon

38. Adroll

39. Infolinks

40. BuySellAds

41. Craigs List Posting Service

42. Ebay Advertising

There you have 42 free and paid options to try and test run before diving into Adwords. Some may work and others may not but at least you’ll know before moving on. If you approach online advertising with your goals in mind, no matter which route you choose an increased awareness of what’s available to you could only benefit your business. Whether its Adwords or another paid platform, you definitely want to leverage the organic SEO tips I mentioned earlier to keep your marketing balanced and within budget. If you know of other cost efficient ways to promote products and services online, please feel free to comment and share. I can also be reached at mwll2148@gmail.com or www.monarchvirtualsolutions.com.