Search Engine Performance Advertising

In this lesson, we will discuss how search engine performance advertising can boost the amount of targeted traffic to your website very quickly. Website traffic determines how well your website prospers, and the more visitors that you can get to your site, the better. You will learn the basics of pay per click (or PPC for short) marketing, how to advertise on a search engine, and the main search engines that you can advertise on.

What is search engine performance advertising?

Search engine performance advertising is a form of online marketing that allows you to buy sponsored listings on search engines. If you don't know what sponsored listings look like, type in a common term such as "cat food" on Bing, Yahoo or Google. When reviewing the results, you will see a set of listings labeled "Sponsor Results" or "Sponsored Links". These are actually paid advertisements. Some of these sponsored ads appear at the top of the search results page (often as colored text boxes), while others appear on the right side of the search results.

With pay per click advertising, you bid on the keywords that you want your ad to appear for when a search is performed. These ads are ranked by a quality score, which includes how much is bid for the keyword, how relevant the ad is to the content page, and the click through rate for the ad. The ad with the best quality score is then shown at the top of the "sponsored listings" section.

Why use search engine performance advertising?

PPC advertising allows you to get instant traffic to your website, which can be especially beneficial while you are waiting for your website pages to show up naturally in the search engines. The main benefit of pay per click advertising is that you pay nothing to have your ad displayed on the search results page. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Search engine performance advertising can help you bring in very targeted traffic to your website. Since you choose the specific keywords to bid on, your ad will only show up when these keywords are searched for. This way you don't waste advertising dollars on people that aren't interested in your message.

Which search engines offer pay per click advertising?

Some of the search engines offering PPC advertising are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Miva (formerly known as Findwhat), SearchFeed, 7Search, Ask.com, Looksmart, and Advertise.com.

The three largest pay per click search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing (starting in the fall of 2010, advertising displayed on Yahoo will be powered by Bing). The quality of traffic they generate allows advertisers to reach a bigger audience than with the smaller ppc engines. They also provide tools to help you determine what is best for your ad campaign.

Things to consider when using paid search engine marketing

  • You need to do keyword research to find which keywords people use when searching for the type of products and services that you offer.
  • Don't go after the most popular keywords, but instead find a lot of the less popular keywords and phrases that aren't as expensive. Generally, the more specific your keyword phrases, the better.
  • Ad placement is determined by how much is bid for each particular keyword, with the highest bid getting top placement.
  • If you can afford it, try to get within the first 8 listings on Google and the first 3 listing for Bing. Sometimes it only takes bidding a penny higher than the highest bid to achieve the top sponsored ranking.
  • Put thought and effort into writing your ad. Your ads should be compelling enough for people to click on, but not so outrageous that it is unbelievable.
  • Send visitors to the most appropriate page of your web site. After a person clicks on your ad, you want them to find exactly what they are looking for. Generally, a link to your homepage is not the best idea, because visitors will have to search for the specific information they need.
  • Track your results so that you will know what kind of return that you are getting for your advertising dollars. Google adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and the Microsoft Ad Center all offer free tracking tools to measure which keywords produce the best click through rates.
  • Limit your daily spending to control your monthly advertising costs.

This is just a brief overview of pay per click search engine marketing. There are many things that you need to consider, such as which keywords to choose, and how to write your ads.

If used correctly, search engine performance advertising can produce very targeted traffic for your website in a short amount of time. This can help your website get noticed until you pages get naturally indexed by the search engines. If you are profitable with your pay per click campaigns, you might even choose to continue to use them even after your website is indexed.

In our next lesson, we will discuss setting up a newsletter as another way to increase the targeted traffic to your website.

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