Paid search engine marketing (also known as search advertising or SEM) is an inexpensive way to use the power of search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to connect your business’ internet advertisements with people who are searching for the goods, services or information you specialize in. The most effective search advertising campaigns are pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and the way it works is quite simple: place a bid for your ad’s placement in a search engine’s sponsored links section for select keywords that pertain to your business, and then pay the search engine its fee for each click your online ad receives.
Initially, paying per click (or PPC) might appear to be a very expensive advertising option, but if you carefully design your campaign, the opposite is true. Your ultimate cost per conversion could be lower than expected. Why? With a carefully constructed advertising campaign, only the people you target will see your search advertising.With a well-constructed search advertising campaign, you will have a greater opportunity to remove any casual “window shoppers” and instead be able to hone in precisely on your target market when they are ready to buy, commit, or provide your business with their contact information.
How Paid Search Advertising Works
If you are new to the concept of search engine marketing and advertising, here is a basic overview of how it works:
- You decide the keywords or phrases that you would want your business’ ads to show up for. (ex. divorce lawyer, Fort Collins, CO). Some keywords sell per-click at less than $1, so the cost of entry can be low.
- When a person conducts a search using the keywords or phrases you indicated, they may be presented with your business’ advertisement. If the online ad is appealing to them, and resonates with their search, they are more likely to click on it and be taken to your website or landing page.
- When the person conducting the online search clicks on your business’ advertisement, you are charged for that click.
- As the advertiser, you can eliminate key phrases or add in new ones. If you want your ads to appear more frequently, then you can increase your bids for selected phrases or increase your daily advertising budgets to allow for more people to see your ad and increase the potential for more traffic to your website or landing page.
Search advertising is simple, yet it’s also very complex, and it’s easy to have a bad experience and blow your advertising budget quickly if you don’t carefully consider your keywords and phrases and target demographic. Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool can help you figure out what your specific keywords or phrases might cost you per click, so you really want to take some time to do your keyword and key phrase research.
Search advertising example A. Displayed after searching “pizza delivery”.
Search Advertising Strategies
When you’re building your paid search keyword list be sure to stay focused! Long-tail keyword searches tend to show a high degree of interest, so they are excellent choices for your SEM campaigns. For example, it’s pretty safe to say that someone searching for “gluten-free frozen food free shipping” is more serious about making a purchase than a person who searches on “frozen food” alone.
However, determining the right keywords is only the first part of getting your search advertising campaign organized. You also need to create compelling, appealing, and highly relevant text ads that searchers will want to click on. When your ads attain a high click-through rate (CTR), your campaign will become more cost-effective and you’ll earn better ad positions. It will pay in the long-run to monitor your online ads and make sure they are as irresistible as possible!
When you’re crafting your online search ads, you’ll also want to make sure that the person clicking on your ad is taken directly to the item you are advertising or a specialized, eye-catching landing page.
These are two of the quickest ways to lose a customer to an online competitor that will direct them exactly to what they wanted to buy – and yes, even if that visitor “bounces” off your website, you still have to pay for their click!
Search advertising example B. Displayed after searching “northern Colorado real estate”.
Why Search Advertising?
If you’re still trying to make up your mind as to whether marketing your business through search advertising is right for you, consider our top reasons why we think it’s a powerful tool: