If you have recently started a website or blog, chances are you are interested in gaining some visibility on the internet. One of the top ways to accomplish this is through search engine marketing. While there are several forms of search engine marketing including search engine optimization (SEO), local search, and paid search, this article will focus on the basics of paid search advertising.
What is paid search?
In short, paid search is the ability to bid on keywords on top search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. When you are the highest bidder for a particular keyword, your advertisement shows at the top of the search engine results pages (SERP). For example, if you are a shoe salesman who is interested in running a paid search campaign on Google, you can use Google AdWords to run your paid search campaign.
As soon as your Google Adwords paid search campaign is live, your advertisement will show up in the search engine results page (SERP). Since you are paying for placement, Google will list your advertisement either as one of the top paid results in the SERP or on the sidebar of the SERP. Again, remember that your ranking will depend on being the highest bidder (and your quality score).
In the example below, you can see that Zappos.com is running a paid search ad (demarcated by the word ad) for the word “shoes” and that Zappos.com is the first result in the search page. Additionally, you’ll notice Saks Fifth Avenue is also bidding on the keyword “shoes,” and that advertisement is appearing on the top righthand side of the sidebar.
How does paid search work?
In order to run a paid search campaign through Google, you need to create a free Google Adwords account using your email address. Once you are in your Google AdWords account, the process of creating an ad is intuitive, and AdWords will guide you through the process step-by-step.
First, you will need to research keywords that are relevant to your website. For example, if you are a shoe store, you may want to research terms like “buy shoes online,” “online shoe stores,” “shoe sales,” etc.
Once you have researched and selected your keywords (you can use the Google Keyword Planner for help with keyword research), you will then set your bid amount.
Bid amounts vary in price depending on how competitive a keyword is. For example, and for the purpose of this article, I have entered in 6 different keywords with varying levels of competition into the Google Keyword Planner to give you an idea of how much a certain keyword bid will usually cost.
As you can see, works related to shoes are less competitive and will range from 50 cents and up. However, if you are a lawyer interested in a paid search campaign, you can see that the suggested bid price is much higher at $64.45 per click.
As soon as you have selected your bid amount, you can finish building your paid search campaign by following the steps outlined in Google AdWords. These include setting up a campaign, selecting your keyword groupings, setting your bid, writing your copy, selecting your budget, and choosing where your ad will run (desktop and/or mobile).
Why run a paid search campaign?
Paid search advertising is a legitimate and effective way to drive traffic to your website. While it may seem expensive initially, even as you are just paying for clicks, the return on investment is worth it. When you run a paid search campaign, you:
- Bring visibility to your website
- Guarantee your placement in the search results
- Increase your website click-through rates
- Increase the probability of conversion
For more information about savvy search engine marketing tips, stay tuned to the Bluehost blog.