While SEO techniques are highly useful for organic searches, which in turn can drive a large amount of traffic to your site, the opportunities with paid search can be optimized to allow you to micro-target prospects and consumers.
These methods are more cost-effective than traditional advertising and can increase the right type of traffic — the people who are likely to spend time on your website, read your content, and have a higher likelihood of converting into customers.
For paid search, you typically have four options: Google AdWords, the Yahoo and Bing networks, ad retargeting, and demand side platforms:
Virtually all online marketers are familiar with AdWords as it is one of the most popular options in paid search. In AdWords, you create campaigns using keywords that are specific as possible, as broad keyword terms are not only the most expensive per click, they are also less likely to bring you highly targeted traffic. Paid searches, even more so than other SEO techniques, are all about getting the right people to access your site rather than a large amount of traffic.
You can create campaigns either using a URL as a starting point, for which Google will suggest you ad group ideas and keywords, or you can conduct your own keyword research. Ideally, seek terms with low competition — typically less than 1,000 monthly global searches. If your audience is limited in a specific location, this number may be smaller still.
The most effective ads are those that your users connect with emotionally. They have a title that describes exactly what you are offering and a short description that expands the opportunity.
Once you have developed your first set of campaigns with this format, test what works best until you discover the perfect formula!
Yahoo and Bing Network
Of the 163 million people who use Yahoo and Bing every month, 54 million users never search with Google. Therefore, if you want to take full advantage of paid search, you need to make sure you aren’t forgetting these networks!
Yahoo and Bing work slightly different to AdWords: their costs are less competitive and there is higher chance to utilize broader search terms. To gain the most out of these paid ads, you should use the same keyword research as for other aspects of SEO but also pick more general terms for the campaign.
Local businesses can also take advantage of Bing Ads’ Geo-Targeting feature to promote themselves in specific locations. This usually yields very little competition but highly targeted clicks.
Another option is ad retargeting, also known as ad remarketing. To understand the value of ad retargeting, first consider that only 2 percent of web traffic typically converts to leads.
Ad retargeting uses a cookie-based technology to keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after a user leaves your website. This increases the chance that the user will return to your site, and in turn improves the opportunity to convert this user into a customer.
Keep in mind that ad retargeting does not drive fresh traffic to your site, it only increases conversions. For this reason, it works best as part of a more expansive strategy involving content marketing, paid campaigns, and targeted display.
Demand Side Platforms
Demand side platforms (DSPs) are your gateway into affordable advertising across the web.
They are often compared to AdWords as both are used to create paid ad campaigns; however, there is a significant difference between the two — instead of appearing only on Google searches, DSPs have access to multiple networks.
The difference in reach of various DSPs is minimal; although most have relationships with exchanges, this usually has no importance to brands unless they want to access a particular exchange.
When considering a paid search strategy, be sure to have relevant content to support your advertisements. Search engines examine two things when ranking your ad in respects to specific keywords – relevancy and your bid.
You can make a strong bid on a particular set of keywords, yet fail to show up on the results page due to the relevancy of your ad. Vice versa, you can make a relatively low bid for another set of keywords, and rank higher than a competitor’s ad with a higher bid if your ad is more relevant in the eyes of the search engine.
Ultimately, it is crucial to understand the balancing act between your bid and the relevancy of your ad.
In other words, don’t underestimate the importance of your content.
Even with ad retargeting, the landing page that your visitors are directed to after they click an ad needs to provide value to influence the conversion from visitor to lead.
Provide value, support that value with paid search, and get in the fast lane towards lead generation!
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