Ready to learn a bit about advertising on search engines? We’ll cover how advertising on search engines works—that’s called search engine marketing, or
. We’ll explain why it’s so effective, and how businesses compete to show ads.
Now let’s hear from Ian, at Artist Guitars about how this benefited his business.
Paid search accounts for about 30% of our business. It’s a really targeted message and those people actually want to see our website so actually if they find our website it's better for them as well. That's much more effective than if you try to advertise everywhere which can be so expensive. When you have paid search and you're only paying for when customers come to your site. That's much more effective because you know that those people are kind of interested.
It’s really important for us to track which ads work better than others. Sometimes we might do a split test and have two different types of copy. Because you want to find out what message is actually telling customers the things they need to know and you can change that message and see which one is more effective.
Imagine you live in Parramatta, you’re out running errands and are desperate for a coffee. You pull out your mobile and search for cafe in Parramatta.
Now you have a page full of options to consider. Every section on the page —the map, the ads, and the search results — presents options. Who knew there would be so many?
Some of these results are selected by the search engine’s organic formula. These pages are considered the most relevant web pages the search engine can find for this search. The other sections are ads.
If you take a moment to compare the ads you see to those in a print magazine, you might notice one big difference - every ad is for a coffee shop.
You don’t see ads for unrelated things, and interestingly enough, the ads seem quite similar to the organic results.
This is by design, and it’s what makes paid search advertising so effective. A search engine’s most important job is to show people the results they are looking for, and this extends to the ads. The ads you see complement the search results page, with the ultimate goal of helping a searcher find what they’re looking for.
So how exactly does search engine advertising work? Well, there are several models. Let’s take a look at one popular option, the text ads you see on search engine results pages.
Every time someone searches, advertisers compete for the opportunity to display their ads. It happens in milliseconds and the searcher won’t see the details, only the winners: the ads that appear on the page.
So, how do search engines decide who wins? The primary components are the bid and the quality.
The bid is the maximum amount an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on an ad. If someone clicks the ad, the advertiser is charged an amount equal to—or sometimes less than—the bid.
So, if an advertiser bids 2 dollars for a keyword, that’s the most he would pay for a single ad click. If an ad shows on the page but no one clicks, it doesn’t cost the advertiser anything at all.
Ideally, bids correspond to the value of the keywords to the business. But, the amount is up to each advertiser. Some advertisers may be willing to bid 50 cents for a keyword; others may be willing to bid 10 dollars or more.
Bid averages vary industry-by-industry, and keyword-by-keyword.
Bids are important, but so is quality.
Winning the auction doesn’t always hinge on having the highest bid. Search engines reward ads and keywords with strong relevance to the search. In fact, it’s possible that relevant ads can “win” higher spots on the search results page, even with lower bids. In some cases, no matter how high a bid, a search engine will not display the ad if it’s irrelevant.
To summarise, paid ads offer another way to promote your products and services on search engine results pages.
With a well-constructed search advertising campaign you can reach customers at the very moment they’re looking for what you offer.
Want to learn more about SEM ? Check out the search advertising lessons.
- a bit about advertising on search engines
- why advertising on search engines is so effective
- how advertisers compete for an opportunity to show ads on the search results page.