Search engine advertising

Search engine advertising

Search engine advertising is the generic name for the sponsored links that appear alongside organic search engine results. All major search engines offer a self-serve advertising system where advertisers can place competing bids for the right to take the most prominent position within the paid listings. The advertiser can decide what amount they literally want to "pay-per-click" (abbreviated PPC).

Things you should know

  • It isn't always necessary to gain the top position. In fact, even the top bid doesn't guarantee the very first spot since they are rotated among the top 3 spots. Furthermore, the top spots sometimes attract very soft interest clicks rather than serious buyers. Position 2-4 might be provide better value for the money; try it and see what works best for you.
  • The advertising system recommends a certain minimum amount for a guaranteed position. The amount has a tendency to be slightly over-inflated, so don't be afraid to bid slightly under. Watch your position slowly, and make small incremental increases rather than big jumps in order to save mon
  • A problem called "click fraud" has haunted PPC since its inception. Occasionally, unscrupulous competitors will click your ads in order to regain a better spot. But the larger problem lies in the fact that search engines run syndicated advertising networks on a very large number of 3rd party sites. Most website owners are honest, but a small minority of others are designed solely to defraud the advertiser. This shouldn't be a big concern, but if you are worried stick to advertising on search engine results only where the problem is contained.


Pay per click advertising

Here are the most popular pay per click advertising services offered by search engines. Although they go by different names, they all function using the same basic bidding principle.

Google AdWords
The vast majority of Google's 23 billion dollars in revenue in 2009 came from Google AdWords.

Yahoo sponsored search
Yahoo! is technically the inventor of the Pay-Per-Click model through their acquisition of the now defunct Overture dot com, the original PPC search engine. But Google was first to implement PPC in it's current incarnation.

Microsoft AdCenter
Create an account on AdCenter to start search adverstising on Bing.

Ask Sponsored Listings is the 4th largest search engine.

Organic search results listings get more clicks, and provide better value over time. But sponsored listings have the advantage of near instant turnaround.

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