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How do you start with paid search?

I’m answering a few more questions from last week’s Webinar today. (There were a couple of questions that I didn’t understand, so if you don’t see your question answered in the next couple of weeks, please contact me to ask again and I will do my best.) Today, I’ll tackle a few questions on paid search.


Webinar question: Mike said Organic search was inexpensive compared to PPC. That can be relative. What is a minimum I should expect to pay for organic search marketing?
This is an easy question. The minimum you could pay is zero. If you know how to do the work, it might take a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to cost anything. Most Web sites are already indexed by the search engines, so all they have to do is to figure out what keywords their customers are using, optimize their pages and get some links. You can get a rundown on the free way to take each of these steps in my Skinflint Search Marketing Guide. Of course, some Web sites, especially large Web sites, might find that they have severe problems that do cost money to fix, but most don’t.
Webinar question: Seems like you are saying paid search is not as effective as organic search.
Not at all. What I am saying is that every Web site should be pursuing organic search, because it’s free. Paid search, because you must fork it over for each visitor to your site, requires that you know how much it’s worth to you to attract each visitor. If you don’t, you won’t know how much to bid. In my experience, many Web sites have never analyzed their metrics to know what each visitor is worth–those sites aren’t ready to do paid search. Once they work the numbers, then they can go after paid search the same way they do organic.
Webinar question: What do you think of Google’s AdSense program?
All the search engines run paid search programs–Google’s AdSense is the largest. The programs are very similar to each other, but I like Google’s keyword tool better than the others. If you’re just starting out in paid search, Google’s probably the best place to begin, but the experience you get trying out any of the programs will help you more than thinking about it.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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  1. Avatar Dana Daniels

    Amen to analyzing the website metrics. So many people want to jump into it without knowing what a visitor is even worth to them. All they see is “Google Page 1” and start thinking dollar signs.

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