by Dan Grossman
Paid-placement search engine listings, like those at Goto.com, are great for effective, targeted and low-cost traffic for your website. That’s why so many people are using them, driving up prices of even obscure terms in bidding. Google’s Self-Service Advertising System, called “Google AdWords,” and the “Jeeves Text Sponsorship Network” are two similar services you should add to your list of places to advertise.
They can each be effective ways to advertise your site or product at a low cost, with the added benefit of being CPM-based, meaning you pay according to the number of impressions of your ad shown rather than the number of clicks.
Relatively new, Google has decided to offer an easy way to get your site in their search result pages without spending days or weeks setting up a banner advertising campaign with them. Unlike a paid submission, you are not paying to have your site listed in the Google search results, but to have your ad appear alongside search results in a special “Sponsored Links” section. Here, to the right of the search results, your link and a short description can appear along with up to 8 others for only a few dollars per thousand impressions.
Because you will be paying $8 to $15 per thousand impressions, or views of your ad, at Google, you’ll need a high click-through ratio in order to justify spending the money and to get traffic to your website. Choosing keywords to purchase advertising on shouldn’t be too hard. Assuming you track it, start with the phrases people are already using to find your website in search engines. Add to that any other words you want to buy a listing in that are related to your site, the more specific the better. You can expect a click-through ratio 3 or 4 times higher for very specific terms, like “free business cards,” as opposed to very general terms, such as “business”.
Once you’ve chosen the keywords to purchase advertising on, write ads for each one. You may only need several ads for different sets of keywords (such as one ad to use for both “free business cards” and “color business cards” and “business cards”), but you will probably get better results if you don’t use the same ad on all the terms you are purchasing listings for.
While your ad headline and content are limited to very few words, you should remember the basic rules for writing ads. Use the search engine term in the headline of the ad so that the surfer knows your ad is relevant to their search. Make sure the reason to visit your site is clearly visible. When your ad is read, the surfer should know what you have to offer them.
You can read more about the Google AdWords program or sign up at Google Adwords
Ask.com offers the “Jeeves Text Sponsorship Network,” where you can have your text ad seen alongside search engine results on participating sites including MSN, Searchalot, Bomis.com, SuperCyberSearch, and Direct Hit. To see how it works, try searching the keyword “free” at both Ask.com and one of the participating sites, DirectHit.com:
You’ll notice, down the right-hand column, several text links. These are sponsorship links purchased through the Jeeves Text Sponsorship Network. It works much like the Google AdWords program except for pricing. At Google, you pay based on the popularity of your ad, based on the number of click throughs. The advertiser on any one keyword with the highest click-through ratio gets the highest spot, and therefore pays the most. With the Jeeves program, you bid on the space, much like Goto.com. The difference is you’re bidding on CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, not per click. Bidding starts at only half a cent per click or $5CPM.
Another benefit of the Jeeves program is that your ad is not as limited in size as the AdWords program. You get up to 40 characters for your title and 150 characters for your description. Google limits your ads there to a 25 character headline and two 35 character lines for a description. Learn more or sign up at Jeeves Text Sponsorship Network
Whether you choose to try AdWords, the Jeeves Text, or both, these are powerful new ways to invest your advertising dollars for low-cost, targeted traffic to your website. With rising bids at paid-placement search engines, these may easily become more reasonable ways to drive new traffic to your website.
Dan Grossman runs WebsiteGoodies.com where you can find over 250 hand-picked resources, articles, and tools! Dan also publishes the free weekly “WebDevPortal” newsletter for website owners!