SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising. And as Google is by far the most important search engine, I will focus on Google SEA, better known as Adsense. Thick books are written on this topic but I’ll try to give you an introduction in under five minutes.
Ads appear above or below the organic search results, or in the right column and are clearly marked by a yellow icon.
How does it actually work?
- you sign up with your Google account for Google Adsense
- you design your Ad within Adsense
- you tell Google for which keywords you want the ad to be shown
- you pay Google and your done
How much does it cost ?
It’s sort of cloudy water.
Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay Google a certain amount of money. This system is known as PPC : pay-per-click. It’s up to you how much you want to pay but you’ll have to pay more than the competition, otherwise their ad will be shown instead of yours.
Although Google has a tool called Keyword Planner where you get an idea of how much you should pay-per-click for a certain keyword, they will never give you the exact amount the competition is paying.
I suggest paying what Google advises and set a day limit. E.g. 0.50 USD per click with a day limit of 10 USD. This means that after 20 clicks your ad will be hidden for the rest of that day
- Very fast results. In a couple of hours you can have your ad above the organic search results. Very important when in a hurry or for campaigns with a short lifetime. Regular SEO can take months to get you on the first page of the organic search results and even then it can be impossible to pass the competition.
- A clear view on ROI (return on investment). SEO ROI is more difficult to measure.
- Can help to introduce a brand: even if they don’t click on it, they’ve seen your brand name.
- You can try it out with a very small investment, just to learn the system inside out.
- When advertising in a very competitive market (like insurance, luxury goods, …) PPC can be very high, like a few dollars per click. It is not always worthwhile and you can only find out by trying. AdSense became quite expensive over the years, making it hard for small businesses to compete with well known brands and large companies spending hundres of thousands of dollars every month on SEA.
- Payed results are less trusted than organic results…
When to use SEA ?
Let’s say you do a search on ‘best smartphone shop in New York’. Chances are you will trust the first search result in the organic results more than the advertising above it (marked with the yellow icon).
This brings us to the kind of searches people perform and which ones are important for SEA.
Roughly Google knows three types of searches
the visitor wants to find your website but doesn’t know the right URL. This could be a search for ‘HarperCollins Publishers’. In most cases the visitor will click on the first link in the organic results.
the visitor is looking for more information on a certain topic and will scan the organic results. There’s almost no chance he will click on an ad. A typical search could be ‘How does the antenne of an iphone work?’
- Transactional the visitor is looking to buy, rent, sell goods or services. A typical search could be ‘cheap iphone 6’. Here the ads will play an important role, in some cases even more important than the organic results.
And to end with, two tricks to get lower PPC rates from Google: narrow your target group in your Adsense settings (e.g. only Alabama and language only English). Secondly, make sure your site has good SEO. It is known Google will reward you with better Ad visibility when your site ranks high in their organic results.
Stay tuned… in an upcoming blog I’ll teach you the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Share this post on