With over 100 billion global searches being conducted each month and 75% of search engine users never scrolling past the first page of search results, the search war is heating up (SEJ)! How can you leverage search to drive traffic to your website?

In our three-part Paid Search Series, we will share a variety of tips for winning the search war, including details on both paid search, or PPC, and organic search. This post will detail basics including what paid search is along with the benefits, keywords and placements, and how your ad is ranked in search results. Part two will provide a comparison of paid and organic search, and part three will share some advanced paid search techniques.

What is Paid Search?

Paid search, also known as pay per click (PPC), refers to when advertisers pay for click-throughs to their website. Paid advertisements typically appear at the top and on the right hand side of a SERP result page (see image below). Paid search results are served according to the keywords used by the search engine user.

Paid Search SERP Example

Using paid search, or PPC, can be a powerful search strategy while you are in the process of building your organic search. Also, paid search can be extremely flexible, targeted, and measurable. We will share more about organic search, as well as a detailed comparison of organic vs. paid search in our next blog.

Paid Search Keywords

As mentioned, paid search results are based on the keywords associated with those advertisements. Keywords are the words or phrases that you choose that can trigger your ad to show on search and other sites. Consider these basic tips when selecting keywords:

  • Select high quality, relevant keywords that are 2-3 words long
  • Choose keywords that match the words or phrases that people use
  • Choose keywords that relate to the content of your website
  • Utilize negative keywords so your ad doesn’t show up for searches that include that term

Paid Search Placements

Placements refer to when you ad appears outside of search results, for instance on other websites across the Internet. The Display Network is a group of more than a million websites, videos, and apps that have partnered with Google to show relevant AdWords ads. Your ads can be automatically matched to websites or other placements when your keywords are related to the sites’ content. On the other hand, you can pick specific placements yourself if you desire more control over where your ad is appearing.

Paid Search Results Rankings

How does Google determine which ads will appear and in what position? Ad rank is a value that is used to determine your ad position, or where you ad is shown on the page.

Ad Rank is calculated based on the your Quality Score and bid amount. Your Quality Score is a measure of the quality of your ads, keywords, and website. This means that having the highest bid won’t necessarily give the highest ranking. So, if your competition has higher bids than yours, you can still win a higher position by using highly relevant keywords and ads. Part 3 in our Search Series will include more details about bids and Quality Score.

Stayed tuned for the remaining posts in our Paid Search Series including, Paid Search vs. Organic Search, and Paid Search Advanced Techniques.