We recently covered Search Engine Optimization in a previous article which detailed how to get traffic to your website naturally. Today we are going to discuss something unnatural…just kidding, today we will look at the opposite end of the spectrum and do a little digging into paid search, also known as search engine marketing (SEM). Something I didn’t mention previously is that SEO takes a lot of work and a lot of time in order to see the results of free traffic coming to your site from the search engines. SEM is completely the opposite, you are basically paying your way to the top of the search results for the keywords that you are targeting.
Basically with paid search, you can use something like Google AdWords, or Facebook to purchase ad space on specific platforms or websites. The beauty of paid search is the ability to target specific types of people. You can target users based on age ranges, sex, location, interests, and search keywords. This works really well for targeting the exact audience you are interested in acquiring traffic from. Does it take a while to learn how to use targeting on different platforms…possibly depending on your skill set; however, it is still much easier and quicker than trying to keep up with the search engine algorithms and SEO.
With search engine marketing, you can create various types of campaigns on different platforms. Each campaign can have a set daily budget so that you do not go overboard and lose your shirt due to a poor converting campaign. When it comes to learning SEM, my recommendation is to learn one specific platform and become an expert at it before jumping to something else. What I mean by that is if you want to start with Facebook marketing, use the Facebook platform and master it. Build some successful campaigns on Facebook, and when you think you have optimized those campaigns as much as possible, then look elsewhere like Google AdSense or Bing Ads. Lets face it, we all get shiny object syndrome and the only way to really succeed is to focus on one area at a time. Once the one area is running well without much supervision, then you can move on to another area and start over. I say start over because what works really well on Facebook in terms of targeting and keywords, might totally flop on a platform like Google AdSense. Always start from scratch and be sure you are constantly optimizing your campaigns. Look for the losers and the winners every few hours. If you notice something is just not working, do not be afraid to kill it and reinvest the money into something new, or something that is working for you.
When it comes to SEM, we recommend that you start with Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. While you can end up paying a bit more with PPC, you are only paying for each click on your ad, and not each time the ad is shown to a person. With sites like Facebook having over a billion users, if lets say only 10,000 people saw your ad on any given day and only one person clicked it, you would only have to pay for that one click at whatever rate you may have bid at. On the other hand, if you were doing a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) you would have to pay a specific amount for every thousand impressions; whether or not you got any clicks at all. Their is also Pay Per View (PPV) marketing which is basically a contract with ad networks that they will guarantee so many impressions and clicks each month to your ad. This typically is for the big boys and once you have a successful PPC campaign in place you might want to investigate PPV a little more in-depth as the long term profits may be a lot higher with an already profitable campaign.
So that is the ugly truth about paid search. Search engine marketing is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to lose some money while you learn the ropes. In time though, you will find your way and begin to see a return on your investment. Be dedicated to your craft and stick to it for at least a couple of months before quitting. Their is no such thing as easy money, but you can learn how to make some extra funds if you just learn from your mistakes.