The Ugly Truth About Paid Search

Truth About Paid SearchWe 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.

Learn the Fastest Way to Search Engine Optimization Success

search engine optimizationSo you decided to build a slick little website did ya?  Did you think that designing the site, generating awesome content, and making it easy to navigate was going to be the tough part?  Well…sometimes that is the most difficult piece depending on how you built your website…but now that you put in all that hard work you are probably wondering why no one is visiting your website after all of the effort you put in.  Sure you got your mom and grandmother to check it out…that’s easy…but what about the rest of the world?

Let me introduce you to something known as search engine optimization (SEO), and give you a quick overview on how to succeed online with SEO.  Search engine optimization is a method that webmasters follow to help give their websites more ranking power in the search engines.  Why is this important you might ask?  Well…if you want to get people to visit your website without paying an arm and a leg in advertising costs, you will want to brush up on SEO and how to best perform it on your website.  SEO helps the search engines index your content and allow your website to show up when people are searching for keywords related to your site.  A site that has not been built with proper SEO might never make it into the top ten pages of the search results.

In order to truly succeed with search engine optimization, you must understand what you can control directly, and what is out of your control.  Things that you can control involve the way your own website is laid out.  Things that search engines love to see is a sitemap file which helps them find all of your pages while the spiders are crawling your site.  Other things you should do is interlink your pages with other relevant pages on your website.  Lets say your website deals with electronic repair, and you are writing an article discussing fixing an iPhone.  Somewhere in the content of your article, it would be beneficial to drop a link to your electronics repair services page.  This helps the search engines know more about your services page and that you would be able to work on iPhones due to the content of your article linking to your services page.  Other things you need to be aware of include avoiding duplicate content.  When it comes to duplicate content, most people think of just the articles on your site.  This is far from the truth as duplicate content could be something as silly as having similar title tags across your website, or using images that have been used on other people’s websites.  Having duplicate content on your website does not sit very well with the search engines and will most likely generate a penalty which will hurt your website rankings.

The factors in which you don’t have a lot of control over are the sites that link to you.  While it would be nice to get links to your website from every other big website that is related to your niche…it’s not going to happen.  We have very little control over who links to our website, and which pages they are linking to as well as what the hyperlink anchor text says when they are linking to us.  These factors are actually pretty important.  The search engines use various methods of trying to figure out what your website is about not only by scanning you content, but also by looking at the content of those who link to you.  They also look at the words that are being used while someone links to your website.  Let me tell you a little story about how much the anchor text used to matter in ranking websites.  Once upon a time, ranking websites was easy.  Using shady tools, people could send out thousands of links to other websites that would link back to their own site with keyword targeted anchor text.  This worked amazingly well in the early 2000’s, however Google eventually updated their algorithm which put an end to all that.  Sites that had too much keyword rich anchor text got slapped hard by Google, some even deindexed altogether.  You want to try and maintain a nice range of differing anchor text that contains your brand name, website domain name, some keywords that discuss your websites content, and some generic words such as ‘click here’, or ‘visit today’.  Having a decent diversity of anchor text will help you avoid some of the penalties that have been rolled out over the years.  Again this is not something that can easily be controlled, but if you are using a tool like Majestic to see your anchor text, and notice a high percentage of a specific anchor being used, you can try getting some diversified anchor text from sites like Fiverr to try and help you out.

I recently read something on a site that helps business owners with search engine optimization in Sacramento, California.  The site had mentioned that you can help diversify your anchor text with certain web 2.0 sites such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and HubPages.com.  These sites allow you to build additional sites using a subdomain.  They host your content and you can post pretty much whatever you want.  Sites like these are good resources for you to use to help create links to your primary website using whatever anchor text you like.  This can help you diversify your links which can help you better succeed online.  This method is much safer than doing anything with Fiverr as you typically get what you pay form.  Fiverr services might blast your link across the web to shady and unscrupulous sites that the search engines despise.  The web 2.0 sites mentioned above actually have a lot of trust and authority when it comes to the search engines.  While it is more time consuming to build new sites and generate content, it is also a lot safer to do.

Check out this cool little video to learn a little bit more about search engine optimization.

So their you have it, my tips for succeeding with search engine optimization.  If you think I missed anything please let me know! If you have any specific questions just post in the comment area and I will try and answer them as soon as possible!