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Search Engine Advertising

Search Engine Advertising: How To Get Started

To have an effective digital marketing strategy you need to include search engine advertising in your plans. In fact, online marketing is now synonymous with search engine advertising and every serious marketer and business owner has to take note.


However, many advertisers struggle to understand how to start with search engine advertising. There are some technical hurdles to overcome and you also have to think about how much to spend and when to get started.


Fortunately, there are a few channels in this space and so you don’t have to do a lot of research to get started. Google Ads is by far the leading search engine platform with over 90% of all search engine traffic.


Microsoft Ads is a distant second and it’s one you can look at after setting up a successful campaign in Google Ads.


Why search engine advertising?

The numbers speak for themselves. There are at least 6 billion searches on Google each day globally. Over 4 million businesses advertise on search engines like Google and that number continues to rise.


So, it’s a no-brainer really, that your business should be visible in the search engines.


But you also have to consider how you’re going to advertise on the search engines. There are many ways to advertise nowadays and the method you use depends on the type of business you are and what products or services you provide.


The days of directory advertising on sites like Yahoo directory are long behind us. Directories belong to the past and were replaced by search engines many years ago.


Which search engine advertising platform?


Google recently changed the layout of text ads in the search results. In the past, Ads would appear at the top, to the right and below the organic search results.


Now, there are no text ads to the right and they only appear at the top and bottom of the results page. And there are now four positions available to advertisers at the top and three at the bottom. So, text ads now have more prominence at the top and this has pushed organic listings even lower.


Search Page Results


That means more traffic is now going to paid text ads than before and organic listings are getting a lower share of the click traffic. So, you cannot afford to ignore text ads and it’s important to start your search engine advertising early even with a small budget.


There are other search engine advertising platforms like Microsoft Ads and a few insignificant others. Microsoft Ads, formerly known as Bing Ads, is a distant second to Google Ads and drives traffic from people searching on Bing and Yahoo.


It’s worth trying Microsoft Ads to see if it will work for you, and if you are running any Google Ads campaigns you can easily transfer them over. However, from experience, Microsoft Ads has poor targeting capabilities compared to Google and you should start with exact match keywords only, to control the searches you get.


Google Ads has also a large network of websites and search engines that provide display and search results for its advertisers. These sites number in the millions and some of the big ones include Google’s own properties like YouTube, Play and Maps.


Setting up your first search engine advertising campaign

Setting up your first search engine advertising campaign in Google Ads is a quick process and you can be advertising within an hour. Google provides many campaign types and your choice will depend on a number of factors.


First, go to to create your Google Ads account.


The default campaign setup in Google Ads is a smart campaign. This is a basic campaign that uses machine learning to automate many processes and target right audience. This campaign type is ok for those who are new to search engine advertising on Google and allows you to be up and running in just 15 minutes.


The other advantage with a smart campaign is that you don’t need to have a website. You can set up local ads to get calls only and not website visits and you can also get visits to your physical location through your Google My Business account


Smart Campaign Setup


However, if you want more professional features in Google Ads and to take your advertising to the next level then you should upgrade your account to Expert Mode. If you click the ‘Settings’ icon in the top right corner you will see the option to change to Expert mode.


Google Expert Mode


This option allows you to set up search campaigns and use features like bidding strategies, responsive search ads and so on. And you have full control over the campaign types that you create and run.


To set up your first search campaign, click the campaigns tab in the menu. Next, click the blue button and set your campaign goal and then follow the instructions to set up the campaign.


In campaign settings, you’ll provide such details as the locations you want to target; how much you want to spend a day; which days and hours you want to advertise in and more.


These controls determine who sees your ads, when they see them and how much you’ll pay for each visitor and your total spend each day. The best part is you can change any of these features to meet your requirements and based on the performance you are getting.


When you conduct keyword research as you look for the keywords you want to add, make sure you carry out negative keyword research. Negative keywords are the words that you don’t want triggering your ads and you are likely to know some of these off hand and you can add them to block searches that are irrelevant.


How much to spend in your campaign

Now we come to the age old question: how much should I spend on my advertising? This can be quite difficult to answer when you’re just starting out with search engine advertising.


However, one of the great things about online marketing is that setting and adjusting budgets is easy. It’s unlike traditional forms of advertising where this has to be determined weeks and months in advance and is not easy to adjust.


With search engine advertising, you can adjust your budget on a daily basis and increase or decrease according to your requirements. However, that still is a challenge for new advertisers and can sometimes hold back the campaign from achieving its best.


One of the best ways is to start with a test budget. And that can be as much or as little as you can afford. For example, you can start with a $300 monthly budget to test the waters and then scale up as you see your returns improve.


Contact a Google Ads specialist to help you launch your search engine advertising strategy and increase sales or leads for your business.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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