How to Gain Instant Exposure With
Search Advertising

Google Adwords Logo

“I think you really ought to consider advertising on Google,” she said.

The year was 2003, business was really slow and I was about to plunk big dollars into a trade publication ad. I had never heard of paying to have someone come to my website.

But, on the advice of a peer, I took the leap of faith.

With great skepticism, I opened an AdWords account and started driving traffic to a landing page that taught people how to write white papers.

To my great shock, the first day four people registered. By the end of the first week, there were 40. Before I knew it, the year was up and 4000 people had registered, ALL coming from one little ad that I paid next to nothing for on Google.

I spent a whopping $127 per month for those thousands of leads.

I’m here to tell you, if you want to drive more traffic to your blog, add people to your lists or just test out some new ideas, consider search advertising.

Search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or paid search, essentially involves paying for small ads that appear on a search engine. The ads only appear when folks type in keywords you are paying for. The beauty of these ads is that you only pay if someone clicks.

Andrew Goodman, widely considered the world’s leading authority on search advertising, explains, “Paid search is classic direct marketing in the sense that you narrow your market down to a very specific subset (in this case, those typing specific keywords into a search engine out of curiosity).”

Goodman also explains, “The beauty of PPC ads that appear near search results (i.e., on an engine like Google) is that they show up when someone may be in active research mode. If you intercept professionals early in their sales cycles, while they are still thinking about pertinent issues, you actually position yourself very well.”

Blogger’s Thoughts on Search Advertising

New media blogger Chris Garrett says, “Pay-per-click advertising gets almost immediate results, either for traffic or for just testing ideas. All it takes is some well-chosen words and a credit card. While a perfect campaign takes time, money and experimentation, PPC is the best way to get instant and highly targeted leads.”

Tom Chandler, owner of one of the top ten blogs for writers explains, “For a freelancer, pay-per-click advertising can be a flexible, effective, affordable marketing tool. I’ve used it several times over the years to quickly generate leads during slow periods, though I’ve discovered — as my blog-driven organic search results improved — that I don’t need it running all the time.”

Chandler adds, “In fact, your ability to switch your ad campaigns on and off is one of PPC’s handiest features. Another is the instant feedback; your ability to test different ads should warm the heart of any copywriter.”

Goodman echo’s Chandler’s testing statement, “You get rapid feedback about what people do in response to certain offers, for a very low cost, in a highly structured format. It’s the world’s cheapest market research.”

Google is King of the Hill

According to the New York Times, Google’s market share topped 65 percent at the end of 2007 and will continue to grow!

That means that 65 out of 100 Internet searches take place on Google.

If you want to begin a search advertising campaign, it makes sense to check out Google AdWords.

For literally pennies, your ads can show up on Google and on partner sites like and AOL.

A small example: My daughter goes to a new private school in Southern California. We setup a quick Google campaign that was focused only on the San Diego metropolitan area. So far we have had more than 300,000 ad impressions in one month, more than 120 people have clicked on the ad and multiple families will be attending the schools info night this week. The total cost for all of the exposure: Less than $100!

Five Things You Must Know Before Going Nuts

When I first began search advertising I was clueless. However, I quickly found Andrew Goodman’s work and here’s what he taught me. Consider the following important points:

  • Why are you advertising? Determine what your goals are before you start. Do you want to push an event, promote an ebook, add more signups to your list or gain exposure for your blog?
  • Your landing page is critical. Think about where you want visitors to end up after clicking on an ad. The best performing ads drive people to very specific landing pages the deliver on the promise of the ad.
  • Spend to Earn. Unlike social marketing techniques, search advertising will take bills from your wallet (and if done well, put more than that back in). Think about how much you are willing to part with. The good news is that you can set spending caps with Google, and you can easily determine the return on investment your advertising is bringing.
  • Good headlines outperform. Take all the headline tips Brian keeps talking about and apply them to your ad campaigns. A well-written ad will outperform the more costly, poorly crafted ones. Your writing skills can pay off big time with paid search.
  • Track your conversions. Google gives you a little piece of code that you can place on a page. For example, if you are aiming for newsletter signups, you can plant this code on the “Thanks for registering page.” This allows you to track how many visitors are actually taking the action you hoped would be achieved.

A Quick Video

Here is an excellent video from Andrew Goodman on the latest state of paid search. It’s worth a look.

Want to Learn More?

Andrew Goodman will be teaching a teleclass this week called Navigating the Search Advertising Frontier (How to Outsmart the Competition). Be sure to check it out.

I would love to hear from those of you who have found success with search advertising. How has it helped you grow your business?

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Reader Comments (37)

  1. says

    i’m going to test this out for sure this time. Thanks for the outpouring of tutorials and advice on PPC.

    I just have to get my landing page in order- Yikes!

  2. says

    I’ve thought about this alot lately. Which cost is greater, spending an hour or two a day to try to get social media traffic to a young blog, or simply spending the money on advertising? It depends on how much your time is worth per hour, but I think I’ll give this a try.

  3. says

    But don’t think Adwords don’t take time. Eventhough I agree with Michael, Adwords can be a tricky one if you are beginner. So, time is again esential.

  4. says

    The good news about AdWords is that once you get a program working, you can pretty much place it on autopilot.

    With the exception of regular checks to make sure things are working, it will continue to deliver over time.

    With a lot of Social Media efforts, you will *maybe* get a bump for a few days and then things tend to die down.


  5. says

    Concerns for me arise with respect to click fraud and unqualified traffic. As an Internet marketing consultant, I find that organic search results provide a better ROI than PPC, especially in the long term. After all, organic results provide free, qualified traffic.

    I guess all I’m saying is that I’d rather spend money on a well-devised SEO strategy than a short-term PPC campaign. Keep in mind that PPC involves an ongoing outflow of human and financial resources. SEO requires neither. And I’ve had successful SEO campaigns kick in within 2 days. Just my two bits…


  6. says

    The only concern is that on the same page as the PPCs are the organic SERPs.

    How much business would these same people have gotten by being on page one of the natural listings – if they received that much business from the sponsor ads?

    Search engine marketing is rife with fraudulent clicks as will only last as long as the money in account lasts.

    SEO by contrast, can add more security if done right and with some ethics.

    Additionally, unless you are one of the top bidders you are less likely to get revenue considering that everyone else may be pushing their relevant products ahead of your.

  7. says

    As a freelance copywriter, for me Google ads are a key business tool. They’re much cheaper than traditional print advertising. If you’re busy, you can turn them down and spend less. If you’re quiet, you turn them up to get more traffic and more potential client visits. And in many ways Google search is the perfect place to advertise. People are there already looking for your type of service.

  8. says

    Back in the day when I was just beginning my internet sales, Ebay offered keyword ads. I jumped on that quickly and my sales quadrupled, as did my connections that are still very relevant to my success as an artist. It’s obvious that there are untapped keywords in areas that I would benefit from. PLUS this appears to be an efficient use of time. Thank you so much for this article. I appreciate your effort

  9. says

    Great post. Lots of good information. I have been using Google adwords for a year and have set a small amount budget. I used it for two reasons, one to test a single aspect of my business. As a freelance writer there are a number of services I offer, but with adwords I wanted to test the need for a website copy writer. It is a product I offer that can be provided all over the country.

    The second benefit has been the fact that with my Google account I also can offer Google Checkout – Visa/Mastercard for invoicing those long distance customers. Google has been offering free credit card payment processing depending on the amount you spend with adwords.

    That program is going to change, but for this year it has saved me a nice dollar amount.

    Thanks for the conversation.


  10. says

    Aidan and Search Engines Web;

    I have found that PPC is much less costly initially than SEO as far as effort and time.

    You can literally have a search ad up and running in minutes.

    With SEO, it could take months before you see any results with your business site. AND the effort to optimize your site can be very costly. If some new hot terms emerge in your market, you need to reoptimize for those terms. With search ads, you just ad the keywords to your buy list.

    To the question about organic vs. pay-per-click.

    The Google engine provides you a click-thru-rate. This is basically the percentage of all the people that search on the keyword. Those that click on your ad are a subset.

    I have some keywords that have click rates in the 30%. That means my ads are taking 3 out of 10 people away from organic search.

    The last point, for some odd reason, I have found that search ads on very specific URLs show up very high in the organic results. Perhaps Google rewards long term advertisers with organic results as well. This I do not know.

    Another point, type in white paper right now in Google. Notice my organic listing is #2 and my PPC ad is #4. I still get a LOT of people clicking on the ad. I have run the tests and I am better off keeping the ad DESPITE the fact that my organic results are #2. Why? Because not everyone clicks on results just because they are organic.


  11. says

    Great post. I think effectively using pay per click advertising with individual landing pages is a great way to get contacts from your website. Just have to have a good set of keywords to market and small adgroups :)

  12. says

    This is a great piece on PPC. We use pay per click advertising to market our real estate websites focused on consumers as well as our websites focused on real estate professionals. Judging the performance is critical and I am not sure if anyone mentioned going to which is a great website to measure the performance of your ads. Running two ads all the time and changing the poorest performing ad has been critical to our success in converting visitors.

  13. ohnopirates says

    As someone who handles PPC, SEO, and general analytics for a living, I enjoy this article.

    However, telling people to jump into the deep end by starting with Google can be both costly and ineffective. I would honestly recommend starting off with Yahoo, or even MSN if you wanted to, to test out your campaigns. Make sure you don’t get massive surges of garbage traffic (that costs you money), make sure you are getting good conversion rates, etc.

    Do this all on a lower volume search engine so you suddenly aren’t 2k in the hole because you went out to have a cup of coffee.

    Also – and I can’t stress this enough – do some real statistical analysis on your terms. Without giving away my “secret mystical formula,” at least not somewhere that isn’t my blog, try considering both the number of impressions, the click through rate, and the conversion rate on a given key word.
    Does a keyword with a huge number of impressions, a very low ctr, but a high conv. rate mean more to your business?
    How do these leads translate into sales?

    Question, analyze, test.
    Good luck.

  14. says

    Hi Ohnopirates;

    My concern with your recommendation is that if you start with something like Yahoo, you will not experience the full benefit of what Google brings to the table–in regards to the user experience, exposure AND the results.

    While I have advertised on both, nothing compares to my results with Google. Google also has excellent tools that make it very easy for a beginner to get underway and analyze his or her results (like their Analytics tools).

    This I will grant you. I was so turned off by my experience with Yahoo that I no longer work with them. I know they finally upgraded their system, so I do not know if has gained the flexibility that Google offers.

    The best way to control spending on Google is to set a daily spending cap or work only in a geographical zone (like San Diego). And to track results daily.

    Thanks for your comments.

  15. evolve says

    AdWords and SEM in general are the types of things that are easy to learn but hard to master.

    Question what you read, accept that your best teacher is experience as SEM is constantly changing.

  16. says

    Thanks Michael.

    Adwords is one of those things on my to-do list. However, I’ve never read anything that spelled it out so clearly.

    Thanks for your very insightful post and your linked You-tube video.

    I now have a firmer grasp of the power of adwords and how to use it effectively.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. says

    But don’t think Adwords don’t take time. Eventhough I agree with Michael, Adwords can be a tricky one if you are beginner. So, time is again esential.

  18. says

    Using a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising campaign before SEO will help you understand which keywords and ad copy brings the highest traffic, so you can create proper Web pages and optimize them.

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