18th February 2022

What Is Paid Search and Why Is It Useful?

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When you type something into a search engine, it responds with a list of web pages relevant to your search. Search results are usually organic meaning that they haven’t paid to appear with your searched keywords. Paid search ads are the results that appear at the top of your search engine result page, also known as SERP, above the organic results. 

Search engines such as Google and Bing allow advertisers to show ads on their SERP’s with a pay-per-click model, meaning you only pay when potential customers are clicking on your ad. Paid search ads appear for a user based on the keywords they’re searching for and the location they’re searching from, meaning your ad traffic should be hitting the relevant target audience/s.

All competing ads go through an auction to decide who will come out on top. Multiple factors determine who will appear in the top position on the SERP, including the quality of the ad and the keyword bid amount. Keyword bit amount is decided at campaign level and will fall in line with monthly budgets. Google auctions consider keyword bid amount, ad quality and relevance, search context (user’s device and time of day) and if the format is impactful – adding extensions to your ads can really enhance results.

Ad quality score is an extremely important metric as it determines how relevant the ad is, which contributes to auction performance. The components of Quality Score are: Historical click-through rate (CTR), how relevant the keyword is to the ad, the relevance of the keyword and ad to the search query and the website landing page quality.

Paid search is a much more controllable and measurable form of advertising as every ad and keyword can be tracked to see how they’re performing and how much is being spent on the ads per day, allowing a more accurate ROI. As ads can be created and paused instantly, paid search is a great way to test campaigns without the possibility of a mass loss of investment.

Ads don’t have to just be standard text either. There are a range of ad formats to help sell your product or service including; shopping ads, display ads and video ads. While shopping ads appear on the SERP, display and video ads appear on Google partner sites such as YouTube.

Overall paid search and other paid ads can help you be seen by potential customers who are searching for keywords relating to your business which can drive traffic to your website, generate leads/sales and increase your brand awareness.