Paid search

Paid search advertising can be an effective way to drive targeted traffic to your site, and when used properly, can boost sales figures. However, you must carefully select who to target and how much money to spend – otherwise, you may find yourself navigating into a less-than-ideal situation.

What is paid search and why do you need it?

Paid search advertising is a great way to reach a highly targeted audience of potential customers. It allows you to reach people who are, for the most part, ready to buy. The process for creating a campaign is simple and easy, and once it’s running, you’ll be able to see how well the campaign is performing and make any necessary modifications. There are four primary areas of success in paid search advertising: How much you pay per click (bid) and how much you’re willing to spend on the entire campaign (budget). In order to have a successful campaign, you’ll need to know basic guidelines around these two areas, as well as what may impact your Quality Score.

Key elements of paid search

CPC – Cost Per Click (PPC – Pay Per Click)

Cost Per Click, or CPC, is the number of money advertisers pay a search engine every time one of their ads is clicked on.

CPM – Cost Per Mile or Cost Per Impression

Cost Per Impression (CPM), is a common type of online advertising where the advertiser pays for every 1,000 times the ad is shown.

PLA – Product Listing Ads

Product Listing Ads are ads that show up when someone enters a product-related search into Google

Google Ads

Google Ads is Google’s own advertising network. It offers PPC/CPC and CPM advertising as well as site-targeted banner, text and rich media ads.

By using Google Ads, you can show your ads on one or both of Google’s advertising networks:

  • Google Search Network, which encompasses any ads that appear on Google search results pages, including Google Search, Google Shopping, Maps and its various search partners.
  • Google Display Network, covers any website that partners with Google, and other Google sites such as Gmail and YouTube.


In the world of paid search marketing, a bid is the maximum amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for each click on an advertisement. Please note that this will affect how high your ad is listed in the SERP but it’s not the only determining factor.

Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric that influences the ad rank and cost per click of ads. To determine the position of the ad on a search engine, each ad is allocated using a process that takes into account the bid and the Quality Score.

How does paid search work?

When someone uses a search engine to find information, they are presented with an array of different sites with different types of content. This is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). When someone types in a search query on Google or any other search engine, what they’re actually doing is entering keywords that will hopefully match sites that can provide the information that person is looking for. As part of Google’s search results, you will often see paid ads. Unlike organic listings, these are sponsored links and appear at the top of the page. They’re ads designed to entice you to click on them by promising actionable information and a positive user experience.

What is the difference between paid search and SEO?

You’ve probably heard the terms “organic” and “paid” before when it pertains to SEO. Organic search refers to the results that show up in SERPs due to a formula comprised of several factors, including but not limited to keyword relevance, backlinks, and quality of content. Paid search results, on the other hand, are those that appear as a result of paying for placement or ad.

SEO vs PPCProsCons
SEO– Increase brand awareness
– Drive relevant, targeted traffic
– Users trust organic traffic
– Increased credibility
– Keeps on giving
– Free advertising
– Fluctuating ranking due to algorithms
– Never ending job
– Takes time, waiting to rank
– For authority, you have to prove
PPC– Maximize brand visibility
– You control your budget
– Target users who’ll convert
– Pay for top ranking
– See immediate results
– Find marketing insights
– Requires constant funding
– Costs can mount up
– Some users dislike ads
– Ad blindness means you have to update
– You have to know what you’re doing

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Alex is a co-founder of a digital marketing agency. His specialty is in overall digital marketing strategy, social media advertising, search engine advertising, search engine optimization, and conversion rate optimization.

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