Keyword Bidding: How Small Budgets Can Compete With The Deep Pockets
Keyword bidding has become the focus of many online marketers simply because the pay-per-click advertising options offer many benefits over traditional advertising investments. Unfortunately, many PPC search engines like Yahoo! Search Marketing have one fundamental problem.
Big advertisers with deep pockets are always able to out bid the rest. And the rest do not have any means of competing other than bidding a higher price per key word.
So how it can we level the playing field and help small advertisers compete with the giants?
Let's take a typical advertising scenario. Imagine that you are promoting a home business opportunity. You have a budget of just $50. In order to have your ad displayed, you need to first choose what key words or phrases you want to trigger your ad. In other words, you need to pick a few keywords or phrases that when entered by a person in a typical search, would result in your ad been shown along with the search results. Let's say you bid on the phrase "home business". It's pretty straightforward. And you are willing to pay $0.05 for each click. This is the lowest bid possible in the Yahoo! Search Marketing program.
There are 20 results listed on the first page of results where your ad can possibly appear. Position 1 is the preferred one, drawing the most clicks, with others in the top ten getting pretty good response, but slots 11 to 20 are the lower positions which pull in the least amount of clicks. People are most likely to click on those ads in the higher positions. This would result in those ads getting a better CTR (Click Through Ratio).
Simply bid higher for your keyword than anyone else and you'll get the most clicks. Well this works like a dream. But let me burst your bubble! You aren't the only person who's chosen "home business" as their key phrase. Lets say that there are 100 other people willing to pay for that key phrase. And let's say that there are some very rich 'heavy hitters' who want the clicks of those 'home business' searchers. Some are willing to bid $1.50 to $1.90 for the same phrase you are bidding for.
How can this affect you, you ask?
If someone is willing to pay more than you for a key word or phrase, then their ads will be placed higher than yours in the search result positions. This means that your ad is not the top most ad, and maybe not even on the first page, and this in turn will decrease your CTR. Lesser number of people click your ad and your traffic drops. You are doomed!
What can you do to stay alive? You might try to increase your bid. But you can't match $1.90 can you? Not even $1.50 to get in the top 10. Not with your budget of just $50. And even if you do manage to bid higher, the others might increase their bids as well, or you'll get some clicks but your $50 will be gone in a flash. This leaves you at square one!
What's happening here is that someone who can afford to pay a high price per key word is forcing you out of the competition. Fortunately for you, smaller advertisers still have a chance to get good positioning by using alternative selection of key phrases rather than just over bidding your opponent.
I know what you are thinking right now. You've still only got $50 to bid with, so how can you make sure that your position in search results ends up in the top 10? Here are a few simple techniques that you could use. First don't try to bid for popular keywords. I know this sounds crazy, since doesn't "popular" mean more people search for those key words? And if more people search for them, doesn't it mean that you need to get your ad in front of them?
There is more that one way to skin a cat. And there's more than one way to maintain good positioning. Rather than bid for the most popular keywords or phrases, you can bid for similar keywords that have a similar meaning to the popular phrase. For example, rather than bidding on "home business" you can bid on "in home business" or "business in home". Remember, a popular phrase does not necessarily mean that that is the ONLY phrase people use. There are many variations of the same phrase that you can use. And many of them will not cost you as much; yet still give you good impressions. So while you bid 5 cents for the phrase "business in home" your previous competitor is paying $1.90 for the phrase "home business". Even if you both have the same search results position, who do you think ends up with a better deal? You of course!
There may not be as many people searching for the phrase "business in home", but you've got one of the top positions at a much lower cost per click. And at least you have one of the top positions so you can expect to get some quality clicks. Getting targeted visitors for a reasonable cost is a sensible strategy.
If you'd like to reach the most active Internet users, Yahoo! Search Marketing is offering a special bonus. Get a $25-$50 BONUS CREDIT from Yahoo! Search Marketing! Place yourself in the search listings on Yahoo, AltaVista, CNET and many others.
Another reasonable alternative is to use pay-per-click search engines other than Yahoo! Search Marketing. They are the top PPC search engine with the most traffic, but plenty of home business searchers are out there using other search engines to find their opportunity. Try other popular PPC search engines like Enhance (formerly ah-ha), Search 123, Kanoodle or igaroo. They may get less traffic than Yahoo! Search Marketing, but they still have quality business opportunity searchers to click on your ad.
I hope this little tip will help you decide how to invest your pay-per-click advertising dollars so you can increase your traffic and give your competition a fight for their money. May your advertising efforts be successful. Good Luck!
(c) Copyright 2002, Larry Skrenes, 1st-Treasures.com.
Larry Skrenes is the owner of LS Treasures and has been operating a number of successful websites and online businesses since 1998.
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