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An Intro to Pay-Per-Click Search Networks

Posted on August 29, 2007 by Tim Schroeder

Pay-Per-Click Search Engines, also sometimes known as pay-for-placement or pay-for-ranking search engines, allow an advertiser to make a maximum bid on specific search keywords.This maximum bid is the highest amount you are willing to pay for a clickthrough for a particular search phrase. You are only charged when your ad is clicked and you are not charged for displays unless you are using Site Targeting. You can use these pay-per-click networks to drive traffic to your affiliate website or in some cases, directly to the merchant. Lets get started.

Google Adwords: https://adwords.google.com/select/Login

Google Adwords is the most widely used pay-per-click network which will send the most amount of traffic but also generally requires higher bids for higher placement. Google Adwords ads appear on the Google search engine results page and also appear on their search network partner websites like AOL Search, Ask.com, Netscape.com, Earthlink.com and a few others.

Your keyword-targeted ads will appear alongside to the right of the results on Google search results pages and also optionally on their content network websites. They Adwords ads my also appear as one of the first one to three highlighted listings on the top of the results page.

Google Adwords does not rank ads purely based on your maximum bid, but instead uses something called a “quality score.” Your ads quality score includes performance variables like your ad’s keyword clickthrough rate, your ad’s text relevance, and even the user experience on the landing page or website associated with an ad.

You can point directly to your affiliate links with Google Adwords. However; they will only display one ad per search query for advertisers sharing the same top-level domain in the display URL. You can read more on Google’s affiliate advertising policy HERE.

If you are new to Adwords, this can all sound a little confusing but I suggest creating a free account and then reading through some of the help files to get a better understanding of how Google Adwords works.

Yahoo Search Marketing: http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com

The Yahoo search engine is the most frequently used search engine after Google. The Yahoo Search Marketing Network (formerly known as Overture) works in similar fashion to that of Google Adwords. In the past, your bid amount would determine exactly which position your ad would be placed at. However they have recently upgraded their ad system, called Panama, to use a position model like that of Adwords. Again, your ads position is not based only on bid amount but also based on its clickthrough ratio etc.

At this time, you can optionally link to an advertiser directly with your affiliate link and they don’t have the same one ad per domain policy the Adwords does. In that case you could link directly to an affiliate offer without even needing your own website. This also takes the worry out of making a great landing page. You can let the advertiser do the job of making the sale themselves and you take out the additional step of your website’s visitor having to click over to the advertiser. Landing pages do have there benefits but for testing, direct linking could be the way to go.

Direct linking through your affiliate link does work but I find the most success by using long-tail keywords and linking to the specific product. It also generally works better for higher commission products. By long-tail I mean longer specific keyword phrases. For example instead of bidding for “web hosting” bid for “cheap web hosting in Florida.” The latter keyword will not send as much volume but you will probably be paying a lower bid for a higher position and will also have a higher clickthrough ratio.

With Yahoo Search Marketing you will be spending a minimum of $0.10 per click and often a lot more for higher placement. Therefore, you can quickly end up spending more than you are making if you are not targeting high commission affiliate programs.

I think the easiest way to learn how Yahoo Search Marketing works is through hands-on experience. Just set a small budget to start with and begin experimenting.

Sign Up With Yahoo Search Marketing ($25 in free credit)

MSN Adcenter: https://adcenter.microsoft.com

The MSN search engine is the third most used search engine. Like on Google through Google Adwords or Yahoo through the Yahoo Search Network, you can purchase ads on the MSN search engine through MSN Adcenter.

The MSN Adcenter program will not drive nearly the traffic Google or Yahoo can, but you can often still bid for great keyword positions at a much lower cost-per-click. Like on the Yahoo Search Network, you can optionally use your affiliate link to send traffic directly to the merchant.

Sign Up With MSN Adcenter

Miva (formerly Findwhat): http://www.miva.com

Miva.com is a fairly low traffic pay-per-click network. I recommend experimenting with them only after you have some profitable campaigns up and rolling with Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and/or MSN.

You can bid pretty low on some really popular keywords but they, in most cases, are not going to send you a whole lot of traffic. Miva.com advertiser’s ads are placed on their partner websites such as Infospace.com, SearchFeed.com, Miva.com, Search.com, and CNET.com.

Miva.com and more of these lesser used pay-per-click search engines can be useful in the game of pay-per-click arbitrage.

Sign Up with Miva

Additional Pay-Per-Click Affiliate Networks you could experiment with include:

Adbrite: http://www.adbrite.com
EnHance (was ah-ha): http://www.enhance.com (free $25 credit)
7Search: http://7search.com
Kanoodle: http://www.kanoodle.com
GoClick: http://www.goclick.com
Search123: http://www.search123.com (Free $20 with $50 dep.)
SearchFeed: http://www.searchfeed.com
ePilot: http://www.epilot.com
eSpotting(uk): http://www.espotting.com

Have you used in of these second tier Pay-Per-Click Search Networks mentioned above? What were your results?

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3 Responses to “An Intro to Pay-Per-Click Search Networks”

  1. Liberty and New Creation

    - 29th Aug, 07 07:08pm

    Pay per click is eating me alive. I had to pull the plug. These things need close supervision.

  2. sam sanders

    - 29th Aug, 07 10:08pm

    Does anyone have a synopsis of how rates compare among these PPC networks? I’ve heard adwords is the most expensive.

  3. paul

    - 29th Aug, 07 11:08pm

    I have had similar experiences with adbrite. I have never been able to monetize their traffic, and the traffic volume has been pretty low.

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