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Keyword advertising for beginners

You don’t need to be a tech guru to succeed in keyword advertising. Finding new customers with keywords can be a cost effective way to expand your business.

As far back as 1996 – an eternity ago in internet terms – the first experiments with keyword advertising took place. To advertise by using keywords means that you pay for specific keywords to link to your website. If someone searches for the word "ball", for example, an ad and link to your ball products and sales pages should appear in the search results.

There are several different models of payment for this type of advertising. If someone clicks on your link, you pay per click (PPC). Another option is to pay for the transactions actually completed (cost per action, CPA), while another measure is the cost per thousand who see your ad (cost per mille, originating from Latin, or CPM).

The largest and most well-known platform for keyword advertising is Google AdWords. By using Google AdWords, your ad can also be placed on pages with relevant text for your product, if you sell balls your ad may appear on a page about football, for example. There are also options where your keyword ad appears like a hyperlink to a text.

A major advantage of keyword advertising is that you actually reach an engaged audience; for anyone who is interested in "balls", the chance of them actually buying a ball increases compared to ads that take a scattergun approach, aiming broadly and hitting blindly.

Keyword advertising is often confused with search engine optimisation, which is a method where the content you have created with the help of keywords and phrases ends up highly ranked in search results without paying for the actual placement.

However, there is a need to choose the right words and phrases when you are using keyword advertising. There is a balance between choosing universal terms that attract audiences, and extremely relevant words which captivate real enthusiasts and specially interested consumers.

An easy way to find keywords in the sweet spot is to go through the "back door" with a media monitoring tool. By using different keyword boundaries in various alerts you quickly get a sense of which words and terms that work. The result gives you the opportunity to optimise which words appear in your ads.

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