Lots of people would like to get their Web site to the top ofGoogle's free listings. But that's precisely the problem: You'recompeting with lots of people. It's certainly possible toget to the top - after all, somebody has to be there! - butit takes a lot of time and effort. Alternatively, you could paya search engine marketing company to do this for you.
But by far the better way to get to the top of Google is to payfor it. Google's "AdWords" program allows even a small businessto buy advertising for selected key words and phrases. You mightbe surprised at how little you have to pay.
Here's how it works ...
Google (at www.google.com) has two typesof listings: Free and paid. Google makes its money from the paid listings.
Google AdWords is the name of Google's paid advertising system.It is a pay-per-click advertising system, which means thatyou only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement.
AdWords is an auction-based system. You offer to pay a certain price foreach click, and you compete with other bidders for higher placement.
You choose which words or phrases you would like to usefor your ad. When somebody searchesGoogle using those search terms, your ad will appear. If they then clickon your ad, it takes them to a specific page on your Web site.
The biggest advantage is that it gives you CONTROL.
Another problem with trying to get into the free listings at Googleis that you don't have much control over how your page will appear.You're not sure exactly which search phrases will display it; you'renot sure what Google will say about it; and you're not sure whichpages of your site will match Google's criteria for each searchphrase.
With AdWords, all those problems disappear. You can control theexact wording of your ads, the exact page they link to, the exactsearch phrases they match, and exactly when they appear.
For example, when I went overseas for a month last year, I turnedoff all my Google advertising while I was away. (That was in thedays before I had fine-tuned my advertising campaigns. Nowadays, Iwould just leave the ads running, knowing that they would make memoney in my absence :-))
You can control where the ads appear in the world. For example,at the time of the Australian election last October, one of myclients had an election-related Web site, so we ran some Google ads -but only for Australian Internet users.
You can get even more specific with geography. For example, Ican run ads for events that I'm conducting in Sydney, and only showthose ads to people in and around Sydney.
You can run two ads side by side and find out which is moreresponsive. Then you delete the weaker ad and replace it with athird ad that you pit against the stronger ad. Keep doing thisuntil you find the ad that gets the best results.
Google tells you exactly which words and phrases people used whensearching. For example, when we did the advertising for the electioncampaign, we found that "Australian election" had 50% more searchesthan "federal election"; and "liberal party" had three times as manysearches as "labor party"!
With all these benefits, why would you ever go for free listings?
I hope I've convinced you by now that Google AdWords is the bestway to get traffic from search engines.
But what about the free listings?
Actually, I'm NOT suggesting that you give up the idea ofgetting a free listing in Google. There are definitely advantagesto these listings.
What I am saying is that you should go for the paid listingsfirst - to test your market, refine your ad copy and improveyour marketing. Then put your efforts into the free listingsif you choose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gihan Perera is a co-author of "Get Traffic Fast", afast-track program to get started with Google advertising,avoiding the common traps and pitfalls.
Sign up to his free mini-course "Google Kick Start" here: