Better than #1? YES, it is possible…
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines Such As Yahoo! and Google give you ABSOLUTE CONTROL over the ranking of your site in many of the top major search engines!
If you’ve been trying to get your SuccessWebsite listed in the Internet search engines, you’ll probably have experienced first-hand the frustration of getting your site to appear prominently in the search results. We’re always looking for new ways to improve your results. And – while we continue every month to update and submit your web site search terms to the major engines like Yahoo!, AltaVista, InfoSeek, Excite, and more – it can sometimes seem like you’ll never get those coveted top spots. (And even if you do, you seem to lose them just as quickly.) It can be particularly upsetting when you enter in one of your carefully crafted search terms and find that an adult web site outranks you.
In our work with the major search engines, we’ve come to believe a simple, yet depressing fact: It’s not in their best interests to help you achieve top rankings, or even to produce relevant search listings. This is because they make money from advertisers, not the people whose sites they list. The more they can keep you looking through their web site, the more banner ads and online shopping opportunities they can throw in front of your eyeballs, and the more they can charge their advertisers. So, they don’t update their listings as often (if at all), and they don’t focus on ways to create real relevancy in their search results, preferring instead that you click through pages of useless links as the ads keep changing.
Fortunately, however, several search engines offer “pay-per-click” options that focus on creating relevant search results, and they let you specify the exact ranking your search terms will achieve in their listings. Currently, the two top search engines in this category are Yahoo! (whose “Sponsored Search” recently acquired Overture.com) and Google (their program is called “Google AdWords”). There are others, but at this point Yahoo! and Google are the two that can have the biggest immediate impact on your business. This report will show you how you can list your site with them with ultimate confidence that new contacts will find your site, every time.
What are Pay-Per-Click Search Engines?
Pay-Per-Performance services, like Yahoo! Sponsored Search, Google AdWords, and FindWhat.com, use a new approach intended to make Internet search simple, fast and relevant. Their “online marketplaces” make you the advertiser, instead of just one of millions of free listings. Advertisers choose their priority listing in the search results by paying for placement, with the highest paying advertiser’s site appearing first in the results. Each advertiser pays the Pay-For-Performance service the amount of its bid whenever a consumer clicks on an advertiser’s listing in the search results.
"Pay-per-click” searching means that you get full control over where your site will appear when someone enters a search term you’ve bid on. If yours is the current highest, your site appears first on the list. If it’s the second highest, your listing will be second, and so on. And because it’s pay-per-click, you don’t spend any money until someone actually clicks your link in the results, so you always know you’re paying for people who see your site. (And remember, that’s what you want in the end – people to see your site!)
As an example, let’s say that you are interested in buying a home in Sarasota, Florida. You go to Google AdWords and enter in the search phrase "sarasota real estate". Google then displays a list of all bidders’ listings in descending order of the amount that they wish to bid. At then end of each listing the "Cost to advertiser" is displayed. At the time of writing, the top bid was $0.57. If you were to click on this listing and go to the linked site, the bidder would be charged $0.57.
Continuing with this example, if you were a realtor wanting to get a #1 listing for your site for "sarasota real estate", you would simply have to bid 1 cent more than the current top bid (in this case $0.58).
"But why should I pay for search engine listings?"
Good question, especially considering all of the search engines out there that provide listings for free.
Well, consider again what we talked about at the beginning of this report. The other search engines either blindly rank web pages according to search term density or rely on the manual efforts of limited editorial staffs to review every web site. Consequently, consumers are bombarded with volumes of irrelevant material. Your web site is buried under a mass of "junk listings", so people might never find your listing.
On the other hand, pay-per-click sites not only provide you with an opportunity to control where your site appears, its staff reviews all bids submitted, and rejects those for sites that are irrelevant to the search term. So, for example, an adult web site can’t come in and outbid you on "Sarasota real estate", because their web site has nothing to do with buying or selling homes. The result is a list of relevant search listings for the user, and full control for the advertiser over where the listing appears – a win-win situation for both.
Yahoo! and Google are big opportunities!
By signing revenue sharing deals with America Online, Lycos, AltaVista, Netscape, Hotbot, CNet, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Ask Jeeves, CompuServe, EarthLink and 1,000s of smaller affiliates, pay-per-click engines (like Yahoo! and Google) now provide search results to up to 90% of all Internet users.
In many cases, the "paid" listings that the pay-per-click engines provide to other search engines actually appear BEFORE the regular listings in the other search engines. For example, in the case of AltaVista, Yahoo! has purchased positions for its top 3 listings to appear as "Sponsored Listings" before the rest of AltaVista’s search results. By signing, dozens of similar deals with other search engines, Yahoo! can provide you with incredible exposure for your website. (Note: due the structure of most of these deals, you only get the "Sponsored Listings" if you are in the top 3 bidders for any particular search term.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a tremendous opportunity for you!
Choosing Your Search Terms
Because you bid on individual search terms with pay-per-click search engines, it’s very important that you take the time to come up with a good list of terms.
This is where most agents that attempt Yahoo! or Google fail. Here is a list of rules to follow when selecting and bidding for your keywords.
Because you bid on individual search terms on these services, it’s very important that you take the time to come up with a good list of terms. A list of about 20 is a good start, but the more relevant terms you have, the better you’ll do. You can (and should) use some or all of the terms you’ve got currently set up on your SuccessWebsite. Here are some guidelines to consider when working on your list.
Rule #1: Don’t be too general. "Regionalize" your keywords.
Bidding on a popular term like "real estate" will generate lots of hits for you, but not necessarily from people who are interested in homes in your area. The result: you’ll pay for a lot of clicks from people with no potential for becoming a client. When you use a general term, include your area or location, such as in "Sarasota real estate".
Rule #2: Don’t limit yourself to the main keywords for your area.
No matter where you live, the most searched for keyword for selling real estate in your area will be "YourArea real estate" (i.e. "Chicago real estate", "Phoenix real estate", "Rhode Island real estate"). The second most popular term will be "YourArea homes" (i.e. "Chicago homes", "Phoenix homes", "Rhode Island homes").
However, since most realtors and real estate companies don’t really know how to use pay-per-clicks properly, they will limit their activity to these popular terms driving the bidding price up substantially on these terms. In many areas, these terms can be ridiculously expensive. The last time I checked the top bid for "Phoenix real estate" was $1.98. (I don’t recommend that you bid any more than $0.25 per keyword, at least until you have a feel for what your conversion rate is)
Remember, how much you bid for a search term directly affects how high up in the results listing your site will appear. While getting the top listing is best (Yahoo! estimates that a #1 listing can receive up to 20 times more hits than a #5 listing), if a term is particularly expensive you might want to bid for a slightly lower position. To get a position in the "Sponsored Listings" on the other search engines you should attempt to stay in positions 1-3. If you don’t want to bid for the #1 spot, a quick way to determine good lower bids is to simply enter your search term into Yahoo!’s search engine. The results show the bid for each listing – you can use this information to come up with bids for a particular position.
You’ll do much better bidding on other similar "peripheral" keyword permutations that will have less competition. Take a look at just a few of the possible combinations and the cost (at time of writing) to be #1:
- Sarasota real estate ($0.57)
- Sarasota homes ($0.51)
- Sarasota new homes ($0.49)
- real estate Sarasota ($0.48)
- homes Sarasota ($0.17)
- homes in Sarasota ($0.06)
- Sarasota condos ($0.15)
- Sarasota foreclosures ($0.05 – only one other bidder)
- Sarasota real estate news ($0.05 – no other bidders)
The minimum bid on Yahoo! is just 5 cents. On Google it is the same, but they will also arbitrarily set minimum bids at higher prices for many of the terms that you’ll want. On Yahoo!, you may still see terms with bids of less than 5 cents, however these bids were made prior to the minimum being implemented and they have been "grandfathered".
In many areas, you’ll see that there is almost no competition for keywords and you’ll get all the terms you want at near the minimum. In very competitive areas (typically major cities), the competition can be fierce. However, these areas also get tons of extra searches. If this is the case, you should choose your keyword terms to reflect the names of the smaller suburbs or communities as your regions.
When combining two or more terms, make sure to mix up the order. If you place a bid on "Sarasota real estate", but not on "real estate Sarasota", your listing won’t be found if someone enters the latter, because you haven’t registered your site for that search term.
You might also want to consider terms that are common misspellings (examples: "Sarasoda", "rel estate" or "realesate"). These should be very cheap to bid on, and will catch people who make accidental mistakes.
Rule #3: Make sure your terms are relevant.
Yahoo! reviews search terms against your web site and will reject terms that aren’t relevant. Even if you provide information on your site about the local school system, "schools" might be rejected because your site is more about selling real estate than promoting schools.
Google will give higher priority to ads that generate more clickthroughs.
Rule #4: Pluralization or capitalization.
Yahoo! has a pluralization database – words in this database are automatically pluralized when they are entered in a search term, so you should that "Chicago home" and "Chicago homes" are considered the same keyword phrase.
If however you have an unusual word in your term and you’re concerned about the plural form of it, it is probably worth bidding on both terms. Yahoo! will eliminate duplicate terms automatically when they are submitted.
Google doesn’t use a pluralization database, but they do use "wildcards" by default. This means that if you have the keyword "Sarasota" you’ll also appear on searches for "Sarasota real estate" or "Sarasota golf courses".
In both cases, all capitalization of keywords is ignored.
Here’s a suggested list of search terms to help you get started. Include your location as much as possible (to help you target your customers.)
- (your city, county, or geographical area– eg. Sarasota)
- (your city and state – eg. Sarasota Florida)
- (your name)
- (location) real estate
- real estate (location)
- (location) new home
- new home (location)
- (location) realtor
- realtor (location)
- (location) properties
- properties (location)
- (location) foreclosure
- foreclosure (location)
“How much should I bid?”
Remember, how much you bid for a search term directly affects how high up in the results listing your site will appear. While getting the top listing is best (estimates suggest that a #1 listing can receive up to 20 times more hits than a #5 listing), if a term is particularly expensive you might want to bid for a slightly lower position.
If you don’t want to bid for the #1 spot, a quick way to determine good lower bids is to simply enter your search term into the specific search engine. The results show the bid for each listing – you can use this information to come up with bids for a particular position.
Don’t be intimidated by search terms with large bids ($1 or more). Your pay-per-click totals can be remarkably little when you do the math. Let’s consider a very common search term like “real estate”, which right now has a top bid on one of the search engines of $2.07. To be conservative, let’s suppose this term generates just 100 visits to your site in a month, and that your site is able to convert only 1 in 10 prospects to clients. That’s a cost of $207 to get 10 clients. If you generate a sale from just one of those 10 – and let’s again be conservative and say the commission is only $1,000 – that’s still a profit of $793 – over 483%! Try making similar calculations for each of your search terms before you reject the #1 position out-of-hand.
Listen, the bottom line is this: in order for the Direct Response Marketing techniques on your web site to work their magic on new prospects, you’ve got to get them to find and visit your site. Most search engines are burying your listing under mounds of irrelevant material, and you’re not being found. Why not take control over this in exchange for a small fee? Search engine business is fickle enough without leaving it to chance.
Make sure that your listing gives people a compelling reason to visit your site.
Much like a good headline, your listing should convey the benefits of visiting your site if you expect people to click on it.
*** The BIG SECRET ***
How to use Pay-Per-Clicks very profitably
The real secret to making pay-per-click search engines profitable for you is to submit literally hundreds of keywords regionalized to each of the areas or communities you serve. The more relevant terms you can submit the better.
Many of our clients have over 500 keyword phrases for EACH area that they serve. Yahoo! has a very useful search term suggestion tool that can help you build your keyword list.
How to Get Started
The two obvious pay-per-click search engines that will give you the most exposure are definitely Google and Yahoo!. They each have a slightly different bidding model and restrictions, but depending on the size of the area you service, each is capable of providing you with hundreds of qualified leads per month.
For Yahoo!, click here. Within their site, you’ll find plenty of information on how the service works, bidding strategies and the search term suggestion tool. Yahoo! offers a simple process to open a new account. All you need to sign up online is a credit card. At this point you’ll have to manually enter each of the keyword phrases you wish to bid on and the amount you want to bid for each. There is an “Assisted Setup” option, in which a Yahoo! representative will help create your search term campaign, but consider doing the initial work yourself at first, since Assisted Setup requires you to have a budget of $1,000 or more per month.
For Google AdWords, click here. While they don’t have a program where they’ll setup your account for you, the process is very easy.
Both programs will bill you each month for the click-throughs to your site and provide you with a detailed account summary. There are several billing options to choose from. If you’re on a limited advertising budget, or if you’re concerned that your pay-per-clicks might be costing you more than you can afford to spend, they both have fixed budget payment plans that let you specify a maximum amount of money to be spent on your clicks per day or month. When your account reaches that maximum, your site is temporarily suspended from the search listings until the next month. So you never have to worry about spending too much on visitors without being able to convert them.
Proven Results with Pay-Per-Clicks!
Would it surprise you to learn that of the top 10 SuccessWebsite subscribers in the past month (each of which received over 150 leads per day from their website), all 10 are using Yahoo! or Google or both. For over 8 of the 10, the vast majority of their leads come from their pay-per-click submissions. This is the fastest way to generate business for any agent or broker website.
This really is a no-brainer. Do it now.