Did you ever wonder how Google became the multi-bazillion dollar company they are? It’s not just the awesome algorithms they invented or how they seem to know before you search what you are looking for. It’s the way the learned to make money from those things – by offering ads related to those searches and charging would-be sellers lots of money for those ads through their AdWords program (AdSense is a sister product designed to allow site owners to host those ads). The company has just reported revenues of $7.3 billion of which 97% comes from advertising.
Why is this important to the small business person?
Even though $7.3 billion is an awful lot of money it’s made up of billions and billions individual ads placed by small and large businesses alike. Although many of the hot “buzz-worthy” search terms can command between $10-50 PER CLICK (apparently “mesothelioma” commands $100 per click) small business people should be aware that in their field the cost of advertising can be lower than $1 per click, sometimes only pennies per click if you are clever.And, because of the way that AdWords is structured individual campaigns can have pre-set daily and monthly limits on amount that you want to spend so you never have to worry about breaking the bank!
There are certain businesses that do better with AdWords than others. I’m particularly talking about companies that have a “widget” to sell, rather than a “service”. Whatever the widget is, it’s normally something that can be described reasonably succinctly with a max of 3 or 4 words. This allows you to create a list of keywords (or key phrases) that you can grade by importance and relevance to your products and build your campaigns around them.
If you are selling a service (“marketing”, “consulting”, “expertise”) its much harder to come up that keyword list because its much harder for the searcher to describe exactly what they are looking for – their idea of what they’re looking for doesn’t always match yours. It’s best to concentrate on narrow geographical areas (“New Jersey Marketing Consultant”) or focused industries (“Tax Consultant for Small Business”). If you search for “tax consultant” you get 5.5 million hits – search for “tax consultant New Jersey” and you’ll get 450,000, still a big number but a lot less than before. “Tax consultant Morristown” is down to 20,000 and so on.
The beauty of AdWords is that for these long tail search results you can get on the Google first page for only a few dollars per click, maybe less. For “Tax consultant Morristown” there were only two sponsored links, compared with pages and pages when the search was for “tax consultant”.