Forget Ad Sales – Sell Search!

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Pay-per-click search (PPC) engines are always looking for search traffic. PPC engines have thousands of satisfied advertisers demanding more search traffic, but there are only so many searchers out there. This being the case, any Webmaster who can generate searches will have pay-per-click search engines banging down their door to ask for a distribution relationship.

For you, the Webmaster, this means profits! If you’re asking "how?" and "why?", read on. This article will help you fully understand why a distribution relationship with a pay-per-click search engine is often the most effective way to monetize your Website traffic.

The Search Mentality

When an Internet user decides they want to buy something online, they’re either going to go directly to a site whose service they’ve experienced before, or they’ll search for a site that sells what they want.

Users who go direct to a known site are difficult to win. It’s tough to market to this user, because they’re already a satisfied customer of another site, and it’s difficult to target them into an action-oriented mindset.

When a user decides to search, on the other hand, it means they’re goal-oriented, and that they’re not familiar with a Website that will meet their needs. These are potential customers, they’re ready to buy, and usually, the Webmaster who bid the highest for a results ranking on that particular search term will acquire the customer.

The Webmaster’s Dilemma

As a Webmaster, you are fit with the challenge of matching your ad inventory with your users’ goals. Users with the same demographic breakdown, surfing the same site at the same time, have different goals. For this reason, an ad can never be fully optimized because the end user’s goal can only be known after a search or purchase has taken place. This makes it difficult for Webmasters to put relevant ads in front of each unique user.

However, the Webmaster can display a search box, or targeted search results, to enable the user to get where they want to go. This requires little second-guessing on the Webmaster’s part, and reduces the chance that uses who aren’t in the audience targeted by a particular ad will become annoyed by your on-site advertising.

PPC search engines offer many different advertisers to meet the needs of each user. So, by affiliating with a PPC search engine, you are granted access to thousands of advertisers. Your users get to choose not only what results they see (by completing their own search) but they also gain the benefits of being able to select the advertiser they want to visit.

The conversion rate from a highly targeted banner ad does not compare to the conversion rate from a highly targeted search term. In addition, your site visitors enter different search terms depending on their end goal (eg. purchasing a product vs. researching potential solutions to their problem or need). A distribution relationship with a pay-per-click search engine allows you to send users to the advertiser they want to visit. A banner ad, or any other form of online advertising, can never approach this level of granularity. And, as online advertisers continue to dump their online marketing dollars into search, the revenue potential from PPC search engine affiliations will continue to increase.

Do You See the Light?

Recently, two of the most visited content sites on the Internet announced that they’d each landed distribution deals with Overture, the leading pay-per-click search engine. Both ESPN.com and CNN.com have announced that they’ve selected Overture as their exclusive commercial search provider.

These major online brands understand that online ad dollars are being spent with PPC search engines, and have realized that any content site can get a piece of the pie by driving their user base to these search giants.

It’s safe to say that if major online brands are happy to outsource ad inventory to PPC search engines, then it’s something all Websites should consider.

Other Advantages for the Webmaster

Having access to thousands of satisfied search advertisers has many advantages. Each quarter, the CPC prices continue to rise. And when you sign up to be a distribution partner, you’ll receive a revenue share based on the advertiser spend. As the CPC increases, so will your revenues. It’s an easy way to benefit from this growing industry.

In addition, when you sign up to become a distribution partner, you don’t have to worry about any advertiser issues. The PPC supports the advertisers, bills them, and sends you a single check for your work. You don’t have to worry about getting many small checks, or spend time maintaining relationships with a raft of advertisers. The search engine takes care of all this for you.

Most importantly, you will be paid always, and on time. The current PPC model requires search advertisers to pay up front. Most other ad units are pay after placement, which can cause delays and frustration for the Webmaster. The fact that the money has already been received by the search engine means less likelihood that you’ll have problems with payment. Moreover, the PPC engines are known for paying their partners on time every time. Why are they so diligent? Because PPC engines know they can’t survive without their distribution partners. They also recognize the threat of competition: if they don’t support their distribution network, their partners will have no qualms in switching to one of the many other PPC engines in the industry.

Get Started!

Start making money with distributed search today.

If your site attracts significant traffic — whether or not you currently generate a large number of searches each month — you should strongly consider the Google and Overture partner programs.

Smaller operators who don’t have a large number of users searching their sites each month, should look at smaller search partnership programs, such as that offered by Portalgates.

One You’ve Signed Up, Prompt Searches!

There are many different methods you can use to prompt your Website traffic to search. The simplest and most common way is to place a search box somewhere on your site. Many sites will have a site search box, and a Whole-of-Web search box. This is search distribution in action!

However, as more and more companies attempt to drive users to search, new methods to prompt searching will be developed. For instance, sites have recently begun to display banner ads and pop-ups with actual search results in them. For instance, if you have a sports site, you may be able to display a pop up ad displaying the top 3 PPC advertisers for "Online Sports Betting". These kinds of tools are not accepted by all PPC search engines, but they’re becoming more common as the business expands.

And always remember: at the end of the day, if you have traffic, there is money to be made!

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