What Is Search Engine Advertising - Does It Work?

  • By Michael Browning
  • 24 May, 2016

The Frequently Asked Questions Our Account Managers Receive

Over the past decade members of the Shenandoah Business Solutions team have received many questions about search engines and if advertising in them works. Our account managers have assembled the most frequently asked questions with our answers in hopes of helping you understand. Enjoy!

How does search engine advertising work?

Businesses bid on keyword phrases that consumers use in search engines. If a bid is high enough and the page the ad is linking to has a high enough page rank and the correct budget is committed, then the business website will appear in one of the top positions of the search results page. If a consumer clicks on the ad, then the business pays the bid price for the click. This is referred to as CPC or cost per click advertising. Some know it as pay-per-click advertising or ppc.

How do I know what amount to bid?
You should bid high enough to compete against others also bidding on the same phrases.

Do consumers everywhere see my ad?
You can choose who sees the ad based on the keyword phrases that are used and the geographic area someone lives.

What is Page Rank?
Page rank is a score given to a web page an ad is linking to based on the relevance of the information on the page as related to the ad.

How much budget should be allocated to search engine ads?
It depends on popularity of the search phrases and how much competition is bidding. It is best to utilize a professional if possible to avoid wasted budget dollars.

When do I pay my advertising bill?
Most businesses determine a budget then place the funds in an account with the search engine. Each time a consumer clicks on the ad, the cost is subtracted from the available funds in the account until depleted.

What other fees are associated with search advertising?
SBS charges a small set-up fee (waived for our monthly customers) and a percentage of the ad buy to manage the ad campaign.

How do I know if it's working?
If the phones are ringing and website leads are coming, that is the best way to know however you can also get traffic reports of how many consumers were exposed to your ad and how many clicked on the ad. You can also see which keyword phrases generated results. There is always an immediate increase in your website traffic.

How long does it take to get an ad running?
Usually less than a week depending on number of search phrases needed.

How long should I run an ad, and is there a minimum time commitment?
There is no minimum however we strongly recommend that our clients plan a 3 month campaign period unless they get too busy. Most of our clients run ads every month as part of their planned marketing budget.

Does this advertising always work?
If purchased correctly, most of the time. Remember you are only placing ads in front of people who have expressed an interest in your product or service. It will be the most effective form of targeting in your advertising plan.

For additional information on search engine advertising, do not hesitate to contact an account manager with Shenandoah Business Solutions. info@shenandoahbusinesssolutions.com


Shenandoah Business Solutions

By Michael Browning 24 May, 2016
Over the past decade members of the Shenandoah Business Solutions team have received many questions about search engines and if advertising in them works. Our account managers have assembled the most frequently asked questions with our answers in hopes of helping you understand. Enjoy!

How does search engine advertising work?

Businesses bid on keyword phrases that consumers use in search engines. If a bid is high enough and the page the ad is linking to has a high enough page rank and the correct budget is committed, then the business website will appear in one of the top positions of the search results page. If a consumer clicks on the ad, then the business pays the bid price for the click. This is referred to as CPC or cost per click advertising. Some know it as pay-per-click advertising or ppc.

How do I know what amount to bid?
You should bid high enough to compete against others also bidding on the same phrases.

Do consumers everywhere see my ad?
You can choose who sees the ad based on the keyword phrases that are used and the geographic area someone lives.

What is Page Rank?
Page rank is a score given to a web page an ad is linking to based on the relevance of the information on the page as related to the ad.

How much budget should be allocated to search engine ads?
It depends on popularity of the search phrases and how much competition is bidding. It is best to utilize a professional if possible to avoid wasted budget dollars.

When do I pay my advertising bill?
Most businesses determine a budget then place the funds in an account with the search engine. Each time a consumer clicks on the ad, the cost is subtracted from the available funds in the account until depleted.

What other fees are associated with search advertising?
SBS charges a small set-up fee (waived for our monthly customers) and a percentage of the ad buy to manage the ad campaign.

How do I know if it's working?
If the phones are ringing and website leads are coming, that is the best way to know however you can also get traffic reports of how many consumers were exposed to your ad and how many clicked on the ad. You can also see which keyword phrases generated results. There is always an immediate increase in your website traffic.

How long does it take to get an ad running?
Usually less than a week depending on number of search phrases needed.

How long should I run an ad, and is there a minimum time commitment?
There is no minimum however we strongly recommend that our clients plan a 3 month campaign period unless they get too busy. Most of our clients run ads every month as part of their planned marketing budget.

Does this advertising always work?
If purchased correctly, most of the time. Remember you are only placing ads in front of people who have expressed an interest in your product or service. It will be the most effective form of targeting in your advertising plan.

For additional information on search engine advertising, do not hesitate to contact an account manager with Shenandoah Business Solutions. info@shenandoahbusinesssolutions.com


By Michael Browning 06 May, 2016

A local start-up business marketing list may look something like this.

Find a name, then register the name, get a phone number, locate a store-front and put up a sign with store hours in the front window. What’s next? Design a logo, get an email address, secure a domain name or print some business cards. For the ambitious, get out a local press release and research advertising in yellow books, newspapers, billboards or local radio. Finally, you must build a website. After all the web is where everyone is spending their time.

For many business owners, this list is also their business plan. I've seen many small local businesses operate this way and struggle to stay in business.

For some, the website and other local advertising is something that they get to later with little regard as to what they want it to do and how much it will cost. Others will spend too much time and money on local advertising with no way to measure results. The ones who understand the dominance of the web sometimes spend too much on their web presence and still don't end up with the intended result or functionality. In any case, business owners are ignoring digital presence beyond websites.

Consider that access to web information was commercialized over 20 years ago and could only be viewed through desktop computers. Text dominated the information super highway. Today, access can be achieved through sound, voice, camera and proximity using mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Content readers have become content providers in many forms. The web has become the dominate way for people to communicate to other people in their own communities.

Let’s face reality, people or things visiting your website are either the older tech generation, search engines, hackers and the younger tech generation only because you have no other digital presence. And since you're stuck here, you look to SEO, sharing links and using Google Adwords as a channel to get people and bots to find your brand. Really? There is so much more you can do.

Digital Presence Essentials:

1. Website

Make it mobile friendly. A Responsive Web Design will give users a better viewing experience with your brand. The site formats nicely to any device (computer or mobile). At the very least make sure your site has a mobile friendly version. Don’t overlook meta data. It’s still a good tool to communicate with search engines while advertising a message to consumers.

2. Social Media

Social media platforms have done a great job with their mobile apps. They quickly realized that their users access their service on mobile devices more than desktops. You need to be there and be active.

3. Mobile App

80% of a smartphone user's time is spent with apps. Apps are not replications of your website. They provide a meaningful service to your customers (or things that websites can't do). The investment in your own app will put you miles ahead of your competitors' website only digital presence.

4. Advertising

Back to social media for a second. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin have robust advertising platforms. You can spend as little as $10 per month to promote your business, a product or promotion. The analytic reports will help you with targeting and your budgets. And don’t discount search engines as most still offer local affordable advertising solutions. But above all, there are hundreds of credible websites where a business can advertise information for FREE. Find those sites and create a presence.

5. Email

Use a professional grade service to set up your mailing list and create decent newsletters or announcements. Email marketing is really good for reaching your customers while giving them the opportunity to share your news with others via social media or email forwarding.

6. QR Codes

People really don't have the time to type your website address or contact information. QR codes can be used on printed material to scan with a camera and a QR reader enabled app. The information is saved to the device to be used later. 

7. Reputation Monitoring

 Your reputation online, reviews or news that consumers share about your products or service provide critical information to search engines that can be used to rank your business against competition. Many times a review is the first impression for an internet user. Make sure you know about and address reviews about your business. Thank customers for the positive things they say.


These are just some of the steps. Start with what you can handle. Typical excuses from a business owner are, “I don’t have time.” Or “I don’t know where to start.” Don’t ignore the internet or your digital presence. Now you know where to start. Make the time to learn, or hire someone to help.

If you need help with your digital presence, find a company or someone that knows the internet. Ask for references, local if possible. How long have they been in business? If they survived the internet marketing world at least five years and have good reviews, ask for a consultation. Most first meetings are free and you will at least learn your options. 

For more information on services SBS provides, reach out info@shenandoahbusinesssolutions.com .


By Michael Browning 13 Apr, 2016
Anyone can make one:
For better or worse, anyone can write a blog post about anything they want. Everyone has a voice and the best voices will rise to the top.

The writer can show their personality:
In blog posts, the writer has more leeway to add in their voice and personality than other types of writing.

Blogs are a great form of mass communication:
You can help people, learn new things, entertain your audience—the possibilities are endless and amazing. Blogging opens up all of these to a very wide audience.

You can make money:

Get the right blog going and you can make a lot of money through advertising and sponsored posts.

It allows people to craft better thoughts:
Instead of reading haphazard, uneducated Facebook statuses, it’s much better to see people’s thought process in a well-written blog post.

You can establish a community:
Blogging allows you to connect with other individuals who share the same interests. Sharing ideas and opinions within your community helps establish yourself as a thought leader.

Good for SEO:
Keeping content on your site fresh and relevant, you can use your blog to boost the search engine ranking (SEO) of your site and your business.

It brings people back to your site:

If your blog is strong enough and updated regularly, people will come back looking for more and bring traffic back to your site as well.

It’s free:
It costs you a grand total of zero dollars to post to the blog, so if you have something to say, there’s nothing to stop you.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader:

A blog is a great place for your original thoughts, and it can be a wonderful way to show off your individuality. If people like your ideas, you can become a thought leader in your industry!

What else do you love about blogs? Let me know!
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