The Role of Paid Search

So, you may be wondering what exactly is Paid Search? And why is it crucial for businesses today?

Paid Search (PPC) is an online advertising model where you only pay when your ad is clicked after searching (i know - bargain!). An example of this is Microsoft (the platform formerly known as Bing) or Google Ads, where you bid on keywords relevant to your products or services and buy visits to your website while positioning your ad closer to the top of the page. It’s that simple!

How Does It Work?

Keyword Selection

Keywords are carefully selected around business services, offerings and forecasts. Keywords range from different match types which are Broad match, Phrase match and Exact match. These keywords function as rules that set the tone for audience searches that can capture your ad depending on its match type. For example an exact match keyword [pink glittery shoes] will mean your ad will only show if this exact phrase is searched for, and not if the phrases ‘pink’ or ‘glittery shoes’ are searched for. 

By carefully selecting the keywords and match type that you want to use, you are able to control the searches that you appear for, ensuring that your product or service is being advertised as effectively as possible. A smart mix of different match types can ensure both a focussed, brand protected campaign and a wider, long tail, search presence as a more open net is cast.

This does, of course, require management and updates as the campaign progresses to ensure there are no rogue search terms which might slip through the net - keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming ‘Optimisations’ article where we talk more about this!

Ad Creation

Now this is the fun part. You can get creative here with USP’s and call outs to really sell your product. These ads include a headline, description and link to the landing page of the website - this is your real opportunity to sell your offering and make it really stand out at the top of the search engine results pages! 

Do you have a key element to ‘pin’ so that everyone who is served your advert sees it? Or are you going to add a range of options and allow the automation to select the most relevant for the audience in particular? Both options have their own merits and can work nicely depending on what the overarching goal of your campaign is - but don’t worry, we can help you understand what is best. 

One thing to remember is your character lengths… try selling your product with only 30 characters… It can be a challenge!

Bid Auction

When your audience searches for those pink glittery shoes and it matches your chosen keywords, a bid auction occurs. While you're waiting for the page to load, other advertisers are competing against each other in this bid for the winner to display their ad on the top of the results page. This all happens behind the scenes in whichever search engine you have chosen to use, faster than you would usually even notice! 

There are multiple elements which feed into the auction stage, where you of course want your advert to win and be served first to the audience so that they purchase YOUR pink glittery shoes. This includes the relevance of your keywords, advert and also website landing page to their search query - the search engine has to provide relevant results so if you have an advert about pink glittery shoes, keywords around these and a landing page where someone can purchase said footwear then you are more likely to rank well and list ahead of sites which do not match this relevancy. 

The amount you are able to bid features here as well, afterall an auction is still an auction even if it happens online and behind the scenes! By setting relevant bid levels and selecting an appropriate strategy for management of these, you give yourself the best chance to compete in the virtual auction room.

With a successful ad, competitive bidding strategy, and high quality score your advert, with the most appropriate chosen headlines and descriptions,  will appear above or alongside organic search results labeled ‘Ad’.


Just following quickly on from the bid strategy for the auction, this goes right down to a granular level at each keyword. The ‘cost per click’ (CPC) guides what this looks like, and is an insight into where the most competitive terms are - most competition equals a higher cost as more people are looking to feature on them. 

Competitors bidding against each other have a big impact on CPC as the amount depends on the demand of keyword competition, ad quality and budget. There are many optimisations you can make to maximise the efficiency of your campaign, but let’s leave that for the next blog!

Paid search is a valuable strategy allowing audiences to easily access your brand and take action at the end of their purchasing journey. Combining accurate keywords, great copy and ongoing optimisations, your business can grow online visibility, maximise cost efficiencies and drive conversions fast.