What does Paid search mean in marketing terminology?

Paid search

Paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a business model where an advertiser pays a fee every time a user clicks on their ad. It's become a popular method for businesses to acquire short-term traffic and leads. It’s an effective way to target potential customers who wouldn’t otherwise find your business through organic search, and it is one of the most measurable forms of advertising.

What is Paid Search?

Paid search is an online marketing channel used to drive potential customers to your website. It is an effective way to target potential customers who may not have found your business through a standard organic search. With paid search, businesses can target people who are actively searching for whatever it is you offer, whether that’s products, services, or both.

How Does It Work?

Paid search works using an auction model. First, the advertiser (you) sets the bid amount for the keywords you’d like to show your ads for. The higher you bid, the higher your chances of appearing in the search results.

But, it’s not just about your bid amount. Your Quality Score (measured by the relevance of your keywords, ad text, and landing page) also determines your ad rank. When someone searches a keyword or phrase that you’re targeting, ads with high quality scores shown in the search results will appear higher on the page.

When someone clicks on your ad, you’ll be charged the cost-per-click (CPC) amount. It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be charged the amount that you bid; many times the CPC amount will be lower than your bid.

Ad Formats

Paid search comes in many shapes and sizes. There are both text and display ads; these two types of ads have different characteristics and objectives, which are important to consider when planning your paid search campaign.

Text Ads

Text ads are short text ads that appear on the top and right-hand side of the page when someone searches certain keywords. They will generally include a headline, a description line, a display URL, and a call-to-action (CTA).

Display Ads

Display ads are image-based ads that appear on websites that are part of a larger ad network. They can be static images, loaded with text, or sometimes interactive, and they’ll appear on websites that are relevant to the products and services you’re advertising.


When setting up a paid search campaign, you’ll need to set a budget. Your budget should reflect the objectives of your campaign and your ad budget limitations. It should be based on the estimated click-through-rate for your ads (the number of searches that are likely to see your ad and click on it).

Your budget can be set on either a daily or monthly basis. Generally, the recommended approach is to set it on a daily basis, where you are able to adjust it regularly in order to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.

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The keywords you choose to target in your campaign will be instrumental in determining your success. It’s important to target words that are as specific as possible but still generate a significant amount of relevant traffic. You can use a variety of keyword research and analysis tools to find the right keywords for your campaign.

After you’ve identified your keyword list, you’ll need to decide how to use them in your campaign. Generally, it’s a good idea to start by targeting broad and phrase match types; these types of keywords will match the highest amount of relevant searches and are likely to generate the most traffic.

Landing Pages

The landing page of your campaign is the page people will be taken to after they click on your ad. It’s important to make sure that the page is as relevant as possible to your ad and makes it as easy as possible for customers to complete the desired action. For example, if your ad was promoting a free consultation, the page should include a clear call-to-action and an easy way for people to book a consultation.

Tracking and Optimization

It’s important to track and monitor the performance of your campaign over time. Paid search management tools can track a variety of metrics, including impressions, clicks, cost-per-click, conversion rate, and cost-per-conversion. These metrics should be monitored regularly and used to optimize your campaign for maximum performance.

Best Practices

Paid search can be an effective way to generate quick, measurable, and immediate traffic and leads for your business. It can be an intimidating process, but there are a few best practices that can help you get the most out of your campaign.

1. Start with Keyword Research: Researching the right keywords for your campaign is the most important part of the process. A thorough keyword research process will ensure that you’re targeting the right words to get the right customers.

2. Be Specific in Targeting: Get as specific as possible when targeting your keywords. Broad match keywords can be good for generating traffic but may not always be the most cost-effective.

3. Use Negative Keywords: Negative keywords can be used to control which searches your ads will and will not show up for. This prevents wasted spend on irrelevant searches.

4. Match Relevant Ads to Relevant Landing Pages: Make sure that the ads you’re running match up with the corresponding landing pages. It’s important for customers to have a consistent experience across the ad and the landing page.

5. Optimize for Quality Score: Quality Score is a key factor in how well your ads perform; by optimizing for quality score, you can ensure that your ads are shown to the right people and your cost-per-click is kept as low as possible.

6. Evaluate Performance: Measuring the performance of your campaign will help you identify areas of improvement and make more informed decisions about your campaigns.