A brief overview of the main ways your website could be found online.
1. Organic – not paying to be found online
If you want your website to be found organically you need keywords that match what people are looking for. When Google decides whether to include your website in the search results, it does so using its ever-changing algorithm which looks at 200 odd ranking factors (website load time, domain authority, number of links etc).
Content marketing and optimising your website (or SEO) can help you to be found in the relevant organic search results. Generating website traffic organically should be a cornerstone of any marketing plan, assuming your website is up to the job of nurturing and encouraging action.
Other ways that your website could be found that aren’t considered paid include via links from social media content or from a third-party referral.
2. Paying to be found – search vs display
If you are paying to be found there are two places where this online advertising can happen:
2.1 In the search network.
This is where you pay for your advert (via an auction) to appear when people are actively looking for goods/services/information. The auction has 2 elements: your bid price and the quality score your advert is given (i.e. how good a match it is for a particular search query). These combine to determine your as rank which dictates where on the page your ad is placed and how many ‘impressions’ it gets – you don’t pay for impressions only clicks i.e. when somebody clicks on your advert.
For example, a search network like Google or Bing would allow a wealth management company to serve an ad that targets people searching for “wealth management firms London”. Some search terms can be very competitive with high bid prices, in these cases looking at long-tail search phrases that have fewer monthly impressions may worthwhile as they may generate a better ROI.
2.2 In the display network.
The Google display network allows you to use targeting to show your ads by auction in particular contexts (like “outdoor lifestyles” or “ft.com”), to particular audiences (like “young mums” or “people shopping for a new yacht”) in particular locations.
This network is more passive in the sense that people are casually browsing websites where your ad is served i.e. it’s not as targeted as the search network.
However, it is generally cheaper than the search network. There are however many more targeting options (by context, by website, by topic, by interest and by remarketing) and a variety of formats (including text, animated image, rich media and video ads) and sizes.
Then there is also paid on social networks which are probably better at targeting as their users are more ‘known’ to them. Different social media platforms have a plethora of advertising options available.
Lastly, remarketing is worth a special mention, it’s sometimes called retargeting or stalker advertising. It deposits a cookie on the computers of the visitors to pages on your website. Google will then display ads specifically to those people whenever they visit sites on the Google Display Network. Again, you only pay for click-through and as people don’t tend to click on these ads – this makes it a very cost-effective brand awareness tool, much like a billboard.
You also can upload a customer email list and then target customers or similar target audiences via Google Search, YouTube, TrueView and native ads in Gmail. Do note that no purchased email lists are allowed.