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"Building Targeted Website Traffic With Yahoo Search Marketing"

Did you know that more than 4.7 million people use Yahoo every Day? That's more than 2.4 billion searches a month. Not as far reaching as Google, but still a good place to invest some of your pay-per-click dollars in order to advertise on Yahoo and their network of websites.If Google is number one in the pay-per-click market, Yahoo comes in a strong second.

Yahoo's program is called "Yahoo Search Marketing" originally, “Overture”, and before that “Goto”. You'll find that Yahoo's partner network is not as large as Google Adwords. Some of their partners are: of course Yahoo itself, Disney.com, USA Today, CBSNews.com, MTV.com, Amazon, Ebay, Viacom, and Comcast.

The program works very similar to Google Adwords. You select your keywords, write your ads, pick the minimum bid you want to pay per click and you're up and running. Great minds do think alike.

Relevant keyword selection is again of the utmost importance. You'll want to choose a variety of keywords/phrases in order to reach more potential customers. Try to get "inside your customer's head" and think like they would, then choose keywords they might search for. If you find after a certain period of time certain keywords are not performing, delete them.

Just like Adwords, you can select keyword match types, but unlike Google's wider selection, here you have two choices.

1) Advanced Match Type: Your ads appear for a wider range of keywords. For example, if your keywords were “dogs”, “toys”, and “food”, your ad would be displayed for any of the following searches: "exotic dogs", "toys for dogs" or "food for animals".

2) Standard Match Type: Only displays your ad for exact matches to your keywords. If your phrase is "natural dog food", the searcher must type it in exactly that way. I believe this makes for a more targeted approach.

You also have the option of excluding keywords, and can block up to 250 domains from displaying your ads. If you need help choosing keywords you can use their "find keywords wizard". You type in a keyword and it comes back with suggestions along with traffic volume for those words.

Now let's move on to your ads. Again, just like Adwords, you'll want to include keywords in your title and description as they will appear in bold when the ad is displayed.

Ad titles can be up to 40 characters. You can enter a short or long description, up to 70 characters for the ad body. You also enter a "display URL" (what is shown in the ad), and the “destination URL” (which is not shown to the public, but where the searcher is taken after they click on the ad).

All ads must be named and the description should correspond to the ad group’s keywords. A campaign is made up of one or more "ad groups". If you need help putting your ads together, you can use Yahoo's "ad generation" tool.

Every ad has its own "quality index" which shows up as one to five bars (more bars=higher quality). A high quality index score is important as a low score can cause your ad ranking to drop, or prevent your ad from running at all.

So what goes into "quality index"? According to Yahoo, it's your ads expected performance plus the ads ability to meet the needs of the user (which also takes into account your ads click through rate and various relevant factors). You'll want to test different ads to find those that perform best.

The "Quality Index" also plays a role in your "ads ranking" and the bid amount required. Improving the quality of your ads can help to lower your minimum bid requirements and improve your ranking. So you can see why writing good ad copy is so important. Yahoo's ranking model is based on both ad quality, or relevance, and the bid amount you set.

So how much is the minimum bid? For the "Content Match", it's a minimum of ten cents. For "Sponsored Search", it can be lower or higher than ten cents. Minimum bids on Yahoo tend to run a bit higher than on Google, and they can vary depending on many factors such as: keyword relevance, (as measured by quality of the ads in the "ad group" they're associated with), the number of bidders, and the amounts they have bid. Your ad conversions do not play a role here.

Your keywords will appear as "active" when your bid is greater than or equal to the required minimum bid for that particular keyword. This can change, so you will be notified if the minimum bid is set to increase and given the opportunity to adjust your bids accordingly. You'll find these notifications on the "Dashboard Page" of the control panel.

Compared to "Sponsored Search", which displays your ads on search results pages, “Content Match” places your ads on related information based websites that are included in Yahoo's distribution partner network. Some of these partners are: City Search, CNN.com, Earthlink, Homegain, Homestore, National Geographic, MSN and others. Just like Adwords, you can turn off either “Sponsored Search” or “Content Match”. You can also set up a separate bid for your "Content Match" clicks (min .10). For more information see:

http://publisher.yahoo.com/strategic/contentmatch

Finally, again you'll want to pay attention to your "landing pages", test different versions to see what converts best. Use "Analytics" for setting up conversion tracking. Your landing pages must not include any pop-ups or pop-unders.

Two other excellent resources for Yahoo's Search Marketing are:

Yahoo's Search Marketing Blog: http://www.ysmblog.com

Traffic Quality Center: http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/trafficquality

In conclusion, if you're involved with pay-per-click search Marketing, you'll want to add Yahoo's Search Marketing to your traffic plan. While not as far reaching as Google, they're a strong contender. Besides, as they say you never want to put "all your eggs in one basket". When it comes to pay- per-click marketing, diversification is best.



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