Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Google Hedges Pay-Per-Click Rankings

Some things just can’t be bought.

For instance, if you pay the highest per-click fee on Yahoo’s search engine, you can be sure that your ad appears in the top position under Yahoo’s sponsored listings for that particular word or phrase. The guy paying the most gets the top spot. It’s a pure pay-for-position deal.

Google does it differently. At Google cash is only part of the equation that determines which paid ads get top placement. They use a relevancy algorithm that factors the cost-per-click paid with the total number of clicks an ad gets to determine the ranking of paid results for any given word or phrase. So even if you pay top dollar, if they don’t click you don’t get the top position.

The difference in how these engine’s allocate the best paid real estate on search result pages forces marketers to make some savvy guesses about the likely reaction and click rate for key word ads. If your copy resonates and you are top bidder, Google will do your bidding. If not or if your not sure, better to buy your way to greatness on Yahoo or on MSN, as served by Yahoo’s search engine, even if they are delivering fewer searches.

Only a market leader with 79 million monthly online searchers and a significant lead over the competition could impose its will this way.


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