Another common mistake amateur internet marketers can make is to use a shotgun approach when it comes to the different “streams” the search engines offer to advertise using. Remember that success using paid search not about how many people you can put your ads in front of. It is all about selectively targeting your markets in a systematic manner, only adding streams as you either require more traffic, or if the initial marketing effort doesn’t work. Sure, there may very well be useful traffic out there in the Google content network, but you’d be crazy to let the same ad campaign with the same text ads, bids, and budgets run on search and content networks simultaneously.
First start out by setting up a campaign that ONLY runs on the search engine itself. This traffic will be the highest quality you can find because you won’t get inquiries from people who found you on the cheesy search forms found on a lot of ‘parked’ domains, commercial spamming portals, etc. The way you do this in Adwords, for example, is to only opt into Google’s search. Not their search network, and certainly not their content network, which just places your ads next to often (but not guaranteed to be even half the time) relevant pages of content.
What you’ll find by using this systematic approach is that either you get:
1. Really great quality traffic (and plenty of it).
2. Great traffic but not enough to support your business model.
3. You get poor traffic.
Here’s the next step for each scenario:
1. If you get plenty of great quality traffic using only Google search, then congrats! Keep it up.. instead of thinking about traffic, focus instead on continuing to improve your clickthrough and conversion rates. And also about your response to those leads.
2. If you get great traffic, but not enough of it, then consider expanding your keyword list first. The Google keyword tool works great for that. Only after doing this should you set up a separate campaign to target the search network. And only the search network. Then try that for awhile. If you’re still not getting results, the last option is the content network. Again, you want to set up a separate campaign for that.
3. If you get poor quality traffic, then that could mean a lot of things. Either your landing page isn’t up to snuff, your ads are not serving high enough on the page, or your keywords aren’t set up right. Regardless of the problem, it’s not going to make things better by opting into search and content network.