I have been involved directly with pay per click advertising for a little over three years now, developing programs like Keywords Analyzer and AdWords Dominator so that users could take full advantage of keyword research and other techniques that would help them succeed in positioning their businesses at the top of the search engines.
Over the years though, it has been quite astounding how fast pay per click advertising has developed. Three years ago, when I first wrote the Keyword Master’s Course, I considered that 15 AdWords ads (or two pages of results) was bordering on overtraded and indicated a market that was too competitive.
But fast-forward just a few years and we commonly see keywords with 40 or 50 ads and some even more than that. Anyone out there reading this article who advertises on AdWords will know what I mean.
So, clearly, the success of pay per click advertising has brought its own problems.
Three years ago, it was almost as simple as paying more money and getting a good position - but not any more. Now you have serious competition in the same spaces and so some new techniques are required.
Now - keyword research will always be the critical first step to successful pay per click marketing, but it’s rapidly getting to the point where it is not enough. The new threat to your success comes from the other competitors who are trying to outgun you.
A new approach: Market Mapping
So a new approach is required which involves looking at what your competitors are up to and finding ways to beat them.
Those of you who have studied marketing will know what market mapping is.
Essentially, there is no magic in it; it is simply a method of graphically depicting your market and who the competitors in that market are.
Now, in the context of pay per click advertisers, the way to do it is to create market mapping groups around tightly targeted keyword lists. You then look at the advertisers who keep appearing in that group and look a little more closely at their ads and positioning.
Here’s an example of a market map for AdWords.
What you are looking at here are all the AdWords advertisers for a keyword list ranked as to how much traffic they are each getting across that market group.
The power of an approach like this is that you can get an instant "feel" for a market and who the competitors are that you need to compete against.
So that is step 1 - analyse the market and identify the competition.
Once you have built up a profile of your market and individual competitors, then you turn your attention to the individual marketers competing with you.
In the market map above, you would start by identifying the top 10 or so competitors by traffic. You then examine each one closely to see what it is that makes them superior to the rest.
As far as pay per click analysis is concerned, take a close look at their ads. What are their average positions? Take a look at the headlines and copy. See if you can learn anything from them then write your own copy to attack their headlines and copy directly.
You also need to have a close look at their individual landing pages. Writing good ads is only half the battle. Converting the visitors who follow the ads to your site is the other half.
Follow your competitors' ads and see where you end up. Advanced pay per click operators know that one of the best ways to maximize conversions is to craft a landing page that answers the problem in the ad.
These are just a couple of areas that you need to think about in order to compete in today’s pay per click environment. Clearly all markets are getting more competitive. You need to think now in terms of not only keyword research and campaigns, but also how you are going to deal with the competitors who are fighting for the best position.
You can simplify this task by using Competition Dominator to map your market and help you identify your competitors quickly and easily.
Chris Lee and Goran Nagy of Blue Infinity, are developers of Keyword research tools : Keywords Analyzer, AdWords Dominator, AdSense Dominator. Competition Dominator is due for release shortly.