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search engine marketing starter kit    
Boost your traffic with our comprehensive Search Engine Marketing Starter Kit™



(Yahoo's Search Marketing subsidiary is called Overture)

by Richard Ball
  1. Use keywords in ad text
    Show the searcher that your ad is relevant. Yahoo will display the search keywords in bold in your ad if they're present. This helps your ad stand out from the crowd.

  2. Bid for double exposure
    Perform a search on search.yahoo.com and notice that 2 or 3 ads are displayed twice on the page, at the bottom of the page in full length and at the top right in condensed form. Rather than bidding high for the full ads at the top of the page, consider bidding lower for the bottom of the page and double your exposure.

  3. Take advantage of bid gaps
    Large advertisers blindly set bids across all keywords. This creates a tremendous opportunity to save money. Bid on a keyword by keyword basis rather than setting bids by category. Read this article for more information on bidding strategies, including bid gaps.

  4. Avoid bidding wars
    Don't waste money getting into bidding wars for a handful of high volume keywords. Instead, expand your keyword list to include more specific keywords that have a lower search volume. Collectively, these keywords will reach the search volume of more expensive keywords. Your average CPC (cost per click) will fall dramatically using this tactic. Use keyword research tools to expand your list of keyword phrases.

  5. Use both standard and advanced match types
    Start with match types set to advanced, unless you are on a very tight budget or nervous about your ad spend. Track initial results very closely. For high volume keywords that aren't performing well, either add excluded words or switch to standard match.

  6. Use excluded words
    Your advanced match ad will not be displayed if the search includes an excluded word. Add more excluded words at regular intervals. As your excluded word list grows, you will save money by avoiding unqualified clicks. Plus, you'll decrease the chance of your keywords being removed due to low click index scores. For example, if you sell products or services at a premium, include excluded words like:

  7. Use a relevant landing page
    For most searches, don't point the ad to your home page. Choose a landing page on your site that includes the keywords from the search. In some cases, it's worth creating a custom page that's not in the normal navigation of your site.

  8. Try the plural trick
    The keyword selector tool doesn't usually differentiate between plural and singular forms of a keyword. However, there are instances where this is not the case. Always check both forms of a keyword. Creating ads for the plural form when it's available will increase your keyword inventory and will lower your overall CPC as most advertisers don't know to bid on these keywords.

  9. Don't forget about MSN
    When setting bids for keywords, test those keyword searches on both search.msn.com and search.yahoo.com to see the position of your ads. MSN sells their own keyword ads but supplements with Overture results. MSN can be a valuable source of traffic and should not be overlooked. Set your bids accordingly.

  10. Track your results
    Don't rely on Yahoo's reporting tools. They're reasonable, but you need more detail, particularly to see which actual keyword phrases your advanced matches are triggering. You'll need this to help build your list of excluded words for advanced match keywords. Plus, click fraud is a problem and needs to be addressed. If you don't have web analytics software in place, use our free Yahoo Search Marketing tracking software. Make sure Yahoo's Easy Track feature is turned on.


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