Why Ranking First is Just the Beginning…

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Guys, it’s time; we need to have “the talk”.  No, not THAT talk…it’s time to have the “I am already ranking #1 so where is all the traffic?!” talk.  Go easy, 7Searchers and give me a chance to explain. I promise it will all make sense at the end.

No doubt by now you have run into a scenario where you identified a keyword with good search volume using our Keyword Suggestion tool that could be had for a tiny CPC bid and thought “cha-ching!”  After adding the keyword and running it for a bit, you likely found that it brought in little, if any, traffic and found yourself wondering what went wrong.  Were the traffic numbers incorrect?  Did the traffic just die?  Did your offer really perform that poorly?

The short answers are “no”, “define die“, and “not necessarily”.  There is a method to my madness here, people. Read on.

First, we have to acknowledge that the 7Search platform allows users to add any search term to their account, regardless of whether it has actual volume across our network.  Want to bid on the keyword Simple Simon Sings Sexy Salsa in Spanish at $0.05? Dale, amigo!  It is important to note, however, that while your keyword ranking will appear as #1 on this term, the likelihood of a human being actually searching for this combination no es bueno.  The longer (tail) the keyword entered is, the smaller the potential traffic that can be generated by it.  While the Simple Simon Sings… scenario is obviously tongue-in-cheek, advertisers importing keywords from their AdWords or Bing accounts must take this into account and mix in keywords using our keyword tool for best results.

Work it Simon, work it

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Now you may be thinking “Again with the Keyword Tool?  Isn’t that the reason we are here?” You may also be marveling at Simon’s dance moves above, but we can discuss those another day.  Let’s talk a bit about 7Search traffic and how it works.

7Search traffic is primarily driven through our partnerships with the top traffic players in the 2nd tier space, not via our search engine.  This distinction is important for a couple of reasons.  Our keyword tool reflects search volume reported by our partners and current bids on those same keywords by 7Search advertisers.  Our partners do, in most cases, have their own advertisers who are also bidding on the same terms at different (higher) bids than those in use by the 7Search advertisers.  The majority of our partners do not share the bid values needed to rank at the top of their results with us, likely in order to protect their own advertisers.  The network bid data we do receive comes from a small percentage of partners and is factored into our network bid calculation. The network bid is really an estimated value to increase network exposure, not a roadmap to guaranteed placement.

Have I veered off-course a bit?  Perhaps, but I wanted to be sure to give a breakdown of what you are looking at when you bid with us. Now let’s get things back on track and address the core question “I’m already ranking #1 so where’s the traffic?!!”

Ranking #1 for a keyword means that your offer will be first in the queue to be shown when that search term is requested by our partners.  It does not mean that your bid indicates you are number one for that keyword amongst all of our partners.  Let’s say Partner X has someone searching for our favorite Simple Simon Sings Sexy Salsa in Spanish query (for which you are ranking #1 with us at $0.05).  Partner X will call your ad and slot it into the corresponding position in their search results, based on the other bids their advertisers are bidding.  Essentially, your ad will get in where it fits in.

So what strategy should you follow to bid effectively with 7search?  Well, consider the following during your initial test:

1) If you are bidding on a low volume keyword, always bid for the #1 position.

2) If you are bidding on a long tail keyword, always bid for the #1 position (when affordable).

3) If you are bidding on a high volume keyword (100k+ monthly searches), consider testing the performance utilizing the top five bids.  For higher volume search terms, there is improved potential to receive traffic at different price points.

In the scenarios above, if you have a keyword that is receiving very little traffic even while following these suggestions, you’ll need to remember these key takeaways:

– Keyword performance will not necessarily translate across platforms.  While prior performance is a good indicator of success, audiences differ amongst platforms and performance will not always transfer.

– You are doing yourself a disservice if you do not do some preliminary keyword research using our
integrated keyword tool. It is a good idea to test variants of your keyword using this tool to expand your reach.

– If you find that a core keyword is not receiving enough traffic, seriously consider upping your bid. This will allow you to rank higher for partners that are already showing your ad. It will also potentially increase your exposure to partners who previously ignored your ad due to the lower CPC.

– With respect to the point above, you do not necessarily have to increase the bids for all of your keywords across the board.  Identify your core terms and test incrementally with higher bids.

Wrapping it all up…

Effectively bidding on 7Search requires an open approach to testing your search terms at different price points to identify the “sweet spot” that works.  Remember, ranking #1 for a keyword on 7Search does not mean that you are in the top position across our network of partners. It just means that you are first in line to be shown if your bid is high enough for them to consider adding you to their results.

Not all keywords, especially long-tail variants, will receive enough activity across our network to carry a campaign, so researching variants of your core keywords is a must.  Oftentimes, you may identify a simplified variant of your long-tail query that can deliver activity & success.

Finally, remember that prior performance, while a useful indicator of potential success, should not be used as the only indicator of a campaign’s potential.  Don’t be afraid to test (ad copy, keywords, bids, landing pages, times), as these ingredients are part of that “special sauce” that drives campaign success.


2 thoughts on “Why Ranking First is Just the Beginning…

    1. Hi Kaylin,

      There are definitely other factors, but keyword research can play a huge role in your success!

      Thanks for reading :)

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