Top tips for ‘successful’ keyword marketing on Yahoo

Google may account for about 80 per cent of search volume in Canada, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore Yahoo. It still pulls in 17 million unique users per month. Besides, more than half of Canadians use more than one search engine when surfing the Web.

Some tips on how marketers can get the best bang for their paid search advertising buck on Yahoo were offered by Vanessa Wynn-Williams, marketing specialist with Yahoo Canada at a recent small business conference in Toronto.

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Here are her three key recommendations.

Pay attention to quality

The basic principles of search psychology are that people will click on something they see first more likely than something that comes later. To get that coveted top spot of the list, Wynn-Williams says, make sure your bid is high enough and your Web site quality is established.

Yahoo determines what advertisement gets placed first by the highest bidder on a keyword. So if you’re selling cars and you bid $2 per click on the key words “cash for clunkers”, you’ll only get top spot if no other advertiser has outbid you. But money isn’t the only determining factor in the list, she says.

“If someone has been on Yahoo for a long time and they get a high click-through rate, or the system can tell that you have high relevance for that search, you could get placed above a higher bidder.”

So make sure your Web site contains content that reflects your advertisement to meet those quality standards, Wynn-Williams said. Also, if you do it well enough and get placed in the top organic (non-paid) search results, it becomes more likely that customers will click on your advertisement link. Seeing your link in both places boosts your credibility, the Yahoo marketing specialist says.

Write an effective ad

The ad you actually have appear with the search results is short. So you must do the best you can in a limited space. It’s sort of like writing a Tweet, says Wynn-Williams.

“Be factual, be objective, and think about what the person wants to see. Reinforce the keyword in the ad copy and also reinforce the ad copy on the site for when they actually get there.”

A call to action such as “click here” or “enter here” can also be effective.

Lie about your time zone

When you’re completing the process to sign up for a search advertising account with Yahoo, you’ll be asked what time zone you’re based in. So if you’re based in Toronto, you’d probably select Eastern Standard Time. But consider using Pacific Standard Time (PST) instead, the Yahoo marketing specialist advises.

“Yahoo’s head office is located in California,” she says. “So placing your time zone as PST will allow you to get more accurate reporting.”

Don’t do this if you are scheduling your ads to appear at certain times of the day. In that case, select your real time zone so the ads will display at the times that you expect them to.

It’s a small piece of the puzzle, she adds. But putting your time zone as PST might mean less anomalies in the end.

Advertisers can learn about Yahoo’s services and create an account at searchmarketing.yahoo.com.

What Bing brings to Yahoo

Marketers buying search-based advertisements with Yahoo Inc. will be merged with Microsoft Corp.’s search advertisers when the online media company starts using Bing to power its Web searches.

After a long courtship, Microsoft and Yahoo reached a deal in July that will see Yahoo adopt Bing instead of its own search engine.

It’s a 10-year deal that will see Microsoft give Yahoo 88 per cent of the revenue for ads placed on the Yahoo site. Yahoo will effectively become another sales vehicle for Bing’s search engine marketing, Steve Ballmer has explained in a past presentation to analysts.

Advertisers with Yahoo won’t need to re-register their paid search campaigns, says Vanessa Wynn-Williams, marketing specialist with Yahoo Canada. Advertisers will join Microsoft advertisers in using an interface determined by the Redmond-based software giant.

“There will be a transition process,” she says. “It’s kind of like the beams and the brick and mortar will be Microsoft, but then the actual finishing will be Yahoo.”

Yahoo and Bing will share the same search technology and the same search advertisements. Both companies will work together to make sure the transition process is as smooth as possible, Wynn-Williams says. The deal still must jump regulatory hurdles, and then a transition process.

“They’re expecting and hoping it will be passed in 2010 some time,” she says. “But it will take two years to be implemented from the point it gets approval.”

In the meantime, Yahoo will continue to invest in its search engine user experience, Wynn-Williams adds. She shared tips on effective search marketing methods using Yahoo at a small business conference in Toronto on Monday.

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