Paid Search 101

Paid Search 101

September 6, 2023

While a strong SEO strategy is necessary to show up in search results, it's not enough. In today's oversaturated digital landscape, companies need to be willing to pay if they want to stay on top of the competition (literally). Let's take a deep dive into paid search and why it's a worthwhile investment for your business.   

What is paid search?

Paid search is an advertising method where you pay to have your ads displayed on the search results pages of Google, Bing and other search engines. Rather than gradually moving up the ranks on the search results pages through your SEO efforts, you can pay to claim a prominent spot and get recognized more quickly and easily.  

Paid search marketing can appear as a general search result, and products can appear as a shopping result. You have full control over what appears in those ads, which lets you focus your paid search campaign on your current business goals and how you want to expand. Based on the pay-per-click (PPC) model, these ads appear, and you pay when someone clicks on them. Effective PPC ads encourage people to click, which drives them to your website or app. This also lets you prompt them to take a following step, which could be to make a purchase, get a quote, join an email list, or take another action. How you choose to direct consumers is based on your goals.  

How PPC works

When you use PPC marketing, you target a specific keyword and demographic to determine who sees your ad. This makes your ads more effective and results in a better return on your investment. People who match your ideal audience are more likely to click your ad, and when they do, they're more drawn to take the action you want them to take. You can target your ads by specifying details, including: 

  • Keywords: Choose keywords for the search results where you want your ads to show up. This requires keyword research to choose words and phrases with high search volume that aren't too competitive. It’s also important to be highly specific when choosing your keywords, otherwise, your site could land itself amongst irrelevant search results. This is especially true for B2B companies since search engines are generally focused on B2C.  
    For example, a company that sells custom scoreboards for schools and organizations could land themselves in the results for things like a scoreboard app or someone looking up the score for last week's game if they're not careful. You can add restrictions for words like "app" and "score" to prevent this from happening and ensure you're reaching your niche targeted audience, like coaches and school administrators in this case. If you’ve been getting high site traffic with low conversion rates, it may be a sign to refine your keywords. 
  • Geographical location: You can limit your ads to show only to people in certain zip codes, cities, states, or countries. For instance, if you want to target other businesses within your city or state, you can limit the ads to those areas. 
  • Day and time: You can decide when your ads appear based on the day and the time of day. This can be effective if you know your target audience is primarily active at a certain time. If you're targeting other businesses, you might focus your ads during the day on weekdays when decision-makers are at work and potentially searching for relevant topics. 
  • User demographics: Google allows you to choose certain demographics based on things like marital status, renters vs. homeowners, and recent life events. You can also target people who've been researching certain purchases, including products and services, that might align with your company. 

Once you set your target audience, you can then create your ad based on what you want it to say and how you want to position yourself. You’ll set your bid, which is the maximum amount you'll pay for a click, which can vary from keyword to keyword. The bid amount can determine how high your ad ranks; each time someone searches for that keyword, the matching ads go through an auction process to automatically determine which one is displayed the highest. The ad quality and bid amount are the two main factors that decide where your ad appears.  

Why it's useful for B2B

Paid search is useful for B2B companies because it's a relatively fast way to get your business to the top of search engine results pages. You can put together a campaign quickly and start seeing results right away. Since you can target your ads, you can get them in front of the people who will be interested in your business. As long as you're spending money on ads, they're showing up in front of your target audience and potentially getting traffic to your website. Plus, since you pay only when someone clicks on the link, you're only paying for results. 

Once you get people to your website, you can convert them into customers. Having a strong landing page helps with this part of the process. You can also track your results easily using the paid search analytics that are built into the platforms. Test different ads and methods to see what gets you the best return on investment. As you refine your business goals, you can change your ads and track how those changes work to your advantage. 

When properly implemented and followed-up on, paid search can result in outstanding ROI. 



While a robust SEO strategy is crucial, it's no longer sufficient on its own to stand out amid the many businesses fighting for customer attention. The practicality of paid search for B2B companies offers a swift path to top search engine rankings, precise audience targeting, and a results-driven approach—all of which contribute to a higher return on investment. So, ready to get started? 



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