Search engines are a vital part of surfing the web today. To be able to navigate the vast realm of cyberspace and identify effectively, efficiently, and almost instantly the information we need has been a remarkable advancement, allowing everyone to harness the colossal power and opportunities of the internet. Our current age has been dubbed the age of information because of the abundant freely accessible repositories of information we are able to access. Ask anyone who used the internet in its early days, when search engines were still tinkering, often unsuccessfully, with different programs and algorithms to help users connect to what they needed, with mixed results. The exponential growth of information, opportunity, and access to the internet brought with it a need to develop more rapid and effective means of going through online data. This pressed search engines to deliver more relevant content in their search engine result pages, and most existing websites of this nature were born with strong and impressive search engines.
But while their functionality and success increased, strategies were hatched to make money off the engines. Many advertisers realized the potential of tapping into the results pages and having their websites feature prominently in ads located on search engine result pages- a coveted and universally accessed piece of cyber real estate. With these many thoughts the concept of the search advertising or advertising search was born. The essence of advertising search or search advertising was simple enough. When someone typed a specific word, or keyword into the search bar, say for example apple pie, and received his search results, it would be an excellent place for a company –an apple pie maker for example- to reach out and advertize to this interested party. It’s a win-win for both the consumer and company. The company would pay for advertizing search based. The consumer sees advertising search results, and other information, and can choose from many options.
This advertising search idea went through many incarnations to come to the current bid-based-pay-per-click model that is dominant on many advertising search providers. In this model, advertisers, such as multiple apple pie companies will submit a list of keywords- such as apple pie, and apple tart- along with a bid for greater visibility or ranking in the ad-space for when a user searches for these keywords. The company with the highest bid (and often other engine-specific parameters) determines the ranking of their ad in the allotted advertising search space, and the advertiser would pay the search engine a fee for every click on their ad, leading to their web page.
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But the idea has been expanded to include affiliates. When displaying your advertising search result pages is a great potential avenue to reach your target market, but what if other sites, such as blogs, or other sites that your target consumer frequents also displayed this same ad using the same bid mechanism that the search engines use? Affiliates can agree to dedicate a portion of their page to ads that the search engine generates, using the same algorithm described above, and gain a cut of the pay-per-click revenue that originates from clicks from their site. This model of advertising through search engines is a major source of revenues for search engines and even highly successful affiliates, and consumes major chunks of many companies’ online advertising budgets.