Google Search Network and your PPC
Your Google Search Network results should be always tested to see if it is bringing you a positive cost-per-action.
When you create a pay-per-click campaign via the AdWords interface or the AdWords editor, you have this option - 'Search or Display?'
Search means going to Google and typing in what you want. Display on the other hand means viewing a website, being presented an advert and then clicking on it.
If you choose 'Search' then you get additional options:
- Search network (partners) and Google?
- Search Google?
It is worth noting that you can't solely choose the Search Network.
What is the Search Network?
These are networks that Google have acquired and and developed into their empire. It could be the likes of Ask Jeeves, AOL and other smaller search engines.
When you search on these, it is Google SERP (search engine results page) results which are normally presented to you, but these results may also incorporate your PPC adverts.
How can I see where my adverts are appearing?
Only with more advanced tracking can you see which search partners your adverts are appearing on. Generally the traffic is cheaper not everyone on AdWords will be opted into the search partner auction. People use Google because they trust it to be relevant.
Another point worth noting is that on the search network, your adverts can be quite hard to distinguish against the natural listings. I only click on PPC when I know I will convert, but this network has still encouraged me to click through even when I'm undecided. This could prove to be a positive for your business as people who aren't usually keen on clicking on adverts may still end up clicking through to you.
My advice is to start your campaigns on Google, and the networks. Once you have enough data, log into Adwords and click on Networks. Then it is up to you to assess whether it is time and effort well spent. If it's working to your business goals, leave it on. If not, then it is time to rethink.
Clearly Google don't let you just test the partners as it is a massive revenue stream for them. However, all us PPC professionals are taught to always test and evaluate, then test some more.