For years one has been able to select keywords and have an ad live within mere minutes. It is what fueled the search marketer’s obsession within instant gratification, knowing that one can start a test and take a lunch break, often to return to the results waiting in the interface. Organic search has not been ast efficient. Data needed to be crawled and indexed before it could show up in search results, and that often took days, weeks, or even months. Now we live in a world where people expect instant gratification from their search results. Twitter Search became a pulse of real-time feelings from everyday people about almost any given subject, and the professional search engines quickly took note. Now the big three of Google, Yahoo, and Bing show real-time search results from all over the web, or at least Tweets from big names.
So how does one take advantage of this new realm of real-time search? Simple, engage in real-time advertising with current content updates on your site. If you want to blog on a popular topic, or a topic you know will soon become very popular (perhaps a professional golfer’s recent PR disaster), then you can create the campaign in Google/Yahoo before you even write your content. Here’s how to do it:
- Start a draft of the blog post or page so you have a known URL, or use a URL you know you will be establishing as your URL for the content. This will be your destination URL for ads.
- Select the main keywords that surround your topic and write a quick ad saying the latest news and information can be found on your site, and then set the campaign status to pause. Be sure to make the default URL the home page of your site.
- Finalize your content and publish
- Change your destination URL to your content’s page and set your campaign to active. The traffic will start flowing in as little as 15 minutes.
You may be wondering why bother setting up the campaign before writing the content instead of the other way around. The answer is two words: Editorial Review. The campaign doesn’t need to be active to trigger an editorial review, so the time it takes you to write and finalize your content should be enough time for your new campaign to get past any editorial checks by the search engines. The editorial review does need a live and active page, which is why we set the ad to the home page and then change it later. This means as soon as you’re ready to buy traffic, the engines are ready to sell it to you without any holdups.
The experienced search marketer may say that the URL change will kick off another editorial review, which is correct. However, that review will be done as the campaign is live, and will only be shut down if the ad doesn’t link to a functioning page.
Another method of engaging in real-time PPC is to buy and pause keywords that you expect you may need later. The New York Times does this with the published names of Hurricanes for the following season, so if that hurricane becomes a news maker, they can drive traffic to the article instantly.
The advantage is you can get a leg-up on your competition who may need to wait until their updated pages get indexed. You may have to wait for that too, but incorporating these tactics will allow you to catch some of the initial swell of traffic that always occurs when a story breaks.