Consider this scenario: it\u2019s the beginning of 2019. You\u2019ve resolved to get in better shape this year. First things first? Track down some running shoes. You don\u2019t know what brand you\u2019re looking for, but you\u2019d like to shop local. You pull out your laptop and type something like \u201cbest place to buy running shoes near me\u201d into your search bar. What\u2019s going on behind the scenes? The search engine is doing algorithmic gymnastics. It\u2019s using your keywords to sift through an index of millions of pages to create a page of relevant results. You might notice links at the top of the page (or banners along the side). Welcome to the world of Google ad services and paid search. Google ad services and paid search Every year, people around the world perform over 1.2 trillion searches. They\u2019re searching for products, services, and answers to their most pressing questions. Because of this, search engine marketing (or SEM) should be part of your brand\u2019s digital marketing strategy. Whether you\u2019ve been using paid search including programmatic advertising for years or you\u2019re gearing up to launch your first Google ad services campaign, it pays to know the recent changes to the paid search market. Search Engine Basics Before you can understand how paid search can benefit your brand, it\u2019s important to grasp the basic mechanism behind search engines. All search engines have two basic types of listings. These are organic and sponsored. Organic listings are the primary service search engines provides. When you type a term into a search bar, the search engine scans an index of sites related to your keywords. The search engine then sorts the organic results using an algorithm based on keywords, backlinks, and content quality to rank results based on relevance. Different search engines use different algorithms, which impacts the ranking of your results. Sponsored listings, on the other hand, are like the digital billboards along the information highway. These are specifically designed to draw the eye and drive traffic. Paid search is most common on what\u2019s called \u201cfirst tier\u201d search engines. Among these, Google stands head and shoulders above, handling more than 3 billion daily searches. These are followed by Bing Ads, which does a significant portion of Yahoo\u2019s paid search marketing. So what exactly is paid search? Paid search, search engine marketing (SEM), or pay-per-click (PPC) is a way to maximize how often your brand, product, or service gets seen by potential customers. The way it works is simple. Companies bid on keywords to help their content rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). The cost of each click depends on your bid, the bids of other brands for the same or similar keywords, and your quality score. With typically PPC strategy, you only pay for results, choose a targeted local or global reach, and ensure that your brand puts its best foot forward with its sponsored content. With Google AdWords, now Google Ads, brands can have their content on top-of-page search results, YouTube videos, and partner websites. Not only that but with Google\u2019s content network, partners looking to monetize their content will display yours. How is paid search effective? The power of paid search lies in the timing. Unlike pesky pop-ups, your content will only show up when people are looking for the products and services you offer. According to 2018 reports, users who visit a site after clicking on paid search are 50 percent more likely to make a purchase compared to those who clicked on an organic result. Because it makes your content more visible, paid search can boost calls, drive traffic, create sales, and funnel customers to your brand. The downside? According to Kristopher Jones, Forbes Agency Council, \u201cbusinesses can drain thousands of dollars into advertisements that reach no one and accomplish nothing. Between optimizing your bid propositions and finding the right audience, keeping your ad spend low while increasing your quality score walks a very fine line.\u201d So how can you make sure paid search is working for you? \tLeverage conversion tracking Unlike organic search, paid search allows you to gauge how customers interact and respond to different strategies. Analyzing the activity on different ads and search terms gives you the insight you need to not only boost the visibility of your paid content but of your organic content as well. \tUse ad extensions Paid search has the added benefit of ad extensions. This is particularly useful if you\u2019re trying to accomplish performance goals and objectives. For example, with ad extensions, you can test the efficacy of a call to action. You can also list your brand\u2019s unique selling points and boost your CTR and conversions. \tAdd location targeting We\u2019re living in an increasingly global society, but geotargeted (or location-based) ads are still your ace in the hole. Through location targeting you ensure your content reaches your local audience, minimizing competition and driving traffic to your location. Plus, with location extensions, you can tap into the power of mobile search by registering your business for \u201cnear me\u201d searches. What better way to be at the top of the local search pack? Google ad services and paid search + inbound While these tips will help optimize the ROI of Google ad services and paid search, it\u2019s important to remember this is a strategy that should complement your other inbound marketing efforts. Paid search should not replace them, or act as a standalone strategy. Still not sure how you can get paid search to work for you? Signing on with a Google certified agency, like Savy, helps you take the guesswork out of paid search and increase your return on investment. You can set your budget, grow your customer base, and rest easy knowing you\u2019re working with a Google-certified partner.