Overture offers two sign-up plans, Fast Track or Self Serve. You have to select a few keywords with reference to your website. You have to then bid an amount (per click) and position in the search results for each of the keyword. If you have the highest bid for that position, Overture will display your website in the search result of the keyword selected, at the position selected, in each of the above mentioned search engines. Note that even if your website is displayed in the search results you do not get charged the amount bid by you per click. It is only when a user clicks on your website link from the search results that you get charged that amount.
The higher the position, the higher is the current bid amount. Also, in order to keep your account active, you have to spend at least $20 a month. Your account with Overture will be discontinued if the total clicks on your website amount to less than $20.
The two sign-up plans, Fast Track or Self Serve, give you the choice of expert assistance or starting out on your own. Fast Track charges an additional one-time service fee of $199 whereas Self Serve does not have any service fee.
When you sign up with Overture using the Fast Track Sign-up program, you will receive a customized proposal prepared by one of the Overture experts. When you receive your proposal, all you have to do is approve Overture’s choices to get your search listings online. You can also make changes in the proposal yourself.
Two basic concepts apply to using these types of search engines (Overture and Google AdWords) to your best advantage:
• While you obviously want to pay the least possible amount for each hit you get, you’re going to have to bid more if you want a higher listing and, therefore, more traffic. You have to carefully track the traffic you get from the search engine so you know the value of that traffic. If you don’t know the value, you could be paying too much for your traffic or missing great opportunities to generate more traffic if you can afford the higher price.
In other words, let’s assume you’re selling an item with a $25 profit margin. If one (1%) percent of visitors to your site buy the product, then each visitor is worth twenty five ($0.25) cents to you. If you get the traffic for less than that, you’re making money on each sale.
• The other concept involves bidding for several hundred keywords at low prices such as one penny each. This way you get listed all over the search engine. Each keyword won’t bring you much traffic by itself, but the total may be a hundred or more hits per day. If you’re only paying a couple of pennies per hit for this traffic, then it should be profitable for you.
If you search popular terms like “business”, you’ll find the cost to be number one is quite high and the position is usually held by a large enterprise like Inc. magazine or Entrepreneur magazine. Large companies are often willing to invest millions of dollars in building their brands so they’ll pay more for traffic than it would normally be worth. I strongly suggest you don’t compete with them unless you are absolutely sure your business model will justify it.
Often, you’ll be able to find a top ten ranking for a third or less than the price to be number “One”. Since you’re limited to buying only traffic that’s profitable for you, this position will be better suited for you. Even if you end up far lower in the rankings, you must stay within your proper range for investment. You’ll probably get less traffic than the number one ranking, but you’ll get traffic you can make money on. That’s far more important.
On another note, Overture is also planning to come up with its own Contextual Advertising business solution soon to compete with Google AdSense.
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