For SMBs, search and online advertising can be a bit intimidating. Every organisation wants to be top of the list in search engine page results, but many people aren’t sure how to go about it. In this series of step-by-step articles on paid search (first published on the Microsoft adCenter blog) we aim to explain how you can get found online, increase your online reach and control your advertising costs.

Search engines are a window to the web - our means of finding the right leads to the information we need. When a searcher performs a search query, two different types of results show up in the search engine results page (SERP);

  • Organic Listings
    These are generated by an algorithm and a set of rules devised by the search engine to find the most relevant results on the web. The task of attempting to help a website rank higher in the SERP when certain keywords are typed in is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  • Paid Listings
    These are sponsored links, which are paid for per click by advertisers.

Paid search is in essence an auction for advertising space on a SERP. Advertisers place bids on how much they are willing to pay the search engine for a click-through to their website. The bids help determine where the advertiser's ad appears, from the top position, all the way down through the right-hand side of the page.  The position of an ad is also influenced by the relevancy of the advert to the keyword.

Microsoft Advertising adCenter is our online advertising tool for budgets of all sizes, and Bing is our search engine; together, they offer you online access to millions of potential customers.

Start today and get up to £30 in FREE advertising.  It's fast, easy, and absolutely free. You will get access to free tools for efficient management of your ads. If you're already running campaigns online, you can import them to save time. And the best part: You pay only when your ad is clicked.

Next time, we’ll take a look at Bing and explain why and how Microsoft’s search engine delivers great results. If you can’t wait, and want to start advertising today – go for it! You control how much you want to spend, where and when.