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Should Pay Per Click Management Firms Look Beyond the Big Three?

When developing a pay per click marketing strategy, its natural that the conversation should revolve around Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft (in that order.) Those are the proven performers of pay per click advertising, with Google in the lead by far.

But as the Internet has expanded, some pay per click optimization firms are beginning to look at working with smaller search engines, in addition to the Big Three.

David vs. Goliath Update: Goliath Still Winning Big
There have been plenty of new search engines touted as Google killers, but so far, none of them have done the job. Not even close, actually. Google dominates Internet search, with more than 70 percent market share and continuously growing.

By dominating Internet search, Google dominates pay per click marketing. Even at much higher prices than in the past, pay per click marketing through Google still makes economic sense. Generally speaking, whatever Google doesnt get, Yahoo or Microsoft does.

Many smaller players attempt to compete. Mahalo employs human editors. speaks of visual search. And has maintained a small but loyal following over the years.

However, none of these services have caught on thus far with pay per click management firms.

Vertical Search: An Experiment in Pay Per Click Marketing
What pay per click optimization firms are looking at, though, is vertical search. This strategy can potentially augment the more general pay per click efforts run through the Big Three.

Vertical search implies that a search engine does not search the entire Web, but only a predefined set of topically-related sources.

Travel Web site Kayak is a prime example. Kayak searches many travel sites and then turns up results. Kayak also lets pay per click advertisers pay for ad placement next to the results.

Vertical search is becoming popular with health companies, too. Sites such as Healthline and Medstory are basically following the Google business model of placing pay per click advertising next to highly targeted search results.

Savvy pay per click management firms are keeping an eye on vertical search.

Niches Are Nice
And why not? The Internet thrives on niches.

Except in the case of search, that is. Until now, pay per click advertising has not necessarily reflected the niche-centric nature of the Web.

But when and if the Internet becomes too much information for even Google to manage, niche players in the search engine market may find a foothold.

If that happens, pay per click optimization firms that have taken the trouble to search out these smaller search engines are going to look very smart.

GetEm While Theyre Cheap--If They Work
Once upon a time, Google was the little guy, and pretty cheap. Those days are gone.

And that may be the best selling point as to why pay per click management firms should look beyond the Big Three: money. Smaller search engines are usually a lot cheaper than Google.

If a small search engine does work well, its worth thinking about pay per click advertising with that particular little guy.

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