I met somebody a few years ago at a search engine conference (SES San Jose), and he was big-time into SEO. This guy was really on top (no pun intended) of things. And, he laughed (hard) when I asked about bidding for seo-related keywords using paid search. His point was this: “shouldn’t your SEO keywords already be placed at the top in Google since you’re an SEO?”. He continued, “why should you have to buy those keywords”? I agreed at the time. If you’re serious about SEO (search engine optimization), you must be at the top, and the preferred position is #1, of course.

However, I make this point: if you rely on just one marketing tactic alone, you’re not being on top of things. It’s like a stock portfolio. You don’t place all your money in one stock, or investment type. You have to spread it across multiple accounts, types, investment institutions and locations (abroad too). SEO is one of those types. PPC is another – where you get to pay your way to the top.

Now, the PPC (Google Adwords for this post) bid prices have become very expensive, and especially for top (head) keywords like “search engine optimization”. Today, being ranked on the first 1-3 positions in Google Natural – is ultra competitive. Buying keywords is also out of range for most businesses. So, how do get to the top in a major search engine, without the time and major expense? Can you get to top positions for pennies on the dollar?

It’s easy – if you know how. Let’s break it down in this post.

In the figure below, you can see that a keyword like “search engine optimization” is massively expensive when looking at the Google Bid Estimator. It’s over 5.00 per click (average). [Ed Note: When I say “massively expensive” it’s relative. Your conversion and true ROI is the ultimate measure. For now, and for most small businesses, we’ll assume “out of range”]

Figure 1: Estimates of “search engine optimization” in Google. (on the left). On the right (in Red) – is the “new” bid price.
cheap seo keywords bidding strategy
Wow! That’s expensive. Now, it’s an average, and you can tune those numbers down, but you’ll never get to .19c in Google Adwords Search Network.

So, how do we get these low numbers?

Easy…. YouTube!

Did you know that you can bid and manage search marketing campaigns using YouTube and Adwords?

Figure 2: YouTube options menu
youtube bidding and paid account management

Pretty cool. If you go to ads.youtube.com (you may be asked to log in – if not already). From here, you can set up and manage entire paid campaigns. A recent test, and with an average of 2-3 position in YouTube, it yielded .19 cents for that particular keyword.  The competition is heating up, but nowhere near Google Adwords for the same term.

You owe it to yourself to try this for your own business. Now, a very important point: you must provide good quality content (in this case – videos) – and learn about how to optimize them, place ads, overlays, placement targeting and more. That’s for another post. For now, test it – even for a day, just to get a sense of the environment, tools and power of YouTube promoted videos.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.