So the Google Search Partners feature is nothing new, but sometimes, great options slip into the background and after a while become an afterthought, and that’s what we have here. You’ve probably seen the Search Partners as an option when setting up a campaign in Google AdWords but have never actually taken the time to determine how the feature works and whether or not it’s something that can benefit your company.
Regardless, if you’re looking to advance your knowledge of Google and want to dabble in some less-popular methods, this is a great place to start. As we all know, the better you can understand your options the better chance you have for success when it comes to AdWords.
Google Search Partners Explained
When Google says “Search Partners” it refers to a group of companies (who opted to be a Search Partner) that work with Google to show your ads. In other words, your ads will show up on the pages of these companies and websites that are a part of the Search Partners program as well as on Google search through AdWords. A few of the companies involved include eBay, AOL, Amazon, Walmart, YouTube, and Target. Other search sites such as Google Images and Maps are also considered Search Partners.
When setting up a campaign you will actually see a box that says “Include search partners,” meaning this is the default setting. If you’re not sure whether or not you want this option when setting up a campaign, you can find the option again on your Campaign Settings page. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like:
Now, if you’re familiar with AdWords and SEO you’re undoubtedly thinking about optimizing your campaigns for Search Partners. In this case, it’s probably best to not worry about the optimization and continue to focus on Google. Search Partners can work like a bonus. If you’re really interested in analyzing how campaigns work with different partners, Bing allows you to create Partner-only campaigns that you can use to gather data.
A Few Problems with Search Partners
It’s important to note that the Search Partners feature counts clicks that come from those who filter down through categories, meaning someone does not have to type in a search directly. This means your number of clicks will increase dramatically and drastically as will your cost, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see more conversions.
This can be a big problem for some people, but for others the changes will be minor. You never really know how your business will fair until you’ve tried it. One way to make sure you’re keeping things running smoothly is to understand when not to use the feature:
When Not to Use:
If you are on a strict budget, Search Partners will cause you to have a higher cost per conversion, so it may be best not to check the box. You can also check to see if your Search Partners are underperforming, in which case you should pause the feature in your settings to see if you get more benefit without using them. We also covered the Google Search Partners topic last year, and as a good rule of thumb we estimated that you should get between 15 and 20 percent more clicks if using Search Partners. If not, it may not be worth it in the long run.
What are your thoughts on the Search Partners feature from Google? Have you used it in the past and seen any major differences? Let us know your experiences and your thoughts in the comment section below.
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO firm HigherVisibility.com that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.