The next thing to recognize is that most of the sites that pay for the top listings are not really going to be direct competitors of your site. For example, if you search for “website promotion” on GoTo.com, the top sites are going to be pay-to-play services, such as search engine submission services or the guys that “guarantee” everyone a top-ten search ranking. Since you’re probably not competing with them, you don’t have to bid against them. It’s been proven that even a top 40 ranking on GoTo.com will get traffic, because frequent users of GoTo.com already know that they need to skim over the top listings to get to anything useful.
Finally, keep in mind that the most popular keywords will be the most expensive, but that there may be other keywords that are relevant to your site which aren’t bid on as heavily. We have seen bids as low as one cent land at the top of the list while searching on GoTo.com. These web site operators did their homework, and found the best places to bid. Using the list of keywords and phrases you created for your search engine strategy, search for each on GoTo.com to find the ones with the lowest bid cost, and bid on those keywords first. Only expand your bidding to more expensive keywords if the lower-cost keywords don’t get you enough traffic.
So, how much should you bid? We don’t recommend bidding any more for clicks on GoTo.com than you’d have to pay anywhere else. After all, you don’t need to depend on GoTo.com for all of your site’s traffic, do you? On the other hand, you can find out pretty cheaply whether it’s going to be worth your trouble. Before you give them any money, though, see how much it will cost to get a decent position for your site on the keywords you care about. Just like search engine rankings, you can’t afford to set up a bid and then just forget about it. You have to monitor it daily to make sure that you’re not being outbid. Is it worth it? It depends on your site, but it’s pretty cheap to find out.