Is It A Waste Of Money To Bid On Keywords Where You Are Not In The Top Spots?

by Jeremy Schoemaker on January 15, 2007 · 69 comments

Question : When doing SEM with Azoogle Ads or CJ, do you think it’s a waste of money to bid for anything lower than the top few spots in sponsored search?

ShoeMoney Answer: On the Pay Per Click side of Search Engine Marketing I never pay more then the minimum allowed by the search engine. So basically 10 cents (yahoo’s Minimum) is the most I ever pay per click. This method requires a lot more work and “skill” if you will because you have to come up with longtail keyword combinations, typos, and misspellings.

As far as placement goes really I do not put that much into it. I have found that I get more clicks being 1,2,3 then bad for 4,5,6,7 but ok for 8,9,10 spots. I think this stems from the same explanation as SEO that people either click on the first results or scroll to the bottom and find something that catches there eye.

I think the most important thing is your CTR (click through ratio). There are tricks you can learn to increase this that really have nothing to do with even your ad copy. If you are in the USA and search Google for “shoemoney” you will see this:

ShoeMoney Adwords

Notice how the bold words form a arrow like > ? That is a nice eye tracking trick that for me increased clicks by about 25% in ANY SPOT. Discovering this for me was a HUGE THING because more clicks means a higher quality score which moves you up for more exposure which means you get more clicks which… well you get the point.

Of course I just use “shoemoney” as a example especially since I only bid 2 cents per click on it (and i know all you assholes are going to go click it now). Anyway always test.

Each Monday I am going to try to take some questions asked to me in email and here on the blog and answer them. I call the answer part the “Shoemoney answer” mainly because I do not know if its right or wrong but its what I think based on my experience so far.

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

Jason recommends you check out these amazing posts:

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Shoemoney 1 Ray

Damn nice trick. I hope you do more question and answer!

2 Chad

Wow Shoe, that is a sick trick. Thanks for sharing. New questions and answers each Monday rocks.

3 Atlanta wedding photographer

With the net people typically skim first to see if they want to read something. Who wants to look at a sea of words on the screen? Well, I’ve started to try to “bold” the main points or use anything else that will get there attention. I didn’t really think about using it for ads since they were so small. I guess it would be even more important to get their attention.

4 Bill Neilson

I just put my 2 cents in comment not spent yous.

5 Bill Neilson

Thank you very interesting, I will look forward to the Momday comments.

6 Mitchel

Revealing real tactics like this is why you are the best! Is this the level of detail you provide at the Elite Retreat?

7 ShoeMoney

perhaps… the elite retreat is more about helping you take your business to the next level. It will probably involve tricks that we have learned. The elite retreat is not a sit down and be amazed by shoemoney and friends tricks though ;)

8 Chris Love

Not getting the arrow thing, but the Bolding by matching the keyword phrase is a huge click thru factor.

9 Mitchel

> the elite retreat is more about helping you take your business to the next level

Excellent. When are you opening registration for San Francisco? I will be there! I’ve already learned so much from your blog and radio show, so can’t wait to meet in person.

BTW, you say in this post that you always bid the minimum. While it of course varies by topic, what type of click volume does that translate into per day? Can you really get 1,000s of daily quality clicks at a nickel or dime?

10 Scott Weaver

Outstanding. What other tricks do you have hidden up your sleeve?

11 ShoeMoney

We are just squaring away the other leaders/partners for this event and should be opening it up in the next couple weeks.

12 Clarke Henning

This is a great tip. Actually I think you mentioned something about it on one of the Net Income shows awhile back. I implemented this on some of my campaigns and have seen some great results.

13 Paul

Nice tip there Shoemoney. I actually laughed when I read it, because a little while back I published the exact same trick and ad in my PPC guide. The article can be found here if you’re curious.

14 Miha

How do you bold a text in AdWords?

15 robh

What do you do with longtail keywords and misspellings?
I cant imagine putting a misspelling in the ad would help, and with longtails you would run out of space?

16 ShoeMoney

Actually you bid on the typos and mispellings… not put them in the adcopy

17 Hannes Johnson

Wow, I did not know that arrow trick – Nice!

Thanks Shoe!

18 vanceland

Great tips Jeremy! That is a serious longtail strategy…you must have to upload a boatload of keywords to get enough traffic to make it worthwhile, though.

19 Ron Wilson

Is there a program out there that will help create the keyword typo list?

20 Brent

Oh wow. Can’t wait to try this.

One question though which I think you already partially answered. You bid 2 cents per click for “shoemoney”. I see that is a low price, but why bid on the keyword at all when you are already #1 for that keyword in the SERPS?

21 tacimala

You don’t bold the text, SE’s bold the search query on returned results.

22 tacimala

To control as much real estate on that SERP as possible!

23 Shortshire

Thanks now I can try out little tricks like this. I guess in the next two weeks we are going to see hundreds of ads with this same trick.

24 DH

Another tear shed for no mo NetIncome. I learned these tips from Shoe 6 months ago by listening to the podcasts.

25 Alex

What if there are so many bids for your keywords that a minimum bid bumps you down to position 53 or something? Do you still bid the minimum if you’ll never get traffic?

26 ShoeMoney

yup usually they will deactivate themselves on adwords or move up.

27 TechMentat

Very interesting (and simple) idea. I’ll definitely take the advice and post if I find anything interesting between increased CTR & position. Thanks!

28 Clint Lenard

Always got something new and interesting to read :-)

Very nice … the awesomeness just doesn’t stop.

29 ToddW

Never would have realized or thought about the > trick very interesting information!

Looking forward to informative mondays :)

30 JeffPosaka

Thanks for this tip, Shoe. I am going to try it out.

31 c

I think you mean he made $100/month.

32 John Loch

Where does the term SHOEMONEY come from ???

Mebbee I’m daft, but I just noticed last nite, at the end of a movie, that it was produced/made by a company whos logo is a picture of a dollar bill with a shoe on top.

Funny, as soon as i saw it I thought, I’ll bet thats where Jeremy got it from.. anyway.. enough warbling, its 1AM.

Bye :)

33 Brent
34 Andrew

IMO, the increase in CTR is probably from inserting the keyword into the ad three times – as opposed to the actual shape that the bolded keywords make.

35 eBuzzMaster

Interesting tip! We play around regularly with positioning and find the bigger the purchase price, the better conversions happen at slightly lower positions. Let the competition educate the consumer. I’ll close ‘em.

36 Rett

Jeremy Schoemaker (pronounced “Shoe-maker”). Makes a lot of money online.
Schoemaker + money = Shoemoney

37 Thomas

Nice tip. Do you have any data to support the increase in CTR?

38 Thomas

good stuff Jeremy.

39 Secure Hosting

Great post – the bold words arrow is a fantastic technique!

40 John Loch

Ha.. something new every day. A tad abstract, but it works.

Thx :D

41 swollenpickles

That’s interesting, it’s almost subliminal. I would never have thought such a simple trick would make such an impact!

42 makubex

awesome! I never think that before.

43 christian gehrke

I would have never thought of that but can see how useful it could be. Thank you very much.

44 hectril

Nice trick Shoe. Its easy to spot and best of all this adwords strategy is a click to notice

45 YourGuideToInternetMarketing

Great advice! I seen this the other day and I gave it a shot. Its been only a day now and I have seen my CTR pretty much triple, could just be luck but will continue to monitor it against my previous ad on Adwords and see the difference over the next few days. Thanks for sharing Shoemoney I think your arrow trick works great. Great tip for sure for people trying to increase their click through rate instantly.

46 Tyler Dewitt


I just launched a ad words campaign and yes I’m going to start promoting affiliates through organic search were working on about 15-20 sites, but anyways my QS score goes down big time when I use keyword typos I’m thinking maybe I need to add the keyword typos on the landing page somewhere, but that would be a lot and spammy looking.

Ohh well I’m sure I’ll figure it out

47 ChristianPF

Shoe, you aren’t joking – when that ad is side by side with the others it stands out like a sore thumb!! Thanks for sharing

48 Dan

IMO it’s not, using the arrow trick will help you get to Number 1 as well…

49 tech blog

So it is subliminal?

50 Dating Webmaster

Thanks for the info.
I just having experiments with PPC marketing and I have to say there are a lot of to talk about…

51 ways to make money online

That is an awesome trick. You say it boosted your CTR by 25 percent which is pretty good if you ask me.

I’m going to re-optimize and put your tricks to work.


52 jobawareness

I think its a fantastic idea that is legal, but you need to arrange the words in a such a way that it looks like an arrow, yes it is an eye catching trick. WE need more clicks/conversion= more moneyl.

53 UltimaHosts

Great SEO trick!

54 Jan

That is the craziest tip!

Our minds do some wild things…did you know that colors affect people differently in different countries when it comes to advertising, blogging, etc.?

Not an original comment. I read about the colors in a blog post which lead me to an article about the countries.

Hello, Subliminal.

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