There are many ways to make money from the internet. One of the most lucrative is turning traffic into money. Companies like Google make a lot of money by monetizing search. But what does search monetization mean? And how do you do it? 

Search Monetization 101

Search monetization refers to a group of tools and techniques used to convert online traffic into producing revenue. 

Monetization is a term you hear everywhere these days. Everyone with an online business has the goal of producing money from that website, application, e-commerce site, or content. 

All the efforts to convert visits, downloads, or clicks start from the premise of making money from traffic. “Monetizing traffic and search” sounds rather abstract, so let’s break it down by explaining what do we mean by traffic. 

Traffic means potential customers.

Internet traffic consists of the online activities of people online. Search traffic means simply people like you and me querying search engines. When they are online looking for a product or service to solve a problem, they turn into potential customers. 

Search monetization means providing users searching for a keyword with the right answer and making money from it. 

The importance of search queries

One of the most effective ways to monetize traffic is by monetizing search. Users search for what they want, so every search query gives you an opportunity for monetization. For instance, if you have an in-site search box, every search can tell you about user’s needs, what they are looking for. You can then use this information to adjust your strategies and solve user’s needs. 

If you have an application, you can add a search function and learn more about your user’s needs. This lets you adjust your app to meet users’ requirements. 

Besides those benefits, you can actually make money from users’ searches. 

The secret: Give users what they want while getting paid on the way. 

Let’s explain it with a well-known example. A user searching for “best pizza near me” in Google will get geo-targeted results (showing pizza places near the user’s location) and paid advertisements. These ads generate income for the search engine. 

So, monetizing search implies giving users the best results for their queries and enhancing their search experience by including ads that complement their search

The Search Advertising Market 

Companies are spending more on search advertising than social media, video, and banner ads combined, according to the Statista Digital Market Outlook. 

The greater part of Google’s advertising revenue comes from search ads, which are expected to reach $171.6 billion in 2021.

Advertising revenues

Source: Statista

 Brands realize that investing in search can be profitable, so the spending in search ads increased from $142.98 billion in 2019 to $171.68 in 2021 and is expected to reach $211.4 by 2025. Of the total search ad investing, the bigger percentage is on mobile ads. 

Ad spending statistics

How do you know which ads fit better your users’ search? By understanding the user intent.  

What Exactly Is User Intent? 

The term user or search intent means the reason behind a user’s query on a search engine. For instance, researching information, looking for a place, product, or service

It may seem simple. In reality, discerning a user’s intent from a few words typed into a search box can be challenging.

Challenges of User Intent

Ambiguity: Humans are typically ambiguous in their searches. Therefore, computers can struggle to solve these ambiguities when defining what the user is looking for. 

Fractured intent: This happens when a person types a generic term, for example, “marketing software.” The user could be looking for a) information about marketing software b) learning about the uses of marketing software c) looking to find the best marketing software. 

Favored and explicit intent: Favored intent happens when the search engine prefers some type of intent. For instance, Google tends to favor queries that look for a comparison. An explicit intent is self-explanatory, happening when the user types exactly what they want. 

Types of User Intent

Despite the challenges, user intents can be grouped into some general categories: 

Local intent: these queries typically include the name of a location or the term “near me.” 

Local search intent

Informational intent: For example, “What is a derivative.” Here the user is looking for information about a subject. This intent should be matched with informational content. 

Informational Search Intent

Comparative intent: An example would be when the user adds words like “best,” “cheapest,” “top,” indicating they want to compare different products or services. 

Transactional intent: Searches that start with “buy,” “get,” “find” describe the purchasing intention of the user. 

Why is it important to understand the user’s intent?

When you match the user intent with relevant ads, you make sure the ad answers the user query. Therefore, there are more chances of the user clicking that ad. When you understand the user’s intent, you give them what they’re looking for. That’s why search monetization is so effective. 

Increasing the odds by Improving the User Experience 

Understanding how people search and what their intent is to improve the user experience. Most ads interrupt the user, getting in the way of the user activity. This type of advertising is not very useful because it may annoy the user. 

A recommendation engine that operates with ad revenue doesn’t interrupt the user experience. On the contrary, it gives users exactly what they are looking for, enhancing the experience without feeling they are being marketed. 

When you use search monetization in a mobile app, a website, or a browser extension, you’re improving the user experience. 

Ways to Convert Traffic into Money

So far, we have explored what search monetization is and how people search. But what are the ways you can use to convert traffic into money? 

1. Advertising

This is probably the most popular way to monetize a website or application. If, for instance, you have a website that gets traffic, you can sign up for an ad network. The network presents ads relevant to your visitors. When your visitor clicks the ad, you get paid. 

Seems simple, right? Well, there are a few downsides to this type of advertising. 

  1. To be profitable, you need to have lots of traffic and be in a highly competitive niche. That way, advertisers will bid top price on the ad network to place their ads on your site. 
  2. In certain platforms, such as AdSense, once the user clicks on the ad, they leave the site, which means you lose an opportunity to continue marketing them. 

If your site has a sizeable amount of traffic, you can always choose to place direct ads. By selling ad space, you get to negotiate directly with the merchant and set the price.  

Related content: The best ad networks for publishers 

2. Affiliate Marketing

We can define affiliate marketing as a form of commissioned sales. It connects publishers or influencers with brands looking to promote their products and services.

When you place a link to a product on your site, if the user clicks on the link, and makes a purchase, you get paid.

The publisher signs up to the network, choose which products or service they want to promote. The network gives them custom links that can track how many people are purchasing from their sites. Then, the publisher gets a small commission for each sale. Affiliate marketing networks act as middlemen between the merchant, the affiliate, and the customers.

Why join an affiliate network? The network can connect publishers to lots of brands, which makes it a popular way to monetize a website. Other benefits include:

  • You don’t handle payments directly.
  • You can choose products or services that relate to your audience
  • Some networks offer rewards.

There are also downsides:

  • Some networks offer very low commission rates.
  • The traffic requirements can be high for some sites.

3. Search Feed Monetization

One of the downsides of traditional monetization methods like advertising is that users leave the website when clicking on an ad or link. You can keep your visitors a bit longer by adding an in-site search feed.

A search feed is more than a site search bar. It returns results from all the web. By using a monetized search box, you can earn a commission each time a person conducts a search.

Search monetization software monetizes search results on a website, by matching target ads with the visitors’ search results by adding a code to the website. This software helps publishers monetize their digital assets by getting paid every time a visitor conducts a search and clicks on an ad from the search results.

4. Sponsored Posts

Organic search can lead a user to a page on your website. If people are visiting the page, you can integrate sponsored posts to promote other people’s products. You can also write a review about the company’s products or services. If your site gets a lot of traffic, you can earn nicely for such posts.

What’s the catch? You need to have your SEO on top form to drive the right traffic to the post. This increases brand exposure and makes advertisers happy.

5. Email Lists

Your traffic is a great source of leads. Encouraging visitors to opt-in for your email list gives you an audience to market to on a regular basis. Consent is key to a successful mailing list. To get visitor’s email addresses, make sure you have a clear call to action on every page, which compels users to sign up for the email list. You can also add pop-ups and floating sign-up boxes. You can offer a freebie, like an e-book or guide in exchange for signing up.

Email marketing builds a relationship with your audience. When your audience is used to get valuable information from you, they are more likely to click through the affiliate offers or advertisements. The more your email list trusts your company, the easier is to convert them into paying customers.

Optimize your Search Conversion with CodeFuel.

Let’s summarize. To convert traffic into money, you need to give users what they are looking for, and present relevant ads that match the user intent. This allows you to monetize by adding advertising or sponsored links.

Different digital properties require different monetization methods. Are you an app developer? then you can monetize through in-app advertising, among other methods. If you are a website owner, then, maybe signing up for an ad network can do the trick.

CodeFuel search monetization solutions are geared to transform search into revenue. They allow capturing consumers at the moment their intent is the highest. By matching the publisher’s audiences to the right text, shopping ads, and premium news, you can enhance the user experience and earn a higher profit. Every search query returns a customized search results page optimized for the user’s query.

Desktop and mobile apps can also benefit from CodeFuel. The user intent-based search allows you to monetize your mobile app or browser extension. Context-based ads ensure a smooth user experience for your application, by presenting ads at key moments in the application usage. This encourages user engagement, increasing the monetization of your app. The solution integrates easily and offers detailed HUB reports.

Add the power of search monetization to your website, application, or browser extension. The more users search, the better their experience in your digital property, the more they convert, and the more you earn. There is a smart way to monetize your digital property.

Start monetizing the smart way, learn more about how CodeFuel helps publishers and app developers convert traffic into money. Sign up for CodeFuel today.