What is Listing Advertising? Explaining Google Listing Advertising

Listing AdvertisingWhat is Listing Advertising? Listing advertising allows you to display ads for specific keywords. These ads are placed in prominent positions in search results, catching the eyes of many search users.

I recommend using listing advertising as it plays a crucial role in web marketing and can yield significant results when managed skillfully. It is advisable to use it for test marketing before starting SEO.



What is Listing Advertising?

Listing advertising is an advertisement that displays web content related to the keywords (search queries) users search for in search engines, in text format. Because it is displayed in conjunction with the searched keywords, it is also known as search-linked advertising. Well-known examples include Google Listing Advertising and Yahoo! Listing Advertising.

Listing ads are placed either at the top or bottom of the organic search frame, making them easily noticeable to users.

Advertisers set keywords, and the ads are delivered only to users who search for those keywords.

Therefore, it’s possible to guide users interested in the content of the keywords to your website.

Listing advertising is a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ad, where advertising costs are incurred based on the number of clicks or taps.

The more it is clicked, the more advertising costs are incurred, but it is cost-effective as it targets only users interested in the keywords. If not clicked, no advertising costs are incurred.



The Mechanism of Listing Advertising

To effectively manage listing advertising, it’s essential to understand its mechanism. Multiple websites are displayed for keywords in the listing ad space. Naturally, advertisers want their ads in the most noticeable place in the search results, but like organic search, there is a ranking for listing ads.

The maximum click price set at the time of ad placement and the quality of the advertised web content affect the ad ranking. Google and Yahoo! value the user’s search experience, so the quality of web content is particularly important.

The ad rank determines the placement of listing ads and is calculated by the following formula:

(Ad Rank) = (Maximum Click Price) × (Ad Quality) + (Ad Display Options)

It’s not just about spending money; you need to differentiate from competitors through the content and quality of the ad.


Benefits of Using Listing Advertising

The benefits of listing advertising are as follows:

  • You can bid on desired keywords.
  • You can deliver to users interested in the keywords.
  • You can use it with a controlled budget.
  • You can quickly run the PDCA cycle.

Let’s explain each point.


Bidding on Desired Keywords

With listing advertising, you can specify keywords for placement, guiding users interested in those keywords to your website.

Bidding is done at the click price for each keyword, and the winning advertiser can place their ad. Therefore, popular keywords often have more competition, requiring a higher click price to win. It’s necessary to set keywords while considering cost-effectiveness.

For example, looking at the keyword ‘SEO,’ you can see that the click price for listing ads placed at the top of the page ranges from ¥111 to ¥784 per click. This is the bidding price.


For those starting SEO and unsure which keywords lead to the best conversions (CV), setting a wide range of keywords in listing ads and collecting data can help find cost-effective keywords.


Delivering to Users Interested in Keywords

Since listing ads allow you to set keywords for placement, you can segment your audience with high accuracy. If you can advertise with precise keywords, the conversion rate of users guided to your website will be high.

For example, if someone is looking for an SEO company in Tokyo, they might search for ‘SEO Tokyo.’ By setting and advertising listing ads with keywords like ‘SEO Tokyo’ and ‘SEO company Tokyo,’ you can attract users likely to convert.


Using with a Controlled Budget

Listing ads can be used with a set budget. When placing listing ads on Google or Yahoo!, you can operate with a monthly budget and set a small amount if you manage it yourself. The click price for listing ads can be set from around 10 yen.

Since the cost of listing ads varies with the number of clicks, you can operate within your budget by setting it.


Quickly Running the PDCA Cycle

Listing ads can achieve higher search result rankings in a shorter period than SEO, allowing you to quickly run the PDCA cycle for the advertised web content. Also, the content of listing ads can be changed at any time, so if you feel the results are not as expected, you can easily update both the web content and the ad content.

While attracting traffic to web content through SEO takes time, even if the content quality is high, listing ads can be posted immediately once approved, making them an effective means for quickly attracting traffic to web content. In some cases, ads can start running within half a day to a day.


Disadvantages of Using Listing Ads

Listing ads are very effective, but they also have disadvantages.

  • There are industries unsuitable for certain services
  • Keywords familiar to users who search often have low click-through rates
  • Keywords with many competitors have high bidding prices

Each of these points will be explained in detail.



Not Suitable for Certain Industries

Some industries are not well-suited for listing ads. Even after making improvements, if the cost-effectiveness does not align with the conversion rate (CV), it may be necessary to consider other web traffic strategies. Users are increasingly skipping listing ad spaces and clicking on organic search results instead. It’s important to assess whether your industry or service is suitable for listing ads.


Low Click-Through Rate for Ad-Savvy Users

Listing ads are marked as advertisements, and ad-savvy users may avoid clicking on them or use Google extensions to bypass listing ads. This can lead to a negative perception of websites in ad spaces, reducing the effectiveness of listing ads for certain keywords. Conversely, sites that rank high in organic search results are often clicked on due to perceived brand strength and trustworthiness.


High Bidding Costs for Competitive Keywords

Keywords with high competition can lead to soaring bid prices, making cost-effectiveness challenging. Your advertising content can be easily scrutinized by competitors, necessitating continuous improvement and differentiation. Careful keyword selection is crucial for stable ad operations.


Comparison of Listing Ads and SEO (Organic Search)

Listing ads and SEO both significantly impact the order of search results display. Here’s a comparison:

Listing ads SEO
Approach Method Listing ads target users likely to convert SEO appeals to a broader audience.
Search Result Placement Listing ads appear in ad spaces (top or bottom of search results) SEO results are in the organic search area.
Cost Listing ads are paid SEO is free.
Time Required Listing ads can be immediate. SEO takes several months.
Click-Through Rate Listing ads have a 2-6% rate. SEO ranges from 1-14%.

(Reference:Try the free Google Ads Grader

Listing ads offer more control and can target specific users for quick results. SEO takes longer to achieve high search rankings but can be cost-effective without any expense. The click-through rate for SEO varies widely, but high search traffic keywords can offer excellent cost-effectiveness.

When considering web content traffic strategies, it’s essential to compare listing ads and SEO to determine the most suitable marketing approach for your needs.


Cases Where Listing Ads Are Suitable

Listing ads are particularly effective in the following scenarios:

  • Directing Internet Search Users to Your Website: Listing ads are effective for guiding users who search online. They are not effective for users who do not use the internet.
  • Clear User Search Intent: Content with specific keywords that clearly indicate user intent can yield good results with listing ads. For example, users searching for immediate services like “air conditioner repair” are likely to click on the first relevant ad or search result they see.
  • Clear Effectiveness of Listing Ads: If long-term competitors are consistently advertising for the same keywords, it suggests that listing ads are effective for those keywords. Competitive research can help determine if listing ads are a suitable strategy.


Listing Ads Not Suited for Certain Cases

Listing ads may not be suitable in the following cases:

  • When the user’s search purpose is not clear
  • When you want to raise awareness among a wide range of people
  • When the charm cannot be expressed with text alone

When the User’s Search Purpose is Not Clear

Listing ads are displayed according to search words, so they are not suitable for use with keywords or web content where the user’s search purpose is not clear.

For example, if you advertise with keywords like “fashionable clothes” for a website aimed at selling stylish clothes, the situation becomes challenging. Since the sense of style varies from person to person, even if you attract visitors to the website, it may not lead to successful outcomes.

If the user’s search purpose is not clearly defined and the goal is to draw out latent intentions, listing ads are not suitable.


When You Want to Raise Awareness Among a Wide Range of People

Listing ads are displayed at the top or bottom of search results when specified words are searched, so they are not a method to raise awareness among a wide range of people. The feature of listing ads is to segment the target and display ads, so it appeals to a limited audience.

If you want to raise awareness among a wide range of people, you should use other types of ads or aim for top-ranking in SEO with multiple keywords.

When the Charm Cannot Be Expressed with Text Alone

Listing ads, which only display titles and descriptions, are not suitable for advertising content whose value cannot be expressed with text alone. For advertising with images or photos, display ads are recommended.

Display ads allow you to post images and text on popular web content, making it possible to raise awareness among many people. By using Google’s GDN or Yahoo!’s YDA for display ads, you can advertise on each of their popular contents and affiliated sites.


About the Cost of Listing Ads


We will explain the operating costs of listing ads.


Advertising Costs are Pay-Per-Click

Listing ads incur advertising costs each time they are clicked or tapped, and no costs are incurred if they are not clicked or tapped. The cost per click is set at the time of ad placement, and that amount is incurred for each click. The cost per click varies depending on the keyword.

For example, the keyword “SEO” costs between ¥111 and ¥784 per click, whereas the keyword “SEO and its meaning” costs between ¥9 and ¥162 per click. It is evident that the keyword “SEO” has higher competition.


Although you can freely set the cost per click, if the price is too low, the ad will not be displayed. Moreover, the more competitive the keyword, the higher the cost per click required to display the ad.

For the keyword “SEO,” setting a bid price of ¥784 may increase the likelihood of being displayed at the top, but it will cost ¥784 per click.

Some ads are displayed at the top for ¥111, meaning that they cost seven times less for the same ad space. The challenge in operating listing ads is to keep the cost per click as low as possible while maintaining top placement.


Operable Within Budget Range

Listing ads can be operated with daily or monthly budget settings, and if the budget is exceeded, the ad placement can be stopped. Since the budget can be adjusted at any time, you can operate it while analyzing daily access numbers.


Daily Budget for Listing Ads

If you are using listing ads for the first time, you can start with a low budget, making it a system that is easy for anyone to introduce.



Auction System Related to Ad Rank

Listing ads involve multiple websites registering for a single designated word, and an auction system is introduced to determine the display order based on ad rank. The higher the bid, the more likely the ad is to be displayed at the top. However, the quality of the website where the ad is displayed also affects the ad rank, so it is not guaranteed that paying more will result in top placement.


In Google Listing, for example, Google constantly provides ad optimization proposals, and it is recommended to improve the quality of ads in accordance with these suggestions.


How to Start Operating Listing Ads (Account Setup to Posting)

We will explain the steps for operating listing ads, specifically for Google Ads.

  • Account Setup and Design
  • Submission
  • Review
  • Start of Posting
  • Operation


Service Start Page:

Google Ads:

Starting to post listing ads is quite simple, but post-publication operation is very important. It’s necessary to run the PDCA cycle and make efforts that lead to results. If results are not achieved, it may be necessary to stop the ad posting.

Listing ads have the advantage of being immediately improvable, so constant analysis is essential to enhance cost-effectiveness.


Tips and Advice for Operating Listing Ads

Here are some practical tips and advice for listing ads:

  • Find Keywords with Less Competition
  • Post Attractive Ad Texts
  • Ensure Compliance with Regulations to Avoid Rejection
  • Be Cautious with Trademarked Words

Finding Keywords with Less Competition

Posting ads with less competitive keywords can enhance cost-effectiveness. If you must post ads for highly competitive keywords, add specific keywords that limit the target audience to reduce competition. Use a keyword planner to find keywords with less competition and lower cost per click.

Posting Attractive Ad Texts

People decide whether to access your site based on the ad text. Therefore, if the ad text is not compelling enough to prompt user action, it will not attract clicks. Initially, you may not be able to post high-quality ad texts, but continue to strive for improvement through A/B testing.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulations

There is a review process after ad submission. If you fail the review, your ad will not be posted. Since regulations vary depending on the content of the ad, it’s important to check and comply with these regulations.


Being Cautious with Trademarked Words

Always keep in mind the handling of trademarked words when setting up your ad content. For instance, if you use a competitor’s product or service name in your ad text, it could be considered a trademark infringement, leading to a request for ad removal from the trademark owner.


Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers

We will explain the content that many people are curious about regarding listing ads.

Q:What is the Minimum Budget for Posting Listing Ads?

Answer) Since listing ads operate on an auction system where the price is set freely, there is no defined minimum amount for posting. Depending on the chosen keyword, companies typically operate with a monthly budget ranging from ¥200,000 to ¥500,000. However, operations are possible even with a budget of ¥10,000 per month or ¥1,000.

Q:Which is Recommended Between Google and Yahoo! Listing Ads?

Answer) The choice between Google and Yahoo! depends on the users you want to attract. Google is widely used globally and has a high smartphone user base. Therefore, if you aim to direct smartphone users or target international markets, Google is more effective. Yahoo! is popular among users over 50 and has high recognition, making it effective for targeting an older demographic. Both Google and Yahoo! are well-recognized platforms, so choose the one that is easier to use based on their advertising manuals.



Listing ads can lead to significant results depending on how they are used. While starting can be daunting and challenging, continually running the PDCA cycle improves outcomes. Using listing ads during the period your site is climbing SEO rankings can have a positive effect on SEO as well. Starting with a low budget for experimental purposes and getting accustomed to the operation is also important. Test marketing with a low budget is recommended.

Author Profile

SEO Consultant

Mr. Takeshi Amano, CEO of Admano Co., Ltd.

Mr. Takeshi Amano is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Nihon University. With 12 years of experience working in the advertising agency industry, he discovered SEO and began his research during the early days of SEO. He self-taught and conducted experiments and verifications on over 100 websites. Using this expertise, he founded Admano Co., Ltd., which is currently in its 11th year of operation. Mr. Amano handles sales, SEO consulting, web analytics (holding the Google Analytics Individual Qualification certification), coding, and website development. The company has successfully managed SEO strategies for over 2000 websites to date.

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