Pay per click (PPC) – also known as cost per click (CPC) is a type of paid advertising, such as paid research, sponsored listings, sponsored links, and partner adds. In a PPC model, the advertiser pays the site that hosts the ad space only if a user clicks it's adds an goes through to the destination URL or landing page (the location on the Internet where the person who kicked the ad ends up).
How does PPC work
PPC ads are often used in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, you can generally find them on the right-hand side and depending on the popularity of the search term that you typed in you will see 1 to 6 ads displayed. These ads won't appear unless someone performs a search and the ads that do appear are those that the search engine deems most relevant to the users search term.
To get the advertisers ads to show up alongside relevant search terms, the search engine will generally walk advertisers through the following steps:
PPC account creation:
- Create a PPC account with Google – *Will create a detailed walk through in future article.
- Creating campaigns and ad groups – A campaign is where you set many of your options, such as your budget and geography. Ad groups are tightly targeted groups that make up the campaign and that house your ads and keyword lists.
- How to find your list of keywords – Keywords are words and phrases that describe, or are peices of, the products or services that you want to advertise. When creating your keyword list you have to make sure that the keywords you choose our as targeted to your service or offer as possible. If you are new to PPC it is a good idea to do as much research as possible before you dive in, if you don't know what you are doing you could lose a boatload of money in a very short period of time. I would recommend that you use keyword tools such as Market Samurai and SEcockpit if you are on a tight budget you could also use the free Google keywords tool which is also an excellent option but generally requires more work on your part.
- What are the costs involved – Depending on the keywords you're targeting you could be paying anywhere from between $.20 to $20 per click, if you're targeting a one-word search term which is very popular you will pay much more than you would be for a long tail keyword with an average to good search volume.
- How does Google determine relevancy – Google's algorithms have become very sophisticated, they are able to sort out which ads to show, when to show it, where on the results page to show it, and how much to charge the advertiser.
Here are some of the factors that Google may use to determine relevancy:
- keyword list:
do the keywords in your list match what the user has typed into Google?
- Ad copy:
does your ad copy mention what the user is looking for?
- Landing page:
how relevant is your landing page compared to what the user is looking for?
how much are you willing to pay to get that visitor?
The amount that you're willing to pay in conjunction with the factors just mentioned will determine where on the page your ad will display and how much you're actually paying.
It goes without saying that the search engines keep some relevancy criteria secret in order for them to ensure a level playing field for all advertisers and to ensure a good user experience for their customers. The system is designed to cut down on false advertising and misleading, spam type ads; it is also designed to reward advertisers who are adhering to the rules and editorial guidelines.
Benefits of using PPC over SEO
Seo is also a very good way of driving traffic to your website or blog, the downside is that it takes a long time to master and even more time to implement, also the search engines and especially Google change their algorithms very often which means that you have to keep up with the latest developments.
PPC on the other hand is a form of advertising that anyone can do, it gives the advertiser a lot of control over their budgets and audiences, it also makes tracking and testing your ads very easy in terms of finding out where the seller came from, how much it cost, and which keywords triggered the sale.
Possible drawbacks to PPC.
- Operating on a tight budget:
like I said earlier PPC requires a substantial cash investment from the advertiser, even if you find a great keyword with a low CPC you need to know what you are doing or you could lose your shirt with PPC advertising.
- A poorly designed website:
you can bring all the visitors to your website that you want, but if your site is hard to navigate, or you don't provide enough information making it difficult for your visitor people will be far less likely to buy from you.
- Slow page loads:
if it takes longer than a couple of seconds for the pages on your website to load not only will you be penalized by Google in terms of SEO and adwords but you will also lose visitors.
- Not enough volume:
sometimes the problem is simply that your chosen keyword does not have enough monthly searches to generate any substantial traffic to your website, that's why it is always a good idea to have a large list of keywords. This way you can see which keywords perform well and weed out the bad performers.
- No analytics:
if you're not using an analytics program of some kind to track the results, how can you honestly tell what's working and what isn't? Guessing is never the way to go, especially because PPC is such a measurable form of advertising.
- PPC on autopilot:
PPC campaigns need to be managed actively. Simply setting things up and logging in only once a month is a recipe for disaster. Particularly at the beginning, you need to login daily, if not more than once per day to tweak your keyword lists, budgets, and bids.
Hopefully this information will help you determine whether PPC is right for you or your company.
If you're new to PPC advertising is a good idea to start small and build up. As you work with a program such as Google ad words over time you will get a better feel for it and PPC management, you will become much more efficient, and then you'll be able to create keyword lists and campaigns easily and bid with the best of them.