Buying Your Way to the Top with Pay Per Click Advertising

Imagine if you could advertise ONLY to people who have actually expressed an interest in doing business with you? That's basically what happens whenever a prospective customer or client types a phrase into a search engine that's relevant to your business. But how do search engines decide which sites are worthy of top placement in their search results? It turns out that some of the results are ranked by the search engine's computers while others are simply paid advertisements from companies willing to buy their way to the top using Pay Per Click Advertising.

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC for short) is an online advertising format that allows you to buy your way to the top of search results pages for search phrases relevant to your business. Businesses buy advertising on specific search phrases, and are then charged each time a person clicks through to their web site.

How does this work?

Try running a search on a major search engine like Yahoo or Google for a common consumer product like "DVD players." When reviewing the results, you'll likely see a set of results labeled as "Sponsor Results" or "Sponsored Link". Some results may appear in the same format as the main search results on the page, while others are listed within colored text boxes along the site of the page. All of those results are paid advertisements from the sites listed within the ads.

The ads are ranked based on how much a business is willing to pay to advertise on each search phrase. In the example search for "DVD players" the current top advertiser is currently paying $0.81 per click ? one penny more than the #2 advertiser.

The ads are purchased through pay per click advertising suppliers, and the two largest happen to be owned by Google and Yahoo. Google's program is called Adwords and displays results on Google.com, AOL, Ask Jeeves, many smaller search engines. Yahoo's program is run by an acquired company called Overture, and the results appear on Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista, and many other syndication partners.

Why should I pay for traffic?

For businesses that have had success with search engine optimization, the idea of paying for visitors is not particularly enticing. However, if you can make more money off a visitor to your web site than it costs to get them there, why wouldn't you pay for those visitors? Keep in mind that you can choose exactly what search terms you want to advertise on, and you only pay when a searcher actually clicks on your ad, so it generally comes down to deciding how much you can afford to spend for those visitors rather than whether it's worth doing at all.

How much should I spend?

The main factors influencing how much money can be spent on a PPC campaign are:

1. How many searches are conducted per month using phrases relevant to your business?

2. How much are you, along with your competitors, willing to pay for those terms?

The average monthly ad spend on PPC advertising is a couple thousand dollars, but this varies immensely from less than $50/month for regionally targeted and niche businesses to millions a month by large national retailers.

The goal of any advertising campaign should be to bring in more money from the campaign than it costs to run it. Pay Per Click is no different, but the level of detail you can measure in PPC is significantly higher than most types of advertising. For example, with relatively inexpensive (some are even free) tools, you can determine which ads are generating sales or leads for your business. Beyond that, you can determine how much money you spent on a specific ad to generate a sale or a lead. By measuring what's working, you can aggressively advertise on terms that prove to be winners for your business while shutting down ads that don't deliver.

Tips for Success

1. Advertise on a large number of relevant search phrases. Brainstorm beyond the first dozen terms that come to mind to describe your business. Advertise on the terms used to describe your products, the product names, product codes, and the questions a prospect might type into a search engine that your services answer, and more.

2. Build unique ads for each search phrase. It takes a lot more time to write a unique ad for each search phrase relevant to your business rather than creating one ad for all of your search phrases, but the extra work will definitely be rewarded. Ads that are aligned with the corresponding search term receive more clicks, which will mean more targeted traffic, and in some cases paying less per click (on Google Adwords) due to the intricacies of how the advertising is priced.

3. Send visitors to the most appropriate page of your web site. If you place an ad for a specific product within your online store, don't send visitors to your homepage and force them to dig for what they just searched. This will frustrate your visitors and increase the chance that they'll hit the dreaded Back button.

4. Track your results. Spending money without measuring the return on your investment is not a good business practice. At the very least, consider installing the free tracking tools available through Google Adwords and Overture to measure which terms are delivering results for your business. Beyond that, consider using a 3rd party statistics tool with conversion analysis to compile the results of your various pay per click programs into one easy to manage interface.

Go for it

People are searching for what you sell at this very moment! If your site is not showing up near the top of the results, your competition thanks you.

About The Author

Ed Kohler is the President of Haystack In A Needle, Inc., a web marketing firm in Minneapolis, MN, offering search engine optimization and pay per click advertising consulting services.

HaystackInANeedle.com

kohler@HaystackInANeedle.com

In The News:


Is PPC Advertising the Right Choice for Your Small Business?
Huffington Post
Pay per click (PPC) advertising can be an incredibly effective way to increase exposure to your target audience and drive traffic to your website. PPC ads occupy prime real estate at the top of search engine results, making them an attractive option ...

and more »

Where is PPC Advertising Going?
ADOTAS
The intricacies of pay per click marketing can be complicated if a person has never used the platform. There are many variables involved with PPC, and many companies find it more complex than other online advertising strategies. Advertising copy must ...


8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising Ad Copy
Huffington Post
If your business is running a pay-per-click campaign and experiencing low click-through rates and conversion rates your ad copy is likely the problem. PPC ads have limited space to work with, so you need to use the available character space wisely to ...


Business 2 Community

How SEO And SEM Work Together To Deliver Results!
Business 2 Community
How do you get your ad to be shown first or at least close to the top? Let's take a look at Google Adwords, the most popular PPC technique. Google ranks your ad based on the amount spent for the particular targeted keyword and the overall quality score ...

and more »

Get Social: More PPC Internet Marketing Campaigns
Business 2 Community
It's time to delve into social media ads. You know the type: each leading social platform has its own native PPC advertising program (or programs). So is it the same sort of internet marketing as AdWords? Yes and no. Let's break down the basics of the ...
If I had a hammer…Seacoastonline.com

all 2 news articles »

WordStream (blog)

The Bing Ads Performance Grader: How Strong Is Your Bing PPC Account?
WordStream (blog)
Some advertisers mistakenly believe that PPC begins and ends with Google AdWords. There's no disputing that AdWords is the largest paid search platform, but overlooking Bing Ads is a mistake far too many advertisers make! Bing Ads is cheaper than ...

and more »

Core and More Technologies Named the #1 PPC Ad Creation Service and ...
SYS-CON Media (press release)
NAPLES, FL--(Marketwired - December 05, 2014) - topppcs.com, the industry's leading independent research firm of paid search marketing vendors, has reported their rankings of the 10 best PPC ad optimization firms for November 2014. New Jersey based ...

and more »

Search Engine Land

How To Grow PPC Revenue Without Tanking ROI
Search Engine Land
It's important that as digital advertisers, we align ourselves with that end goal in our own efforts. As most of my work in pay-per-click advertising is with direct-response campaigns, it's normally pretty easy to measure costs versus profits. What's ...

and more »

How to revamp your failing PPC campaign
iMedia Connection
PPC is an excellent form of internet marketing, but it must be executed to perfection to succeed. Because Google and Bing make it so easy to jump in and start advertising, companies often launch campaigns without following all the necessary steps.


Online cosmetics retailer, Effortless Skin, selects Space 48 to drive pay-per ...
Retail Times
Effortless Skin, one of the UK's leading online retailers of skin care and cosmeceutical products, has appointed digital marketing and e-commerce specialist, Space 48, to drive its pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns. Space 48, an award-winning ...

Google News

Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization ? A Perfect Marriage

Pay per click or search engine optimization, which one should... Read More

The Evolution of Google AdSense

The web has evolved into a complex "organism" which, to... Read More

Know Which Keywords Provide The Best Return

Is it wise only to reley on traffic from the... Read More

Make Free Money With Google

Have you received your check from Google? If you own... Read More

What They Never Told You About Adsense!

That's right! Many webmasters are getting suckered into joining adsense... Read More

How to Tap into the Google AdWords PPC Goldmine?

Dear friends,Google, the most populated search engine on the Internet,... Read More

What Should You Know About Search Engines and Pay-Per-Click?

Here's a fact for you, 85 to 95% of Websites... Read More

Using Google AdWords to Increase your Adsense Profits

I had been using Google's Adsense program to generate some... Read More

How to Maximize Paid Search Results

Because of increasing competition that has led to higher advertising... Read More

99 High Paying Keywords: The Secret Is Out!

Incorporating high paying keywords into your site is critical to... Read More

Pay Per Click 2005: Very Expensive Without Expert Help

Despite being online using email since 1995, at the start... Read More

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pay-per-click Advertising

In this age of speed dialing, T1 lines and other... Read More

Broad, Phrase, Exact, Negative - Four Google AdWords Terms You Must Know for Advertising Success

A few days ago, I was setting up my latest... Read More

The Basics Of Pay Per Click Search Engine Advertising

Not long ago, Forbes magazine has reported that pay per... Read More

Earning from PPC Search Engine Affiliate Programs

What are PPC Search Engines?PPC Search Engines are search engines... Read More

Meet Adwords, AdSenses Fraternal Twin

AdSense is one of the best ways to monetize your... Read More

Optimizing Adsense For Better Performance and More Money!

So you want to make money with Google Adsense? I... Read More

Google Adwords ? Online Riches Without Owning A Website Or Product!

Did you know that you can make money from Google... Read More

Regarding the AdSense Update...

If you haven't yet got a Google AdSense account for... Read More

AdSense Secrets - Joel Comms Google AdSense Guide Reviewed

Joel Comm is the best-selling author of a book called... Read More

Creating Revenue Without Much Effort, Set It And Forget It Online

Earning more revenue from your website is the goal of... Read More

How to Take Advantage of the New Google Adwords Changes

On Friday, July 15th all Google advertisers got the email... Read More

Get Real-time Adsense Channel Stats And Find Out Which Ads Are Being Clicked

If you have multiple sites or multiple directories in your... Read More

Google Adsense: What You Need to Know!

We read about how to develop a Google AdWord campaign,... Read More

AdWords Work: They Really Do!

In 2003 I was accepted by Google into their AdSense... Read More