The basic goal of any webmaster is to have his or her website found by as many searchers as possible.
Any venture into online marketing involves two major tactics – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and PPC (pay per click advertising). SEO is the art of getting your website noticed and ranked by the major search engines so it can be found by organic (natural) search enquiries. This is discussed in more detail in other sections of this website.
PPC is the favored method used by many Web marketers because it usually guarantees immediate results. The aim of Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine marketing is to drive targeted traffic to your website and that’s exactly what it does if used correctly.
What is Pay Per Click Search Marketing?
A simple definition of Pay Per Click (PPC) is the placement of an ad on a search engine results page or web page that appears for specified keywords or key phrases. The advertiser pays a pre-determined price (or bid amount) whenever a visitor who lands on that page clicks on the ad you have placed there. That’s why they are termed “pay per click” because you only pay when the visitor clicks on your ad.
How to Set Up A PPC Campaign
Your most important considerations in putting together a PPC campaign are how much you intend spending and what keywords you plan on targeting.
Obviously, the larger PPC search engines like Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN have the widest coverage, so the cost for bidding on their keywords is going to be more expensive than if you try the smaller, niche PPC search engines.
Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) provides a free search tool that not only provides you with a wide range of keywords, but also a tool which indicates the current bidding price for those keywords. However, you'll find a better free tool here: http://www.pixelfast.com/overture/. This tool will help you determine how many and which keywords you should plan on using in your campaign.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This free tool gives you a good ROUGH guide. It does not give you sophisticated, accurate research. For example, it combines singular and plural and also combines word order. It shows the same number of searches for "cheap books" and "books cheap", which is nonsense. You need to know which phrases people are REALLY using. For in-depth reviews of keyword research tools, see KeywordWorkshop.com.]
If you are new to the industry, it’s advisable to take it slowly to begin with. Set yourself a small budget and choose keywords that are well searched for and as cheap as possible.
Create a number of versions of your ad so you can split-test them to see which one works most effectively. PPC Marketing requires a good deal of tweaking – especially when you are starting out – so tweak, test and monitor until you find the right word combinations that not only draw you visitors but make the sale.
Running a Profitable PPC Campaign
Your main consideration in running a successful PPC campaign is your return on investment (ROI). The ROI is calculated by working out how much you are making on the click-throughs (and purchases) from your PPC visitors minus the amount you are spending on advertising. If your ROI is low or worse still, negative, you have to tweak your ads to increase traffic or opt for less expensive keywords.
Most PPC search engines automate the bidding process so you only pay the maximum amount required to get you to the top of the search engine listings. However, it is imperative that you follow your own PPC campaigns to ensure you aren’t being out-bid or that the PPC search engine has declined your ad. (This can happen if your original maximum bid price becomes uncompetitive).
Once you have mastered the basics of running a PPC campaign and have discovered the various tools and software available to help you run a profitable campaign, you will be in a position to fine tune your campaigns.
Although PPC marketing is an effective and instantaneous way of generating targeted traffic to your site, it doesn’t work for everyone. Factors like the competition in your market, the cost per bid, the number of actual click-throughs you are getting and your return on investment (ROI) must all be factored into your results.
But when you consider that the only alternative is to wait for your site to be organcially listed and ranked by the major search engines, which could take anywhere from one day to three months or more, running a PPC campaign is certainly a more viable option. Good luck!