Buying your way to
the top with Pay Per Click Advertising
Imagine if you could advertise directly to ONLY those
people who have actually expressed an interest
business with you.
That is basically what
happens whenever a prospective customer or client
types a phrase into a search engine which is
relevant to your business. But how do search
engines decide which sites are actually worthy
of the topmost placements in their search results?
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
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC
for short) is an online advertising format which
to buy your way to the top of search results
pages, for search phrases that are relevant to
your business. Basically businesses buy advertising
phrases, and are then charged each time a person
clicks through to their web site.
So how does this work?
Try running a search on a major search engine
like Yahoo or Google for
a common consumer product such as “DVD
reviewing the results, you’ll likely see
a set of results labeled as “Sponsor
Results” or “Sponsored
Link”. Some results might appear in
the same format as the main search results on
while others might be listed within colored text
boxes along the side of the page. All of these
are paid advertisements from the sites
listed within the ads.
The adverts are ranked based
upon how much a business
is willing to pay to advertise using 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 advertiser in 2nd position.
The ads are
purchased through pay per click advertising suppliers,
and the two largest happen
to be owned by Google and Yahoo.
program is called Adwords and
displays results on Google.com, AOL, Ask Jeeves,
and 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? Bear in mind that
you can choose exactly which 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
The main factors influencing just how much
money can be spent on a PPC campaign
- How many searches are conducted per month
using phrases relevant to your business?
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 pay per click 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 responsible for generating the most sales
or leads for your business. Beyond that, you
you spent on a specific advert 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
- You should advertise on a large number
of relevant search phrases. Brainstorm beyond
that come to mind when you describe your business.
Advertise on the terms used to describe your
products, using the product names, the product
codes, and the questions a prospect might type
engine that your services answer, and more.
- Create unique ads for each search
phrase. It takes a lot more time to write a unique
for every search phrase relevant to your business
instead of creating one ad for all of your
search phrases, but the extra work will in
time definitely pay off. Ads that are "aligned"
with the corresponding search term will receive
clicks, which then results in more targeted
traffic, and in some cases results in paying
less per click (on Google Adwords) due to the
intricacies of how the advertising is priced.
- Direct visitors to the most appropriate
page of your web site. If you place an ad for a
product within your online store, don’t
send visitors to your homepage this just forces
them to dig for what they just searched! This
only frustrate your visitors and increase the
chance that they’ll simply hit the dreaded
- Track your results. Spending
your money without measuring the return on
make good business practice. At the very least,
you should consider installing the free tracking
tools that are available through Google
Adwords and Overture to
measure which terms are delivering the best
results for your
business. Beyond that, consider using a third-party
statistics tool with conversion analysis to
results of your various pay per click advertising
programs into one easy-to-manage interface.
People are searching for what your business
sells at this very moment! If your site is not
the top of the results, your competition thanks
Author: Ed Kohler is the President
of Haystack In A Needle, Inc., a web marketing
in Minneapolis, MN, offering search engine
optimization and pay per click advertising