Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising , which is also known as pay per performance or paid search, remains one of the quickest and direct ways of promoting your business, and driving targeted traffic to your website.
While it would be nice to achieve high natural (free) search engine rankings; organic rankings do take some time to take effect. And, with tens of thousands of website owners all competing for the same keyword search term, it's a challenging prospect (and quite a rare one) to achieve top spot rankings for a popular search term, based solely on organic SEO.
How Does Pay-Per-Click Advertising Work?
PPC is simple really. Search engines like Google make their money by selling advertising space to website owners, and is generally the space you see running down the right hand side of the search results page, and across the top of the page; highlighted in blue. To get your website listed here, you have to pay, or bid against competitors for keywords; However you only actually pay the search engine each time a visitor clicks through to your website from the search engine. This is basically what Pay Per Click advertising is.
It is worth noting that you will only ever pay up to the maximum bid you place for each search term; generally speaking the higher you bid for a keyword, the more likely you are to appear highly in the search results. In addition, within Google, the position of your Ad will depend on its "Quality Score" (calculated from many factors), this specified how relevant the Ad is to the search term. So in other words, by establishing a good quality score, you can move up the search listings paying a fraction of the price you would have otherwise. This is one of the reasons good management of keywords is essential.
The main benefit of Pay Per Click advertising, compared to relying solely on organic SEO, is that PPC ads can be live in a matter of minutes. With your website up and running, and armed with a credit card, you're on your way to advertising on the web's top search engines in no time. The key perk is that you control the budget.
PPC Advertising Programs: Google AdWords & Overture
There are two major pay-per-click advertising programs; Google AdWords and Overture (owned by Yahoo). Both services aim to deliver targeted, quality traffic from its own search engines and quality partner sites, and have recently introduced a number of beneficial features such as profit tracking and 'return on ad-spend' statistical features-very beneficial for those of you who Don't have your own e-commerce team.
Google Adwords is possibly the most popular service, one of the main reasons being that Overture has confused many of its advertisers and prospective customers by renaming its products numerous times.
Self Managed PPC Campaigns or SEO Consultants?
Many advertisers have problems converting click-through's into sales, and others have no difficulties at all. A major factor contribution to the amount of profit your PPC campaign makes, is how well it is managed.
To produce profitable click-through's you must be able to select and bid on the right, and relevant keywords that target your potential customer. Some keywords have extremely high bidding prices, so you need to be able to recognize if it is really going to be profitable to compete at such a high price. Will it not be just as profitable to bid a lot less and achieve a lower position ?, say fourth place? Experienced PPC professionals are very talented in this field, and can ensure you get the most out of your advertising spend. So, if you're not confident; A custom managed PPC campaign by an SEO professional is probably the best approach to take. Pay Per Click professionals also have mathematical modeling tools that can manage, and filter out keywords that are not performing.
The key to profitable Pay Per Click campaigns is targeting the right searcher, with the right keywords. Professionals in the field of SEO can invest the time and experience required to effectively manage PPC campaigns, in this now highly competitive, and forever changing arena.