Mastering PPC: What is PPC?

Paid Per Click, Paid Search, Search Engine Marketing, Cost per Click Marketing are all synonyms for the method of gaining traffic by purchasing keywords on various search engines (most commonly Google or Bing) and driving the user to click on your ad. The steps for PPC are rather forthright. First, you compile a list of relevant keywords to your business or product. A keyword is defined as a word or phrase that a user can type into the engine targeting your ad to appear. Then, you bid on those terms by auction, the rationale being the higher you bid in correlation with your competitors, the higher your ad will appear on the page therefore making your ad more likely to be clicked.  Here is an example of paid per click ads:


As insinuated above, bidding is on a cost per click basis in most cases. This means that you only pay when a user actually clicks on your ad and is directed to your site’s landing page. One benefit of paid search is the ability to target as generally or granularly as you wish.

For example;

You’re a travel company that offers reduced rates on airfare and hotels. If you were looking to target a broad audience to create brand awareness you may bid on a keyword like “cheap vacations” – meaning anytime anyone typed “cheap vacations” to the search bar whether it be those words exactly or variations of those words, your ad would appear. A more granular approach would be , if you were running a special to Mexico and looking to target the working class between the hours of 5-9pm, on the east coast, who are just searching for the term “Cheap vacation to Mexico” – you could do that too.

Another benefit of paid search is the results can be very calculated. Like a mathematics equation, one could argue that if you perform X, Y, and Z in your search campaign, then your campaigns have the ability to yield a sale or lead. This of course is contingent on budget and relevancy but assuming you have the money and you’re bidding on terms that are relevant to your business – PPC could be an extremely effective way for you to see up front results.

Overall, before diving into PPC, SEO or any online marketing strategy you should be asking yourself; What are the goals for my website? and Who am I trying to target?  Answering those questions before beginning a PPC campaign can help develop a more effective and efficient campaign from the start and set a foundation for success in the future.

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