Getting Started with Pay-Per-Click
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Getting Started with Pay-Per-Click

by Seth Worby

What is pay-per-click? It’s been around for a while, and if you’ve used a search engine, chances are you’ve encountered it, but may not be aware of what
it is. Pay-per-click is a form of advertising through which users purchase sponsored links on SERPs (search engine results pages). You’ve probably
noticed the ads that appear at the top and to the right of the results when you use a search engine. These are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and because
they’re paid, they get priority placement on the search engines. As a result, PPC offers great opportunities for exposing your business and has become
an integral part of many online marketing strategies.

At its heart, pay-per-click is just that – the process of paying search engines when customers click your ads. All of the major search engines offer it,
but the industry standard is held down by Google and its PPC advertising platform, AdWords. AdWords is an easy-to-use interface that was released by
Google in 2000. It allows you to quickly set up sponsored ads and immediately have them begin to display in the SERPs. The benefit of PPC versus organic
SEO is that with PPC you can gain immediate exposure, whereas SEO is often a long process of getting your site to rank in the results naturally. You
can achieve some quick wins with PPC, but it comes at a cost. So it’s important to ensure you set up your campaigns efficiently to get the most bang
for your buck.

Some people refer to PPC as “pay for what you get.” This is because you can control the bid amounts for your keywords to limit or increase exposure. The
more you’re willing to spend and bid, the higher your ad will show in the SERPs. If you aren’t willing to keep up with the competition, chances are
your ad will appear lower in the results or not at all, depending on your budget and bid settings. Nobody likes to waste money, so being strategic
and efficient with your ads is essential to getting the most out of your PPC campaigns. When setting up your PPC campaigns, some of the most important
factors are: keyword research, specific ad group and ad copy creation, landing pages, and match types. By doing the proper keyword research, you can
determine what terms customers are using to search for your industry as well as those terms competitors are bidding on. It’s also important to create
specific, catered ad groups and ad copy so that you can more closely attract and pinpoint what a customer is looking for. This also allows you create
and apply more catered landing pages to bring the customer right to the page they need. Lastly, match types allow you to limit related traffic to your
keywords. “Broad match” allows related searches that are close to your keywords to display your ads; “phrase match” forces the exact keyword to be
present, but allows for additional words either before or after the query; “exact match” is the most limited, allowing your ads to display only when
your exact keywords are searched. By trying out different combinations of the items listed above, you’ll be able to determine the best set up for your
PPC campaigns.

The tools available through Google’s AdWords allow you to constantly tweak campaigns and cater to the end customer, driving traffic to specific pages of
your website. Through Google AdWords and Analytics, you can easily analyze the performance of your keywords and ads, making necessary adjustments on
the fly. This allows for constant testing and experimentation to determine which combinations of keywords, ads, landing pages, and match types yield
the best ROI. By keeping up with the analysis and making continual tweaks for improvement, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful PPC campaign.