PPC in full means Pay-per-click. It refers to an internet model for advertising used to direct traffic to websites. An advertiser of a certain product pay’s a publisher, usually the owner of the website or a network of various websites when the ad is clicked. In the event that as a website owner who wants to boost traffic to your website, you are faced with two basic options which include: Pay-per-click advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A user pays for traffic using PPC advertising programs which are provided by Google Adwords, Microsoft Bing ads and Yahoo Search Marketing among others.
Advertisers basically use search engines to bid on keyword phrases that are relevant or suitable for their target market. However, content sites mostly charge a fixed price for every click rather than using a bidding system. Banner ads appear in websites with content related to what the internet user is looking for or browsing through. They typically aren’t PPC advertising. Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have utilized PPC as their most commonly used advertising model.
Websites that use PPC ads display an advertisement when a keyword search matches the advertiser’s list of keywords. It also happens when a content site shows content that is relevant. These types of advertisements are referred to as sponsored ads or sponsored links. They normally appear above or below the organic result on the result pages found in a search engine or a location a web developer chooses on a content site. It should be noted however that this advertising model is prone to abuse through click fraud. Google have responded to this by putting measures in place to try and counter this problem like automated systems. This takes care of the abusive clicks brought about by either competitors or corrupt web developers.
Search Engine PPC
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Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows the advertisers to bid for the placement of ads in the sponsored links of search engines. These sponsored links appear when someone searches using a keyword that matches the advertiser’s chosen target. Every time an advertiser’s ad is clicked by a user, they have to pay Google a small fee. The click directs the visitor to the advertiser’s page where if the visitor buy’s products or takes the required action there has been a positive transactional benefit to running the paid advert.
A good PPC advertising campaign, however, doesn’t come easily as it involves wide research necessary in selecting the right keywords and further organizing the keywords into ad groups. The advertiser further needs to set up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions. If done correctly, advertisers with relevant , well phrased and targeted PPC campaigns are rewarded by being charged less for their ad clicks. This, in turn, gives the best opportunity for leads to increase and revenue for the advertiser’s business.
Google Adwords is the most widely used PPC advertising System around. The platform enables advertisers to create ads that usually appear on the search engine and other Google properties. Adwords operate on a PPC model whereby users bid on keywords and later on pay for each and every click on their advertisements. When a normal internet user searches for something, Google looks into the pool of advertisers with Adwords and selects a group of “winners” who will appear in the enviable ad space on Google search result page. The winners are chosen based on many factors which include the relevance or quality of their keywords and the size of keyword bids. In effect to this, there is usually an advertiser’s ad rank that gets to choose who appears on the Google search page. Ad rank is calculated by multiplying CPC Bid and Quality Score. CPC Bid refers to the highest amount that an advertiser wishes or is willing to spend. Quality Score, on the other hand, refers to a value which takes into account the advertiser’s click-through rate, his relevance and the quality of the landing page. The system basically works like an auction. Through this system, the advertisers can reach their potential customers at a reasonable cost.
Using Adwords can be vital to a business especially in the early stages of a website, or the launch of a new product, or a short campaign for a seasonal offer because Google gets a lot of traffic and consequently delivers the required impressions and clicks to the advertiser’s ads. A business can make the most out of Adwords by laying emphasis on keyword relevance, Landing Page Quality and Quality Score as discussed above. Google Adwords is a fast and simple way that an advertiser can use to expand the reach of his/her website. It is popular because it offers instant results and potebtially big rewards in terms of profits. When users or potential customers search for an item the results are assessed and ranked by Google. The closest match appears higher up on the page.
The bidding process can be useful if the advertiser uses automatic bidding when starting out. This keeps the bidding process simple. It gets easier to take control of your investment because you can set a maximum cost-per-click rate. This prevents the system from spending more than the advertiser’s budget per keyword. An advertiser should have Unique Selling Point (USP) which puts his business a cut above the rest. The choice of words should stand out. Unless the goal of the advertiser is brand awareness, he should avoid using the company name in ad titles. Bid-based PPC requires that the advertiser signs a contract which enables them to compete against fellow advertisers hosted by an advertising network. An advertiser gives information on the maximum amount he or she wishes to pay for a specific ad spot. All bids are then compared and a winner chosen as discussed above.
Keyword research can be a challenge if you don’t follow the necessary or recommended steps to do the research. There are several factors to be considered by the advertiser when researching for keywords. Successful advertisers who use AdSense know why it is important to do a thorough research; it pays well. Nothing good comes easy. They do this by regularly growing and refining their keyword list. Failure to constantly update or having a limited PPC keyword list research could leave an advertiser or business missing out on thousands of important low cost and high-tail relevant keywords. These keywords could be driving traffic to the advertiser’s site. A good PPC keyword list should be relevant, exhaustive and expansive. By being relevant, it means that the advertiser doesn’t have to pay for web traffic that isn’t related in any way to the target group.
The advertiser’s aim is to increase profits and to do this; has to find targeted keywords that will convert to a high PPC click-through rate. The exhaustive aspect means that the research should not only include terms that are popular or most searched but also research long-tail keywords. This is because long-tail keywords are more specific and they contribute greatly to a lot of search-driven traffic. They are also less competitive and cheap as a result of that. An advertiser also needs to constantly refine and expand his paid advertising campaigns for the keywords to grow and adapt to changes. Regular managing of keyword campaigns is important thereafter. This ensures that they continue to be effective. Adjustments are necessary and may include adding PPC keywords and negative keywords, split ad groups, reviewing costly or expensive PPC keywords and refine landing pages.
Google merchant is a product of Google that allows a business to promote its products online. It allows a business to upload his/her store and product data to Google and avails it to Google shopping and other services by Google. In order for a business to advertise its product on Google Shopping, it first needs to reserve Product Listing Ads with Google. This service is paid for and is powered by Google Adwords and one pays per click when advertising his/her products on Google Shopping.
Google shopping enables shoppers to conveniently find a business’ products on Google. This enables the business to attract more potential buyers and control his/her product information enabling customers to find the relevant and current items that they are looking for. Currently, Google shopping is available in a few countries that include UK, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the US. By linking a business’ Adwords and Google Merchant center accounts, he/she will be able to surface his products directly to shoppers using Shopping ads. To use Google Merchant Center, one must first sign up with Google and create an account. The products advertised should, however, comply with the specifications provided by Google Merchant Center. It is available in Regular, Deluxe, Plus and Super account levels.
Google analytics is a service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. In other words, it is a freemium web analytics service. It was launched in 2005 after Google acquired Urchin. It now boasts to be the most widely used service for web analytics on the internet. Google Analytics is offered in two more version one being Google Analytics 360 targeted to enterprise users. The other one is Google Analytics for Mobile Apps which allows the gathering of usage data from iOS and Android Apps. Google Analytics is integrated with Adwords to enable users to review online campaigns. The users can do this by tracking the quality of landing page and goals. Goals range from sales viewing a specific page to downloading a specific page. The approach that Google Analytics uses is to display high-level data for casual users and more detailed data in the report set. This can easily identify poorly performing pages by using techniques such as funnel visualizations, referrers and how long they were in their geographical position. The e-commerce report tracks performance and sales activity showing a site’s revenue and transactions.
Google Analytics Cohort analysis is significant as it helps one to understand the demeanor of component groups which is vital to analysts and marketers for effective marketing strategy implementation. Google Analytics, however, has its own challenges. A lot of ad filtering programs and extensions e.g. Firefox’s NoScript and Adblock can lock the tracking code preventing some traffic and users from the process of being tracked. This leads to loopholes in the data collected. Of importance also is to note that without cookies being set, Google Analytics will be unable to collect any data. Privacy is also a big concern to Google Analytics due to its ubiquity. Despite the few problems, Google Analytics is quite popular among websites. Currently, it is used on approximately 55% of the 10000 most widely used or popular websites around the world.
Using paid traffic on a new site or to launch new products can help with SEO and compliment it thus getting the right audience. Traffic is a ranking factor and using paid ads to drive in traffic at the start helps get activity on the site which coupled with good on page SEO can have a positive impact on your website position in the Search Engine Results Pages. This blend can be very powerful especially when your PPC campaign team and your SEO team share information and make strategic decisions based on the analytics data that is available very quickly from paid campaigns.
Paid traffic has the right mobile experience. Smartphones have taken over in terms of internet use. A lot of people access their favorite websites using their smartphones or tablets today with causing a decline in the number of computer related searches. A mobile site, therefore, must be mobile ready in design and user experience. Google is constantly adjusting its metrics for gauging if a website is providing the best experience and mobile optimized websites are far better off in the search engine results than non-mobile.
In conclusion finding a blend between paid search and longer term SEO activities can pay dividends especially if your PPC and SEO teams are sharing information to optimize each other’s activities.
Focus on providing great user experience in terms of your page load speed, website working on mobile devices and providing value to the reader.
Build your brand and build your reputation as an authority in your industry.