What "exactly" is Pay Per Click (PPC) is a question we get asked more often than you would expect. I can teach you all you need to know about PPC so read on!
By the way the information on this page of the website is aimed squarely at people with little or no PPC knowledge, but I offer more advanced learning and training options in other areas of the website so be sure to check those out once you have the basics covered.
Well firstly if you look at the image below it's a screen shot of my computer when I've gone to Google and pretended I'm looking for information on garden sheds.
I've typed in "garden sheds" in the search box and these are the results that have been presented to me. Firstly let me say that the search term I've typed in is what we call a "Keyword" in PPC and search engine language, even though in this example it's two words.
If I'd typed in "buy a garden shed online" that would still be known as a keyword although four word search terms or more are often referred to as "long tail keywords" or a "keyword phrase".
Anyway back to the picture, I've used a red box to highlight the important bits so have a look at the image and read on underneath the image.
So you will notice the search box at the top with the keyword typed in it, (garden sheds) and then underneath the search results that Google has returned for me to look at.
Now Google's search engine is a massively impressive tool, it has the ability to check out all the web pages on the internet and index them and organise them so it knows what each webpages content is about.
When you then ask it a question: "garden sheds" it then quickly serves up the most relevant pages for your search. Google is just trying to answer your query as best it can. So those websites listed underneath the big red box in the centre are the ones Google considers most relevant to my enquiry.
However Google and other search engines make their millions via it's advertising revenue and this means that it allows advertisers to place adverts on it's search engine pages.
So the website owners who are paying to appear on the first page are the ones listed as "Ad related to Garden sheds" or "sponsored" or just "ads". I've just highlighted them in the red boxes to make it easier for you to spot them.
I talk to lot's of small to medium sized business owners who are interested in starting a website or promoting one they already have and you'd be amazed how many actually didn't realise that there were adverts in the search results at all.
Why exactly should you be using PPC to promote your website, what are the added benefits over other areas of website promotion such as Search Engine Optimisation and traditional forms of advertising?
The first thing to say is that it is without doubt the quickest way of getting potential customers to your website. I don't suggest you do it in a rush but I could if I wanted to set up a basic PPC campaign in less than 15 minutes.
Generally I take many hours researching "Keywords" and deciding on which keywords to have in which ad campaign. Also writing "eye catching" top converting adverts takes time but even so it is massively quicker than just waiting around for Google to decide that your website is so good that it deserves to be on Page 1 for your top "Keyword" for free in the natural listings.
Perhaps that should be less gamble, because if you don't know what you are doing you can make expensive mistakes. The online world has literally thousands of people/companies who have tried PPC and given up after a month as it was "too expensive".
The truth is it isn't expensive if you do it right and the real gamble with advertising is things like paying up front for magazine or newspaper Ads. Also what about paying upfront for TV & Radio Ads, that's a gamble when you have absolutely no idea how many people will visit your website as a result of your advertising budget.
With PPC you only pay when someone clicks on your advert. The clue is in the name "Pay per Click".
Where is the gamble in that? You agree a price of what you are prepared to pay for each person that the search engine sends to your website through the ad it's as simple as that.
If you can set up the account properly so each visitor is viewing your website at a price that's economically viable based on your conversion rate of visitors to customers then it's a guaranteed winner.
To help with what I just talked about above the PPC campaign gives you full statistics on impressions (how many times your ad is shown), Clicks, Costs, even Conversions if set up correctly.
In summer you can add adverts for specific lines such as air conditioners, fans etc. then turn them off when the heat wave is over. Alternatively through the winter months snow shovels and winter clothing can be advertised. PPC offers total flexibility at a moments notice.
Getting your website on the front page of Google through the natural search listings (Search Engine Optimisation, SEO) takes a lot of time and effort and furthermore you have no real control over it. Google and only Google decides who gets the top spots and you can work for years on it with absolutely no guarantee of success.
I personally think that this article is absolutely brilliant and should appear at the top of Google for the search term "What is Pay per Click?" but it doesn't because this is a relatively new page on a website that isn't owned by some multinational company.
If I so choose however I could bid on the Keyword "What is Pay Per Click" and be top of the first page of Google inside 10 minutes.
So if you go to page 2 of "What is Pay Per Click" I will explain in more detail the next steps, and some of the basics of setting up a campaign.
This article about "What is PPC? is in two parts and comes with a 2 part accompanying Video, part one is immediately below.