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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Search Engine Marketing: Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns or paid search listings are one of the fastest ways to gain visibility for your website. So how does it work?

Let's start with identifying what a PPC listing actually is. When you search on Google for anything, you'll notice a shaded box at the top of the page with a few listings and a list of rectangular ads running down the right hand side of your screen. You may have also noticed "sponsored links" on websites you visit. These are all examples of PPC listings. In other words, people have paid to have their ad listed in these spots by bidding on certain keyword phrases.

Sounds complicated, right? It's really fairly easy if you've got some time to do a little research first. Some popular programs include Google's AdWords, and Yahoo!'s Sponsored Search. Once you choose your program, you're off and running.

The first step to an effective PPC campaign is researching the key phrases people might use to find your website. (Sounds eerily similar to SEO, I know!) You can do this yourself if you're willing to spend the time and money to learn another tool such as wordtracker or another keyword research tool.

Most PPC programs have some sort of research component to them. There are also plenty of internet marketing consultants who gladly do this task and much more for you for a fee.

After you've identified which keywords are best, it's time to set your budget and see which you can afford. Your placement on a Google or Yahoo search results page is determined by the amount you're willing to bid for someone to click on your ad.

The minimum amount is dependent on how competitive your industry is in the PPC market. Minimum bids can range from $0.05 to $15+ per click. Some of the more competitive - and thus expensive - markets include mortgage and realty.

Once you've set your keywords and set your budget it's time to create your ads. Much like a website, make them compelling and have the overall goal in mind. If you want to target a specific geographic area or certain demographic, this is the place to do it.

Now that you've created your ads, chosen your keywords and set your budget you're ready to launch the campaign. Keep in mind that while you'll never go over budget in a given month, your ads will stop running once you've reached your set budget. So don't overlook the research and choose wisely!

1 comment:

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