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Just What is PPC? How Does it Work?

PPC in the online world stands for "Pay-Per-Click," and it is a form of paid advertising. Advertisers place an ad online and they are charged each time the ad listing is clicked.

In general there are two types of web-based advertising: action-based ads and passive advertising. Some advertising simply displays on a website and the advertiser is charged simply because it is seen (ad "impressions"). Other types are action-based as they require the person viewing the ad to take an action (typically a mouse click).

There are several different types of PPC or action-based ads:

  • Display Ads - These are various types of banner advertising and ads placed in the headers/footers of websites.
  • Remarketing/Retargeting Ads - In a remarketing/retargeting scenario, a user visits a site, a web browser cookie is placed on their computer. As that person visits other sites, the presence of that cookie can cause a display ad to appear on those other sites that reference the website originally visited.
  • Paid Search PPC Ads - These are listings that display on the results pages of search engines such as Google and Bing, or those searching social media sites like Facebook or specialty platforms like LinkedIn and GlassDoor.

What all PPC ads have in common is that, because they are an action-based/action-triggered form of advertising, the ad can display many times to searchers, but the advertiser is only charged when someone physically clicks on the ad, or a link in the ad.

In our judgment, PPC ads are more cost-effective than traditional advertisements where the advertiser is paying for every impression. Passive advertising requires payment even if the ad is being ignored by most of the people seeing it.

Important Aspects of the PPC Management Process

Keyword Targeting. For Paid search ads (probably the most popular type of PPC ad), PPC ad campaigns must begin by researching the best search keywords to target. PPC ads will only display when those keywords are used, so you need to select terms with a sufficiently high volume of searches to drive significant traffic, because not everyone seeing the PPC ad will click on it.

On the other hand, costs will figure into the strategy as well, as the highest search volume keywords will also typically have the highest cost.

Understanding the Bidding System. Search engines like Google use a "bidding" system, where the advertiser, through their advertising account, sets limits on what they are willing to pay for a click on their ad for various keywords.

At the time someone executes a search query using those search terms, the search engines use a complex formula to determine which advertisers have bit on those same terms, the amount they are willing to pay, and how relevant their site may be to those search terms.

Site relevancy is a critical consideration - as Google does not want to display an ad for a furniture restoration service when people are searching for a plumber!.

The "bidding" aspect allows various advertisers to, in effect, compete with each other, as the search engines will typically select advertisers who are willing to pay the most, thereby maximizing profits for the search engine company.

Advertiser Quality Score. But just being the highest bidder does not guarantee more prominent, or more frequent display of ads. The relevance and trustworthiness of the site being promoted as well as the quality of the ad itself - Google actually calculates a quality score based the quality of the ad you are placing, the keywords you are targeting, and the site page you are driving traffic to. A customer with a higher quality score may pay less for their ad placements and get better placement position.

PPC Ad Effectiveness. As the goal is to get searchers to click on a PPC ad link, considerable thought and testing must be carried out to determine the most effective ad - the one that gives you the highest amount of properly targeted traffic. Some major components of ad effectiveness surround:

  1. The wording/phrasing used in the ad text
  2. Information presented: phone number, star ratings, etc.
  3. DOW/TOD: Sometimes ad effectiveness will vary depending on the day of the week (DOW) or time-of-day (TOD) it is displayed.
  4. Colors/Fonts can impact visibility and thereby click-thru rates.

Split (A/B) Testing. As with any other type of advertising, PPC ads can vary greatly in their effectiveness depending on wording, layout, colors, etc. Companies serious about PPC management will set aside some funds in a marketing test budget and run small campaigns, each of them displaying 1 variation of the PPC ad.

Results are then compared across ads to determine which presentation was more effective. Split testing maximizes your ROI by scientifically/statistically determining your most effective ad presentations before large amounts of money are spent. CTR's (click-thru-rates) of all the PPC ads you have running should be carefully and continuously monitored. High CTR ads are the ads that are "working" - your prospects are identifying with them the most.

PPC Management Tips for Landing Page Quality

Many people think that PPC management is just about managing the ads that are out there. But that is only half of the equation.

You see, your PPC ad is designed to do one thing - and one thing only - get people to your target page.

This target site page could be a stand-alone page, or it could be a page that is a part of a much larger site. Either way, it is commonly referred to as a landing page, because your traffic is directed there - traffic "lands" there, where they will be exposed to your message in more detail.

The Power of "One". The field of composing effective landing pages is a study unto itself. We can supply you with more detailed help in this area if you need it, but one effective, and easily-understood strategy to get you thinking about improving your landing page involves the "power of one" principle:

  1. One PROBLEM - Landing page effectiveness is diluted when you try to focus on one issue or problem at a time. Your ad copy will have more "punch" if you choose a specific issue or problem to focus on rather than several.
  2. One SOLUTION - No matter how complex the problem, and despite perhaps having different options available to solve the issue that the customer faces, focus on one of them. Ideally, this should be the solution that will give the customer the greatest benefit, at the lowest cost, in the shortest amount of time.
  3. One ACTION - If you want the reader to buy your widget, supply them with a "BUY NOW" or "ADD TO CART" button. If you want them to complete an inquiry form, give them a link. If you want them to register for dashboard access, tell them to CLICK THIS LINK TO REGISTER.

Could MY Site Benefit From PPC Management?

Yes, you might be wondering: "Would my site be a good candidate for PPC management?" Here are some typical scenarios where PPC is a good fit.

Brand-New Websites. An excellent candidate for PPC advertising is a website that has just been established. As this type of site has no history with the search engines it is not likely to have any presence in the SERP's. And even when the site is finally indexed it will not rank very highly. PPC can drive traffic to your site until your other SEO and marketing efforts can gain traction.

Limited Funding Situations. Perhaps you have an established site but your business income has dropped. PPC advertising can bring quick results if the campaign is properly structured and testing is carried out. PPC ensures that you get the maximum ROI for the money spent, as every dime goes into securing actual clicks on your ad, and you are not paying for passive displays of it.

Regardless if your site is new with no SERP's visibility or you are in a limited funding situation, once your PPC management is generating income for the business, a portion of that can be set aside for conducting future organic (SERP's-focused) SEO campaigns.

One important caveat: some PPC search terms can be very expensive to bid on and could quickly exhaust your advertising budget. So you should take care to target search terms that have sufficient search volume and convert well but that do not break your budget.

This research and planning can get quite complex, so we highly recommend an onboarding call to explore what options are available to you, before starting a new PPC campaign, or modifying an existing one.

Just Beginning Organic SEO. Another typical scenario where PPC is often necessary is when organic SEO campaigns are just being started. This could be the case when launching a brand-new site, or for existing sites where SEO has never been attempted.

Organic SEO is extremely effective when the campaigns are properly designed and executed.

But organic SEO takes time - measured in weeks, or even months - to produce results. Until high organic rankings have been achieved PPC advertising can serve as your lifeline revenue stream.

Sites Under a Penalty or Demoted in the SERP's. Sites that have been demoted in the search engine results pages or those under a penalty can cause a crisis for any business. The sudden loss of traffic - and the revenue it provides - can throw your whole future into doubt.

It can take time to diagnose the reasons or causes why your site has come under a penalty or has been demoted in rankings.

And even when the problem has been identified and modifications have been made it can still be some time before a significant recovery of rankings has been achieved.

Keeping traffic incoming to your site via PPC advertising can provide you with the income to keep your business afloat and make funds available to fix the problem(s), and give your site the time it needs to recover its former rankings and traffic levels.

Sites With Excellent Organic Rankings. Finally, even sites who have already achieved excellent organic rankings for some search terms may still utilize PPC.

For one thing, PPC can provide, ultimately, an income boost that can help to fund new organic SEO work, perhaps targeting additional related niches or keyword search terms, especially those with higher levels of competition.

Professional PPC management can, for seasonal businesses, help bring in traffic during the off-seasons of the year, when some sales are possible but direct traffic to your site from the SERP's has dropped for a few months.

The most successful online businesses today realize that it is not a case of PPC versus Organic SEO, but PPC and Organic SEO tactics that can bring the greatest rewards, as both PPC and organic SEO each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

What is Smart PPC?

Smart PPC is a completely hands-off approach to planning, strategizing, executing, and managing your paid acquisition efforts on Google. Through innovative processes and strategic implementation, we will lead the way towards achieving a profitable PPC campaign.

A Strategy for ANY Goal.

Every Smart PPC client will receive a customized strategy that aligns with your business & your goals. There are several different campaign types that we can leverage to fit your business:

  • Lead Gen - Get qualified leads to fill our your webpage forms.
  • Inbound Calls - Get customers to call you.
  • Retargeting Campaigns - Retargeting enables you to "follow" your website visitors around the web.
  • Google Shopping Campaigns - Get your products seen to grow sales and revenue.

Proven Landing Page Expertise.

With over $100 million in managed PPC spend, we will leverage our unique insights to build high-converting landing pages that maximize conversions while also lowering costs.

Expert Staff - Transparent Reporting.

With Smart PPC, you will get a dedicated campaign manager who is a Google Ads Certified paid traffic expert to work directly on your campaigns.

Finally, with Smart PPC, you get reconcilable and transparent reporting with no vanity metrics so that you always know what's happening with your campaigns.

Getting Started with Posirank's Smart PPC Service

If you are interested in exploring more about our Smart PPC service, or just have general questions about PPC management, please feel free to contact us - booking a consultation session is the best way, but you can also telephone, email or submit our web inquiry form. We are waiting to hear from you today!

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