Friday, September 21, 2007

Pay Per Click Advertising

from : Wendy Boswell

Pay Per Click Advertising - What Is It?

Pay-per-click advertising (purchasing sponsored links on search engine results pages) is often pitched as a stop-gap measure while waiting for a search engine optimization campaign to take effect. But I would argue that pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be an integral, ongoing part of any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.

Benefits of a Pay Per Click Advertising Program
  • Speed: PPC listings can be launched very quickly. Unlike organic SEO, there’s no need to wait for the search engines’ spiders to perform a deep crawl of your site.
  • Reach: PPC provides additional traffic to your site. It is particularly effective for highly competitive search phrases where it may be extremely difficult to get a top 10 organic listing. You can save your SEO effort for more fruitful targets and use PPC to get on that top results page.
  • ROI (return on investment): PPC can be extensively tracked. Statistics like Cost-per-conversion are quite valuable for comparing your campaign ROI against other marketing tactics. Furthermore, this data is reported to you accurately and quickly.
  • Experimentation: When researching potential search phrases, you will likely find some that are a good match for your website. But typically there are others that are intriguing but questionable. Do you want to risk optimizing your site for marginal terms, only to find that the conversion rates for these visitors are dismal and the resulting leads are unlikely to be customers? PPC campaigns provide a low-risk test bed for keywords, enabling you to determine if a full site optimization campaign is worthwhile.

What's the catch in a pay per click advertising campaign?
The relative drawbacks of PPC are cost and longevity. Some PPC keywords are highly competitive (and therefore costly). And unlike SEO efforts which can yield free traffic for years, PPC traffic will last only as long as you continue to pay for it.

Tips for a Successful Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign

Have a well-defined keyword strategy. This starts with a rigorous keyword analysis. If you are unsure of how to do this, or lacking access to database tools, you may want to consult a professional. Your keyword strategy is where you’ll decide which keywords to optimize for and which to bid for with PPC.

Launch with one platform first. While you may want your PPC ads to get maximum exposure, I recommend launching with one PPC provider initially. There is some administrative overhead that goes with each PPC system, particularly when disallowed ads are factored in. With some PPC providers, it’s not uncommon to have more than 25% of your ads rejected, requiring multiple revisions.

Test, test, test Once you’ve rolled out a batch of PPC ads, monitor progress for about a month. By then you should have a good idea of which keywords are working and which aren’t. You should also have a good idea of what creative/landing page combinations are earning the best conversion rates. This is your opportunity to test whether those questionable keywords are worthy of an SEO effort.

Extend the campaign. Armed with performance info, you can now roll out your campaign to other PPC providers. The PPC ad creative may not be directly applicable because of different character count limitations, but you’ll have a good idea of what to do with more or less words. You can also stagger implementation of each PPC provider, using campaign insights to further refine your approach.

Pay Per Click Advertising Programs
Here are some good pay per click programs you might want to check into:

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