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How Does Pay Per Click Advertising Work?

Pay per click advertising is one of the quickest ways to generate traffic to your site. In essence it is how you get your advert to appear on the top of a search engine results page.  To achieve that result organically, without paying for it, requires time and specialist knowledge.  You need to be a web expert with an intimate understanding of search algorithms and how websites are put together.  Pay per click advertising means you can achieve that result quickly and without a development specialist.

How does PPC work?

In a nutshell the process for PPC advertising  like this:

If you sell and deliver organic vegetables you could select for your campaign the keywords, “organic vegetables delivered”.  When a potential customer does a search with the words, “organic vegetables delivered” your advert could appear at the top of their search results.  They can then click on your advert which takes them directly to your landing page/ website and you can potentially complete the transaction.  You pay the Search Engine the agreed price for that click. In some cases you might have some competition for this ” search phrase”  and then other factors come into play, like the quality of your website, your bid price and so on, but these are all factors your marketing company can help you with.

Keywords are, well, key!

It all starts with Keywords.  It is imperative to find the right keyword for your advert and your business, and this requires constant testing and evaluation.  Once you have selected your keywords, you then bid for them against other buyers.   It seems intuitive that you should choose broad keywords that will get you the most traffic: in this example that could be “organic” or “vegetables”.  In reality, however, it would be expensive to buy such a keyword. It would also be too broad and would not attract real traffic that you can convert into a customer.

What’s good about Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click advertising is effective and beneficial because it can yield immediate results.  It is so fast that within minutes of enabling your account, you could be generating traffic.  And if it is not working, you can very quickly adjust direction.  It works well for issue- or campaign-based traffic.  If you have a particular product or event, such as a sale or an opening, you can generate interest and demand and make it a talking point. If you have an online store it can be an excellent way to convert a search into an actual transaction.

Conversions count, not clicks!

When working with pay per click advertising it is important to remember that it is not the number of clicks that are important but the number of conversions.  This means being able to get a potential customer to your site, and getting them to complete the action you want. It could be calling you, downloading an app or a registration form, or actually buying a product.  If you are not getting a customer to do what you intended, then your marketing money is not being well spent.  The different Search Engines provide analytics programmes that will enable you to track your conversion rate so that you can make tweaks to your campaign accordingly.

What is a “quality score” and why does it matter?

Search Engines care about the experience of the user.  Did the user’s search lead them to the information they were looking for?  To be more specific, by using this keyword, and clicking on your advert, did the user find what they were looking for?

The Search Engine awards a quality score to each keyword in your account and is an indication of how highly it regards your advert. The following is taken into account when calculating your quality score:

  • The quality of your advert
    How effective is your advert?  Is it well written?  Does it contain your keywords?
  • The performance of your advert
    How well does it perform? When it appears on the search engine results page, do people click on it?
  • The quality of your landing page
    How good is the page on which you land once you have clicked on your advert?  Does it contain your keyword?  Does it provide an answer to the search?

Your quality score is important because it will affect the ranking of your advert, and it also determines how much you pay per click.  If your quality score is high, your cost per click could be reduced by as much as 30%.

In a nutshell

To make the most of pay per click advertising, have a clear objective of what you are trying to achieve.  Set a sensible budget where you are spending less than the profit you are making. Choose your keywords with care.  Measure your conversion and tweak your keywords based on your progress. Write a first-rate advert and make sure you have a high-quality landing page.

Pay per click advertising could be just what you need to get noticed and find more clients.

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