Getting noticed on the internet amidst tough competition can be a challenging task for new businesses. Crawling up to the top position in search results by organic means can take an eternity in spite of effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). An alternate method to deal with this is advertising on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Given a combination of ample budget and a proper ad campaign, businesses can gain the top spot on the SERP by placing ads.
PPC or Pay-Per-Click is an internet advertising model usually employed by search engines in which advertisers can display their ad on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and the search engine charges a small fee when someone clicks their ad. Hence ‘Pay-Per-Click’. This is equivalent to buying traffic for your website rather than waiting patiently like alligators and let your prey come to you.
Advertisement through PPC is done by a bidding process where advertisers can bid on certain keywords. These keywords when entered by a user running a search will show your ad to the user. If the user clicks your ad and follows the link to your website the search engine charges you the amount which you’ve bid. Having a maximum bid may help you rise to the top spot but only to an extent. Because quality score of your ad affects the performance of your ad. So unless you’ve followed all the rules to achieve a good quality score, be prepared to burn through your budget in no time.
For more on Quality Score and AdRank, click here.
PPC advertising is fast and gives you results within minutes of your campaign going live. Sometimes even before your coffee goes cold. This means if you need any adjustments to your campaign you can do it right away. You have complete control over your campaign, so you can pull the strings whenever you want and modify your campaign to suit changing customer behaviour and search trends.
With PPC advertising you can target specific users who are looking for specific stuff on the internet. There’s no point in advertising your limited edition ‘Iron Man’ action figure to someone who is looking for a mother’s day gift. With PPC advertising you can narrow down your targeted user base so you can generate more meaningful traffic where there’s a higher chance of a purchase.
Importance of Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of your entire PPC campaign. They are the first tools the user employs when he raises a query on the search engine which leads him to view your advertisement and eventually land on your page. So it is extremely important to manage them on a regular basis.
It is logical to have relevant keywords to your ad campaign which will mean your ad will be shown against relevant search queries. If you keep advertising woollen socks to people who are looking for beach wear against their search queries you can say goodbye to the investment on your campaign. You’ll keep paying for clicks from random people without generating any sales. So keep your keywords relevant to your business.
Long Tail Keywords
There’s something called long tail keywords which helps you narrow down your targeted users further. For example, if you use search for the word ‘socks’ you’ll find hundreds of results for the same thing. Being a very common search result for a vague keyword it’s ridiculously crowded up there. Means more competition. It is nearly impossible for your business to display at the top unless you pay through the nose. But if you specialise in selling a particular type of socks, for example, ‘cashmere woollen socks’ then with keywords like ‘cable-knit-cashmere-woollen-socks’ you have a higher chance of hitting the top position for specific searches such as these. These are long tail keywords. They can also draw meaningful traffic to your website which can convert into sales.
Sometimes it’s also necessary to block unnecessary traffic which you know won’t generate any sales. Why would you attend people dialling wrong numbers on your line every time? With PPC advertising you have the ability to block irrelevant keywords so that you don’t pay for traffic being generated due to negative keywords drawing in leads which definitely won’t convert to sales.
Managing the campaign
Your landing page has to be appropriate to your advertisement. This helps you maintain a quality score. So it’s essential to refine it as much as possible. A good quality score means you have to spend lesser for the same performance of your ad.
Do not set up your campaign and forget. An ad campaign needs constant attention like a pet. Manage your keywords from time to time. What’s trending now may be old school tomorrow. So keep your campaign up to date. Review your keywords to check if the bid has dropped for top keywords so you can use them. Monitor search patterns and modify your campaign accordingly.
Available platforms for PPC
Undoubtedly the topmost platform for PPC marketing is Google AdWords, owned by the search giant. The search traffic coming to Google is insanely huge which can be used to generate massive leads with an optimised ad campaign.
The second most used search engine is Bing. Microsoft runs its own advertising platform on Bing called Bing Ads.
Then there’s the massive social network, Facebook which also provides space for PPC marketing.
YouTube, also owned by Google, provides various means to display ads in the form of text as well as video ads.