Since pay per click (also known as PPC) ads on the top and side of a search engine results page appear simultaneously with natural or organic results in the center of the page, there is a lot of misunderstanding about them. The processes behind the two are very different, but both complex. The fact list below help you begin to understand PPC better:

  • Focus on return on investment. Understand that fully before drilling into the details of how PPC works. ROI is the best comparison tool for all online or direct response marketing efforts.
  • Understand that PPC is advertising, and how ads relate to natural results, which is affected by a different process called SEO (stands for search engine optimization). Taken together, SEO and PPC are two components under the broader category known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
  • PPC goes by many other names: pay-per-click, sponsored links, paid search, search ads, search engine ads, Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN AdCenter, and more.
  • PPC ads can be used to reach the reader in two different modes: search mode compared with content or contextual ads. Search ads respond to demand at the moment the user has entered a query. Content ads send a message when a potential customer is reading content related to your topic. Examples of content are Gmail, blogs, online articles of many types.
  • Text ads compared with graphics ads. Text ads are comprised of words such as those that appear on searches on the Google search engine. Graphics ads contain images and appear around many types of content. They are found in a wide variety of formats, including static, rich media, and more.
  • The cost to use (bid on) keywords is based on the demand and competition for that keyword, not on the underlying value of the product or service being advertised. Therefore, tracking ROI is critical.
  • If you are also considering SEO, have search engine ads done first. The initial cost is low (compare to the return in new business they can bring you when done by a professional) and the results are both fast and measurable. Make sure all tracking options are used to document what converts to online inquiries and phone leads within your geographic location and from your website.
  • Within search engine advertising there are professionals who can set up customized, more “hands on” solutions on Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. There are also more automated programs that can be utilized, some of which include a web page. Other vendors bundle offline products, a web page or even a full website with internet marketing. These programs vary significantly in their traffic sources and tracking ability, so be sure to compare and get references from others in your category. Before taking action, talk with a search marketing professional who offers all products and make an overall strategy before implementing tactics. This will greatly increase your likelyhood of success, by avoiding products and costs you do not need.
  • The right choice of tactics and vendors for your situation will depend on: a-if you have a website or not already; b-if your website has serious problems and the cost of fixing them; c- the time or resources you are willing to dedicate to writing blogs, writing press releases, etc.; d- the initial budget you set for internet marketing.
  • Use the data gathered from search engine advertising (again…what is profitable in your geographic location and from your website) to decide if SEO will also pay a return. With SEO, a website can be optimized for a few dozen search terms, so your are wise to pick your targets carefully. You must have an overall plan, because the sequence in which you do these is key.