As Google algorithm updates make organic search marketing more difficult, PPC has never been such a tempting prospect for business owners. Instead of investing all those hours into creating content and running the algorithm gauntlet you can pay to appear on page one of search results.
Okay, it’s not quite that simple and PPC actually works best when you cover all bases and combine it with a solid SEO strategy. So, with this in mind, we’ve decided to start a series called Inside PPC where we’ll be looking at pay-per-click in detail, on a stage by stage basis. And today we’re going right back to the basics.
What exactly is PPC?
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an internet marketing strategy where you pay for ad space, based on the number of clicks you get. Each click brings a visitor to your website, giving you a potential lead to work with, and this is what you’re paying for.
There are actually many types of PPC out there, but we’ll be focusing on the most effective strategy in this series, where you pay for ad space on Google results pages.
Introducing Google AdWords
Google AdWords is the definitive PPC tool and this is where you’ll be creating and managing your ad campaigns. Essentially, you have to bid on keywords and, every time a user searches these phrases, Google picks out the winners to display on its all-important ad space. If a user clicks your ad, you have to pay the bid – otherwise you pay nothing and the game starts all over again.
The system Google uses to pick out winners is called Ad Rank, which multiplies your highest bid by your Quality Score to pitch you against the competition. We’ll go into AdWords, Ad Rank and Quality Score in more detail later in the series, but for now just think of AdWords as the place to manage your PPC campaigns.
Getting your ad campaigns started
The first step for any PPC campaign is always keyword research, because these little phrases are the basis of your entire pay-per-click strategy. The bad news is it’s incredibly time consuming and you’ll need to come back to it, time and time again. But if you want to maximise your PPC profits then you need to learn to love keywords and we’ll show you how in later posts.
With your keywords in place it’s time to think about ad copy – the text users see when your ad displays on search pages. This little snippet of copy largely decides whether people click on your ad or not, determines your click-through rate and affects your Quality Score – so you want to get it right.
Finally, PPC isn’t a one-time process and you’ll need to manage your ad campaigns over time to improve performance and maximise profits. This includes adjusting your keywords, experimenting with ad copy and split testing your ad groups to create a more effective PPC strategy. That’s not all either, but we’ll wrap things up here for today and dedicate future Inside PPC posts to more specific topics, where we can go into more detail.
Next up on Inside PPC
We’ll be back very shortly with another Inside PPC article where we’ll take a closer look at AdWords, before we move on Ad Rank and Quality Score. If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t be shy – get in touch!