Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

How To Make Pay-Per-Click Ads Pay

Ranking high among the search engines in Web searches is no small feat.

It requires good search engine optimization and for many companies the ability in part to outbid their competitors on keywords in the pay-per-click ad market.

Pay-per-click ad spending is estimated to be more than $10 billion and will continue to be one of the fastest growth industries in the $13.5-billion-plus search engine marketing sector.

"It's one of the fastest ways to get targeted traffic to your site," explains Catherine Seda, an Internet marketing consultant in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and co-author of "Search Engine Advertising" (New Riders; $34.99).

The way pay-per-click works is that advertisers bid on individual keywords and phrases relevant to their core market. The keywords are tied to text-based ads that appear within the search results in the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN's Bing when a query is made using those terms.

"As an advertiser, when you build your pay-per-click campaign, you select the keywords you want your ad to show up on," says Boris Mordkovich, director of operations for Brooklyn-based AdWatcher, an ad management and click-fraud monitoring service.

You don't pay when the ad shows up on the search engines, only when someone clicks on your ad, explains Mordkovich, co-author of "Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing Handbook" (LuLu; $19.97).

The price per keyword varies, but advertisers on average can expect to pay from 25 cents to $1 per click, Mordkovich says. Of course, competitive key words fetch far more than that.

" 'Arizona DUI Lawyers' is about $100 per click," says Andrew Hazen of Prime Visibility, an interactive marketing firm in Melville, and author of "Search Engine Optimization: Plain & Simple" (Angel Dough Media; $29.95).

As a small business, it can be difficult outbidding competitors on the more popular keywords. That's why it helps to choose "long-tail keywords," which are generally more narrow, Hazen says.

For instance, "New York insurance" might be $3 a click, while the more targeted "Long Island homeowners insurance" might be a $1 a click, Hazen says.

The latter won't draw as much traffic, but it will produce more qualified leads.

"It's better to attract 100 qualified prospects than 1,000 people that will never do business with you," adds Seda, who suggests grouping relevant keywords into individual ad groups. That way, you can write an ad specifically for each ad group.

For example, if someone searches the terms "save the date cards," you'd want a different ad to appear than if they searched under "thank you cards," she notes.

The quality of your ad can affect the placement it gets among the rankings. Ads that get more click-throughs may rank higher on the search engines even if the bid is less than a competitor's, Mordkovich explains.

So choose your words carefully, and try to include a call to action in your ads, suggests Renee Marquardt, vice president of client services for Didit, a digital advertising agency in Rockville Centre.

You want something in the ad to entice qualified respondents to click on it and then direct them to a relevant landing page, not just a generic home page, she notes.

"The landing page needs to be as targeted as possible," Marquardt says.

And so does your campaign.

Pay-pre-click tips

bulletTo help better target your audience, include negative keywords in your keyword list/campaign, which ensures your ads won't appear in search queries containing those words. You may also want to geo-target ads to appear in specific locations.
bulletUse a tool like Google Analytics ( to track which keywords are producing the best results.
bulletBe specific in your ad copy to produce targeted results - i.e., dental implants starting at $3,000 vs. dental implants.

       Source: Andrew Hazen at Prime Visibility (


About The Author: Jamie Herzlich writes a "Small Business" column for Newsday, Long Island, New York.

Source: Newsday * July 20, 2009  *

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