What is PPC Advertising?


Pay Per Click AdvertisingWish there was a way to get instant visibility to your Web site without having to wait for the search engine spiders to crawl it? There is: PPC advertising.

PPC stands for pay-per-click; it is an advertising model that is unique to the Web. The model works by requiring advertisers to pay for their ads only when their ad is clicked. Pay-per-click advertising is the primary advertising model used by Google (AdWords), Yahoo! (Search Marketing) and Microsoft (adCenter).

Choosing Keywords

Choosing the correct keywords for your PPC advertising campaign is the critical first step. To ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck, PPC providers have developed programs to help you pick the keywords for your ad. Of course, it is important to carefully evaluate these terms to make sure they will accomplish your desired goals. Always take into consideration the motivation a person might have when typing in a key term phrase and make sure that your PPC ad targets those people and leads them to a page that addresses their needs directly.

Advantages to PPC

  • Pay-per-click advertising can be a helpful short-term solution when your site is being built or optimized with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While your Web site climbs the ranks in the organic (natural) listings, PPC allows your site to have immediate visibility to your target audience.
  • PPC can also be a strong tool when you are offering time-sensitive offers, specials or promotions. The short time-frame of a special offer gives PPC the potential to be a great way to spread the word and drive targeted traffic to your site.
  • Another great advantage of PPC is that you control the amount of money you spend each month. You are able to prepay your clicks, and when the funds run out your ad is removed. If you want to extend your exposure, simply add money to your account and the ad will remain.

Difficulties to PPC

  • Although PPC may seem like a risk-free advertising technique, there are some difficulties you may encounter. Because you only pay for the keyword when your link is clicked, click fraud is a concern. For example, if you have won a highly coveted keyword (which may cost more per click), others may click your link continuously so you will relinquish your hold on the word. Although this is considered click fraud, it is very difficult to police.
  • A second difficulty with PPC is the need for constant tracking. Even if your link has a high number of clicks, those clicks may not be converting to many, if any, sales. Tracking is critical to determine if your PPC campaign is cost-effective; however, it can be quite time-consuming.
  • A third difficulty with PPC is that it can be expensive. While you do have control over how much you pay in a month, you don’t know how long that budget will last you. It can become costly to stay competitive over the long haul. Remaining accessible to potential clients over time can be difficult if search engine optimization is not at the foundation of your Internet marketing efforts.
  • A fourth difficulty with PPC is that it does not produce long-term results. When your ad no longer appears as a sponsored link, it will be difficult for potential clients to find you if your site is not well optimized.

Pay-per-click advertising is a good way to get the word out about your company fast and can be an effective tool for short-term marketing goals. But, before you jump on the PPC bandwagon, it is wise to consult an experienced Internet marketing firm to determine if PPC is right for you. A good firm can help you develop a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy to help you reach your short-term and long-term goals.

7 Responses to “What is PPC Advertising?”

  1. Gabrielle

    It seems like the cons outweigh the benefits on this one. Should PPC only be used to advertise sales and promotions?

  2. Terrance

    I think PPC can definitely be a helpful tool, but you have to be dedicated to monitoring your clicks. I guess the ratio of money to time is something that should be carefully considered.

  3. Rick

    @Gabrielle: I was thinking the same thing. I’m seeing the negatives outweighing the cons. Personally, I’d rather be patient and get the job done right and my website built and ready to go than jump at that short-term fix. The short-term fix has too many drawbacks and even then may still not be very successful

  4. Ryan

    I’m really new at all of this, but just check it out because it seems really interesting. I think something seems kind of unethical with the whole pay-per-click system. It seems if you throw around a lot of money, the little business couldn’t keep up that way. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like organic listings measures quality and hard work and thus levels the playing field, or gives a chance for everyone to stay relatively competitive.

  5. Sabrina

    @Ryan – I think you are exactly right! I’m no expert either, but the PPC system definitely plays toward the wealthier business. For phrases that aren’t the most highly sought after, smaller companies do have a chance for those. I think that’s why Sonic tells us that it’s a good short-term marketing solution.

  6. Max

    @Terrance – It’s helpful in the short run, but being dedicated to monitoring it could be very time consuming and counterproductive. If it were me, I wouldn’t even bother with it. Then again, I don’t run a business.

  7. Ryan

    Sabring: And of course doing things for the short term isn’t going to be very helpful and you could wind up wasting more time and money than anything else. At least that’s what I think. I guess it’d be more beneficial to do things right right from the beginning, wouldn’t you say?


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