What is PPC or Pay Per Click Advertising?
PPC, or “Pay-Per-Click” is a very common type of online marketing. You have seen PPC in action many times before without realizing what it is! Have you searched for something on Google lately? Notice how they have “sponsored” listings on the right side of the page, and the top of the page? Well, there you go- that is PPC or Pay Per Click advertising in action.
“How does this this work”, you ask? Simple. Most Search Engines offer this service, which is PAID (hence the pay per click). It is a system which allows you to create an account with the provider, select the keywords you want to rank for, set a budget for the campaign, and get started. Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG! As you can see so far, I am not a huge fan of the PPC or Pay Per Click system.
PPC providers make signing up easy enough, but there is loads of information they do not tell you- like how much it will cost you! The Pay per click system has financially crippled many of my clients, who benefitted little for what they paid… Ok, now i’ll explain how this works so you can decide for yourself:
- Create your account: This step is simple enough. You simply choose a username and password, set up the basic info for the account, choose your keywords (what you want to rank for) and make sure to have your credit card handy!
- Now the tricky part: Compete for your keywords.
“Whats’ that?” you say? well yes; the system works very much like Ebay. The main thing to keep in mind is you are not alone in wanting to rank well on search engines- so do all your competitors. The issue now becomes people are willing to pay good money to rank well, and the service providers know that. Once you have chosen your keywords, the system (depending on the provider) will inform you how much it will cost you to rank #1, #2, #3, etc for that key word or key phrase. The cost you are quoted is PER CLICK. This means if you’re willing to pay, let’s say $0.50 per click to rank #1 for your keyword, every time someone sees your link and clicks it to go to your website, your account is charged $0.50.
“But baddies and competitors can click away my savings”! Well, yes and no… most providers have a tracking system in place, so when someone clicks on your ad and you are charged, it “remembers” the visitors IP address so if they click it again within 24 hours, you will not be billed again. If the trouble maker wants to run around town clicking your ad on different computers, well then…
What are the benefits to PPC or Pay Per Click? Well, PPC allows you to rank #1 immediately if you’re willing to dish out the cash. Organic ranking can take much longer, but pays off in the long run. Keep in mind that you usually get billed monthly for PPC, which means if you don’t set a daily spending limit, you may get a nasty surprise at the end of the month (and the provider already has your credit card number!). This means you will need to constantly monitor your Pay Per Click account, to ensure you are not spending more than you can afford. One part that is hard to control is when you see people have actually been clicking your link, and you’ve nearly reached your daily spending limit…Don’t get tempted to immediately increase your spending limit, as this can end up costing you more than you realize. Be patient, and see how much business the PPC campaign has brought in- within the first 2-3 months, if it has not paid for itself, then I would not suggest continuing with it.
Sometimes I get clients who are anxious to get to #1 on Google within 24 hours. After explaining the impossibility of that occurrence, I sometimes admit defeat and suggest a short term Pay Per Click campaign, so they can see themselves as #1 on Google. While they are busy amusing themselves with that, I concentrate on the organic rankings so before they know it, they are doing well on the natural or organic results for Google, and they can put that money towards better use.