Search Engine Pay Per Click (PPC) is basically advertising on search engines. However, instead of paying for page impressions (which is used in traditional online advertising, e.g. the number of people who view the advert) you pay a sum of money each time someone ‘clicks’ on your advert, hence the term ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC).
Your adverts will appear in the sponsored listings of Google. PPC adverts are text based adverts on search engines that are often referred to as sponsored links. Most pay per click search engines work on an auction-like bidding system with the following principles.
First you need to choose the keywords/phrases that you want use (i.e. the search phrases people searching for your products/services are using). You bid how much you’re prepared to pay each time someone clicks on your advert. You can bid on more than one search phrase – for example if you sell Handmade Chess Sets, you might bid on phrases such as “chess set”, “buy chess set” and “handmade chess set”.
The more you bid for a search phrase, the higher up the results your ad will come. The higher your result, the more likely people are to click on your link. Users of search engines want to find what they’re looking for – and if a search engine doesn’t help them with this goal, they’ll start searching somewhere else. Therefore, PPC engines have rules for advertisers, e.g. you can only bid on phrases that relate (“are relevant”) to the content of your site.
You only pay if the user actually clicks on your link in the results. You only pay for results. The success of a PPC campaign is often measured by assessing the average cost per click paid for each visitor. Therefore methods to reduce the overall cost per click should be pursued. This is typically achieved by finding and then assigning more budget to keywords/search phrases that are less popular and therefore cheaper.
Other factors, such as conversion rates, should also be considered when developing and measuring the success of a PPC campaign. Clearly an ad could be effective in generating click-throughs, but not achieve the outcome required on the web site (e.g. generating a lead or purchasing a product online).
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