What is Pay Per Click?
So, you’ve been researching how to build traffic to your website and you’ve come across the term ‘pay per click’, or PPC. Or perhaps you’ve been talking you your website guy and he’s throwing about techie jargon like it’s going out of fashion. PPC, he assures you, is what you need to get your site ‘on Google’ and getting visitors.
So what is pay per click? and what can it do for your business?
In short, it’s about showing adverts on websites and search engines, to promote your site. You bid what you are willing to pay for a person to click on your advert, which is displayed when somebody searches for a specific keyword. Each time somebody sees your advert and wants to know more about what you have to offer, they click on the link in the advert and they are sent to your website. You pay some money each time somebody clicks on your advert, hence the name ‘pay per click’.
Meet Jeremy, A Real World Analogy for PPC
A good analogy for PPC would be paying a guy to stand in the street in front of your bricks and mortar store, holding a billboard advertising your wares. Let’s call this guy Jeremy.
Each time Jeremy gets somebody to come into your shop, you pay him £1.
The great thing about Jeremy is that he’s really meticulous in his record keeping. He keeps detailed logs of the number of people who have walked past his sign each hour, along with how many people proceeded to walk into your shop.
Jeremy is also really flexible. You can tell him just to hold his sign out on weekends, or maybe just in the mornings. He’s happy to change the wording on his sign to see if it brings more people into your shop, and if you pay him a bit more money, he’ll get right out there under people’s noses and make sure they see your sign. All the while, he’s keeping these detailed records for you to analyse and see which combination of factors works best for you.
As you can imagine, Jeremy is a great asset to any business. Now imagine that Jeremy can do ten times more than I’ve listed above, and he’s a robot. That’s PPC. Kind of.
There are a number of different PPC platforms on the internet. By platform, I mean a company which provides a service which allows you to log in and create adverts and set the adverts up to display to a range of people. PPC platforms handle all of the logging of data generated when ads are viewed and clicked on and they display reports to you so that you can make informed business decisions. Finally, PPC platforms provide a billing system which allows you to pay for your ads.
The largest and most prevalent PPC platform, one which you have likely heard of before, is Google Adwords. If you’re just starting out using PPC to market your business, then you will want to start with Adwords.
Not only do Google provide the most advanced platform to make advertising easy, but since so many people use the Google search engine, there will be no shortage of people seeing your ads, and therefore, clicking on them and visiting your website. In case you’re not aware, your adverts will be displayed above and to the right hand site of search results on the google.com or google.co.uk search engines.
Bing ads is Microsoft’s answer to Google Adwords. Albeit with less features and less traffic.
I would recommend saving Bing ads for when you have a successful campaign running on Google Adwords and you’re looking to expand your marketing presence.
PPC or SEO?
I have been asked many times in the past which to go with. PPC for the instant, targeted traffic, or SEO for it’s longterm ‘free’ source of visitors.
My answer has always been the same. Why go after half of the market when you can have the best of both? Any good online marketing campaign should cover both PPC and organic SEO. PPC provides you with a definitive, refined list of keywords, which you know lead to paying customers. You can use this keyword list to drive an effective long-term organic SEO campaign.