When you type in a word or phrase on a major search engine like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask, or AltaVista and click “Search”, the subsequent page that lists the results of your query is generally split into two categories: one being the “organic” or “natural” search listings and the other being the PPC advertisements.
The organic listings are considered to be “free”, in that they are found and displayed in a routine manner by the search engine’s algorithms (also known as “spiders” or “bots”). The phrase “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO” refers to the practice of working with a website’s content, its exposure across the Internet, and the search engines themselves so that the website is easily discovered and listed by the search engines’ algorithms.
Separate from the organic listings, PPC ads are typically indicated as “Sponsored Links” or “Sponsor(ed) Results” on the top and right-hand side of the search results page, surrounding the organic results. When a potential customer clicks on an ad, they are taken directly to the advertiser’s website. To participate in PPC, you must first establish an account with a provider like Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing.
PPC ads are keyword-driven, in that the appearance of your ad is triggered by pre-selected search words or phrases targeted to your product(s) or service(s). As the advertiser, you are fully responsible for choosing your keywords, writing your ads, and selecting the pages on your website to which your ads are linked. And the flexibility does not stop there – you can also focus your ads even further by making decisions on things like geographic placement, time-of-day/day-of-week, and even ad type (text, image, video, etc.).
Unlike virtually every other mode of advertising or marketing, the pricing of PPC ads is different for each advertiser and is never set in stone. You truly have complete control over your spending. You are able to designate not only your total monthly budget, but also the maximum amount you are willing to spend for each click. You pay only when an individual clicks on your ad which links them to your website. If there is more than one advertiser for a particular keyword, the one willing to pay the most for the click is generally placed as the first position, and it goes on from there. Keyword relevancy, ad and landing page quality, and past performance also play a part in determining an ad’s pricing and position.
It is no surprise that PPC has the reputation of being the most effective and powerful way to advertise goods and services online. No other method can bring qualified potential customers who are actively searching for your product directly to you. No other method is as flexible. And no other method allows you to reach your individual goals as quickly, easily or efficiently.