Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click refers to sponsored advertising costed on a per click basis, which is generally seen to be fairer than the ‘traditional’ cost per impression technique. In other words, an advertiser only pays when a user actually visits his or her website, making results more predictable.

Your first reaction may be that Pay Per Click is unecessary if your website is properly optimised for organic listings, but in fact it’s a complementary method of receiving links and should ideally be used in conjunction with SEO if financially viable.

Circumstances where PPC is particularly useful

Increasing visibility for new websites

After creating a new website, however well constructed and prepared for SEO, until there are visitors and links created from other websites, you’re unlikely to be found and ranked by search engines. For this reason, it can be useful to start the ball rolling by purchasing even a relatively small amount of PPC.  If your content is relevant to the ad campaign and your site is useful, this increased visibility should lead to word spreading and links being created on other websites.

Precise Targetting

Using SEO, you can naturally target certain pages to receive traffic matching keywords. PPC is even more precise though – you can specify the exact URL you want to link an advert to, which is great for a specific campaign or a new page with little or no search engine credibility.

PPC is immediate

SEO is a long term process and requires time and effort to achieve results. If an immediate result is required for a particular campaign, PPC allows you to gain targeted traffic immediately. This is particularly useful for seasonal campaigns and campaigns related to a specific event.

PPC vendors

Unsurprisingly, the main PPC vendors are search engines and websites that receive a lot of traffic. Here are a few of the bigger, reputable options.

Google AdWords– The largest volume of traffic – a safe and well established option. Adwords are as synonymous with PPC as Hoover is to vacuum cleaners. There are reports that ads can take a long time to be reviewed though and high competition on popular keywords can mean it costs a lot to advertise.
Yahoo! Search Marketing (previously Overture) – Again high volume and good quality user base – potentially cheaper than Google on high traffic keywords.
MSN AdCenter – As Bing increases market share and returns accurate results, this proposition becomes increasingly attractive.
Facebook Ads – With over 500,000,000 active Facebook users across a wide range of social spectrums, this can’t be ignored. The audience could be seen to be more ‘captive’ as they’re more likely to be at leisure compared to a search engine, but by the same token, there’s likely to be less of a professional contingent.

PPC agencies

There are a number of companies that offer PPC consultancy as a service. They will charge either a set fee for advice or a percentage on top of the advertising budget. Services offered include:

  • Analysis of sector and bidding strategy
  • Network and device strategy
  • Creative and copy-writing services
  • Target conversion pages
  • SEO and marketing campaign integration

It can be particularly useful to engage a full service company who offer PPC consultancy and purchasing as part of a marketing and SEO strategy, since they can plan and target as part of the “bigger picture”.

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