PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.
PPC is all about relevance. Users are searching for specific products, services, and information at any given time. Advertisers have the ability to show a targeted ad at the exact moment this search is occurring. For example, if a user searches for “blue running shoes,” an advertiser can show an ad speaking to “blue running shoes.”
Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering. For example, if we bid on the keyword “PPC software,” our ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.
PPC Campaign Types
Search Network – This is the most common targeting option. The Search Network consists of google.com and Google’s Search Partners such as aol.com, amazon.com, and many more. The Search Network is primarily keyword based advertising. In other words, searchers type in queries for which ads are shown.
Display Network – This network consists of millions of sites that agree to show Google text, image, and video ads. These ads are shown within the site’s content and don’t utilize traditional keyword based targeting, but rather audiences and demographics. For example, a user may visit a blog that speaks to the history of coffee tables. Even though the user isn’t necessarily in a buying mode, the content is relevant to coffee tables. The user may or may not click the ad, but is ultimately now aware of the brand.
Search Network with Display Opt-In – This targeting option is a combination of both networks. In the new Google Ads experience this replaced Search Network with Display Select. Now you’ll create a regular Search Network campaign and opt-in to the Display Network. The caveat is that Google determines when and where ads may perform best, taking control away from the advertiser. The preferred option is to break out campaigns by network, but Search with Display Opt-In is worth testing.
Shopping: Product Listing Ads – PLAs are shown on Google and Microsoft. After submitting a product feed to Google Merchant Center, Shopping campaigns can be created in Google Ads. Advertisers create product groups to which they can bid on various feed attributes. These attributes include:
- Item ID
- Product Type
- Custom Attributes
Shopping campaigns do not contain keywords. Both search engines match user queries to the product they deem most relevant. Thus, it is important to ensure all products have accurate information as well as clear titles and descriptions.
PPC Keyword Research
Keyword research for PPC can be incredibly time-consuming, but it is also incredibly important. Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords, and the most successful Google Ads advertisers continuously grow and refine their PPC keyword list. If you only do keyword research once, when you create your first campaign, you are probably missing out on hundreds of thousands of valuable, long-tail, low-cost and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site.
An effective PPC keyword list should be:
- Relevant – Of course, you don’t want to be paying for Web traffic that has nothing to do with your business. You want to find targeted keywords that will lead to a higher PPC click-through rate, effective cost per click, and increased profits. That means the keywords you bid on should be closely related to the offerings you sell.
- Exhaustive – Your keyword research should include not only the most popular and frequently searched terms in your niche, but also to the long tail of search. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less common, but they add up to account for the majority of search-driven traffic. In addition, they are less competitive, and therefore less expensive.
- Expansive – PPC is iterative. You want to constantly refine and expand your campaigns, and create an environment in which your keyword list is constantly growing and adapting.
If you want to find high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns, be sure to check out our popular keywords.
Managing Your PPC Campaigns
Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them regularly to make sure they continue to be effective. In fact, regular account activity is one of the best predictors of account success. You should be continuously analyzing the performance of your account and making the following adjustments to optimize your campaigns:
- Add PPC Keywords: Expand the reach of your PPC campaigns by adding keywords that are relevant to your business.
- Add Negative Keywords: Add non-converting terms as negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spend.
- Split Ad Groups: Improve click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score by splitting up your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, which help you create more targeted ad text and landing pages.
- Review Costly PPC Keywords: Review expensive, under-performing keywords and shut them off if necessary.
- Refine Landing Pages: Modify the content and calls-to-action (CTAs) of your landing pages to align with individual search queries in order to boost conversion rates. Don’t send all your traffic to the same page.