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Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay Per Click Advertising

As someone who is relatively new to Internet marketing and getting the word out on the Web, I have found that it is difficult to distinguish yourself from competitors in a much larger marketplace. Like a newspaper classified section on steroids, search engines like Google and Yahoo feature banners and other ads that are crowded by people who are trying to hit it big with their unique business ideas. While the task for small business owners and individuals is daunting, pay per click (PPC) advertising offers a new way to put your company or Web site in front of the right people without spending too much money.

PPC advertising essentially requires an advertiser to deposit a certain amount of money per month into a special account through a PPC provider like Google or Yahoo! From this account, funds are withdrawn by the provider each time someone clicks on the advertised link. The amount withdrawn is based on how much the advertiser bids for a particular keyword. This typically ranges from a $0.10 minimum to upwards of several dollars per click. The cost per click is based on the popularity of a term, with more popular terms requiring higher bids. This then puts a greater hit on an advertiser’s budget.

The first step in the process of advertising through pay per click is finding the right provider. There are a wide variety of possible providers, though everyone should be leery of any Web sites that promise too much. The Wal-marts and the Targets of the PPC world are Google’s AdWords and Yahoo’s! Sponsored Search. The benefit of Google and Yahoo! is their obvious superiority to other providers in traffic. After all, who hasn’t used Google or Yahoo! for something in their lifetime? As well, these sites offer a network of affiliated publishers that allow targeted advertising on articles and other Web site offerings that will draw more attention to a link.

For example, an online publishing company could place their advertisement on Barnes and Noble, where writers and other literary professionals are more apt to shop. However, with more traffic, comes greater competition and higher bid prices on keywords that could draw eyes to your products and services.

In contrast, the corner stores of the Internet are Web sites like Bidvertiser. Sites like this offer more flexibility to advertisers and lower bid prices. Lesser known Web sites do not have the same search engine technology as the bigger companies, but they do offer targeted advertising on appropriate Web sites (like the aforementioned Barnes and Noble example). However, they also offer less traffic and less name recognition.

After all, Bidvertiser won’t be winning any popularity contests against Google. The process of choosing a provider depends on your budget, your desire for creative control and what type of people you are trying to draw into your business. A deciding factor may be price, with smaller Web sites offering free sign up and Yahoo! requiring a small initial deposit.

After deciding which provider to use, an advertiser needs to decide which keywords to select. Using a keyword selecting software like that offered by Yahoo! is a good first step, because it gives a tangible measure of the popularity of certain words. For example, the word “war” receives 119,237 clicks while the word “Grover Cleveland” only received 1,608. Bidding on the word “war” therefore, will require more money per click than bidding on “Grover Cleveland.”

The best way to approach picking a keyword is to find a word that is specific enough to lower the competition and the per click price while having enough clicks to be worthwhile. Instead of simply selecting the word “war,” you may select “Korean War” or “war crimes,” depending on your Web site’s content.

The final step in the PPC process is to decide the format and text of the actual advertisement. If you have done any searches on Google or Yahoo!, you know that at the top, bottom and side of each search page, there are sponsored advertisements. These ads are the means by which pay per click advertising works. With every search using your exact keyword, your advertisement will appear and users will have the opportunity to click on the link to your Web site.

PPC advertisers can select an advertisement on the top banner, the bottom banner or the vertical (or side banner), with a wide variety of sizes and colors for those who are into customization. With the competition fierce for each Internet user’s attention, an advertiser needs to write sharp advertising copies for their PPC campaign. That means, writing in short bursts and putting the bare essentials of your business into one or two brief sentences.

There you have it. Those are the essentials of pay per click advertising. Now, go be fruitful and multiply your page views and sales!

~ Nick Katers