What is PPC Pay Per Click?

Pay Per Click (PPC) is paid advertising on various search engines, directories and portals. The most familiar examples are the Google adwords system and the Yahoo/Overture sponsored listings. The basic steps to setting up a PPC campaign are:

1. Identify relevant keywords

2. Look at what a click will cost you

3. Evaluate ROI and isolate required keywords

4. Set overall budget and budget per keyphrase

5. Write PPC ads, (often requires PPC provider editor review)

6. Enable PPC campaign and monitor

1. Identify relevant keywords

Similar to the SEO keyword/keyphrase identification process, look at what keywords are going to be:

a. relevant to your site, service or product

b. occur at a frequency (typically expressed as the number of times in a 30 day period this keyphrase has been used on the PPC provider)

c. generate click-through to your site

With PPC keywords must be relevant to your site; most PPC providers will have a human review of your keywords and ads, to ensure that they are appropriate.

2. Look at what a click will cost you

It is important to understand that PPC is an auction. You are bidding for a position on the PPC provider's page, when your keyphrase is queried by a web user. We believe that it is important to be in the top 5 PPC listings, but not necessarily the top listing. Some PPC providers allow you to set a maximum bid and a target position; this way you only pay what you have to achieve that position, rather than always paying the maximum bid irrespective of other bids.

Also remember that there is a difference between a view and a click. Your ad may be viewed 1000 times in a month, but actual click throughs may run at 10%. This is not unusual.

3. Evaluate PPC ROI and isolate required keywords

Most PPC providers will provide an estimate of click throughs for each individual keyphrase. In this way you can begin to plan for budget and ROI. 

For example, if you have a keyword that runs at 10000 views per month, and an estimated click through rate of 7%, this equates to 700 clicks per month. The top bid is USD$0.25c/click; if you want to be number 1 you will have to budget for a minimum of USD$175.00 for this keyphrase per month. Now, what of the conversion rate? Of those 700 clicks, how many will convert? For example, if you have a conversion rate of 10%, then you will end up with 70 new clients per month for a cost of USD$175.00 ($2.50 per client).

4. Set overall PPC budget and PPC budget per keyphrase

You can work through your keywords in this manner. Some may not work out on an ROI basis; competitors may be bidding too high or estimated conversion rate may not justify it. 

You will then be able to set you budget for the entire campaign and on a per keyphrase basis. Most PPC providers allow you to specify maximum spends per month so you know you have a fixed cost.

5. Write PPC ads

Writing PPC ads has its own challenges. Firstly, there are strict limitations on the length (in characters) of the ad text. For example, Overture Korea sets 45 characters. And the add is what is going to encourage the web user to visit the site. So it is important to write the ads well, with good marketing copy.

Also, most PPC providers have strict guidelines about what you can and cannot say in an ad. The ad must relate directly to the content of your site, and be accurate.

6. Enable PPC campaign and monitor

After you ads have been approved you can now enable the campaign. However, like most things to do with online marketing, PPC marketing is NOT something that should be left alone. It should be monitored on a regular basis. Competitors can change bids up OR down; this can mean you either miss out on being listed (your bid gets left behind) or you end up paying more than necessary. Particularly with foreign language PPC, exchange rates need to be monitored, and keyphrases do change over time. Abbreviations etc. appear and as their use becomes more common, you could miss out on potential site visitors.