2006-05-12 - Paid search is the hottest area of online marketing today and this trend is only going to strengthen. Piper Jaffray forecasts sales in paid search of over 14 Billion US in this year alone and will continue to grow at an astounding rate of 37% each year.
Google leads the way with its increasing share of paid search, primarily from its pay per click service, AdWords. Traditional media is losing its market share as ad dollars move to online marketing, and specifically the paid search arena. With this glut of dollars invading the paid space, unwary advertisers are at risk of making mistakes that can quietly consumer thousands of dollars.
Take a closer look at how you can set up and optimize your PPC campaign.
Advertisers enjoy PPC advertising because it is simple, they have greater control over their ad campaign, and they receive better feedback on its performance. The growing importance of online marketing makes PPC an important arena for them to use and master and in fact, it's not uncommon for CEO's to do their own company's PPC campaigns.
If you're not currently using pay per click campaigns, it is increasingly important to understand them and have a strategy to optimize their performance. Large campaigns need to be well planned and managed. It looks simple but it's easy to waste thousands of dollars. The beauty of PPC advertising is the speed at which you can reach your target market and the high quality of sales leads that can be generated. The downside is the price and the need for excellent conversion to sales. At $5.00 to $10.00 USD per click in many cases, you can run through your ad budget quickly.
The pay per click advertising programs with the greatest market reach are offered by Google and Yahoo. Google's program called AdWords delivers targeted pay per click ads via its own search engine Web sites and a host of partner sites.
Yahoo purchased Overture Search in 2003 October and renamed it Yahoo Search Marketing, which has a selection of specialized Pay Per Click advertising programs. These major PPC advertising programs offer an astounding reach to highly targeted consumers. In contrast to organic search engine listings, PPC listings don't require an extensive content development and link building campaign.
The key to effective PPC campaigns is in your keyword strategy and the quality of your visitor analytics. Many companies set up their PPC advertising campaigns without much planning. Campaigns need to be structured so that unproductive keywords can be filtered out and high performers improved upon.
On occasion, an advertiser will find themselves prohibited from bidding on a keyword phrases because their ad's click through rate was so poor. You definitely want to avoid that problem. Popular keywords are associated with particular solutions in consumer's minds. You'll find you're competing with companies that offer a more popular solution, so although your ad shows for that particular search phrase, it isn't really what most people are looking for. This means your click through rate will be low and your ad will stop being shown. Your ad's appearance is not a certainty when you're trying to sell a specialized niche product under a general common search term. A sophisticated keyword and ad copy strategy will be needed.
To maximize your PPC advertising performance, you must bid on the right selected keyword phrases, write persuasive, moving ad copy, and have a well written page to have them click through to. If you know how to attract the prospect and deliver them seamlessly to a solution they need, you'll be rewarded with a good sales rate. The number, style and type of words you can use in your ads is restricted so writing attractive, persuasive text ads is much harder than you'd expect.
Tip: A custom prepared PPC campaign by an SEO Professional is still the best approach to pay per click. A large corporation can save substantial amounts and maximize performance by outsourcing to an SEO Consultant.
Are self-managed PPC advertising campaigns a wise decision? With solid promotional writing skills, and understanding of consumer psychology and lots of time, you may save money. In my experience, clients tend not to be strategic enough and they spend far too much and bid on too many unproductive keywords, hoping that some of their ads are generating sales leads. A search engine marketing professional specializing in this area can develop a system to progressively focus in on the best ad copy, bidding price and timing of ad positions.
PPC advertising is all about relevance, particularly with Google AdWords. If your ads don't get clicked on enough, they will be removed.
If your advertising needs are high and you have to find click throughs cheaper than $5.00 USD, it may be wiser to use the services of an SEO consultant. However, if you want to pursue it on your own, this article discusses how the PPC programs work and some of the techniques SEO consultants use.
The PPC/CPC industry has undergone consolidation with Google and Yahoo's program still standing. Mamma.com is also available but doesn't have the reach of the two PPC giants. MSN is currently testing a new pay per click search engine marketing service. The date for its rollout hasn't been set.
Basically, you the advertiser pay a rate you specify for every visitor who clicks through from the search engine site (or their affiliates) to your web site. It's simple and quick. Each unique keyword phrase (e.g. digital cameras) has its own bid price. You set the budget. With a credit card and a web site readied, you're on your way to advertising on the web's top sites in no time.
Overture offers numerous PPC subprograms. Overture has renamed its products many times which has made it confusing for some advertisers and thus discouraged new advertisers. Google as well, has created some special capabilities in AdWords that are worth using. Both have introduced tracking and return on cost statistical features which can be very beneficial to those who don't have their own ecommerce team.
As you know, search engines return a list of web sites relevant to a person's keyword search. High rankings in the free (organic) search results is an exceptionally valuable achievement. However, with tens of thousands of web sites all competing for a keyword phrase ranking, it is difficult to rank highly for multiple keyword phrases.
Pay per click advertising on the other hand, allows you to get your web site listed on the results pages of an almost limitless number of keyword phrases. That kind of reach is incredibly powerful.
For most of the PPC search engines, the advertising rules and listing procedures are straightforward. The highest bidder for a phrase gets top spot. Both programs have relevance requirements. That means you have to target the right type of searcher or consumer with the right keywords. Your ad must get clicked on regularly enough or it will be removed.
Generally speaking, before launching your pay per click campaign you should take an inventory of the product and services categories you're interested in, along with the specific products and services you have to offer. Make sure these products and what you're going to say about them, is substantiated by your web site content otherwise your ad won't be allowed.
Your search engine optimization consultant should help you target the right keywords. There are keyword suggestion tools you can use such as those provided by Yahoo!, Google and Wordtracker. Through experience you'll see these keyword services can lack accuracy. Good keyword selection goes deeper than this because you must still filter out those ads that don't bring real paying customers.
Tip: Avoid bidding wars by searching for more specific multiword, targeted keyword phrases.
That means you'll have to find lesser-used, two or three-word phrases, many of which aren't suggested in the keyword suggestion tools. It takes skill and experience to cull out the good keyword phrases. Keywords can also be found in your web site transfer log files however, they will only show those keyword phases your site is already ranking high on. Both AdWords and Overture have keyword rules and they may not allow you to bid on keywords that aren't used very often, even if those keywords are highly productive in terms of profit.
Tip: Pause your campaign during those times when your top prospects aren't normally searching for your service or products.
The wording of your ad listing is a tricky matter because of the limited space you're given and the restriction on the wording you can use. Believe me, these restrictions do pose a problem and you'll be anguishing a little as you try to write an that works. You'll want to use natural promotional language in your ads, but you may not be allowed.
Not being able to use direct marketing type copy is an extra challenge as one Overture client said to me, "Overture (Yahoo!) is very picky and has a policy that doesn't allow me to implement my key words, which is very baffling."
Below is an example for the fictitious business, www.example.com. Notice there is no use of superlatives such as lowest and best. And you can't use promo punctuation such as ! and $ and, forget about excessive capitalization. Try and get your direct mail copywriter to conform to these rules!
New Automobile Price Quotes - Free all the Time. Save money at Example
The title (first line of your ad) is treated differently by different PPC programs, however, having your keywords placed in the title is a good decision usually. That's the golden rule of search engine marketing, use your customer's words to grab their attention. When you test different ad wordings, you'll discover which are effective. You have to learn quickly however, because you may not be allowed to bid on that phrase again, if your ads performance was particularly poor. Some of your competitors will be making offers to customers that you'd think would wipe all chance of profit, and their ad may make your well written masterpiece invisible in comparison. It is competitive, and you must be prepared to deal with the challenges that you'll face from your competitors.
Of course the words free, instant, and bonus, are attention getters. Call now, or get yours here, are calls to action to encourage readers to click through to your site. Each program has guidelines that you'll have to read. If you make mistakes, you'll be warned (disapproved) once, then ignored. They have no interest in your web master's problems or your manager's concern with legality of terms.
Your domain name listed below the title can influence the reader's perception of the quality and relevance of your ad. If your current domain name sounds unrelated or too promotional sounding, you might consider getting a new domain with a name that sounds a little more serious. An important thing to remember is how your value proposition to the customer can be conveyed in a few select words.
Having a search engine copywriter do this for you makes sense because they are familiar with the psychology involved, keyword choices, and the rules and regulations of the PPC programs. They also know what copy content is needed in your pages. Generally speaking, before launching your PPC campaign you should take an inventory of the product and services categories you're interested in, along with the specific products and services you have to offer.
There are numerous PPC programs available. Those pay per click programs listed below are your best choices because they can deliver sufficient results for most campaigns. There are other PPC programs available and you may find value in them depending on the type of product or service you're offering. You'll be happy to know that both programs have limited the maximum bid at $100.00 USD per click! Just in case you get a little carried away.
Article Disclaimer: The SEO Consultants Directory does not endorse the opinions and/or facts expressed by members who provide marketing articles for our site. These search engine optimization and search engine marketing articles are here for you to review and make your own decisions.
If you are a member of the SEO Consultants Directory, you can submit a search engine marketing article for review by following the instructions in our Member Submitted SEO/SEM Articles section.