PPC marketing is a popular form of website promotion. PPC stands for Pay Per Click, and the term refers to paid search ads and contextual advertisements such as AdSense, which pay the hosting website each time a valid user clicks on one of the advertisements. PPC marketing is not the same as SEO, but thanks to Google's paid search offerings a lot of businesses utilise paid search as a part of their online strategy today.

How Does PPC Marketing Work?

PPC Marketing involves creating advertisements on an ad network, such as Google AdWords or the Bing Ad Network, and then bidding on keywords or key phrases so that your advertisement is shown. At its simplest, if your bid is the highest bid, your advertisement will be shown. You are not charged just for the ad being displayed, however. You are charged only if the advertisement is clicked on.

Google uses more than just bid amounts to determine which ads get shown on its network. Google also prioritises advertisements based on a metric called Quality Score, which considers the popularity of the keyword, your click-through rate and the quality of your landing page. In addition, Google favours advertisements that make use of ad extensions to create richer and more attention-grabbing ads.

Making PPC Work for You

The beauty of PPC is that you can narrow down your keywords quite accurately and target the long tail instead of having to over-optimise pages for a broader keyword. You can use keywords that signify searcher intent, increasing your CTR and also improving your conversion rate. For example, you can bid on "buy [product name]" or "[product name] voucher code", rather than simply bidding on the name of the product itself and wasting money on clicks that come from users who already own the product and want to know how to use it. In addition, you can geo-target your ads, so only users in the UK or users in a specific part of the country such as Sussex will see your advertisements.

Managing a PPC campaign can seem intimidating the first time you attempt it. There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of metrics to pay attention to. If you do not feel that you have the time or the skills to manage your PPC campaigns effectively and get the most out of your budget, it may be a good idea to hire some experts to handle it for you.

PPC campaigns can be highly profitable if they are configured correctly and carefully managed. To achieve success with a PPC campaign, your landing pages' conversion rate must be high enough to ensure a profit at your current bid amount. You can tweak both the bid and the landing page to achieve the perfect balance, but you must remember that reducing your bid will probably reduce the number of times your advertisement is displayed. Increasing the bid increases the number of impressions, but is likely to reduce your profits as well.