What Is PPC (Pay Per Click) All About?

Image by Danard Vincente

PPC. It’s another of those SEO, SMS, OMG type things that people mumble about in strategy meetings. So what on earth is it?!

Essentially, Pay Per Click is a general term for any Internet search result that you pay to have listed by a search engine – so anything that isn’t an organic result. They appear in higher priority positions, than organic results, near the top of the search engine’s list or in the sidebar.

You don’t pay a lump sum for the listing since you pay each time someone clicks on your listing. That’s great because you’re only shelling out when something potentially valuable happens. But be warned: it has been known for some keywords to generate loads of clicks, use up an entire PPC budget and not produce much business – so careful choice and planning are needed.

With the Internet quickly filling up, competition is extremely high and getting on the first page of Google is pretty difficult. The best way to ensure you don’t get lost in all those other companies is to assign some of your advertising budget to paid search results.

Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

1) Think about a budget for the campaign. You can start small and set a top limit for your spend while you try it out for size – 50 clicks at 1p each for example. Any PPC manager will be able to advise you on what kind of investment will get you results, but it’s completely customisable to your budget.

2) Enlist an expert – it can get complicated! If you use an agency to run your website or host your domain, it’s possible they also offer a search marketing service. Working knowledge of your website isn’t essential to a PPC campaign but you may find having one point of contact useful. Otherwise there are plenty of PPC specialists out there and if you shop around you’ll find lots of great options.

3) It’s not just about the clicks. If you’re serious about investing in PPC, look for a PPC agency that charges on results. You can still set a budget, but the agency actually has an interest in how good the conversion is. That means they’ll not only want people to click your banner, they’ll also want to ensure they’re actually generating business for you rather than just website hits.

It’s not as scary as it sounds and it’s a very important part of internet marketing, but you have to be prepared to spend a little cash to get results. Think about rebalancing your advertising budget, shifting some money from print to PPC. You can always change it later, but you could be surprised by how much new business there is to capture through good optimisation of your website.

Got any PPC advice for beginners? If you’ve experienced any pitfalls or triumphs, let us know!

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Honor Clement-Hayes is an online marketing geek with a background in website production. She also writes about fashion and collects shoes she’ll never wear. She writes for Strategy Internet Marketing.

 What Is PPC (Pay Per Click) All About?