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How Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Advertising Works

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Pay per click (PPC) is the placement of a small “ad” on the search results page for a specific keyword or keywords in return for a specified payment when a visitor actually clicks on that ad.

The advertiser pays nothing to appear on the results page; they only pay the amount they have agreed to (or bid for) when someone actually clicks on their ad and is taken to the “landing” page on their website.

Therefore, the term “pay per click” means just what it says: the advertiser pays each time a visitor clicks on their ad.

The first step in putting together a PPC campaign is to decide your budget and the level of risk you are willing to take.

Both aspects will affect which PPC search engine you ultimately choose to start with. As one would expect, the larger search engines are less risky endeavors, because they already have excellent market coverage and tend to offer a lot of assistance to their users.

However, they also are the most expensive in terms of how much money you must spend to acquire a visible ranking.

The second step is to choose your keywords. There are plenty of free, independent tools available to help you research keywords.

Many of them will also tell you the current bid price for certain words or phrases on the different search engines.

The third step is to compose two things: the headline that will appear on the search results page, and a description of your product or service, or other promotional text.

Descriptions are usually limited to 200 characters or less, and it should contain the keywords you have chosen to use.

Next, you must open an account with a PPC search engine. Be prepared to supply your name, company name, address, phone number, email address, and so on.

As a rule, opening an account is free. You will not be charged until you have bid on the search words you want and have funded your account.

You will also be given a number of alternatives for funding your ad campaign. For instance, you may fund your account with a credit card for a set amount, such as $100.

When this amount is exhausted, all advertising stops. Under another scenario, you can set a monthly limit.

When the limit is reached, the advertising stops. Carefully consider the consequences of the option you chose, for it can become quite expensive.

Be sure to check out the fine print in the agreement to be clear on minimum deposits required, as well as what happens to your deposit if you decide to cancel your campaign.

When you First register the keywords you have chosen with the search engine (and some large business will have thousands of keywords), you must specify the maximum amount you are willing to bid for those keywords.

The price of a keyword can range anywhere from 1 cent to a couple of dollars or more, depending on its popularity as a search term and the search engine itself. Naturally, advertisers who pay more appear higher on the search results pages.

Depending on the industry, you may find that there is fierce competition between advertisers for popular keyword(s).

The business that bids the highest amount of money for a specific keyword will be ranked first in the PPC results, the second-highest bidder will be ranked second, etc.

Typically, search engines limit the number of paid ads on a results page to fewer than 10, and research has shown that the first Five PPC ads generally get the majority of the visitors (hits).

Furthermore, the top three listings usually get the most exposure, as they are syndicated throughout the search engine’s partner network.


Keywords: Pay-Per-Click Search Engine, bidding, keywords, search term, search engine, advertisers, advertising, hits, ppc.


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