What Clearly Is PPC? Discover the Fundamentals of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

You’ve come to the right place if you’ve heard a little bit about PPC marketing and want to learn more, or if you already know you want to use PPC to market your business but aren’t sure where to begin. This is the first lesson in PPC University, a series of three guided courses that will teach you everything you need to know about PPC and how to use it to your advantage.

To begin, we must define PPC and gain a basic understanding of how PPC advertising works. Let’s get started!

What exactly is PPC?
PPC is an abbreviation for pay-per-click, an internet marketing model in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. It’s essentially a method of purchasing visits to your website rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

One of the most common types of PPC is search engine advertising. It enables advertisers to bid on ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when a customer searches for a keyword related to their business offering. For example, if we bid on the keyword “PPC software,” our ad may appear near the top of the Google results page.

We must pay a small fee to the search engine every time our ad is clicked, directing a visitor to our website. When PPC works properly, the fee is insignificant because the visit is worth more than what you pay for it. In other words, if we pay $3 for a click that leads to a $300 sale, we’ve made a tidy profit.

There is a lot that goes into creating a successful PPC campaign, from researching and selecting the right keywords to organizing those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups to creating PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions. Advertisers who can create relevant, intelligently targeted pay-per-click campaigns are rewarded by search engines by paying less for ad clicks.

Google charges you less per click if your ads and landing pages are useful and satisfying to users, resulting in higher profits for your business. So, if you want to start using PPC, you must first learn how to do it correctly.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is the world’s most popular PPC advertising system. Businesses can use the Ads platform to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties.

Google Ads uses a pay-per-click model, in which users bid on keywords and are charged for each click on their advertisements. Every time a search is launched, Google sifts through the Ads advertiser pool and selects a group of winners to appear in the valuable ad space on its search results page. The “winners” are determined by a number of factors, including the quality and relevance of their keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of their keyword bids.

How effective are your Google Ads? Use our free Google Ads Performance Grader to find out.

More specifically, who appears on the page is determined by an advertiser’s Ad Rank, which is calculated by multiplying two key factors – CPC Bid (the maximum amount an advertiser is willing to spend) and Quality Score (a value that takes into account your click-through rate, relevance, and landing page quality).

This system enables winning advertisers to reach out to potential customers at a reasonable cost. It is essentially an auction. The infographic below depicts how this auction system works.

PPC marketing with Google Ads is especially beneficial because, as the most popular search engine, Google receives massive amounts of traffic and thus delivers the most impressions and clicks to your ads. The frequency with which your PPC ads appear is determined by the keywords and match types you choose. While a variety of factors influence the success of your PPC advertising campaign, you can achieve a lot by focusing on:

Keyword Relevance – Creating relevant PPC keyword lists, keyword groups, and ad copy.

Landing Page Quality – Creating optimized landing pages with compelling, relevant content and a clear call-to-action that is tailored to specific search queries.
Quality Score – Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns is known as Quality Score. Advertisers with higher Quality Scores receive more ad clicks for a lower cost.
Inventive – Ad copy that is appealing is essential, and if you’re advertising on the display network, you can use a tool like our free Smart Ads Creator to create designer-quality ads that will entice clicks.

Keyword Research for PPC

Keyword research for PPC can be extremely time-consuming, but it is also vital. The foundation of your PPC campaign is keywords, and the most successful Google Ads advertisers are constantly growing and refining their PPC keyword list. If you only conduct keyword research once, when you create your first campaign, you are likely to miss out on hundreds of thousands of valuable, long-tail, low-cost, and highly relevant keywords that could drive traffic to your site.

A good PPC keyword list should include the following terms:

Relevant – Obviously, you don’t want to pay for Web traffic that has nothing to do with your company. You want to find targeted keywords that will result in a higher PPC click-through rate, a lower cost per click, and higher profits. That is, the keywords you bid on should be closely related to the products or services you offer.

Extensive – Your keyword research should cover not only the most popular and frequently searched terms in your niche but also the long tail of search terms. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less prevalent, but they account for the vast majority of search-driven traffic. Furthermore, they are less competitive and thus less expensive.

Check out our popular keywords if you’re looking for high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns.

Managing Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective. In fact, one of the best predictors of account success is consistent account activity. You should be constantly analyzing your account’s performance and making the following changes to optimize your campaigns:

PPC Keywords: Increase the reach of your PPC campaigns by including keywords relevant to your business.

Add Negative Keywords: Use negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spending.

Split Ad Groups: Increase your CTR and Quality Score by splitting your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, which allows you to create more targeted ad text and landing pages.

Examine Expensive PPC Keywords: Examine your expensive, underperforming keywords and, if necessary, turn them off.

Refine Landing Pages: Modify the content and calls-to-action (CTAs) of your landing pages to align with individual search queries in order to boost conversion rates. Don’t send all your traffic to the same page.

You’ll learn more about all of these elements of PPC campaign management as you move forward through the coursework at PPC University.

If you’re a local business wanting to learn more about local PPC, head to LOCALiQ Marketing Lab’s Local PPC course.

If you’re ready to get started with PPC, skip ahead to learn how to set up a Google Ads account.

If you already have an Ads account, we recommend that you use our FREE Google Ads Performance Grader to help you identify areas for improvement. You’ll receive a customized report in 60 seconds or less that grades your account performance in 9 key areas, including click-through rate, Quality Score, and account activity. Now that you’ve learned how to get started with PPC, download the full PPC 101 guide to kickstart your PPC success!

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