Main Points

  • PPC Advantages
  • Rank well for a lot of Key Word Phrases.
  • Achieve this within hours.
  • You only pay if people actually visit your site.
  • You have tight control over expenditures.
  • “Conversion Tracking” enables you to track the performance of each ad and keyword.
  • PPC programs may be large, covering all your products, or small and focused on one product.
  • There are only two significant PPC programs.
  • Next: “Organic” SEO

Two Categories of Search Engine Marketing

Only about 500 SEO professionals in the world are qualified to display the Google Partner badge. I just got off the phone with a Google Representative. He said he had rarely seen such a high degree of adherence to best practices – that my score is almost perfect, reflecting a proper mix of all important criteria. He said, “I don’t see scores this high on a regular basis. Your clients are fortunate to have you as an agent.”

On previous pages, I referred to two general categories of search engine marketing: “Pay-per-click” (PPC) services, and Organic search – the “free” listings on the main part of the search results pages.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

PPC ads have several advantages:

  • They allow you to achieve prominent placement for an unlimited number of keyword phrases.
  • You can achieve this placement within hours of setting up your account. It would take a long time for a new site to achieve such prominence in the organic (free) listings.
  • Your ad is displayed when someone searches on one of your keywords (an “impression”), but you don’t pay unless they click on the ad (a “clickthrough”) and land on one of your site’s “landing pages.”
  • You have tight control over how much you will spend per click, per day, per month, etc.
  • If your site offers on-line shopping or some sort of action step such as signing up for a newsletter, you can take advantage of “conversion tracking” to see how well each keyword and ad is performing – i.e., whether your return on investment (ROI) is adequate. If your intended response is to elicit a phone call, it may be harder to track ROI, but it is still possible.

In some cases, I set up extensive pay-per-click programs, covering a large collection of products. In other cases, we may proceed more cautiously, setting up one adgroup, seeing how well it performs, and fine-tuning it before setting up another.

There are hundreds of PPC sites. Most of them are worthless and many are total rip-offs. The only two worthwhile ones are Google Adwords and Microsoft adCenter, in that order. I usually set up Google and work out all the bugs, then clone it over to MS adCenter if the client wishes. Facebook now runs PPC ads and allows for precise demographic targeting, since Facebook knows so much about its members.

These services syndicate their ads to other sites. For instance, Google Adwords ads are also shown on Ask.com, Netscape, AOL, USA Today, The Washington Post and over 50% of the Media Metrix Top 100 sites that show advertising—sites that reach over 80% of U.S. Internet users.

Next: “Organic” SEO