Research has shown that an average Internet user rarely surfs beyond first three pages of a search result. So, any web-site figuring at 4th or later pages in search result of a given keyword may not receive many visitors for the concerned keyword/phrase.
This is not a particularly happy situation for sellers as web-sites at top of search result will hog most of the buyers looking for that product.
Assuming a typical search result page has 10 web-site links, a rank of less than 10 is extremely important for any web-site and any rank over 30 is not going to be of much use.
Contrary to what so called search engine specialists claim, its extremely difficult and time consuming for a newly created or content-deficient web-site to get high search engine rank.
Is there a way-out for new or unpopular web-sites to attract quality visitors from search engines ?
Fortunately, the answer is Yes. One can attract quality visitors from top search engines like Google and Yahoo! right from day-one through PPC advertising.
What is PPC Advertising ?
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click. In this mode of Internet advertisement, advertiser pays whenever a visitor clicks on his/her advertisement. By clicking at the advertisement - the surfer reaches advertiser's web-site and hence increases quality web-site traffic.
Anyone searching Google must have noticed a series of small text advertisements on right hand side of most search results. The advertisements are always related to search keywords so that the searcher has an option of either clicking at main search result or at any of the text ads. This is targeted PPC advertisement.
Its targeted - as only ads relevant to search keywords are displayed. The ad inventory of the search engine may have millions of ads of all kinds - but the searcher gets to view only ads related to his/her search keyword.
Its PPC because advertiser pays the search engine (e.g. Google) a previously agreed fee only when a visitor clicks on his/her advertisement.
PPC is a surefire way of attracting quality traffic. It doesn't matter what's the quality of web-site content or present rank in search engine. Even a completely new and unknown web-site can attract more quality traffic than an established one through eye-catching ad copy and intelligent keyword bidding.
What is Keyword Bidding ?
The core of search engine based PPC advertising is attractive, eye-catching ad text and selection of right keywords. The ad copy will be displayed only when a surfer uses any of the selected keywords to search.
You can select any keyword(s) for your PPC ad, however the position or rank of your ad will depend upon how much you are willing to spend for each click. The higher you bid, higher will be the rank of your ad in the listing.
Remember, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad copy and reaches your web-site. In other words - you don't pay to list your ad copy, you only pay for click-throughs (i.e. when someone clicks on your ad and jumps to your web-site from search engine result).
How Important is PPC Advertisement for Web Marketing ?
If you are selling a product or service and want quick result - PPC advertisement is extremely important. It attracts quality traffic almost from day-one and helps you test the marketability of your product or service swiftly. The best part is - you remain in complete control of search engine campaign, for both position and cost.
Why PPC is Different ?
Internet advertising has always been perplexing, bordering on bizarre for most people new to online marketing. With so many new names - banner advertising, text link advertising, CPM, CPA, CTR, CPC, email advertising - the scenario could turn out to be very confusing and expensive if the advertiser does not know what he/she is doing.
However, with the introduction of pay-per-click advertising, the advertiser has gained significant control over advertising campaigns.
In PPC, advertiser is able to target the audience and set his/her own price per click (pay per click). Most PPC Advertising Networks provide the platform to specify the target audience by geographic location and topic or industry. The advertising networks have websites of publishers lined up where those ads will be displayed.
In PPC advertising the advertiser creates his ad and sets a limit per click that he is willing to pay. Most advertising networks provide tools to see how that pay per click limit applies to other advertisers' bids for the same audience/industry. This will allow the advertiser to see if his pay per click limit is competitive and if his ad would be shown at all. The higher the bid, the better is the chances of an ad to be seen.
Is there a Downside in PPC Advertising ?
Cost is certainly a factor that one should keep in mind. However, if the advertiser knows what he/she is doing and have worked out a marketing plan and budget - cost shouldn't worry much. Click fraud is another factor to worry about.
However, besides legitimate concerns, there are several myths, half-truths and untruths about PPC that need attention.
On the first look PPC advertising sounds expensive. What happens if a visitor goes on the rampage - clicking on your ad copy repetitively over and over again. Imagine your competition ruining your business by clicking your ads like crazy. In theory this could bump up advertisement bill dramatically. But advertising networks usually have some sort of protection built-in to identify click frauds. That way the advertiser can rest assured that his money is not running down the drain on fraudulent incidents.
The advertiser has the option to set a daily budget for his ads. Once the budget is fully consumed - the ads will no longer appear until either the budget is increased or the next day starts. The advertiser can also remove certain geographic regions from ad coverage and filter out web-sites suspected of involved in click frauds. I know from my personal experience how restriction in geographic coverage can dramatically change click-through rates.
PPC is a promising tool for search engine marketing. Unfortunately, many web-site owners still believe that they can crawl to top of search engines through keyword manipulation or link peddling. Some of them may indeed be successful someday - however most will be failures as there are only 10 or 30 positions to fill-up from all over the world.
Instead of paying handsome money to so called experts for ambiguous claims of top search engine placement - web-site owners have a sure way of attracting quality traffic through PPC advertising. At least, you will know how much you are spending and get result from day one.
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 6, Issue 29
; May 5' 2006