Search Engine Marketing: Pros and Cons of Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

It is the aim of every internet marketer to get their website onto the first page of a search engine, but this takes a lot of patience and effort before it can be achieved. That is one of the reasons why pay per click advertising is so popular. It allows you some control over when and how often your website gets to the very top of the first page of a search engine (usually in a highlighted section referred to as ‘Sponsored Links’ or something similar). This involves bidding on keywords, meaning the highest bidders get their link shown when those particular keywords are searched, and then they pay the bid amount every time someone clicks that link.

This sounds like the perfect advertising, no fixed fees, only pay for keywords, get to the top of Google. But although it has its many advantages, it has equal disadvantages, and so should be entered into only after familiarising yourself entirely with the pros and cons.

The Pros

PPC works at a far faster rate than SEO or any other form of advertising. You could be receiving clicks within a few hours of setting up the agreement with the PCC company, depending on how popular your chosen keywords are.

The traffic increase is steep, as its only search engines that display PPC links. PPC companies have got deals going with many other websites and blogs who will display the links on their own web pages in order to cash in.

Unlike with search engine optimization (SEO) which is not always a guaranteed process, PPC is paid for so you know what you are getting for your money. You can also set yourself a budget, so you won’t accidently spend more than you meant to.

The Cons

Although you can set yourself a budget, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to spend quite a bit to actually achieve what you want to achieve. To compete with all the other bidders you may have to bid relatively high per click, and then those clicks soon add up.

You may have heard of a thing called click fraud. This is a big concern in the text ads and PPC world, and involves some publishers (websites who are paid by PPC companies to publish the links) clicking their own ads to get more money. PPC companies are cracking down on this, and instantly ban anyone found to be doing so, but it is still a worry to all involved. There can also be accidental clicks by visitors to a publisher’s website mistaking the link for something else on the actual website. Although you can guarantee people will click, you cannot guarantee that these clicks will turn into leads and sales.

Due to the heavy competition and therefore escalating bidding wars over popular keywords, it is best to look for a less popular variant of the most popular keywords you were looking at using. When using text advertising, it is wise to find keywords and phrases that are not popular. Trying to outbid huge corporations with equally large budgets will only cost you more money and won’t be half as effective.

Choosing Keywords and Bidding

Here’s example of choosing related keywords and phrases by popularity:

The company: A digital marketing company offering SEO, PPC and other online marketing services.

Low competition keywords and phrases associated with this company would include:

      ·         ‘professional online marketing company’
      ·         ‘social media PCC’
      ·         ‘media PCC’

High competition keywords and phrases for the company would include:

       ·         ‘best pay per click website’ 
       ·         ‘pcc management campaign’
       ·         ‘web internet marketing services’
       ·         ‘cheap seo solutions’

The price you pay per click is dependent on the ad quality, your maximum bid, and the maximum bids of the competition. If you set a maximum bid of £1 per click per ad, then you will never pay more than this, and if the competition only bids a maximum of 50p per click for the same ad position, assuming your ads have the same quality, you will only need to pay 51p to outbid them.

It is best to use a traffic estimator before setting your daily and monthly budgets so that you know what you can get a better idea of what you will be getting for your money. Choosing low popularity keywords and phrases could cost you anything between £100 to £500 a month, and a maximum bid of £1 - £10 per click is needed to secure your spot. Higher popularity key words and phrases could be £500 and upwards per month, with a maximum bid of £10+. 

Average cost per click (CPC) for low popularity key words is 50p – £5, and for more popular ones you can expect an average CPC of £6+. It is hard to determine exactly as every industry is different, and these figures are just a very rough estimate. For more information specific to your industry and company, choose a PPC company and ask for a consultation.

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