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Why PPC is Good
Pay-per-click advertising can generate traffic right away. It's
simple: If you spend enough, you can get top placement, and
potential customers will see you first. If folks are searching for
the keyphrases on which you bid and you've placed a well-written ad,
you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated.
So PPC advertising is fast: With some systems, such as Google
Adwords, you can generate targeted traffic within a few minutes of
opening an account.
PPC advertising is also nimble: Where natural search engine
marketing or other forms of advertising can lag weeks or months
behind changing audience behavior, you can adjust most pay-per-click
campaigns in hours or days. That provides unmatched ability to
adjust to market conditions.
PPC can also be a bargain: Sometimes, you can find keyword 'niches'
for which the top bid is around $.10 - in that case, PPC is a great
option, because you can generate traffic to your site for a fraction
of the cost of any other form of paid advertising.
So, balancing the good and the bad, where does PPC fit in? As a
focused advertising tool.
The Role of PPC Advertising
Most businesses can't afford to solely rely on PPC advertising. It's
too expensive, and bid amounts inevitably climb. But pay-per-click
can fill a few important roles:
Campaign- and issue-based traffic: If you have a short-term campaign
for a new product, service or special issue, pay-per-click can be a
great way to generate buzz. You can start a pay-per-click campaign
within, at most, 24-48 hours, and you can generally change the text
of your ad in mid-campaign, so adjusting your message is easy. If
you need to focus attention for a finite amount of time, PPC is
Direct-response business: If you sell a product or offer a service
that folks can purchase the moment they arrive at your web site,
pay-per-click is a great tool. Online stores are a great example:
You know that each click generated is a real potential customer, so
spending money to increase the number of clicks makes sense.
Niche terms: If you are trying to generate traffic for a highly
specific keyphrase, PPC can often provide bargains. For example, you
might not want to pay the top bid for 'bicycles', but 'Landshark
Bicycles' is probably a lot less expensive ($.10 per click as of
this writing, actually).
The overall rule of thumb? Focus, focus, focus. Natural search
engine optimization is a PR-based, long-term attempt to grow your
brand and image. Pay-per-click advertising, however, should be
handled like any other form of paid advertising: Gingerly, and with
a clear, quantifiable short- or medium-term goal in mind. In other
words, concentrate on conversions, not clicks.