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Pay-Per-Click Advertising

(cont'd)

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 perfect.

  • 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.
 

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