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by Samantha Noble on 6th April 2010
Pay per Click advertising provides a fantastic opportunity to attract targeted traffic to your website. But with great rewards come equally large challenges. So what can you do to make sure your PPC campaigns succeed?
When it comes to marketing your website, you are almost spoilt for choice. Deciding what is the most effective search engine marketing strategy certainly isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, particularly when also looking to maximise Return On Investment (ROI).
Search engine optimisation is a traditional favourite. It builds the strength of a site and improves its authority within search engines, all in an effort to improve rankings.
Social media is a contemporary alternative. By engaging with customers through websites such as Twitter and Facebook, you can reach a huge audience; building traffic and enhancing your reputation in one fell swoop.
Completing the modern online marketing triumvirate is Pay per Click advertising. Like SEO, PPC relies on search engine results pages to gain visibility. These sponsored ads ordinarily feature to the right of the organic results and occasionally in the top banner. As with the organic results, they also rely on keywords for success.
Unlike SEO and social media marketing, Pay per Click requires ongoing investment. In terms of ROI, this can pose an issue. PPC is an expense, which if not managed correctly, can work against your return on investment.
How Much Does PPC Cost?
The cost of Pay per Click advertising is largely based on its success. First of all you have to determine what keywords you are going to target. Again, like SEO, making sure that your adverts are appearing for the right search phrases can make all the difference when it comes to attracting clicks and gaining conversions.
With your optimised ad copy written, you have to determine how much you are prepared to bid for your keywords. This, understandably, is an important step.
Unlike SEO, where positions can’t be bought, you can use the bidding process to get a leg up on the competition. This might mean paying over the odds, but it will gain you visibility. The amount you bid though will be the sum you are charged each time your advert is clicked on, so recklessness is not advisable.
Budgeting your PPC Campaigns
Going hand in hand with your bid prices is your budget. You need to set a budget that will allow you to gain maximum traffic, but won’t significantly impact your ROI. Starting low and building your budget, along with your confidence, is always recommended for anybody new to PPC.
The budget is a balancing act. As with the old business adage, sometimes you do have to speculate to accumulate. However, the time to start pumping money in isn’t necessarily at the start with a fresh campaign. Often it is best to wait for your adverts to mature.
Optimising Pay per Click Ads
PPC advertising campaigns need to be continuously optimised. Before you set it live and unleash your ads onto the search engines, you have to build a solid list of keywords and negative keywords [see: What Are Negative Keywords]. Whilst the keywords make sure you are seen on the most targeted pages, negatives will stop you appearing on those with little or no relevance [see: How Negative Keywords Can Make Your PPC Budget Go Further].
If you are going to really maximise your ROI and get the most from PPC, you need to monitor your campaign regularly. Negative keywords can appear at any time; when they do, you need to be able to act fast. The more impressions your site receives without earning a click, the less relevant you will appear to the search engines.
This lack of relevance will work against you, leading to higher bid prices and greater costs. A good enough reason to regularly optimise your campaign, eradicating costly irrelevant clicks and impressions.
Conversely, the better your Click through Rate, the higher your Quality Score [see: Ways to Improve Quality Score] will be and the lower your bid cost becomes. When you’re paying less for clicks, your budget goes further and your potential for conversions increases – another trio of good news.
Making Your Budget Go Further
To really get the most from your adverts and stretch every financial sinew of your budget, then you need to produce targeted campaigns. To add focus you can ensure that your adverts only appear at the most popular times of day or within a certain locality.
Geographical targeting allows you to go after certain cities, counties or countries, ensuring that you don’t appear for searchers anywhere else. Ad scheduling will mean that you can pinpoint times that your ads are active to within 15 minutes. Both will help etch out a little extra ROI.
When it comes to choosing how your ads are distributed there are three basic choices; broad match, exact and phrase. Broad requires the most optimisation and incurs the most risk [see: The Dangers of Broad Match in PPC Advertising]. Exact and phrase match ensure that your ads only appear on SERPs that are related to your specified keywords – very much the safe options.
The Danger of Click Fraud
One other significant danger to your PPC campaign and ROI is click fraud. Essentially this is where malicious elements deliberately click on your adverts to drain your budget. As you can imagine, this gets very costly, very quickly.
We have covered this in the past with our post: Do You Suspect Click Fraud? Here’s a Simple Solution… If you do find suspicious behaviour on your account, make sure you locate it and pass on your concerns to the search engine in question. They should then isolate the culprit and make sure they are unable to click on your adverts in future.
There are many financial benefits of online marketing. With greater focus, variety of campaigns and exposure comes the opportunity to improve your website’s ROI. By integrating PPC with your current Internet marketing work, you can make sure that your site is being seen where it counts the most and bring more customers to your pages.
Optimise PPC, Boost ROI
Pay per Click advertising isn’t without its risks. However, when properly managed and professionally maintained, your campaigns can flourish. To get you off on the right foot, you might want to check out these 11 tips to improve your AdWords campaign.
So if your website is in need of a little extra targeted traffic and you want to improve conversions, give PPC a try. Done properly , you could well see a major surge in your ROI as a result.