A Simple Way to Explain PPC

Matthew is a Marketing Copywriter with a B.A. in Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. He aims to learn a little more about the SEO world each day, and share as much of that knowledge with you as he can. When he's not striving to put out some fresh web content, he's usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

If you run a business, you’ve probably heard about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC offers a fantastic opportunity for reaching people online, and it can be incredibly cost-effective when done right.

But it may be that the more you’ve heard about PPC, the more confused you’ve grown. With obscure terms being thrown around left and right, many online resources seem to assume that you know more about paid advertising than you do.

If you’re still in the dark, though, don’t worry. We’re here to explain PPC to you as simply as we can, from what it is to how it works. To get a clear overview of PPC, just read on.

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What is PPC?

If we’re going to explain PPC, we have to start by talking about what PPC is.

PPC, or paid advertising, is a form of digital marketing where you can pay to display ads to users. Paid ads typically appear at the top of search results in Google, though they can also take the form of banner ads in the margins of third-party websites.

One of the main benefits of PPC ads is that they’re generally cost-effective. You only have to pay for the ads you display when people click on them, meaning you don’t pay for them to be seen by people who don’t care about them.

In all likelihood, you’ve encountered PPC ads before. When you conduct a Google search, you may notice paid ads above organic search results. They usually look similar to organic results, but they have an “Ad” label in the top corner.

Here’s an example of a paid ad in search results:

 

 

PPC can also take the form of display ads in the margins of third-party websites:

 

 

The idea is to display your business’s ads in search results that are relevant to what you’re selling. When users click on your ads, they’ll be taken to landing pages that encourage them to convert.

How does PPC work?

The next part of our PPC explanation involves discussing how PPC works.

To launch a PPC campaign, you have to use a paid advertising platform. The most common platform is Google Ads, which allows you to run ads in Google search results and on third-party websites.

The process of creating a campaign usually begins with keywords, or the terms people search for in Google. By drawing up a list of keywords related to what you’re selling, you can tell Google the searches for which you want your ads to appear.

Within Google Ads, you can then bid on the keywords you want to target. Most times, you’re competing with other companies for those keywords, so you have to outbid them if you want your ads to display. 

Whenever someone searches for a keyword you’ve bid on, Google chooses a few ads to display based on two factors:

  • Bid amount: The maximum amount advertisers are willing to bid for that keyword
  • Quality Score: Google’s assessment of a campaign’s overall quality and relevance 

When you bid on your keywords, you have to craft ads to go along with them. Each ad should lead to a specific landing page that encourages users to take a particular action, like buying a product.

How can you get the most from your PPC?

The information given so far works as a basic PPC explanation, but it doesn’t do much to help you set your PPC above the competition. What makes for a truly standout paid advertising campaign?

Below, we’ll give a brief overview of PPC tactics that can help you get the most from your campaigns. Here are four ways to improve your PPC!

1. Use branded keywords

When you’re drawing up the keywords you want to target in your campaign, you need to make sure to select keywords that are highly relevant to whatever you’re selling. Keywords that contain your brand name are some of the most relevant keywords you can target.

Branded keywords are those that include terms specific to your company. If your business is called Carrock Lawn Services, then “carrock lawn” would be a branded keyword.

If someone looks up one of your branded keywords, it means they’re already looking directly for your business. That searcher has a very high chance of converting, so for that reason, you may want to target branded keywords in your campaigns.

2. Target custom audiences

Targeting keywords is a great way to help you reach the right audience, but there are even more direct ways to accomplish that. Within Google Ads, you can target custom audiences, which you can put together from a variety of features.

Essentially, you can go through and pick out different characteristics that you want to target. Such characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation

You can create custom audiences based on the features most common among your customers. Then Google can target your ads exclusively to those users, so you don’t waste time and resources on people who won’t have an interest in your business.

3. Harness RLSA

Another feature Google Ads allows you to take advantage of is remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). RLSA involves targeting your ads to people who have already visited your website and expressed an interest in your products or services.

The way this works is that you tell Google to track traffic to certain pages on your website and then target users who visit them. So if someone visits a particular product page, you can tell Google to target that user with ads for the product they viewed.

This is so valuable because it ensures you’re targeting users who already have an interest in what you’re offering. They have a much higher chance than other users of being converted by a PPC ad.

4. List negative keywords

The final pro tip in our overview of PPC is to use negative keywords. While normal keywords tell Google which searches you want to target with your ads, negative keywords tell Google the searches for which you don’t want your ads to appear.

Negative keywords are handy for limiting your campaigns to relevant searches. For example, if you target the keyword “bookstore chicago,” it’s possible that your ads could come up in a search for “used bookstore chicago.”

If you don’t sell used books, though, that keyword won’t be relevant to your business, so you don’t want your ads appearing for it. To avoid letting that happen, you can add “used” to your list of negative keywords in Google Ads.

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Learn more about how PPC works when you partner with WebFX

Here at the end of our PPC explanation, you hopefully have a good idea of how PPC works and how to put it to use for your business. But if you’re still struggling to figure out how you can best drive results with this strategy, don’t worry — we’ve got your back.

At WebFX, we’ve earned over 500 testimonials from our clients, showing that they trust us to drive results. With our PPC services, you can get help implementing all of the tips listed above and more.

To get started with us today, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online!