PPC 101: Your Introduction to PPC Basics

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.

When it comes to marketing your business, few places are more advantageous than Google. Ninety-three percent of all Internet traffic begins with a search engine, so you can reach enormous online audiences with ease when you market there.

One way of marketing through Google is to get your content ranking organically, but that’s not your only option. One of the most effective search engine marketing tactics is to display pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top of search results.

But what are PPC ads, and how can you put them to use in your marketing? We’ll answer both of those questions below in this PPC 101 blog post.

Read on for a complete PPC overview, and then subscribe to Revenue Weekly for more digital marketing insights from our team of over 300 experts!

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PPC 101: What is PPC?

To begin our PPC overview, we have to ask the most basic question: What is PPC?

PPC is a form of paid advertising that you can use to reach your audience online. Most often, PPC ads appear at the top of Google search results. You’ve almost certainly encountered some before — they look similar to organic results, except for the “Ad” label in the top corner.

 

 

Some PPC ads can also show up in the margins of third-party websites, appearing as rectangular boxes with text and images inside them. These ads are called display ads.

 

 

You can create and display both types of PPC ads through Google, specifically through its advertising platform Google Ads.

How does PPC work?

In Google Ads or your PPC platform of choice, you can start creating your paid ad campaign by drawing up a list of keywords — that is, search terms — to target. You’ll want to focus on targeting your ads toward keywords that relate strongly to what you’re advertising.

Once you have a list of target keywords, you can bid on each of them in Google Ads. When you bid on keywords, you’re effectively telling Google how much you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on one of your ads for that particular keyword.

Whenever someone searches for a keyword that advertisers have bid on, Google will choose ads to display based on two factors:

  • Bid amount (how much the advertiser bid)
  • Quality Score (Google’s assessment of the ad’s overall quality)

When you optimize your bidding strategy and create ads with high Quality Scores, you have an excellent shot at getting your ads into search results. From there, people can find the ads in response to their queries and click on them.

Why is PPC useful?

For the next section of our paid advertising introduction, let’s talk about what makes PPC so beneficial.

1. PPC generates conversions and brand awareness

To start with, PPC is an excellent tool for generating both conversions and brand awareness. Many people will find your ads after having already encountered your business, and your ad could be what converts them. Others will first become familiar with you through an ad.

2. PPC is cost-effective

Secondly, PPC has the potential to be highly cost-effective. That’s because you only have to pay for ads when people click on them, meaning you’re not wasting ad revenue on people who aren’t interested in what you’re offering.

3. PPC drives fast results

Finally, PPC drives fast results. Unlike organic marketing, which can take a long time to get off the ground, PPC ads start appearing in search results as soon as you launch them.

How can you optimize PPC?

Now that we’ve covered the basic paid advertising introduction — what PPC is and how it works — the next question is this: How can you optimize it? What can you do to get the best results from your paid ads?

There are a variety of possible answers to that question, but we’ll look at a select few that are especially good for improving the effectiveness of your ads. To conclude our PPC overview, here are three ways to boost the quality of your online advertising!

1. Use negative keywords

While the keywords you bid on tell Google which searches to target, you can also list keywords that tell Google which searches to avoid targeting. Those keywords are called negative keywords.

Negative keywords are useful for helping you avoid irrelevant searches.

For example, let’s say you sell basic home office supplies, and you target the keyword “paper shredder.” As it targets variations on that keyword, Google might display your ads for the keyword “industrial paper shredder.”

Since you don’t sell industrial-sized products, that search is irrelevant to you. You could add “industrial” as a negative keyword in Google Ads to prevent your ads from appearing there, helping you avoid wasted ad spend.

2. Create custom audiences

Keywords aren’t the only option you have for targeting your ads to specific audiences. Google Ads also offers other targeting features, most notably the ability to create custom audiences for your ad campaigns.

Custom audiences are unique groups of people you compile based on specific factors, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • And more!

For example, most of your buyers for a specific product might be men under 40 in Topeka, Kansas, in which case you could create a custom audience with those three features.

By directing your ads toward that specific group, you’d be able to reach a more relevant audience and avoid wasting your ad resources on users who won’t respond to them.

3. Monitor results

You might think that once you work through the PPC basics we’ve discussed and launched your ads, you’re done with your campaigns. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Once your ads are up and running, that’s when your work truly begins. At this stage, you have to monitor your campaigns to see how they perform. Odds are, some of your ads won’t do so well, while others will excel.

You can see which ads are doing well and which ones aren’t by viewing metrics in Google Ads like conversion rate and click-through rate (CTR). You’ll notice that some ads don’t earn a lot of clicks, meaning you should either remove them or work to improve them.

By trial and error, you can begin to weed out or improve the ineffective ads, while building a stronger budget and foundation around the ones that drive results. Ultimately, this will lead to far greater benefits for your PPC overall.

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WebFX can put this paid advertising introduction into action

Now that we’ve covered the PPC basics, you can get started on your own campaigns. But you don’t have to do it alone — WebFX is here to help! With over 20 years of experience, we have what it takes to drive stellar results for your online advertising.

With our PPC services, you’ll get help optimizing for each step of the process outlined above. You’ll also receive a dedicated account representative to keep you closely informed about everything we do for your business.

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