PPC stands for “pay per click” marketing. This model of Internet marketing allows you to publish ad campaigns and pay every time a potential customer clicks on an ad. You’re basically buying views to your website rather than trying to earn organic visits using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to increase your site’s ranking.
PPC vs. SEO
Here’s an example. You sell t-shirts. You need to increase traffic to your website so more people see your awesome t-shirts and buy them. Both PPC and SEO could help you get more traffic. In this scenario, here’s how both would work:
- PPC – You create ad campaigns for your t-shirts. You bid on relevant search terms and create ad copy that you hope will incentivize clicks. When a user searches for “t-shirts,” they see your ads posted at the top of their search results, above organic results, marked “Ad.” If they click on your ad, you are charged a fee. Your potential customer ends up on your website or landing page and from there, it just depends on the quality of your site, sales pitch, and products to close the sale. Your ads brought them to the door.
- SEO – You build a website for your t-shirts complete with all the SEO building blocks you need for long-term search engine success—including alt text on images, meta data and descriptions, lengthy page content, properly written H1s and H2s, etc. You avoid sketchy SEO strategies that could get you penalized like the plague. You start a blog. You pay influencers to wear your shirts and take pictures in them looking awesome in Machu Picchu. They link to you, guest post in your blog, and share across their social channels and personal blogs. You write blog posts about the 50 Best Ways to Wear a T-Shirt, and Why This T-Shirt Will Get You a Girlfriend. Over time, your awesome content and links from other sites help you climb higher and higher in search results, eventually scoring you the #1 organic ranking that every user sees when they search for “t-shirt.” This real estate is invaluable, and it costs you nothing. Well, except for everything you spent on blogging and building your site. And you have to keep doing it to keep your place. But you earn invaluable traffic from people who intrinsically believe you have a right to their clicks—your site earned their traffic, after all—and you have a phenomenal website with lots of quality marketing that both helps you earn clicks and then helps you turn those clicks into conversions through the very quality of the content that got you the prime search engine traffic in the first place.
Both of these strategies are important and have varying strengths. In a robust digital marketing, they should be used together. I’ll address this more in future posts!
Learning How to Succeed at PPC
There are a lot of moving pieces to a successful PPC strategy. The first step is creating your ad campaigns. You’ve got to try to drive down ad spend while generating high-quality clicks. After all, PPC is only valuable if you are spending much less per click than the site visit is worth. You need to find the right keywords and keyword match types. If you are dealing with the Display Network or Facebook ads or other ad types, you need to ensure that you are using the right demographic targeting.
In addition to building out your ad campaigns correctly, you also need to make sure that you are sending your visitors to a landing page or website that is properly optimized. (In a future blog post, I’m going to explain why you should use landing pages for your ad campaigns rather than linking your ads to your website, but for now let’s just leave it at this: Use landing pages.) There’s no point in pouring time and energy into your ad campaigns while neglecting the destination of those ads. Your landing pages need to be convincing enough to get your visitor to take that vital next step.
Not every potential client comes to you with the same level of intent. Leads who came to your page from a display ad, for example, are “colder” or “lower intent” than those who found you through a search—because if someone is searching for your specific product or service, that lead is considered “warmer” or “high intent.” You want to match the temperature of the lead to the design and ask of your landing page.
These are all important components of your PPC plan that I’ll be addressing in detail in future blog posts. Stay tuned! If you would like to schedule a free consultation with a member of my team, give us a call at (707) 861-8710 or click here.