Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing is flexible, dynamic and if done right can provide nearly instantaneous results. For those of you that don’t know what PPC is, let me explain. The search engines Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL, Ask as well as secondary and tertiary engines allow you to market your business, product or service on their site and you pay only when someone who is looking for that kind of business, product or service actually visits the advertiser’s website. This is done through the use of keywords or Adwords.
These keywords are being bid on in online auction based on which position on the page the advertiser would like to show for that search term. So XYZ Plumbing could win the bid on position one and show for the search “plumbers Baltimore”, “plumber Baltimore”, “plumbing contractor Baltimore” ect. When we run these types of campaigns for clients we run keyword lists of up to 1500 related keywords.
This is what brings us to this point and I’ll just pick on Google for this post. Google provides a tool for their clients to figure out which keywords they think are a good choice to bid on. They leave this complex task up to you. This process can actually be as complicated as you make it. One key indicator that I have witnessed people use is the search traffic for that keyword. If a keyword gets a lot of traffic it is a good keyword right? If a keyword is not searched much it is a bad keyword right? Not really. Bidding on keywords that generate tons of traffic using a pay per click model may make you big shekels but it is a definite way to make Google rich. Excuse me… richer.
Some keywords don’t get used much but actually convert into business. This is sometimes counter intuitive. When utilizing a search engine marketing strategy (SEM), it’s not about high traffic keywords it is about high converting words. Phone calls, orders and emails to the business can be traced back to which keywords, search engines and page position caused the calls. This information can be used to make better decisions going forward.
I have spoken with countless businesses that have attempted an SEM strategy on their own or have used a third party company to no avail. There could be multiple reasons for this, but the most common is they just don’t have the proper tools. When we run campaigns for clients we use conversion based optimization software and reverse proxy sites to ascertain what is working. Without these kinds of tools, I am not optimistic about a SEM campaign performing well especially in a competitive industry.
The good news is, done properly I have witnessed clients realize high returns on their investment in SEM. The search engines are one of the very best ways for businesses to market themselves. So, let’s be smarter and more efficient and let’s get you a solid return on you marketing dollar.
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