A beginner's guide to Pay Per Click [PPC] Search Engines
By Prabuddha S Raychaudhuri
What is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Search Engine?
Uptil now, the Search Engine (SE) world has been basically governed by Free Search Engines, i.e. Search Engines which rank various web sites for free. However, with the emergence of numerous PPC SEs, the scenario of SEO has undergone a sea-change. But first, what is a PPC SE? Put in simple words, PPC SEs are those SEs which give rankings to various websites based upon the amount of money the website owner is willing to pay for a particular keyword. For example, if you are the CEO of an online tea shop, and you have bid for the keyword "online tea shop" for US$ 0.90, while your competitor has bid for the same keyword for US$0.85, then your website will be placed higher up than your competitor on the PPC SEs. However, if your bid amount is less than your competitor, you will be pulled down the list. Don't worry, you won't be charged anything if your website link goes unclicked.
Procedures for Bidding in PPC SEs
The trick for bidding in various PPC SEs lies in extensive and thorough research of the keywords, developing good, relevant content on those keywords, astute understanding of the functioning of various PPC SEs and of course the budget allocated for SEO of your site.
PROCEDURE # 1 : Since you will be paying for all those clicks, you must ensure that those clicks convert into your customers. So, target your main keywords, i.e. keywords which describe your products or service to the fullest extent. You can conduct the keyword research yourself by using various keyword research tools available on the net or can take the service of various professional Keyword Research Consultants. Here's a list of keyword research tips that you may find handy :-
· Always target keywords that best describe your products/service.
· Try to find multiword potential keywords compared to single keywords.
· Try formulating keywords which give answers to as "why/how/what …….?"
· Utilize your server log files to know what your customers searched most while visiting your site.
· Use keyword generator softwares.
· Include common misspellings (e.g mortgages typed as morgages etc.) in your keyword list(may backfire and hence is risky!!!).
PROCEDURE # 2 : After identifying the main keywords(i.e those keywords which you are going to bid with your competitors), visit the major PPC SEs and find the amount at which they are currently being bidded by your competitors. Ask for the bid amount of the top ten positions from the PPC SEs.
PROCEDURE # 3 : After that, what? Research, research, research!!! Fine tune your keyword list, ensure that those are your most potential keywords. Then compare the bid amount of those keywords in various PPC SEs for top ranks and find out which one really suits your budget (Compareyourclicks.com, is a nice site which I found very handy for comparing the bid amounts of a particular keyword in the major PPC SEs).
PROCEDURE # 4 : After finalizing your potential keywords, optimize the pages based on those keywords. A few tips on page optimization :-
· Develop content which are relevant to your keywords and site.
· Try to place your keywords at the beginning of the title and description.
· Title and Description should not be misleading and should reflect the content of your site
· Repeat the keywords throughout the page quite a number of times(pay attention to Keyword Density , normally between 3-9 %)
· Try to place your keywords in the very first sentence of the page. Repeat the keywords throughout the first paragraph. Same should be tried at the last paragraph of the pages.
PROCEDURE # 5 : My advice for first timers would be to opt for generic keywords that are bidded for lower bid amounts. Try to be within the first page, and then slowly work your way up. Track down your most potential keywords again from your visitor's stats, and then raise the bid amount to be within the top 3-5 positions.
PROCUDURE # 6 : Opt for higher bid amounts at the beginning only if you are going for very specific, highly focused keywords related to your business, keywords which you are dead sure of producing valuable clickthroughs.
PROCEDURE # 7 : Since every keyword bid in the PPC SEs will have a see-sawing effect on bid amounts over time, it's imperative for the website owners to keep a close eye on it and judiciously increase/decrease the bid amount to get maximum clickthroughs. Not an easy job, but should be religiously pursued if you are interested in getting maximum mileage from PPC SEs!!!
PROCEDURE # 8 : Don't be obsessed with getting No #1 Position. Focus on the fact what you are spending on a particular keyword and what your clickthroughs are producing. Figure out the following. You are ranked Fifth(5) in XYZ PPC SE. You are spending 8 cents on a keyword and the clickthroughs are producing 18 cents, then you are surely well off. However, anticipating greater potential of your keywords, you hike your bid amount. You are now ranked second(2) in XYZ PPC SE. You are spending 12 cents and clickthroughs are producing say, the same 18 cents. Then also you are well off, but not as before. So concentrate on the following
· Try to gauge the implications associated with increase/decrease of bid amount, corresponding higher/lower ranking in PPC SEs, it's effect on site traffic(percentage of clickthroughs converting into customers). Coupled with the budget allocated for SEO plan, you should decide whether you should opt for PPC SEs or not.
About the Author
Prabuddha S Raychaudhuri is the Founder & CEO of SEOguru Technologies (http://www.searchengine-optimization-guru.com), a premiere search engine optimization, search engine marketing (SEO/SEM) firm.
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