PPC simply stands for pay per click advertising, and this equates to paying for every instance that a web user clicks on the link in your advert. The alternative is to pay for a set number of impressions, but with this approach there is no guarantee that you will receive any clicks. When using the likes of Google AdWords and the similar platforms from Bing and Yahoo, paying for a click is the only guaranteed way of generating interest for your website in the short-term.
Now vs. the future
In business, it is logical that the instances where you pay to try and generate instant success in the short-term will cost a considerable sum. This is precisely how PPC advertising works with Google AdWords, as obtaining your clicks will require you to bid against competitors from potentially all corners of the globe (scale back your geographic scope if you aren’t so ambitious). PPC is merely a quick fix when compared to organic SEO strategies that will actually benefit your business in the long-term. Advertising budgets simply won’t elevate your organic position in search engines.
Building your empire on another
Social media is the greatest example of the risks associated with depending on generating sales for your business. Entrepreneurs that didn’t make the switch from MySpace to Facebook or Twitter will have long since failed. The lesson to take is that you simply must invest in making your own website a success – because this is your platform. All of this is to say is that you cannot depend solely on Google AdWords to be your saviour. Only some industries can successfully leverage the potential of AdWords, and that’s only when they do everything right. As you will soon learn, this is anything but simple.
Check your quality score
In the case of Google AdWords, access the keywords column when viewing your current campaigns. Click on the dropdown menu for columns and then go to customize. Choose to add the quality score criterion to the columns displayed. This will give you a score out of ten for the performance of your adverts over their various keywords. Quite simply, a higher score out of ten will lead to you paying under the odds with your bids and for greater exposure. Address the following aspects of your various adverts to increase the quality score and, in turn, their exposure:
- Click through rate (CTR) – A poor CTR will need to be improved before this can contribute positively to your quality score. Just be patient with this element of your approach as you try to improve the upcoming elements.
- Keyword selection – The content of your ads and their accompanying keywords must have a close relevance. If you’re thinking of competing on the brand names of your clients, this will only increase your cost per click (CPC) because of a low quality score.
- Link destination – Does the link in your ad lead to your homepage or else a landing page? Rather than link directly to a homepage, you can link to a specific page with greater relevance to the ad. Again, this will improve the score.
False clicks unavoidable
The sad truth of PPC for small businesses is that the approach simply isn’t financially viable. For the instances where you do reach a potential customer or client, there are other clicks from parties merely draining your hard-earned resources. Here are three time-wasters you are powerless to avoid:
- Competitors – Your biggest competitors have the ability to see your ad in search results and then click on it to cost you money.
- Sales agents – These people troll the web looking for any viable opportunity to hook new customers. And by increasing your exposure, they will inevitably come crawling for your business.
- Bots – Shady global players in your field have the budget to invest in web-based programs that click on your ad until the daily budget is used up. None of this seems fair, but that is the environment we find ourselves in.
Avoiding the money pit
Businesses making the most common PPC mistakes are in a position to burn through their digital marketing budgets at a frightening pace. Without research and planning, PPC advertising can soon become a money pit incapable of yielding positive returns for your business. Making the most of the platform is incredibly difficult, even for so-called experts, so make sure you take the time to consider the popular PPC pitfalls and at least try to boost your quality score. Otherwise you will be wasting valuable resources that would be better spent on an organic SEO approach.
By Mike Porter
(Photo credit to Pascual López)