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A Beginners Guide to The Basics Of Paid Search (PPC) Marketing

Advertising remains crucial to the success of any business. It doesn’t matter how great or beneficial the products and services you’re offering are if no one knows about them.

While the importance of advertising has not changed in the slightest, the ways to promote yourself or your business have.

The advent of the digital world and all the things that come with it have forced businesses to migrate many of their marketing efforts to that cyberspace. That change has also led to the emergence of new advertising methods, and among them is one known as PPC marketing.

What Is PPC and How Is It Managed?

PPC is shorthand for the term “pay-per-click” and that, in turn, refers to an advertising model that is dependent on customer interaction and keywords. PPC is different than SEO, yet business owners often confuse the two of them.

When it comes to PPC ads, the advertisers will be the ones who pay up whenever an ad they have posted is clicked. For the most part, the advertisers will be making the payment to a popular website.

After a potential customer has typed certain keywords into a search engine, a few PPC ads related to those keywords will show up.

The upside to PPC marketing is that businesses typically get prime real estate for their ads. They are getting right in front of the customers who are seeking out something similar to the items and/or services they offer.

PPC marketing also gives you a good sense of how well your ads are working. Of course, if the ads are getting plenty of attention, that likely means you will end up having to pay a hefty fee. The traffic you received may be worth that though.

So, what then is PPC management?

PPC management is all about handling all the aspects of PPC marketing. The people put in charge of this don’t just have to worry about crafting ads.

According to BigCommerce Essentials, the professionals tasked with managing PPC campaigns also need to research keywords, test out their earning potential, figure out which services to use, monitor the success of the keywords, and also keep tabs on how the competitors are doing.

There are other PPC-related tasks that pop up from time to time that need to be dealt with too. Needless to say, the people who are asked to manage PPC campaigns have to be versatile workers to get it right.

What Are the Benefits of PPC Marketing?

Inevitably, you will wonder why you even need to invest in PPC marketing. You already have SEO professionals on the payroll, you trust their work, and believe they can deliver the traffic and leads your business site needs, so why pay for supplemental advertising?

Listed below are just some of the reasons why PPC marketing also has to be a part of your marketing strategy.

PPC Ads Give Your Business a Guaranteed Chance to Be Seen

You’ve most likely seen some PPC ads yourself. They often show up when you’re looking something up on Google or shopping on Amazon.

First page on either Google or Amazon is the promised land for just about any business. Now, imagine just how great it could be for your business if you had that kind of visibility.

That’s what PPC ads are for. They put your products and/or services in prime position so that people who may need them have a great chance of seeing them.

Your products and/or services being seen does not automatically mean that your sales will go up, but it certainly helps.

PPC Ads Provide a Helpful Boost for New Companies

New businesses have a long, uphill climb to face. Not only are they trying to get noticed by customers, but they also have to show online heavyweights such as Amazon and Google that they are legitimate businesses with something of value to offer.

The beauty of PPC ads is that they can offer new businesses a kind of shortcut to the top. Since it’s going to take a while before they can build up their customer bases and develop a following, PPC ads offer a way for those newer businesses to drum up attention faster.

PPC Campaigns Are Cost-Controlled

Because PPC-related fees are linked to how popular the ads themselves are, you would think that some companies end up paying more than they want to on certain days, but that’s not the case.

As pointed out by Host Gator, you can set spending limits for your ads.

You don’t have to pay as much for PPC ads if they aren’t resonating with the audience, but at the same time, your budget won’t be busted if one ad just so happens to catch fire.

Those are just some of the most notable benefits of PPC marketing, but there are other reasons why it can work for your business. For now though, let’s turn our attention to other aspects of PPC marketing by specifically focusing on some of the terms you will encounter.

The Terms You Need to Know

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

When you search for something on Google, you will be directed to pages and pages of results featuring links to different websites. You may still receive some traffic if your website appears on the second or third page of Google, but the best way to ensure greater visibility is to be on the first page.

Included among the results shown on the first page are PPC ads. They appeared because of the keywords you typed and in all likelihood, they are related to what you were searching for.

Search engines understand just how important it is for businesses to get high rankings on the SERPs (search engine results pages) and that’s why they offer opportunities for businesses to post PPC ads.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

The CPC is the amount businesses have to pay each time that someone clicks on their PPC ad.

According to Investopedia, the CPC is often referred to when businesses have set a limit for their daily advertising. The CPC amount can either be set by a formula or through a bidding process.

Maximum CPC Bid

The maximum CPC bid is the highest amount you’re willing to pay for a PPC ad. You won’t always have to pay your maximum CPC bid.

It’s important to think carefully about what your maximum CPC bid should be.

On one hand, setting it low can help you save money, but setting a higher maximum CPC bid can result in your ads receiving a more favorable position, according to Google.


Also known as cost-per-thousand, the cost-per-mile is the amount businesses or individuals need to pay for every 1000 impressions on its ad.

The CPM is also often used to set the price on ads, Investopedia notes.

Should You Use CPC or CPM?

You have to take your needs into consideration when you’re trying to decide between the CPC and CPM pricing models for your web ads.

The CPC model will make more sense for you if there’s a specific product or service you want to push. However, if your goal with your advertising campaign is just to make more people aware of your business, the CPM model could be the more cost-effective option.


These are the words that are most relevant to either your business or the commodities you are selling.

You want to choose keywords that are both closely related to your business and terms that people will likely look up. Advertisers have the option of using numerous keywords to increase the chances of their ads being seen.

Ad Text

Not to be confused with text ads, which are the advertisements that actually appear on Google, ad text refers to the actual content of your advertisement. You don’t get a lot of space to work with so make sure that the ad text conveys everything you need it to and that it actually is relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.

Ad Rank

Ad rank is something you need to pay attention to if you are interested in posting PPC ads. Per Google, ad rank is the value that they use to determine where your ad will be placed.

Numerous factors have to be accounted for when calculating ad rank. These include factors you can control such as the bid amount and the relevance of your ad. Then again, there are several other factors that are out of your control entirely.

Ad Group

You will primarily lean on ad groups to organize the advertisements you want to post. These groups can be organized by theme or by the products and services they refer to.


Campaigns contain the ad groups that share some similarities such as a target location or a budget. Much like the smaller ad groups, the main function of the campaign is to keep you organized.

Landing Page

The landing page is the corner of the internet people go to after they click on your ad. It’s usually the first glimpse that a customer will get of what your company is all about away from Google.

Google mandates that all landing pages and display URLs for ads share the same domain.

Quality Score

Once you’re all done setting your keywords, landing pages, and your ads, Google will assign a quality score to what you’ve put together.

Quality scores range from 1 to 10 and you want to end up on the high end in this case. By earning a high quality score, you can post your ads for a more affordable price and also have them better positioned.

How Do You Start a PPC Campaign?

Managing a PPC campaign is no easy feat, but before you worry about that, you should focus first on getting it off the ground.

There’s a lot of prep work that goes into a successful PPC ad campaign and missing some important steps can set you up for failure.

Establish Your Guidelines

Of course you want to reach more customers and run a good campaign, but how exactly do you intend to accomplish those things? It would help if you set guidelines for everyone in your company to follow with regards to the PPC campaign.

When establishing your guidelines, you want to clearly identify who your target customers are. Focus on a niche first and then branch out when you have experienced some success.

Speaking of success, you also need to define what that means for your campaign. Is it getting 100000 impressions or maybe 10000 clicks?

The marketing campaign you’re running also has to be coherent. Not only will doing this help you rate better with Google, but it also helps your employees stay on message when they are creating ads of their own.

Define Your Goals

By every metric, an ad campaign can appear successful, but businesses may still be dissatisfied with it if it fails to meet their goals. That’s why it’s important to keep those things aligned.

Generating sales is a good goal to have for any marketing campaign, but you may also want to establish a firmer foothold in your industry by creating better brand awareness or generating more traffic.

Regardless of which goals you settle on, remember to keep track of how close or how far you are from hitting them by monitoring relevant metrics.

Select the Type of PPC Campaign You Want to Run

There are 8 types of PPC campaigns businesses can opt to run.

  1. Search ads – These are by far the most common and they are what you’ll see appear on SERPs.
  2. Display ads – Made up of both pictures and text, display ads show up on Google’s partner sites rather than the search engine itself.
  3. Social ads – Social ads are not related to Google. Instead they are ads posted by businesses on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and etc.
  4. Remarketing ads – To use remarketing ads, you must first already be using Google’s PPC ads. With the help of tracking pixels, businesses can identify what customers view on their sites and then use that information to hopefully re-engage them.
  5. Shopping ads – When you look up a specific item such as a new mouse for your computer or maybe a TV, you may see listings show up right there on Google. These are shopping ads and they introduce you to products you may be interested in without requiring you to first head to a different site.
  6. Local service ads – The local service ads you may see on Google are similar to the shopping ads, except they feature listings of nearby professionals who are offering their services. Listings for plumbers and electricians may show up as local service ads.
  7. Gmail sponsored promotions – When you open up your Gmail account, you’ll see that the emails are categorized. There’s a category for your important and personal emails, as well as one that holds emails from social networking sites. The other category is reserved for promotional emails sent your way.
  8. Instream ads – Last up are the instream ads, and these are the ones that play on YouTube. Instream ads can play before, during, or after the video you’re watching.

Seek Out the Best Keywords

Since you’re relying on Google to effectively generate traffic for your business, you need to make sure that your ads are connected to the right keywords.

More often than not though, the best keywords that are directly related to your business are already owned by bigger companies that can afford to bid big on them. You may have to set your sights on similar keywords instead.

Try to incorporate location into your keyword selection so that you can get in front of more local customers.

Don’t forget to track the performance of your keywords to see if they are worth continually investing in.

Use Google Analytics on Your Website

Apart from your keywords, you should also keep an eye on how your website is performing through Google Analytics. The service even provides you with machine learning features that can allow you to get more out of your website data.

Thankfully, the aforementioned service is free to set up for your website so don’t shy away from giving it a try.

What Are the Best Practices in PPC Advertising?

You’re now running a PPC advertising campaign, but if you’re just getting started, it’s probably not running as smoothly as it possibly can just yet. Included below are some tips for how to change that.

Create Great Ad Text

You’re not running a Super Bowl ad here. Running an ad that is confusing or bewildering may draw a chuckle or two from people, but it’s probably not going to receive that many clicks.

What you want is an ad that actually offers value to the customers by being relevant to what they searched for, telling them what they need to know, and providing them with a way to take action.

Accomplishing all those things with the limited space available in ad won’t be easy, but it can be done.

Provide a Landing Page That’s In-Sync with Your Ad

Your ad got a potential customer interested in what you have to offer so you should strive to stay on message as you keep making your pitch. In this case, that involves creating a landing page that works well with your PPC ad.

To do that, you need to use the same tone for the landing page that you did with the ad. It would also help if the keywords are still present on the landing page. Go ahead and maintain your call to action as well.

Most importantly, if you said that customers will be able to see something if they clicked on your ad, make sure you deliver on that with the landing page.

As for the aesthetics, an uncluttered landing page that contains only useful information would be ideal. Steer clear of super bright graphics and tacky word art that can make your landing page appear suspicious.

Perform A/B Tests on Your Ads

Testing is always important when it comes to ads. Those tests will help you see which elements are working as intended and which need a few tweaks so that they can be further optimized.

If you have the time and resources for it, try to run A/B tests on individual elements of your ads such as the headlines or the keywords. Doing so will help you pinpoint exact elements that need to be improved.

It’s also a good idea to run a battery of tests on your PPC ads so that you have more data to work with.

Optimize the ROI on Your PPC Ads

You obviously want to get the highest return on investment possible on your ads, but that’s easier said than done.

A few things you can do though include improving your keywords, the contents of your ads, and your landing pages. By adjusting all those elements, you can obtain a better quality score from Google and a bigger discount on your ads.

Targeting specific locations and demographics with your PPC ads is also a great way to increase the chances of a click-through turning into a sale.

More PPC Tips You Can Use

  • Schedule your ads – If you are selling sporting goods for instance, you may want to time your ads so that they show up around the time when most people are checking for scores and highlights.
  • Continually track and manage your keywords – Don’t forget to maintain your bids on your best-performing keywords and cut bait on the ones that are just wasting your money.
  • Run ads on social media – Once you’ve established by running PPC ads on search engines, you can broaden your customer base by putting up additional advertisements on sites like Facebook and Twitter.


In an ideal world, if you have a good enough product and/or service, you should be able to make enough money to keep your business profitable. Things don’t work that way though. Promoting your business is just as important as actually providing quality goods and/or services. To make advertising an easier task, you can lean on PPC ads and PPC management professionals.

Thanks for reading "A Beginners Guide to The Basics Of Paid Search (PPC) Marketing", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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