Q: How do pay-per-click search engines work?
A: Most pay-per-click search engines are based on a bidding system - the highest positions go to the top bidders. This means that a click is worth whatever you want to pay for it (your bid), but to get your PPC listing at the very top for a popular search phrase, you might have to pay quite a lot for each click. The search term "web hosting" for example, currently costs over $5.00 per click on Yahoo! Sponsored Search. But a much less popular term like "Ohio wedding band" would cost you only 12 cents for a #1 spot. It all depends on what you're selling or promoting.
Q: How do I know what search terms to select?
A: As with traditional "organic" search engine placement, the success of a pay per click campaign depends on the relevance of the search words and phrases you select. But it also depends on the cost per click of your PPC listings. The best way to identify popular search terms is with the Wordtracker service. Wordtracker allows you to type in a term, and then get back a list of other search phrases that include that term so you can see exactly how often each phrase is searched. Wordtracker is available in a free trial so you can try before you buy. Click here
to find out more. Two other useful tools are Yahoo's "Term Suggestion" and "View Bids" tools which are available here on Yahoo Search Marketing's advertiser center.
Q: How do I know what PPC search engines to use?
A: The larger PPC services like Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture) and Google AdWords provide the best placement, including front page positions on places like Yahoo and Google. But they also typically charge the highest costs per click due to higher competition. Other PPC providers like Enhance Interactive, Findology, FindWhat and Search123 get a bit less exposure, but they are typically much less expensive than the other two so you will pay less per qualified visitor.
Sign-up pages and special offers on the top PPC search engines:
Q: How do I know if my ads are effective?
A: Each of the major Pay-Per-Click providers offers extensive reporting capabilities so you can see which ads are pulling the most visitors. But an ad can be popular without being effective. The ultimate guideline for any pay-per-click ad is how much business is it bringing me? If you're paying $100 per day in click fees to advertise cell phones, but you're only generating $75 per day in revenue from that ad, then you either need to cut back on your advertising (lower your per-click bids) or improve your site's conversion rate from visitor to sale.
It's important not to get too attached to ads that don't work just because you think they should work. One of our clients with substantial affiliate earnings was spending $10 to $15 every day advertising Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards and games on Google. They were attracting the visitors, then sending these prospective buyers to their partner's Web site for the sale. At the time, this was an extremely popular search so these ads were bringing in hundreds of visitors every day. But the conversion rates on the partner Web site from visitor to sale were too low, so they were only realizing $7 to $10 per day in revenue. Since our client had no control over the destination site, we recommended they discontinue these ads and concentrate on other search terms and affiliate programs that were more lucrative.
It may take as little as a week, or a long as three months to determine whether a particular pay-per-click ad is effective. But as long as you monitor your spending and your earnings closely, and adjust your ads accordingly, you can generate positive income with paid search listings.
Q: This sounds like time-consuming work. Can I hire someone to manage my Pay-Per-Click programs?
A: You can manage your programs yourself, or you can hire us to do it. We have tools and experience that allow us to manage pay-per-click advertising accounts as efficiently as possible. We will set up the accounts for you, including writing all of your creative copy, and send you monthly reports as to which ads are bringing in the most visitors and at what cost.
Q: How can I find out more?
A: For more details on how you can get your web site higher in the search engines, and launch a powerful, cost-effective pay-per-click advertising program, please fill out our Contact Request form.
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