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First Things First—What Is Paid Search Advertising?
Paid Search, in the very basic form, is a way to pay to list advertisements throughout the internet search engines and platforms. Paid Search is oftentimes referred to as PPC (which stands for pay-per-click). PPC is the most common form of Paid Search there is.
The term “PPC” is self-explanatory. Every time your ad is clicked on, you pay the business who is showing your ad. Basically, you are buying visits to your website instead of having them simply rank organically.
Learn more about PPC marketing here, and search advertising here.
The Difference between PPC and Organic Listings
So how do you know if it is a paid advertisement or not? Check out the following anatomy of a search results page:
If you look on the top of the page, the first listing is an advertisement. It is labeled as such. The “ad” symbol is small, so you may not have even realized you were clicking on an ad! When you pay for a listing on the search engine results page, you are paying to have your advertisement put either above or to the right of the organic search listings.
These ads are displayed because businesses bid on certain keywords that they want their advertisements to show up on. Keywords will be discussed further on in this blog series. For now, just know that a keyword (also occasionally referred to as a keyword phrase) is either one word or multiple words that make up a search query.
PPC ads appear based on an auction. This determines which ads are shown as well as where they are shown. There are a number of factors to determine where your ad will rank – from the landing page (the page that the advertisement directs to) to the relevance of the advertisement to the searcher’s query, and more!
It should be noted that there are numerous PPC platforms, but the two most commonly used are Google AdWords and Bing Ads. I will mainly be discussing Google AdWords, as it is the most popular and widely accepted form of Paid Search.
Why Do Paid Search Advertising?
Think of the acronym “ETC.” Simple, right? Paid Search is:
When a company has not invested in SEO and does not appear in search results, Paid Search can be a quick fix. Where SEO may take months to get results, Paid Search allows your advertisements to show up on the first page immediately after set-up!
You can choose exactly what keywords you want your ad to show up for AND how much you are willing to pay for a click. You can exclude keywords, target specific locations, and more! The opportunities are endless with targeting for Paid Search.
You have control over how much you want to spend and you can measure exactly where your spend goes. Think of it like this: you could be paying $1,500 for a billboard, where you may not get a single lead. The people passing by may not have a need for your product or service. Instead of paying $1,500 for a billboard, you could be targeting people actively searching for your products and services online and use that $1,500 towards people who are more likely to be qualified leads.
100+ Copywriting Power Words
In order to get you started on your PPC journey, I wanted to give you some terms that are commonly heard with PPC. So get your notepads ready! Here is some basic PPC vocabulary that you’ll know more about later on:
- AdWords – Google’s Paid Search Platform
- Ad Position – where in the search results page your ad appears
- Bing Ads – Bing and Yahoo’s Paid Search Platform
- Campaign – the highest level in an account
- Click – occurs when someone clicks on an ad
- Click-through-rate (CTR) – the percentage of times your ad has been clicked on in relation to the number of times it appeared
- Conversion – happens when a customer completes a specified action. This can range from a click or download to even filling out a form or calling your business.
- Cost-per-Click (CPC) – the amount, per click, an advertiser pays a search engine for one click.
- Default Max CPC – the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click (a bid)
- Avg. CPC – the actual average amount spent per click
- Cost-per-Lead (CPL) – the amount of money paid for each lead generated.
- Cost-per-Mille (CPM) – cost per thousand impressions; advertisers pay a specified amount for 1,000 impressions
- Impressions – the amount of times your advertisement showed up on a page
- Landing Page – the website where your advertisement takes the user
- Keyword – a word or phrase used to display an advertisement
- Optimize – ways to improve something from an account. This can range from changing ad copy to changing the website.
- Quality Score – a ranking system from 1 – 10 that Google uses to decide your Ad Rank
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – the results seen by typing in a search query.
I hope you enjoyed your first looks of the wild world of Paid Search. Check out our resource on PPC Campaigns!
Need help with AdWords or any other PPC platform? Contact us today and we’ll be glad to help!
Let us help you put your ad in front of qualified buyers. Let us do a FREE analysis of your current paid search campaigns!
About The Author: Spencer is a PPC Specialist at Blue Corona. His favorite activities are cooking and making spreadsheets.
View more blogs by Spencer Chang