Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004
What are pay-per-click search engines?
Pay-per-click search engines (also called pay-for-performance, paid listings among other names) are engines which allow site owners to determine their sites ranking in that particular search engines results by bidding on keywords. Usually the first 3-5 search results are used by a network of partner search sites. The result for the site owner or webmaster is a lot more highly targeted traffic and a lot more sales.
So the underlying idea to pay-per-click search engines is that you find keywords related to your website and then you bid (how much you are willing to pay for each visitor that visits your site through the search results) and buy high positions on your chosen engine. The more times a word or phrase has been searched for the higher you will have to bid to get high rankings. The only limitation is that your site must be at least vaguely relevant to the keyword you want to bid on. These engines allow you to skip all the search engine optimization stuff and simply pay for visitors.
Pay-per-click engines have a number of benefits to any webmaster.
Only pay for visitors, unlike banner advertising where you have to pay each time someone sees your ad, on pay-per-click engines you only have to pay when someone clicks on your listing. So you are getting guaranteed visits.
Pay-per-click engines provide highly targeted cheap visitors. Often you can buy a good ranking on a decent keyword for as little as 1 cent or 2 cents per click. Overture has of late installed $.05 as the minimum bid however. Popular search terms can cost much more on the big pay per click search engines most notable overture.com and findwhat.com. Even still PPC engines are one of the most cost effective way of driving targeted people to your site.
Hopefully you will agree now that using pay-per-click engines is a great way to increase traffic and profit. OK lets talk about how to use overture.com, findwhat.com and other PPC's to make to most of your money.
Relevant terms are the ones that will bring you the highest quality traffic. Basically this means only bid on terms that are directly related to your site. For example if AKAMARKETING.COM decides to use overture or any of the other PPC search engines in the future, it would be bidding for terms such as "Internet marketing articles" and "website promotion articles" because they are the main focus of the site. Imagine if you bid for terms that were not really directly related to your website, the people that come from these terms are not likely to buy or sign up, but you still have to pay for them, it's like giving the PPC's free money so ALWAYS STAY RELEVANT.
Bid on as many low-cost relevant terms as you can. The cost of a top position with overture or any of the other big PPC's depends upon the keyword you are bidding on and how many people search for it. If you have to bid on a popular word such as 'Internet marketing' be prepared to pay around $2 - $4 for a decent position. But what if you went for "Internet marketing articles" it costs less than a quarter of the price, it will produce far less visits of course, but is much more cost effective. Imagine doing this on a wide scale basis, securing lots of low-cost positions, the combined traffic from these positions will add up to the level produced by a popular keyword - but at a fraction of the cost.
It used to be a good idea to bid on all relevant terms (if you could), however some of the big PPC's now require a $.05 minimum bid. This means some terms will not be worth it, terms that are worth it will contain several words and are highly targeted, meaning that the searcher who clicks through is really interested in your page and more likely to buy/sign up.
Most pay-per-click search engines allow you to link directly to the relevant page of your site. This means that you are giving the searcher exactly what he or she is looking for. This way you are more likely to make a sale as the visitor is in the right mind-frame to buy and will not get lost or give up before finding the page that he or she is looking for.
If you have read the articles on search engine optimization you will have learnt that it is more likely visitors will click through if their search term is in the title and description of your listing this is because it appears to be exactly what they were searching for. So always try to include the exact search term in your title or description. Furthermore make your title and description as descriptive as possible. This has a few benefits.
Searchers are much more likely to click on a link if they know where it's going. It saves you money because the people that click through are really interested in your page because your title and description is very 'descriptive'. If your title was not descriptive they would click through and investigate, if you didn't have what they wanted they would leave and you have just lost money. Remember with pay-per-click search engines you are only paying for actual visitors and not views of your listing, so being listed in the top 1-3 positions, is not always the best strategy because the quality of people who click on top listings might not be of the highest standard. This is because a lot of searchers seem to click on a high listing without actually reading it, again if you didn't have what they wanted they would leave and you have just lost money. Whereas if someone clicked through on a site ranked 19th after scanning through all the descriptions briefly they would be a much higher quality visitor because they have hunted down exactly what they wanted and are genuinely interested in that site. These people are the visitors you want as they are much more likely to buy your product or sign up to your newsletter.
Bidding on a top 3 position is a good strategy however on less popular words and phrases as this means they will show up on partner sites. (Overture.com partners with Yahoo and MSN among others) These words are far cheaper than more searched for general words and have a better visitor to sale ratio. A PPC search engines partner sites will help get the search count up on these words.
Get specific - generally the more words a keyphrase you bid on has the more likely a visitor will become a customer. Once again you only pay for clicks not views so you don't lose money if no one clicks and if they do the chances are good that they'll buy from you. It's very hard to lose money on really specific keyphrases.
Well that's it. I hope you can use this information to make you a bit of money, by the way OVERTURE.COM and FINDWHAT.COM are the pay-per-click engines I recommend the most.
About the Author
Article by David Callan
David is the webmaster of (http://www.akamarketing.com) Visit his site for free internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks and more.