20 Apr

A Pay-Per-Click Primer, Part 1

Just as websites have become the “new” brochure for companies, digital ads have become the new Yellow Pages.  A big part of online/digital advertising comes in the form of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, also known as Google AdWords or paid search.


These are ads that appear at the top of the web search page when someone types in certain keywords and they feature a little box in the upper left corner next to the company’s website address/page link that says “Ad.”


For instance, when I recently typed in the search terms for “Cincinnati jewelers” the first two links that pop up are PPC ads for The Richter & Phillips Co. and Stafford Jewelers, as indicated by the high priority placement on the page (above the Google map of area jewelers) and the “Ad” box icon.

However, this can change quite quickly, depending on when/if other competitors engage in PPC. So, what results may pop up today at 2:00 p.m. could be different than what you might see if you did a search using the same terms a week/a month/a year from now. That is part of the dynamic nature of PPC.


So, what are the advantages of PPC? Why use it? Consider the following:

  • PPC can help improve search rankingsby moving your site to the top of the page, building visual awareness and boosting traffic to your website.
  • PPC can also help reach people at the critical time when they are ready to buy. Consider how direct mail is somewhat similar—you may receive direct mail pieces offering great deals for cabinet refacing FOR YEARS and just simply ignore them—until the time comes to finally refresh your tired cabinet doors that have seen better days. Then, boom! All of a sudden, the “Free KitchenAid® Mixer!” or “Save 10% on Your Kitchen Remodel Project”is an offer you can’t pass up. PPC is sort of the online equivalent, only done by proactively punching in search terms like “Cincinnati cabinet refacing companies.” You are then presented with a list of several to consider and, as discussed, the ones at the top of the page appear there because of their PPC ad investment.
  • As I mentioned above, PPC is very dynamic, quick and flexible. Therefore, it is very easy to measure results by tracking PPC clicks when looking at things like web analytics, location, page visits and time spent on site.
  • It is also easy to optimize in real timeby simply tweaking search terms and adjusting the creative ads almost anytime- quickly and efficiently—even in the middle of a campaign to help improve results.
  • Why Google? By far the largest search engine in the U.S., (accounting for more than 63 percent of all search queries online and more than 90 percent of mobile searches) Google is where people are and, therefore, where you want to be.


In my next blog, we’ll explore PPC in more detail and will discuss how to get started, how to select search terms, how to create ads and other details to get this process underway so stay tuned!