Marketing - PPC

Getting Started with Pay-per-click

Have you heard of pay-per-click (PPC)? Even if you think you haven’t, trust me you have seen it in action! Read on and I’ll give you a brief introduction to the advertisement model that has revolutionized the way we do business online.

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a type of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee every time someone clicks on their ad. Rather than sitting back and just waiting for organic traffic to trickle in, these advertisers chose a more proactive approach to increase the chances that more users will visit their sites.

I am sure you have noticed ads that come up on top of a Google search result page.

Paid ads on search results page

Paid ads on search results page

In this example, I typed the word WordPress into my Google search page.

The top two links (which have an orange background) are the advertisers that paid more to have their ads featured on top. The ads on the right are from advertisers that paid less.

Once I performed my search, Google presented me with the ads that are most relevant to my search keyword, in this case WordPress; which resulted in two top advertisers: a WordPress hosting provider and a WordPress development company.

As an advertiser, I would pay Google a small fee only when a user clicks on my link. The fee is minimal when compared to the potential increase in number of visits to my site that could lead to a sale.

For example, if I have a website that sells shoes and someone clicks on my PPC ad, I‘d be more than willing to pay Google $1.50 for my ad, if this person will ultimately buy a pair of shoes from me and I’ll get $70 from the sale.

Now this brings up a great point. It is critical that you have a PPC strategy. Research is needed to figure out what keywords your audience is using to search for your site, so that you can then tailor the appropriate keywords being used in your PPC ad campaign.

You do not want to use the wrong keywords in your campaign as that will cost you money and give you no leads! That is where Google AdWords comes in.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is the most widely used PPC platform around. Within Google Adwords, you can perform keyword research, and set budgets for how much you’re willing to spend on each keyword.

Here’s a summary from Google about how AdWords works:

You create your ads- You create ads and choose keywords, which are words or phrases related to your business.

Your ads appear on Google – When people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results. Now you’re advertising to an audience that’s already interested in you.

You attract customers – People can simply click your ad to make a purchase or learn more about you.

Set your budget – There’s no minimum spending requirement – the amount you pay for AdWords is up to you. You can, for instance, set a daily budget of five dollars and a maximum cost of ten cents for each click on your ad.

Avoid guesswork – We provide keyword traffic and cost estimates so you can make informed decisions about choosing keywords and maximizing your budget.

Pay only for results- You’re charged only if someone clicks your ad, not when your ad is displayed.

Google makes it look simple, but Google AdWords is smart. It has rules set in place to decide which ads gets presented to the user. It’s not only based on your budget, or how much you’re willing to pay. Even if you pay $100 for a keyword, it doesn’t mean that Google will choose your ad to display on the search results page.

Google AdWords chooses which ads to display based on an advertiser’s Ad Rank, a result calculated by multiplying two key factors – CPC Bid and Quality Score (a value that takes into account your click-through rate, relevance, and landing page quality).

Google's Ad Rank Formula

Google’s Ad Rank Formula

Coming up with a great pay-per-click strategy takes effort and experience. There is a wealth of information on how to run an effective PPC advertising campaign, but in this article we’re only going over the basics.

If you want to find out more, check out the links in the resources section below.

Advertising Platforms

Most advertisers focus their marketing efforts on Google using Google AdWords. But Bing Ads offered through the Bing search engine is another popular option.

In addition, there are other platforms from which to launch a PPC advertising campaign, such as:

Choosing a platform to use for your PPC campaign requires analysis (in addition to a strategy), as each tool offers different prices for keywords, have different interfaces (some are easier to use than others) and ultimately, you should chose a platform based on the audience you want to reach and the type of ad you want to promote.

Pros and Cons of PPC:


  • Immediate Results – as soon as you activate an ad, it will start displaying in search results and driving traffic.
  • You set your own budget – you only pay when a user clicks on your ad, and you have control on how to target your ads.
  • No limit on keywords you want to use on your ads.


  • The campaign needs to be set-up and implemented correctly and strategically – Like I mentioned above, if you don’t have the right keywords in place, you are wasting money.
  • It requires constant monitoring and management to evaluate if your ads are reaching the right audience.

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about the PPC advertising model, visit the links below:

About the author

Patricia is the Founder of Upwards Content, a fledgling content creation/management business. If you like my articles, follow me on Twitter!

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