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This is a guide to pay-per-click (PPC) website promotions, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked by a viewer.

PPC marketing is sometimes known as cost-per-click (CPC), and the publisher is typically a first-tier search engine, such as Google or Bing, although social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have also adopted PPC as a revenue model.

PPC advertising has been around for a long time, beginning with banner ads on websites, usually with related content, that have agreed to display the ads on their site in return for a payment based on the number of times site visitors have clicked on the ad. Content sites generally charge a fixed price per click, while the search engines use a system in which advertisers bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market.

Banner ads were once a good way for content providers to monetize their sites but, while they are still in existence, most modern browsers allow users to block such advertising, and that is increasingly becoming the default setting.

Today, search engine advertising is perhaps the most popular form of PPC. The owners of new sites and those that do not rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs) can bid for ad placement in a search engine's sponsored links, which are displayed whenever someone searches on a keyword or keyphrase that the advertiser has bid on. Formerly known as AdWords, Google Ads is Google's PPC program. Through that program, if the owner of a widget manufacturing company were to bid on the keyphrase "blue widgets," using Google Ads, then its ad would be displayed at the top of the results page, above the actual results, whenever someone searched on that term.

Whenever the ad is clicked on, sending a visitor to the site, the advertiser has to pay Google a small fee, based on the amount of the bid. However, when the PPC campaign is working correctly, the person who clicks on the ad will be someone who is looking for blue widgets and, assuming that the company sells blue widgets, the visit might result in a sale that is worth far more than the cost of the click, particularly if the searcher becomes a regular customer. Used in this way PPC advertising can send targeted customers to the advertiser's site.

A successful PPC campaign involves researching and selecting the best keywords to use in the campaign and arranging these keywords into organized campaigns and ad groups. It may also involve creating PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions rather than simply sending the paid click to the first page of your site.

Google Ads uses a per-per-click model, in which advertisers bid on keywords, agreeing to pay for each click. Whenever a Google user initiates a search on a keyword, Google uses an automated process to select which ads to display, assuming that other advertisers may have bid on the same keyword. The ads that appear on the page are based on the advertiser's Ad Rank, which considers the amount of the advertiser's bid for that space (CPC Bid) and a Quality Score, which takes into account the advertiser's click-through rate (CTR), keyword relevance, and the quality of the landing page. Well organized Google Ads campaigns and a high Quality Score is likely to lead to a more successful advertising campaign, and possibly even lower rates from Google.

There are a lot of variables involved in building, managing, and optimizing a successful Ads campaign. While Google Ads is the most popular of the PPC providers, given the dominance of Google in the search engine industry, it is not the only choice in PPC advertising. Bing, Yahoo, and most of the other search engines and metasearch sites have similar programs. Although they work somewhat differently, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Amazon also operate PPC programs.

Although most businesses would prefer to have their website rank high in the SERPs, eliminating the need to pay each time someone visits their site from a search engine, a PPC campaign can allow a site to receive targeted traffic from the beginning. Some advertisers will use PPC only until their SEO campaign has had a chance to show positive results, but others find it valuable to continue using PPC because of the targeted traffic that it brings their site.

However, a badly planned and executed PPC campaign can result in unnecessary and unprofitable expenses. For that reason, many business owners will engage a PPC management company to help them with the steps involved, from the all-important keyword research to bid management, organization, and optimizing their campaigns across the various PPC advertising networks.

The resources listed below will include sites offering tips and suggests for setting up a PPC campaign for those who may want to take the task on for themselves, as well as companies that specialize in PPC management.



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