What Exactly Is PPC? Discover the Fundamentals of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing | Blackhat Forum
You’ve come to the right place if you’ve heard a little about PPC marketing and want to learn more, or if you already know you want to use PPC to market your business but don’t know where to begin. This is the first lesson in PPC University, a series of guided courses that will teach you everything you need to know about PPC and how to use it to your advantage.
What is PPC?
PPC is an abbreviation for pay-per-click, a digital advertising model in which the advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, you’re paying for targeted website traffic (or landing page or app). When PPC works properly, the fee is insignificant because the click is worth more than what you pay for it. For example, if you pay $3 for a click that leads to a $300 sale, you’ve made a tidy profit.
PPC ads come in all shapes and sizes (literally), and can contain text, images, videos, or a combination of the three. They can be found on search engines, websites, social media platforms, and other places.
How does PPC advertising work?
PPC advertising looks different on each platform, but the general process is as follows:
Choose a campaign type based on your goal.
- Refine your targeting and settings (audiences, devices, locations, schedule, etc.).
- Provide your budget as well as your bidding strategy.
- Enter your destination URL here (landing page).
- Create your ad.
- Once your ad is live, the algorithm determines where and when your ad appears, as well as how much you pay for a click on it, based on your budget, bid, campaign settings, and the quality and relevance of your ad.
Because all PPC advertising platforms want to keep their users happy, they reward advertisers who create relevant, trustworthy pay-per-click campaigns with higher ad positioning and lower costs.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is the world’s most popular PPC advertising system. Businesses can use the Google Ads platform to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties.
When a search is initiated, Google searches through the pool of ads and selects a set of winners to appear on the search engine results page.
The “winners” are determined by a number of factors, including the quality and relevancy of their keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of their keyword bids. That will be explained in the following section.
How PPC works in Google Ads
When advertisers create an ad, they select a set of keywords to target with that ad and place a bid on each keyword. So, if you bid on the keyword “pet adoption,” you are telling Google that you want your ad to appear for searches that match or are related to pet adoption (more on keyword match types here).
To determine which ads appear for any given search, Google employs a set of formulas and an auction-style process. If your ad is accepted into the auction, it will first assign you a Quality Score from one to ten based on your ad’s relevance to the keyword, expected click-through rate, and landing page quality.
It will then multiply your Quality Score by your maximum bid (the most you’re willing to pay for a click on that ad) to determine your Ad Rank. The ads with the highest Ad Rank scores are shown.
This system enables winning advertisers to reach potential customers at a cost that is within their budget. It’s essentially an auction. The infographic below depicts how the Google Ads auction works.
How to do PPC with Google Ads
PPC marketing with Google Ads is especially beneficial because, as the most popular search engine, Google receives massive amounts of traffic and thus delivers the most impressions and clicks to your ads. The frequency with which your PPC ads appear is determined by the keywords and match types you choose. While a variety of factors influence the success of your PPC advertising campaign, you can accomplish a lot by doing the following:
- Bid on keywords that are relevant. Making relevant PPC keyword lists, keyword groups, and ad text.
- Concentrate on the quality of your landing page. Create landing pages that are optimised for specific search queries, with persuasive, relevant content and a clear call to action.
- Enhance your Quality Score. Google’s Quality Score ranks the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns. Advertisers with higher Quality Scores receive more ad clicks for a lower cost.
- Attract attention. Ad copy that is appealing is essential, as is eye-catching ad creative if you are running display or social ads.
How to do effective PPC keyword research
Keyword research for PPC can be time-consuming, but it is also crucial. Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords, and the most successful Google Ads advertisers are constantly growing and refining their PPC keyword list. If you only do keyword research once, when you create your first campaign, you are likely missing out on hundreds of thousands of valuable, long-tail, low-cost, and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site.
You can find our complete keyword research guide here, but in summary, an effective PPC keyword list should include:
- Relevant: Of course, you don’t want to pay for clicks that aren’t going to convert. That means the keywords you bid on should be closely related to the products you sell.
- Extensive: Your keyword research should include not only the most popular and frequently searched terms in your niche, but also long-tail keywords. These are more specific and less common, but they account for the vast majority of search-driven traffic. Furthermore, they are less competitive, and thus less expensive.
- PPC is iterative. You want to constantly refine and expand your campaigns, as well as create an environment in which your keyword list is constantly growing and adapting.
Check out our Free Keyword Tool to find high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns.
Managing your PPC campaigns
After you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective. In fact, regular account activity is one of the best predictors of account success. You should constantly be analysing the performance of your account and making the following changes to optimize your campaigns:
- Add PPC keywords regularly: Extend the reach of your PPC campaigns by including keywords relevant to your business.
- Add negative keywords: Use negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spend.
- Examine the following costly PPC keywords: Examine costly, underperforming keywords and, if necessary, turn them off.
- Improve landing pages: To increase conversion rates, tailor the content and CTAs on your landing pages to individual search queries. Don’t direct all of your visitors to the same page.
- Divide ad groups: Increase your CTR and Quality Score by dividing your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, which allows you to create more targeted ad text and landing pages. More on account structure can be found here.
Get started with PPC.
Are you ready to begin with PPC? Learn how to create a Google Ads account here.
If you already have a Google Ads account, we recommend that you use our Free Google Ads Performance Grader to help you identify areas for improvement. In 60 seconds or less, you’ll receive a customised report grading your account performance in 9 key areas, including click-through rate, Quality Score, and account activity.