What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click (PPC) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, where advertisers pay when the ad is clicked. PPC is a very cost effective way to get the website noticed by potential customers.

The way PPC works is quite similar to a silent auction. Advertisers place bids on specific keywords and phrases they think their target audience is most likely to type when looking for a specific product or service. When online users searche for specific goods and services using keywords and phrases, your adds will show up and direct these buyers to and they correlate to the ones chosen by the advertiser, PPC will be displayed.

PPC ads show up in the highlighted areas of search engines or on the side usually labeled as “sponsored ads” or “sponsored links”.

On its face, pay per click marketing, or PPC, is pretty simple: Search engines and services, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, provide listings on a per-bid basis. This is in addition to their ‘natural’ search results, which are still powered by a combination of keywords found on your site, link popularity and other formula.

These ads are sold in an auction. You bid what you want to pay for a click on the ad. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number 1 in the sponsored results. Note that I said a chance. There’s also something called the quality score that can impact your ranking. More on that in a minute.

If someone clicks on your PPC listing, they arrive at your web site. And you are charged the amount you bid. So, if you bid $.15 per click on ‘widgets’, and that’s the highest bid, you’ll probably show up first in line. If 100 people click on your PPC listing, then the search engine or PPC service will charge you $15.00.


Why PPC is Good

Pay per click advertising can generate traffic right away. It’s simple: Spend enough, get top placement, and potential customers will see you first. If folks are searching for the key phrases on which you bid and you’ve placed a well-written ad, you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated.

So PPC advertising is fast: With some systems, such as Google Adwords, you can generate targeted traffic within a few minutes of opening an account.

PPC advertising is also nimble: Where natural search engine marketing or other forms of advertising can lag weeks or months behind changing audience behavior, you can adjust most pay per click campaigns in hours or days. That provides unmatched ability to adjust to market conditions.

PPC can also be a bargain: Sometimes, you can find keyword ‘niches’ for which the top bid is around $.10 – in that case, PPC is a great option, because you can generate traffic to your site for a fraction of the cost of any other form of paid advertising.