By Chris Hickman

How do you get visitors to your website? You probably know of the wonders of search engine optimization, which is crafting content and optimizing pages to best help bots crawl your website and determine your content’s relevance in searches. It is a method that, with some self-education and diligence, can bring users to your website organically—meaning you don’t pay to push traffic to your site.

But sometimes organic search is not enough. Larger brands can often take up most of the real estate by ranking well in searches on broad keywords, meaning small brands and startups can be left in the dust down in page 3 and beyond. And because users don’t usually look past the second page of results, it is crucial to appear on that first page.

So, how do you get ahead? Enter pay-per-click.

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)?

Ever enter a search query and look at the very first link that shows? If you look closely, you may just see “Ad” next to the query. And if you do, you know that you’re looking at a PPC search engine ad.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a type of Internet marketing: Advertisers pay a fee to the PPC provider each time one of their ads is clicked. Google is the most well-known and popular PPC provider.

There is a lot that goes into creating a successful PPC campaign since it’s more than just slapping words down and hoping for the best. You still need to craft a relevant ad campaign, optimize pages, and choose the right keywords to target.

How to Craft Your PPC Campaign

Before you get started with PPC, there are some things you need to know.

Choose the Right Keywords

For you to get the best bang for your buck from your PPC campaign, you need to conduct keyword research. This tedious process is a non-negotiable step in developing a solid PPC campaign. After all, you want your ad to resonate with whatever your audience is searching for. Keywords need to be relevant and related closely to your products and/or services. You’ll also want to include multi-word search queries, stemmed keywords, and latent semantic keywords.

Remember that these keywords can change over time, so it is important to re-conduct this research often to ensure that your PPC campaign is always working to give you the best return on investment.

Develop Optimized Landing Pages

When a user clicks on your ad, they are taken to a landing page where you’ll make your offer—but what will the user see on that page? A poor landing page can destroy all your PPC efforts. A landing page is meant to get people to take action in some manner, whether that is making an appointment, starting a free trial, or purchasing a product. When they take the action, this is called a conversion.

When developing landing pages, make sure that:

  • The user gets what is promised. If your ad talks about dog food made in the USA, it should lead them to a page about dog food made in the USA.
  • Your landing page includes a call to action. What do you want them to do? Be specific about it. If you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, tell them to “Subscribe to our newsletter now!”
  • You tell them why they should go with you. Here is where you want to share your unique selling proposition and your differentiators. Why should they choose you and not your competitor?
  • It loads quickly. People are impatient. Don’t make them regret clicking your ad (and wasting your money) with a slow webpage. Your webpage should load in two seconds—yes, two—to keep a visitor.

Know Your Quality Score

Want another way to get more “bang for your buck”? Pay less per ad.

Yes, it’s possible to end up paying less per ad than your competitors, at least with Google Adwords. Google determines what advertisers pay based on their quality score and what ad is shown where. So advertisers with a higher quality score will pay less per ad click and have their ads shown higher and more often. This score is determined by a variety of factors, including:

  • Relevancy of ad text
  • Landing page quality, relevancy, and experience
  • Website’s click-through rate
  • Keyword relevancy
  • Previous AdWords performance

Be sure to optimize your Quality Score to get lower pricing and higher rankings. This way, you can continue to put the same amount of money towards your PPC but get even more value for what you pay.

A quality PPC campaign can help you see more conversions than an organic SEO effort alone. By choosing the right keywords, crafting optimized landing pages, and improving your quality score, you can have a relatively small PPC budget and still make a big impact.