Pay-per-click is one of the most cost-effective advertising programs
available today. Offered by many search engines, pay per click programs allow you to
bid on keywords relevant to your site. When those keywords are
searched on, the search engine would display your ad
(i.e., a link to your site) on the results page along with natural (non-paid)
results. If you do a keyword search on Google, you'd get the
natural results on the left column along with paid
ads on the right. Advertisers are charged only when their ads are
clicked on. Some search engines display paid advertisements above
non-paid search results; others, like Google, devote more
distinguishable sections of the page to paid and non-paid results. Generally, the higher you bid
on a keyword, the higher your ad will be placed in search results
for that keyword.
The two major players in pay per click are Google Adwords and
Overture, a Yahoo! company. Unlike the usual URL submission process,
which could take several weeks or months for your site to be listed,
pay-per-click will allow your site to appear in search results
almost immediately (ah...the miracle of money!). We routinely use
pay-per-click to bring instant traffic to a new site while waiting
for the search engines to index it. This site, for example, is
getting around 200 visitors a day just from our Google Adwords
For this site, we might target such keywords as "website promotion",
"search engine optimization", and "URL submission". The only
problem is, our competitors are willing to pay up to $5.00 a click
on these keywords. Since this site contains mostly free
content and is likely to generate minimal revenues, there is no way
we can compete with them. We could bid $0.05 a click on these
keywords on Google, but chances are, our ad won't be shown very
often as Google can make a lot more money by showing our competitors' ads.
Alternatively, we might target less popular keywords like "free
website promotion tips" or "free URL submission". True, there will
be fewer searches on these keywords, but there'll also be fewer
advertisers competing for them.
Overture has a nice
Keyword Selector Tool for estimating how often a particular
keyword will be searched on. Another excellent tool from
Overture is their
View Bids Tool, which allows you to see how much people are
willing to pay for a keyword. We use the
Keyword Selector Tool in conjunction with
View Bids Tool to
find less popular keywords that have low or
no bids from other advertisers.
Google Adwords requires a minimum bid of $0.05 a click on a
Overture sets the minimum at $0.10.
For a non-commercial site that generates little or
no revenue, it is hard to justify paying $0.10
or even $0.05 for every
visitor you get. Fortunately, there are smaller companies
offering lower minimum bids.
WebLaunch.us, our very own PPC program, offers
keyword bidding starting at just $0.01 a click.
A potential disadvantage of using smaller
pay-per-click search engines
is that they do not have the reach of the 900-pound
gorillas. For best results, we recommend
that you use a combination of both large and
smaller PPC programs to get the most out of your