As with any SEO strategy, there are limitations. Bidding for keywords can be fierce, with each com-
petitor bidding higher and higher to reach and maintain the top search results position. Many organi-
zations have a person or team that’s responsible for monitoring the company’s position in search
results and amending bids accordingly. Monitoring positions is crucial to maintaining good placement,
however, because you do have to fight for your ranking, and PPC programs can become prohibitively
expensive. The competitiveness of the keywords or phrases and the aggressiveness of the competition
determine how much you’ll ultimately end up spending to rank well.
One issue with PPC programs is that many search engines recognize PPC ads as just
that — paid advertisements. Therefore, although your ranking with the search engine
for which you’re purchasing placement might be good, that doesn’t mean your ranking in other
search engines will be good. Sometimes, it’s necessary to run multiple PPC campaigns if you want
to rank high in multiple search engines.
Before you even begin to use a PPC program, you should consider some basics. A very important
point to keep in mind is that just because you’re paying for placement or advertising space associ-
ated with your keywords, you’re not necessarily going to get the best results with all of the keywords
or phrases that you choose. With PPC services you must test, test, and test some more. Begin small,
with a minimum number of keywords, to see how the search engine you’ve selected performs in
terms of the amount of traffic it delivers and how well that traffic converts into paying customers.
An essential part of your testing is having a method in place that allows you to track your return on
investment. For example, if your goal is to bring new subscribers to your newsletter, you’ll want to
track conversions, perhaps by directing the visitors funneled to your site by your PPC link to a sub-
scription page set up just for them. You can then monitor how many clicks actually result in a goal
conversion (in this case a new subscription). This helps you to quickly track your return on invest-
ment and to determine how much you’re paying for each new subscriber.
Before investing in a PPC service, you may want to review a few different services to determine
which is the best one for you. When doing your preliminary research, take the time to ask the
How many searches are conducted each month through the search engine for which
you’re considering a PPC program?
Does the search engine have major partners or affiliates that could contribute to the
volume of traffic you’re likely to receive through the PPC program?
How many searches are generated each month by those partners and affiliates?
What exactly are the terms of service for search partners or affiliates?
How does the search engine or PPC program prevent fraudulent activity?
How difficult is it to file a report about fraudulent activity and how quickly is the issue
addressed (and by whom)?
What recourse do you have if fraudulent activity is discovered?
Do you have control over where your listing does appear? For example, can you choose
not to have your listing appear in search results for other countries where your site is not
relevant? Or can you choose to have your listing withheld from affiliate searches?
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