Google Pay Per Click (AdWords)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a method of online advertising that charges you each time someone clicks on your ad. The most popular is Google AdWords.

Google AdWords (Pay-Per-Click)

When you use Google Pay-Per-Click, your ad will appear on the very top or very bottom of Google search results pages (separate from the regular search results). The paid ads say "Ad" to the left of the website address. Where and how often your ad appears in Google Search (top or bottom of page, and which page) depends on how much you spend. Obviously, ads on the top of Page One of Google are the most expensive.

The cost per click (CPC) varies depending on the search terms you want people to find you with, and your competition for that keyword or phrase. The more popular a search term, the more competition, and the higher the CPC. For instance, if you want people to find your company using the search term "yellow zebra umbrellas", your CPC will be very low due to no competition. But if you want to use the term "construction", you will pay much more.

CPC works almost in an auction format. The Google Pay-Per-Click program will give you a price range for each click for that term. If you choose a price higher than the highest price shown, you are more likely to appear closer to the top of the page or closer to Page 1. If you choose a price lower than the lowest price shown, your ad may only appear on Page 3 every, say, 10 searches. So you are competing with other companies as to how often and where your ad will appear.

With Google Pay-Per-Click, you can determine the maximum you want to spend per month. So if you choose, say, $100 per month but your CPC is $5, that will get you only 20 clicks for that month. Once those clicks are reached, your ad will not appear until the next month. But if you choose a CPC of $1, that will get you 100 clicks for the month, but your ad may not appear for every search. Figuring out how to properly price your Google Pay-Per-Click ad takes a lot of time and effort.

Because of the time and effort required to run a Google AdWords campaign, there are many third party companies that can do it for you, most notably DexYP/Thryv (Dex Media). Because the term "Pay Per Click" can have a negative connotation, third party companies that offer it might use euphemisms like "PPC Advertising" or "Search Marketing". So, why not just let a third party company handle your Google AdWords campaigns for you? Because you're paying a middleman, and those paid clicks will cost much more than if you handled them yourself. So if Google charges $2 per click for a particular search term, the third party company may charge you, say, $5 per click for that same search term.

The Problems with Pay-Per-Click

Pay per click can easily be abused by your competitors as well as the third party PPC company itself. Google says they're able to guard against abuse of the system, but that's impossible because every device that accesses the internet (desktops, laptops, phones, etc.) has its own IP address. Most companies and households have many different devices. Your competitor could click on your ad from every device in their office, and Google has no way of knowing those clicks are from the same company. And many devices have dynamic IP addresses which change frequently to thwart hackers. So you could easily reach your monthly budget in a matter of days or even hours if your competitor wants to eliminate you from the ad program.

And to make matters worse, consumers may subconsciously skip the ads at the top of Google Search. Think about it. When you do a Google search, how often do you click the ads at the top, and especially the bottom, of the Google search results page? People have been conditioned to skip paid ads because they are often not relevant to what they are searching for. For instance, when looking for a local company, ads are often for companies that provide services nationally, or outside of the searcher's geographic area.

And just like any form of advertising, pay per click does not guarantee customers. Just because someone clicks on your ad doesn't mean they are interested in your product or service. They could be your competitors, or they could have even clicked accidentally. And a potential customer that clicks your ad is not necessarily going to call or hire you.

Summary

Pay-per-click may be something you want to try for a few months, at a very low maximum budget, just to see how it works. However, the company that makes the most money with PPC tends to be the third party company that's providing the service for you! It's far better to have good search engine optimization and online marketing for your website to ensure that your website gets listed "organically" as close to the top of Google search results as possible.

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